Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wrestling with Big Decisions

Well, all of a sudden it seems like Husband and I are wrestling with a big decision about the boys. No, it's not the choice between whether to give them to the circus or the gypsies - it's about school. And actually, it's not all of a sudden, because the difficulty we're having keeping them in private school has been brewing for quite a while. I think it was the chance to unwind in Colorado and think important thoughts that has brought this to the fore, and all at once we're looking at our budgets and wondering how much difference there is between what they are getting now from private Montessori school and what they would get at our neighborhood school. Wondering what it would be like to not worry about how we're going to pay for emergencies (what is that noise my car has been making, anyway?). Wondering what we could do to further enrich the boys' lives with some of that extra money every month.

I don't have any answers - just the eternal questions of every parent: am I doing things right? Could I do it differently and would they be fine - even better off? Is it better to pay for private school and barely have enough money to take a family vacation once every two years? Or is it okay to choose public school and have enough money to spend 10 days in Ireland next summer, or visit DC over Spring Break, or send One to Outward Bound in a few years? What benefits them most, and what makes Husband and my lives less stressful? I don't know - your guess is as good as mine, friends.

It is so hard to prioritize, especially when it's not just about you. I can tell fairly easily that I'd rather drive a minivan and have kids than drive a Mercedes convertible and be childless - that's about me and my wants, and I know those intimately. But when I have to choose this or that for my children, that's when the headaches (and heartache) begins. And frankly, I'm not choosing between throwing them to the lions at some horrible public school and keeping them in splendor at private school - that's what makes this so hard. Both schools are good. Both schools are fine. I like Montessori better: it works for both boys very well. The boys have formed good friendships at school - not something that's particularly easy for One, I might add. Neither boy likes change, and if we switched it would be school #4 for both of them (if you count One's year of homeschooling). That's a lot at their ages. But is their comfort worth $22,000 a year? Someone else has to do that math for me: it's above my pay grade.


Sara said...

I have two boys, younger than yours. My first will absolutely thrive at the Montessori school we've found for him to attend. It's less expensive than others in our area, but we know it's the best fit for him. Unfortunately, we're in the process of moving to Texas and we're likely back to square one. I'm constantly wondering whether we should spend the money on a Montessori school there when the school is all-day and he's starting kindergarten. Do we send him to a good, small, public kindergarten? Do I home school him, assuming he freaks out with the move which he's likely to do? All of the above is to say you're not alone in questioning what's best for your kids. All I've been doing is praying and trusting that God will show us what's best for our family. I'm just hoping He chooses to reveal it to us before the start of the school year.

Tari said...

Thanks Sara! I definitely believe that this all came up with us right now, so we could decide before this school year srarts. It was sort of swirling in my head for a while, but the week in CO was such perfect timing - God's timing - for me to think it through.

Anonymous said...

I've already read your friend's response, too, and appreciated both what you wrote and what she did!

It's such a hard many of our friends are sending their kids to Christian schools or homeschooling, and I often feel like we're one of the only ones using our excellent public school system. It's definitely the right choice for us right now, and I know that...but so many other people making other choices makes me start to second guess myself.

Good luck making your decision!