Saturday, April 16, 2011

Education in the City

This move has a few issues we had not thought about in detail, one of the most important being where our kids would go to school.
We currently live in the county and although there are choices in schools, where we live, the public schools are, for the most part, quite good.
We are moving to the city, and unfortunately the public schools are not even close to being up to par.
I found myself frantically searching for alternatives.

There does not seem to be a central place to find out about all the school options in the city. So I was calling everyone I knew for information and advice.
I was looking into private schools, religious schools, magnet schools, charter schools and even homeschooling!

The private schools were far too expensive. 

The religious schools were (mostly) less expensive, but would seriously add up when we had all 3 little ones attending.

Homeschooling is something I had thought about before. With Jeff's changing schedule it would be valuable to have control over the school schedule. But I wasn't convinced I was cut out to homeschool full-time.

There were a number of promising Magnet School options, but we had missed the application deadline. The best schools were full and had long wait lists.
We could be stuck on wait lists for months AND be looking to transfer the kids to one of the in-demand schools the next year. Not the ideal choice.
The up side was Lilia could attend a full-time preschool for free.

I looked into a couple of Charter Schools.
The first one we looked into one had a great reputation. It even shared space with a fee-based preschool that both of my younger children could attend. But we didn't feel it was a great fit.

The second one is where my cousin and her husband send their son. It is a language immersion program. This means that children learn all their coursework in a second language. Currently there is a Spanish language program and a French language program. We decided to look into the French program.
We went on Tuesday for the required tour.  We met the founder of the school. She explained the philosophy behind the school and the benefits of the immersion program. After she spoke, we were given a tour of the French side of the school by the headmaster of that program.
We left knowing we had found the perfect school.
Even my cynical husband was impressed!
There were only a limited number of spaces available for first grade in the French school.
I scrambled to get the paperwork together and I returned that afternoon with her enrollment materials. The woman at the desk said to expect that she would be accepted and letters would go out by the end of the week!

I will officially do the Happy Dance when I get that letter!

The only down-side, there is no preschool.
We are looking at sending Momo to one of the magnet schools for preschool and then she would attend the French School when she begins kindergarten.

Keeping my fingers crossed until we get that letter!

One thing down!

I'm linking up to the Company Girl Coffee!


Marianne said...

I would love for my daughter to go to a language immersion school. Growing up in small place in Norway there were only one school and there we learned three languages. All together I understand 5 languages and speak 2. My daughter now growing up in the states had so many choices of schools, but we ended up choosing the public school next to our house as I couldn't find anything I liked any better. She is only learning one language there, English, and I am homeschooling her in Norwegian.
I have friends who have chosen to put their kids in "better" schools who have later found that it was not as good as they expected. The reason was the teacher and or the learning styles used at the school didn't fit their child.
I have found, being a teacher myself, that the best learning situation for a child is having parents who is activily working with the teacher to help the child learn. Read to your child, ask questions and have them explain to you because you don't know this. Have your children read to you or younger siblings.
I hope your child gets admitted to this school, I love that it will teach more than one language. That is so important in todays world.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you found something that is a good fit for you and your family! Hooray! It is definitely hard, especially with how much some schools costs these days to find something that is affordable and will help your child learn the best that they can. And I think they will benefit from learning that 2nd language too.

Kathleen T. Jaeger said...

Education is such an important decision for our children. The language immersion program sounds interesting and challenging! It sounds neat to have your children know two languages.

Love the old house and the renovations. Don't know that we are the project people to tackle such a thing or would ever have enough money to pay someone to do it for us. But I love the idea of it!!