Friday, March 18, 2011

Why I choose to send my child to private school…..

                Every year around this time we have to make a hard decision on whether to leave Alyssa in private school or send her to public school for the next school year.  This is always a struggle for me because having that extra money would be sooo beneficial to us—especially now that we have 2 children instead of one.  The decision is not an easy one and not for everyone.  I put it in Gods hands to show me and guide me in the direction that is right.  It is a decision that is not always easy to make and we literally were signing up for public school last year and at the last minute changed our minds.  How did we get into this whole public/private school debacle anyway??
    Our journey with private school began when she was 2.  Alyssa never went to day care.  Stephen worked evenings when she was born and so he kept her during the day when I was at work.  What a blessing!  The year she turned 2, Stephen changed jobs that summer.  We had to find daycare and it just killed me.  I could not imagine sending my child with someone else to take care of her all day.  Stephen’s sister was kind enough to keep her for awhile that summer until we found someplace to put her.  We checked into a couple of options, but I kept thinking about our church’s Montessori program.  It was more of a school type atmosphere with an “extended day” program.  The director met with us and showed us around.  She was very nice and helpful and we signed her up and waited the few weeks until school began. 
After a few really hard weeks adjusting to her new envirnment, she began to enjoy her “school”.  She had the BEST teacher who really cared about her and her well being.  She understood our situation and that Alyssa had not really had much contact or play time with other children and she worked with her.  It was the best decision we ever made for her.  She started learning so much!  She was interacting with children and was enjoying being there everyday.  She would come home singing songs that her teacher had taught them about the days of the week, the months of the year, songs in Spanish and in English!  She learned much more than she would have staying at home.  She stayed in the Montessori program until it was time to graduate to Kindergarten.  Stephen and I were never planning on her staying there after Montessori.  The more I thought about changing her the more uneasy I felt.  So I justified leaving her there in Kindergarten because they had a full day program where as the public school only had a ½ day program.  She had an awesome Kindergarten teacher and of course she was attending school with all of her friends she had met and played with in Montessori.  These kids have a really good relationship together.  They have bonded and seem to watch out for each other. They have a kindness and sincere love for one another that I have not seen with my nieces who attend public school.
 This leads me to one of the main reasons I choose to leave her in public school.  They are teaching my child about love and service to others.  Alyssa has a caring and loving attitude towards everyone.  She hurts when someone else is hurting.  She sees the good in everyone—even those kids in class that are the “trouble makers” or the ones you wish your child did not hang around with.  I love that they are teaching her about her faith and that she can openly praise and worship while at school.  She understands more about her faith and religion than we do at times.  She teaches us! 
                Here are a few other reasons I choose private school for my kids.  Smaller Classrooms-granted Alyssa’s class is large, but compared to public schools and the budget crunch they are in, I think her class will remain small in comparison.  She also is around the same group of kids every year.  Her class does not change much from year to year which is a big deal if you don’t do well with change.  Education and Quality teachers—her school  has some really great teachers who care for their students and want them to succeed.  They are all experienced teachers who have taught for many years and with many of those years at her school.  These kids are ahead of most public school kids in the same grade.  They use the best teaching resources and educational materials.  They recently received a donation for smart boards and laptops for each room.  I remember hearing a few years back that of the graduating high schools in our city—3 of the Valedictorians were products of her private school.  Wow—what a great basis for a lifetime of learning!  Activities—she participates in many activities through the school(most recently PSIA—the equivalent of UIL in public school) and through other organizations (but with her classmates).  She is able to help raise money for good organizations like St. Jude and the  American Heart Association—but also collect things for the local food pantry, nuns, meals on wheels, deployed soldiers, as well as her owns schools playground fund.  What a great learning experience for a child.  To me, they are not just education my child in the basic math, reading and writing, but are forming her as a whole person to love and care for others.  Stewardship and Education rolled into one built on religion and love of God. 
Needless to say, Alyssa has continued at private school and will be entering the 3rd grade next year.  When the school sent home the intent to return form I felt that pain in my heart I feel each year at this time.  But when I think of all the positives, I say “yes” and patiently wait for Caleb to be old enough to start too!  We may have to sacrifice the things we would like to have (the nice vacations, new cars, big house, new clothes, BIG savings account), but we are sacrificing for our children and for them to be the best they can be!  Isn’t that what we are suppose to do as parents?