Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sure are a lot of Catholics around here..

If I can rewind a year - back to our intensive, time-consuming and seemingly ridiculous search for a Kindergarten - I would appreciate your patience.

Do you remember 35 years ago when your parents just put you on a bus when you were 5 and said bus just took you to the neighborhood school that everyone in the neighborhood went to. You learned your abc's, had snack, took a nap and went home. Welcome to Kindergarten.

Do you know we toured no less than EIGHT, yes EIGHT Kindergartens last year when we were deciding where to send Eloise? Granted, we live in the city - so our choices are immense and some schools well, just suck. In the time of budget cuts, yet more needed programs for school, large class sizes, little to no discipline, and Kindergarten as the new first grade, we seem to put a lot more thought into our child's first major school experience.

You know I didn't even visit any colleges when I was 18? But, somehow through going to a neighborhood school, getting free lunch and going to a local college I still managed to get an education, earn a six figure income and now am happy to be a stay at home mom who over-analyzes every flippin' thing her kids do.

Anyway, back to last year - we narrowed our decision down to 2 schools - our neighborhood public school and a neighborhood Catholic school. St. Paul has about 2 million Catholic schools -we chose ours based upon 1. they take more non-catholics then anywhere else 2. our preschool was located there 3. we loved the principal, teachers and other parents we met - it's a fabulous community 4. we knew many other families there 5. we felt the education received there seemed just "fine" and class sizes are small 6. tuition is relatively affordable...when I say's because we have friends who send there kids to other private school around who spend $20k++ per year for grade school. Way out of our league.

Here we are 2/3 of the way through Kindy and we love it - Eloise is happy, she is deeply, madly and truly in love with her teacher. She would rather live with Sister Sara than us. Eloise has made amazing friends, as have I and it's safe, comfortable, nurturing and just well, a nice place to be.

Downsides - I don't think she is challenged as much as she could be, we don't know with both us working for ourselves what our income situation will be - so can we really afford it - no, should we save the money for college?, and lastly, there sure are a lot of Catholics there.

The whole Catholic thing got to me A LOT at the beginning of the year..and no offense, I happen to be related to MANY MANY and I mean MANY Catholics - like my whole family and my in-laws. I guess it didn't completely dawn on me that they would go to Mass during school, and pray and have religion lessons. Not that there is anything wrong with that - but I expected her to come home talking about Dick and Jane...but instead it was Mary and Jesus..and well, you can just imagine I was taken back a bit. And, you know what we were going to a Catholic school. When in Rome...

At the beginning of the year, I tried to be my typical anti-authority, anti-establishment self..when Eloise would come home with stories of Jesus, I would say things like "you need to open your mind - you know many religions and cultures don't believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven or God. Let's to go to Temple or a Mosque and search out and learn about ALL religions to keep your mind free of believing in only one way. God is good and gracious to all..not just Catholics and Christians." I would go on like this well, forever..and then this 5 year old would stare at me and ask me what was for snack.

I have learned that now when she comes home with stories of Mary and Jesus I just say "that's nice dear, here are some goldfish crackers." Life is much better now and I feel so much more Catholic.

So, we have started our search again. Eloise tested into the Gifted and Talented Public school for 1st grade, so we have applied to that school, as well as our neighborhood school(again), and of course have given our deposit to our current school.

I guess what I am saying is that I CANNOT believe we are agonizing over this AGAIN. Deep in my heart, as much as I like our current school...she will be FINE, just FINE at public school and really, we cannot afford private anymore with the current situation...especially when our tuition will DOUBLE and then TRIPLE over the next few years with this reproducing we have been doing.

I need to just move-on and know she will be just FINE wherever she goes - she is bright, funny and such a good friend, and one of those kids who will always manage to be the teacher's pet. :)


Melanie said...

I totally hear you, T. While we are very Christian, as you know, I have my reservations about private school as well--the insular nature of it all and the cost of course.

Our public schools here are not great, but thankfully, Aidan is being challenged at the private school. Once I go back to work, hopefully we can just move to a better district, or we will end up keeping him in the private school.

Kristi Pohl said...

Our parents didn't agonize over where to send us to school, we were products of the public school system and inexpensive universities, and yet we are still successful. Your girls will be amazing no matter where they end up, because they have what matters the most, a family who cares about them. Don't lose sleep over this!

Ginny said...

Ditto to what Kristi wrote! Whew, you really hit it on the nail when you said that you are someone "who analysis every flippin thing"!! I can hardly wait to hear the thought process as the girls continue their education! YOU succeeded and so will they. Why do I have the feeling that Eloise especially will be just like you! I'm still trying to work through are the ashes from ash Wednesday from dead Catholics - never gave that a thought in all the years I had ashes on my forehead. ps - love the pictures!

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