A Series of Impossible Decisions

I’ve been thinking about education lately. Our son is going to start Kindergarten in the Fall and I’m presented with-simultaneously-too many options and not enough.

Old School by Carlos Porto

Old School by Carlos Porto

We live in a small town. I just got an email notification that unless we find more parents willing to volunteer coach, they’ll just have to flat-out cancel Spring Soccer, which would break my kid’s heart. On the other hand, we can sign him up for soccer in a nearby town–one with plenty of registrants and coaches. Our educational dilemma is similar.

There are three elementary schools in our town–one is the public school we’re ‘in-district’ for, one is a charter school, and one isn’t on the table because it’s the other in-district public school, just farther away than the first. I don’t know much about the public school. I have heard both good and bad. I know that they subscribe to the Common Core-a set of standards inspiring new curriculums and teaching practices that I have heard nothing good about. Looking at the charter school on greatschools.org, I’m loathe to send my kid there until they can find some consistency.

In the towns near us, there is basically an infinite number of schools we could sign up for. But many of them aren’t options because of popularity or distance. The best schools are filled up and new students are chosen by lottery. Out-of-district students aren’t given as high priority. Private school isn’t an option because of cost.

Right now the decision before us is this-the local public school or a nearby out-of-district school? One offers a strong sense of community, but might not be as strong academically. At the other, my son would undoubtedly form friendships with kids who live farther away, but this school definitely offers a solid educational background. I haven’t heard the usual criticisms that they “only teach to the test”.

As a parent, I feel like we are faced with a series of impossible decisions. The optimist in me wants to say that any choice will turn out fine. But there’s the worrier in me that whispers, “But what if it doesn’t?”

I know many moms are in my position right now. I even have a friend who, as dissatisfied as she is with her local school, is considering home schooling. How do you make decisions, especially educational ones, for your kids?!

6 thoughts on “A Series of Impossible Decisions

  1. I don’t have any suggestions, but just wanted to say that my son is only 16 months old and already I’m worrying about where we will send him to school. We parent in a fairly relaxed (some might say ‘alternative’) way and after looking into it I’m finding it impossible to believe we find somewhere for him that shares our values. It’s so difficult when, essentially, a lot of the decision making is taken out of your hands because of cost or location.

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  2. We are struggling with this same thing right now. Kindergarten registration was last week at the public school my son would go to (which is within walking distance of my house) and I just didn’t register him! I just couldn’t make myself take him there and do it!

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  3. There are a lot of misconceptions about common core – maybe begging a blog post there. Honestly, I have seen some interesting things regarding math that I don’t understand but, if you look at content areas such as history and science, it makes so much sense. Don’t let the weird jokes rummaging around Facebook totally define what common core is.

    That said – I am of course homeschooling and love it so, that was where my decisions led…

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  4. Yeah, the sad thing is that my main impressions of Common Core are from mom friends and Common Core math methods I’ve personally witnesses, NOT those chains. But taken all together the math strategies aren’t impressive. I get what they’re aiming for (conceptually) but ultimately it seems to be frustrating and confusing children. I don’t speak to the other Common Core-standard-influenced-teaching in other subject areas though! You are someone I’ve thought about when considering home schooling! Where do you even start?!

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