Going Public

Dan and I decided to send the girls to public school next year, and possibly the year after. It’s part of the attempt to get our financial house in order, a task that is proving more challenging than I thought it would.

I’ve been filling out the paperwork for about the past week now — so much paperwork! — and I should be turning it in next Monday. I’m hoping to get things squared away in time to get Flora on the soccer team, and see what activity Kate wants to pursue. We’ve told the girls the plan. They seem apprehensive, but not overly anxious.

Based purely on finances, sending the children to public school is a no brainer. Aside from tuition, costs associated with private school are not inconsequential. Costs of time as well as money, and while I happily give as many hours as I can, it can be wearing. I am hoping there will be opportunities to participate as a parent at the schools my children will be attending next fall, but I won’t have to stress out about getting my volunteer hours or meeting my fundraising obligation. Plus, they will be busing to and from school, and thus we will be saving money on extended day care, which was a huge expense for us.

But based on other things, choosing to send our girls to public school is fraught for me and Dan. We feel terrible that we can’t afford it right now. We work so hard, and we feel like we just can’t get ahead. We will have to work harder to continue to pursue their religious education. I’d like to get them will rooted in a faith tradition.

Additionally, I worry about the social upheaval for the girls.

Flora said to me recently, “Do you think I’m good at making friends?” I answered honestly that I did think she was good at making friends. I think Kate is good at it too. They are easily social, comfortable with themselves, and not overly shy. I also think that at the ages they are now, making friends for children like them is a natural, organic process. They aren’t yet crippled by the self-consciousness that comes with teenage-hood and the social pressures of that age.

Kate vacillates. “I’m nervous. What will I say?” or “I’m going to be fine at my new school. It’ll be good.” She wants to work on a script for when she introduces herself in her classroom.

They don’t start for six weeks. This child.

Kate and Jester.

Anyway, my biggest challenge at this time is trying not to show the children how anxious I am for them. Because I am anxious — probably overly so. I wish I didn’t have to make this change for them. What if their current friends forget them? What if no one talks to them their first day? Who will they have lunch with? What if classes are harder or easier than they were at their old school? What if children make fun of them for being Catholic?

Ultimately, aside from religious education, I don’t think sending them to public school will be a problem in the long run. Our school district is a good one. Dan and I will be involved. I’m looking forward to the diversity at the new schools. That will be a refreshing change.

How do you feel about making big changes for someone else?

Last day of school outfits
True colors.