I have this debate going on...with myself...in my head. It's exhausting. Nobody ever told me when I became a parent what a huge deal all of this education stuff was going to be. Seriously, I have spent hours, days, probably months on researching different styles of education and when to send your child to school (my son has a September birthday which is several posts in and of itself) and whether to homeschool, send them to private school, or just stick with public school. It's overwhelming. There is so much information out there and so many choices to make. The problem isn't pouring through all the information and merely picking the style that produces children with the highest test scores and best chance of getting into college though...it's what is the best thing for my child. Sure, Montessori is great, and Waldorf, and Classical and the traditional public curriculum, but which style will my child flourish in? Honestly, I don't care if she's the brightest, most well prepared for college, well rounded individual you've ever met. It's how to educate her in a way that will bring out her strengths, help her deal with her weaknesses and teach her to think for herself and stay true to who she is that is important for me and of course, along with that I want her to be prepared for college and the real world. I want her to have the best...but what exactly is best for her?
Let me just say that a lot of my indecisiveness stems from my own educational background. I went to public elementary school and did great there. I was even in the gifted classes, but I have to admit that I was very small for my age and somewhat shy and didn't have a ton of friends. Then for junior high and high school I went to a small Christian school which I loved and that was where I flourished. I honestly think had I gone to the monstrous public school where I lived I would've been eaten alive. I would've floundered. My confidence would've been shaken. I wouldn't have been a cheerleader. I wouldn't have made any of the school plays or musicals. I certainly wouldn't have ridden the bench on the softball team just for fun to be with my friends. I wouldn't even have made the team. I wouldn't have graduated in the top 5 of my class. I didn't even take AP classes in high school. Not that I couldn't have handled it, but because I made the decision (along with my parents) not to over stress myself and try to do everything, but to enjoy high school and that's exactly what I did. Guess what? I still got into a great college, CLEPed a bunch of classes and I was very well prepared. Now, was that because of my school, or because of just being me? I'm not sure. But I do know that going to the small school that I did helped shape who I am today. And that's where my stress lies. I want my kids to have the same great experience that I had with school. I want them to love it. And it's up to me and my husband to make this monumental decision that will shape them for the rest of their lives. No pressure... On a side note, my husband is from a small town and went to the public high school along with the rest of the town since private school is pretty much unheard of from where he's from. I don't think he hated school, but he also didn't love it. But we are on the same page in that we want to make the best educational decision for our children and since private school is an option where we live, then of course we are going to consider it. Lucky for me he's pretty decisive and when presented with a list of pros and cons for a school he made a decision early on. It's not that I don't respect his decision, it's just my own over analyzing mind that's getting me in trouble. I want to be 100% sure that we're doing the right thing. And I'm just not sure I'm ever going to feel that way.
How am I supposed to answer questions like these? Would I rather my daughter excel at a "regular" type of school (like she does now) or will she still excel when she goes to a school where all the children are bright? Won't she get lost in the pack of brilliance and will that make her falter? Or would she do better at a school just like mine (I actually could send her to my alma mater) where it's Christian which eliminates the riff raff she is influenced by at public school but offers most of the same things as a public school in terms of the curriculum and extra curricular activities? Or should I not make the financial sacrifice for the private school and let her shine her light in the public school and spend the money on extra curriculars like piano lessons and ballet and art classes? Should we send her to the strict, classical school where she will definitely be challenged academically, but I wonder if she will she still have time after all of her homework to just be a little girl and play with her brother and her friends and relax? And how do you fit in extra curriculars with all of that? Should I just homeschool my children so I have complete control over everything, but then sacrifice that bond of having similar life experiences with my children (this seems to be a huge hang up for me when I consider homeschooling)? And how on earth do we make a decision like this when she is so young and we don't even really know what she excels at yet (although I do admit she does excel at reading and creative writing and enjoys art immensely)?
So, fellow parents, help me out. How did you come to terms with your decisions regarding your child's education? Do you feel at peace that you're doing the right thing? What helped you get to that point? I would love some feedback from those of you who have been in my situation!