In response to Julie's Hump Day Hmmm ...
I have a friend whose nine-month-old daughter is already registered for private school. Early registration helps get her in, you know. Another friend who is moving from a house that she loves because of the school district. In another area, a friend has had to make decisions about three-year-old preschool that will affect what kindergarten will accept her child later, which of course affects the elementary school, which affects, which affects -- in short, her child's entire school career is heavily influenced by her preschool. Three-year-old preschool, mind you, where going potty and the letter "R" are the goals of the week. I'm not criticizing my friends by mentioning them - I'm saying, as soon as a baby is born, his parents start thinking about his academic future. And, as you already know, we're looking at houses, which means we're also looking at schools. So I often end up in conversations about Asher's education.
My response is, meh.
I feel completely unprepared to answer the question. Not knowing what kind of kid he's going to be, I have no idea what decision will be best for him. I believe in public school, I graduated from public high school and attended a public university, and like the idea of him learning to be around people who are not just like him. However, the truth is that Montgomery is not integrated. Schools are segregated now by real estate. It's not right, but it is reality. How much should that affect my decisions about a house? About his education? I don't know. There's a good magnet program here; if it seems like a good fit for him, that's my first choice. But some five-year-old boys are physiologically incapable of staying in one room for eight hours, and I don't see that as a fault. I don't want him to learn to hate school because he couldn't sit still when he was five and stayed in trouble for it. I can foresee scenarios where I would use any of my options - public, private, or homeschooling - depending on my child's temperament and personality.
The larger question is, what do I really want school to do? What am I hoping he will learn there? More than anything, I want him to learn to love learning. I'm not trying to create a superkid, and I honestly don't care about Ivy League futures. But if you enjoy learning, it will serve you well for the rest of your life, whether you are a plumber or a doctor or an extremely well-educated mom. Regardless of what school system we choose, in my opinion these overarching goals of education are my responsibility. And, honestly, because his mom loves to learn, Asher already has one foot in the door. So I don't feel the pressure to find (or pay for) the perfect school so that he can have the perfect future. I just feel the pressure to be the perfect parent. I'm kidding, of course, but not much.
In the meantime, he's eight months old. He just learned to crawl and clap his hands. I have no idea what life will be like when he's five, but I do know that by the time it gets here, I'll know what is best for him. I also know that every attempt I have ever made to make plans five years in advance were eventually thwarted. So I'm going to take it as it comes. We have a lot to look forward to - first steps, first birthday, first words, learning to play, learning to ride a bike, learning to color. All of that will probably happen before he sets foot in a classroom. Into which classroom his little foot will land, well, that remains to be seen.