Well, as you can probably guess from the title, we’ve decided to enroll Max in public school next year. We changed our minds at least 15 times and there were many tears, headaches and heartache that went into the decision. Here’s why we chose public Kindergarten:
1. Money. Montessori school is very expensive. We could have sent just Max, but really liked the school for both boys. The cost would have made our budget really, really tight. On top of tuition, we would have had to pay for Max’s services (though we were told the public school system would give us a small stipend) and any “specials” like a formalized art, music or gym class.
2. I’m just not sure that Max will get out of Montessori what he should. He is a kid who tends to stick with tasks that are easy for him. He doesn’t try new things very often. If he finds a game or puzzle he’s good at he sticks with that and does it over and over and over. I know the teachers are trained to redirect and work with children like him, but I’m just not sure he has the initiative to drive his own learning.
(Please, be offended by this.I do think Montessori is a great choice and my thoughts from last week haven’t changed. I’m not judging anyone else’s decision, just talking about mine)
3. I want Max to have a typical school experience. Since he was six months old, his life has consisted of doctors’ appointments and Early Intervention therapies. He had special visitors come see him at child care to work on speech and vision services. We had someone at our house at 7:45 a.m. once a week for over a year. He’s had to come into preschool late and now leaves mid-day to go to his “other” school. I just want him to turn 5 and have a first day of school and do normal first day of Kindergarten things. I want him to celebrate the 100th day of school and remember to wear sneakers on gym day.
4. I think I’ve been underestimating him. I think he’s going to be ok in public school. We were sitting in a Kindergarten Information Session last week at our local public school and they were reviewing the way reading groups work and the schedule of the day. I kept thinking that it was awful, that Max would never be able to do all that. Then, I had an epiphany…an Oprah “a ha” moment. Why couldn’t he do all that? There has never been anything thus far that he couldn’t do. Granted it took him well over two years to learn to stack blocks, but he did it. One day, completely on his own, he just stacked blocks, one on top of the other. It’s one of the things that has made me most proud of him so far. He sits in circle time at school, and is learning his letters and their sounds, the days of the week, manners and all of the other school skills he’ll need.
I want to give public school a chance. I want to give Max a chance. I just have to keep telling myself.