When Claire was in Pre-kindergarten, we were trying to sort out kindergarten choices for Claire, and I was horribly conflicted.
Waking up in the middle of the night, wondering where she'd go to school. Would she make it into a gifted program? Was a charter school the right choice for us?
She took the gifted and talented test, but had been sick immediately following the exam. Was such a high stakes environment going to be the right fit for my kid?
Was the longer day and extra clubs and work offered by a charter school going to be the right fit? Was I making my decisions based on what was best for my child? What was the right fit for her personality and her style of learning? Was I talking a good game and making the right comments to the parents in the neighborhood? (And, yes, that last one factored in a lot more than I'm proud of.)
It was awful.
In the end none of it matters. She attends our neighborhood school. A lovely place, if a bit more crowded than I'd like. Still, I'm thrilled with it. She's had everything she needs - lots of science and math. She's reading exceptionally well, and has made friends. She had a great teacher. It was the right choice.
But, at the same time, she didn't go into the school with a stable of pre-made friends. Part of me was glad for that. She needed to branch out and make some new friends. She's a gregarious kid, and has met some sweet kids, both in her class and at the playground. One dear friend lives right upstairs and we spent a lot of time with her and family.
I wondered, though, for a long time about separating Claire from the friends she'd made in PreK. They are scattered around the school district - charter schools, gifted schools, dual-language programs, and parochial schools. It was harder for me, I think, than for her, to lose some of those friends. But, we have ample changes to play with those kids - we see them at the park, still make play dates and go to scouts with them.
It's certainly made how I will approach Ben's education a lot easier. Unless we have a particularly compelling reason for him to be tested, Ben too will go to our neighborhood school. And he will be just fine
What's school like where you live? Where did you choose (if you did) for your child to be educated?