Monday, June 30, 2008

School Angst

Still swimming in boxes around here, I don't have a lot of time for much else besides unpacking. However, one of the things that has really been plaguing my mind since we arrived is getting my girls registered for school.

Our oldest two children are school age. A. will be in 1st grade next year and M. will be in Kindergarten. As with all public schools, we are "zoned" to go to one specific school in the county we live in. Let me mention here that where we live isn't very big and there are only 2 Elementary schools in the whole county. The angst with this comes in with this......we are zoned for one school and it seems that everyone I talk with have their children at the other school -- whether they are "zoned" for it or not.

Everyone has their reasons. The school we are zoned for has "pods" and one lady didn't like the pods so she takes her children to the other school.

One lady said that there was a lot of anxiety for one of her children at the school we are "zoned" to go to because this particular school hasn't met their expected growth in a while and the teachers seem to pressured to "make the grade". And since her 2nd grader was coming home stressing over tests she switched her kids to the other school.

Lots of people would look at these things and say it is a no brainer -switch schools. But here is the thing for me.

First - I am a typical first born rule follower. It causes me great anxiety to think I am breaking the rules.
Second - pods don't really bother me right now. IF it ever comes to the point where my kids performance is affected by the extra noise around them, then I would do something to change things. For now though, I think that kids adapt and it won't be a problem.
Third - as a former teacher myself, I know that anxiety about tests comes from teacher anxiety about these sorts of things. If the teacher makes an issue of the tests and "making the grade" then the students become stressed about it too. Don't get me wrong - I want my girls to be concerned about their grades in school but I don't want it to be crippling to them in anyway. I taught exceptional children and I truly believe that the education is much more important than making a perfect grade on something.

However, my struggle is this. I want to do what is best for my kids. I don't know teacher's here and I can't choose which classes they should be in to start off with. I feel like I am going in blind and having to make decisions.

We plan on visiting both schools but from there I'm not sure what to do. I also feel the need to get us registered somewhere so that this can be one thing checked off my "to- do list". Which seems huge to me right now knowing that I am due to have a baby in less than 9 weeks.

Another thing on my "to - do list" is figure out what L., my 3 year old, will do since we moved. Before we knew we were moving I had registered her for a 2 morning a week preschool program that was on a school bus and she was sooooo excited about it. Where we are now, they do not have such a program. There are two preschool programs near here with waiting lists which we are on. There is also a private, Christian school that is starting a pre- k class for 3/4 year olds, and as a bonus it meets at our church. The down side? It is rather expensive since it is a private school. L. really wants to go to school next year and I really want her to get to go somewhere so that she gets the social experience of being with other kids and for the learning experience, too. The anxiety in this decision comes with figuring out if we can afford it or not.

These two things are causing me lots of extra concern and worry right now.

If you are still reading this after all of that, thanks for reading my rant.

On a lighter note, our first day at our new church went well I think. Hubs had a great sermon and it seemed well received. There was a reception held after church in our honor and we met lots of new folks who I hope will be patient as we learn all of their names. I don't think any of them know of my blog yet but just in case hear my plea ..........have mercy on me. I'm bad with names anyway and add being pregnant in there and it's just a mess. The community we have joined here is beautiful. I will try later in the week to take a picture out of my living room window. The view really is breath taking!

If you've got any advice for me about the school anxiety, I would LOVE to hear it!


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I have no advice, but I'm also the typical oldest rule follower!

I just realized too, that our children are the SAME age! I have one going into 1st, kindergarten and a 3 year old!

Every time I think of school for mine, I will be praying you you guys as you sift through all the new stuff and make decisions!

Many Prayers,


Anonymous said...

As you know I am praying and looking for a place for my little one. The care and love she had will be almost impossible to replace!!!!!!!!!!
This may not be much help but....
The school I teach at was a 'school to watch' last year, meaning our scores were low. However I definitely would let my child go there because I believe the teachers are kind and care about the kids. I think your right about the fact that if a teacher has anxiety then her class can pick that up. You will be much more settled I believe, after you visit the schools. I feel sure that your kids will thrive anywhere they go and will be an asset to whichever school you decide.

As for little L. you could definitely save gas if she went to the church for school :)!

PS Hope the boxes are disappearing!

Cheryl said...

That is a tough one. Your kids are at such a foundational part of school that you don't want their first memories to be bad ones. I'm a former teacher myself and a self proclaimed rule follower so it would be hard for me too!
I'll be praying for you.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

My poor kids have been dragged from school to school over the years, but several years ago, we decided to go with private education, even though a great expense. Did I mention it was expensive? Anyway, we've never regretted our decisions and has always been a factor in our decisions to move. I'm with you on the anxiety. I'm having it also in regards to my 2nd grader who has recently been diagnosed with some learning disabilities. Not sure how his school can deal with this, but I'm continuing to ask questions and pursue all options.

I'll be praying for the light to dawn in your direction soon!


cherryt7 said...

In my circle, education is a 'hotbed' question... especially when people ask Stephen (my hubby) and I what we're going to do... you see everyone that knows our families thinks we're homeschool families becuase both of our younger siblings were homeschooled. We're not... at this point.

We are both firstborn and I'd like to think we're pretty laid back over all... I think I'd end up sending them to their 'zoned' school simply because I'd want to 'rebel' against what the 'others' are saying. That being said, I know that each year my mom prayed that I would be placed with the exact teacher that I would need and I was... I had great teachers and great memories. This fall I'll have a 2nd grader and a kindergarter (I can't believe it!) going to school and I've already started lifting them up (and honestly, mostly their teachers... they need it more :O) I know that 'bad' teachers are out there and obviously they have kids in their classes, but if it were me, I'd probably just send them and stay in tune. I realize though that will be hard with a newborn (Sophia was born in March and I felt like I didn' thave a clue what Maddie was doing in school for the weeks surrounding her birth.)

I'll pray for your wisdom and peace in your decision... as for pre-school, sorry, no advice there...

Lisa said...

I think that it's just hit or miss with any class in any school and you never know how the kids will truly do until you get there. Prayerfully, you'll make the right decision for your family.

Janelle & Ella said...

I am SO happy that your first Sunday went well!! I know that is a great answer to prayer. I hope you are so blessed being there and make some amazing friendships.