Long Days and Short Years

just trying to pay attention so I don't miss my life

Choosing a College for Your Four Year Old


Um… I meant to say, ‘Kindergarten’.  But really, it’s a similar process.

It all begins with understanding your choices.  Local school (also called ‘feeder school’, which sounds way too much like ‘feeder fish’), magnet schools, charter schools or private?  Mandarin, Spanish, French or German?  Religious or not so much?  Environmentally focused or styrafoam based?  Half day or full day?  Five blocks or five miles?

Let’s all take a deep breath together.

On Saturday I will attend the ‘Magnet Fair”.  My October calender is full of school tours.  I have a stack of applications, school information links come up when I start typing in web addresses, and my parent friends and I begin way too many conversations with, “so, were the charter school tour dates posted yet?”

Tour dates?  I wish we were talking about U2.

And as I do all this and think about all this and essentially become ‘that mother’, I can’t help but thinking about my own childhood.  In small town Western Pennsylvania, here was our school choice process:  Are you Catholic?  No?  Go to public school.  Of course, in my 800 plus graduating class, I did sometimes feel like a feeder fish, but at least my parents weren’t faced with this level of decision when I was still building with blocks.

One more deep breath.  Okay.

There are lots of complicated debates about all of these school choices, what they are doing to our public education system and what we should do about it.  I don’t have the time, space or energy to get into all of this here.  But I do have one simple observation.

Our current system is a lot of work.

Or, am I just making it that way?





2 thoughts on “Choosing a College for Your Four Year Old

  1. It’s not just you. I go back and forth between being relieved that our choices are limited here and wishing we had the opportunities of an urban area. Our choices are to keep Miss Mouse in Montessori for a few extra years or head straight to the local public school which is – fortunately – very well-respected. Good luck making your choice and keep telling yourself that this decision actually will NOT be the single deciding factor of your kids’ entire future. It just feels like that at the moment!

  2. Speaking of a U2 concert, my brother-in-law actually camped overnight to get in line to get his daughter registered for preschool (along with about 60 other parents). I was as confused as you probably are, about this. Basically, their state has some lottery funded preschools (it is not based on financial need). This was one of the few ones in their town and it had a great reputation. If you could get your child registered, tuition was free for this full-time (Mon-Fri, 8- 2:30ish) preschool. But signups were first-come first-serve. So all these parents camped out to get their child into a good (& free) preschool. And apparently, parents every year, camp out to get their child registered.

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