Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More School Decisions (Or Rather, Life Making the Decisions for Me)

I have been planning on sending Adriana to the local Catholic school for Pre-K for basically forever.  I scheduled a tour last month and was all set to hand over the registration check when I found out that they are getting rid of after care for the early childhood education building next year.  Which is completely stupid because they let the Pre-K kids go over to the main (K-8) school for after care this year, as long as they are 5.  Adriana will be 5 in October, so my parents could have helped out for a month or two if they were still allowing that, but no.  I guess it was offered this year only.  Adriana can't go to Kindergarten yet because the school has a strict August 1 cutoff.  I briefly thought about forcing it, but then she'd be in my nephew's class and I don't think that would be the best for either of them.  While my parents can help some, I wouldn't want or expect them to watch her every day from 2-6, so we are kind of stuck unless we magically find a super reliable, super cheap baby sitter. The school's after care was REALLY affordable and nothing else is really going to be as convenient, easy, or cheap.  Plus I don't really dig strangers hanging out at my house.  

I thought about sending both kids to the Jewish center instead, but after looking into it, I think it's too expensive.  It looked like it was comparable until I realized that the summer session is twice as much as the rest of the year, plus there are other little charges that add up  We would also completely lose the flexibility we currently enjoy so I don't know.  It might be easier to just keep them where they are, even though I don't love it.

When I was seriously considering the JCC, I took a tour of both the early childhood education center and the K-8 school attached to it.  I wouldn't have normally even looked at the school, but since the JCC was getting so many calls from people who were shafted by the Catholic school not offering after care, they were thinking about adding a class for kids who were too advanced for preschool, but not yet the right age for Kindergarten.  The K-8 school was basically the school of my dreams - SUCH a better fit for my family than a Catholic school would be.  It's super diverse.  Kids there are either on the Hebrew track or the Spanish track, since I think less than half are actually Jewish.  The Spanish track is focused on learning about cultures from around the world.  Kids there seem super tolerant and worldly and cultured.  I loved the classrooms and the philosophy and basically everything I heard until they told me the price.  It's exorbitant.  Dreams dashed.  So that's a bummer too, because now I'm always going to feel like our original school of choice is a let down.  

So yeah.  Another year of daycare.  The good news is that Adriana really loves both her current teacher and the Pre-K teacher.  She is learning all of the things I'd expect her to learn at this age, and she is really maturing and listening better.  The bad news is that Lucy will be in the class of the teacher Adriana HATED for at least part of next year if we stay.  Plus we just had another one of those minor annoying incidents that keep adding up and souring my opinion of the place.  You ready for this one?  

We were driving home from daycare yesterday, and Lucy kind of pouted and said "Miss Brandy called me a baby."  I was like well, you'll always be MY baby.  Lucy then said "Miss Brandy said I'm not a big girl anymore."  Hmm.  "What were you doing when she said that, sweetie?"  "I pooped." (Pronounced "poopted", heh).  So basically the teacher's aide shamed my two year old for having an accident.  The worst part is that I have told both the teacher and the aide MULTIPLE TIMES to sit L on the potty at 4 every day, since she was pooping in her pants between 4:05-4:30 nearly every day.  They are doing all of their end of day stuff and moving rooms at that time, so I think that they basically just let the kids run rampant and don't pay attention.  So of course, that's when little miss reliable needs to poop.  This has resulted in a major backslide for her potty training - she went for a few months with very few accidents to basically not pooping on the potty unless she's at home.  Grrrr.  You'd think they would want to work on it just as much as I do - no one wants to clean up poop, right??  So ridiculous that they would SHAME A KID because they were too busy/lazy to follow my instructions.  I was not pleased, to say the least.

Stuff like this is so frustrating to me.  There are just not enough good options around there, or at least not enough AFFORDABLE good options.  It seriously feels like we are the only family with two working parents who can't seem to find a school situation that is a good fit, which CAN'T be the case, right?   Maybe we should have looked harder at the public schools, but then we'd just have be switching the affordable house / unaffordable school situation for an unaffordable house / affordable school (plus adding a ton of inconvenience).  And I think a more structured school setting is better for my particular children than getting a nanny.  I might feel differently if I had different kids, but I don't.  I like the current mix of parent/grandparent/school time, just wish I didn't feel like I was stuck with a school I don't love by default.

I don't know, it's just Pre-K right?  No need to stress this much about it?  In what will feel like a microsecond, L will be in Kindergarten and A will be in 2nd grade and this will all be a distant memory.  


d e v a n said...

I'm sure it will pass in the blink of an eye, but it is still very frustrating in the meantime! I hope you can find a situation that works well for you all.

Kara Keenan said...

Word. So much word. My kids are all in public school right now, but yeah those couple of years of daycare/preschool were kind of a nightmare. I did the private home setting until they hit 3, and then moved them into a big center. The big center probably wasn't THE BEST, but it worked 85% of the time. So expensive though. From 2008-2011, we were spending more on daycare/preschool than we were on our mortgage, and our mortgage isn't cheap. There are charter schools in my area that offer a better quality of school, but they don't have any afterschool care or bussing. That makes it a dead end for my family. I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you have to just roll with what will work best for all conditions, even if it means you don't have a perfect fit.

Mama Tully said...

True - they will move on in the blink of an eye. BUT this would TOTALLY stress me out too. You're their mom, you can't help but stress over it. I adore the school my kids go/will go to, but sometimes I struggle with the idea of homeschooling. I have ZERO credentials to teach my children anything, lol, but I have a nutty desire to wrap my children in in a bubble and keep them close to me forever and ever! I tell you, if it's not one thing, it's another!

Pirate Flag & Island Girl said...

I know it's not a great option if you don't like people living with you, but have you ever considered an au pair? Brian and I (despite being childless-as far as we're planning-for the next couple years) have already talked about this since I know I want to work after we have kids, and the idea of daycare germs terrifies me. We looked into the cost (he is having to be convinced, as he would rather me stay home...I totally respect SAHM's, but it's not for me), and it actually comes out to less per kid if you have more than one for most daycares. They're home, don't have to be delivered to daycare, and they work 48 hours a week for 50 weeks before they go back. I'm sure you've already thought of this, but I thought it might be worth mentioning since the place they're in now sounds like it doesn't fit.

Kara Keenan said...

I want to add that we did do the non-live in Nanny thing for a year, and it worked great, for that year when my youngest was a newborn and the other two were preschool age. But she wasn't a preschool teacher. Kids are expected to know so much going into kindergarten that my children needed a formal preschool program to get ready for kinder.

Jessica said...

I hope things improve for Lucy! Daycare/preschool/school stuff is SO hard and, for me, annoying. I just want it to work! We're still trying to figure out where to send Paul for preschool.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Totally NOT a light subject, but your tour of the JCC reminded me of a very dear MUSLIM friend of mine who was a swimming coach for the JCC all through high school. I always tease him about being a wannabe Jew.

Do you think you might qualify for some financial aid at the JCC (or anywhere else, for that matter)? It might be worth a shot asking - the worst they can say is you don't qualify and you're no worse off than you are now.

It's funny, for me, I want our son to go to a school with strong academics, but that doesn't necessarily mean the best. I also want him in a district that's diverse and where kids are encouraged to explore what interests them, not just what will make their college application more robust. My husband and I have our eye on a suburban community that meets our needs, but we won't move for a couple more years.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Oh, two more things. HELLO (I'm VERY far behind on my blog reading). And also, a very wise Harvard professor* once told me that I shouldn't worry AT ALL about elementary school. Are the kids safe? Are they learning something? Are they enjoying their experience? If yes, they're fine and don't have to be in the very best program. Save your worries for finding the right high school (and maybe middle school).

* Said professor is my father. My brother and I were in a pretty mediocre school system for elementary school and my parents didn't sweat it.