private school: i finally said it.

until today, private school is a subject i have never addressed on my blog. it seems a post  from one of my favorite bloggers has struck a nerve. it was about her decision to home school her children and the fear of sharing this with others. how one chooses to school their children is a hot topic. 

seventeen years ago, if someone would have told me that i would have a child in a private school, i would  have laughed. i was a public school teacher, living in a good school district. my opinion was private schools meant privilege, end of story.
that was before I became a parent. {never say never} i have three children with diverse needs. seventeen years ago i had no idea these little creatures would be so darn complex :) 
so when we felt our child’s learning environment was not going our way, we considered the options. and fell to our knees and prayed. change frightens me.  i would love to say i sincerely considered homeschooling. i admire the dedicated home school moms who do it right. but the thought of  me + my boy + homeschooling was frightening.  our next option was the private route.  jeff and i knew this alternative  would bring big changes socially, demographically and financially. 
we toured several schools... then toured our school and met the head master. our prayers had been answered.  we made the change quietly, on a thursday, halfway through the school year. i look back on that day and know it was one of the best parenting decisions we have made.

living in a small town, i knew deciding to leave ‘the group’ would take some getting used to. i wasn't prepared for it to feel like a criminal act.  we anticipated a small storm of judgement and shunning. uhm, no. the storm was large and long lasting. heartbreaking. 

on one instance, i watched my child’s former teacher (one that was adored and who's wardrobe would fund our tuition)  refuse to speak to my child at the swimming pool. with a heavy heart, i watched this happen the entire summer and every summer since. i could make a list. we were not throwing a pity party, it was just very disappointing.

the way i viewed it, our decision was no different than parents hand picking their teachers, hiring tutors, jockeying for the best preschool or relocating to neighborhoods within a zone.  parents want what's best for their child. if we could have done this and without writing a check, trust me, we would have. 

which brings me to another touchy topic.
 in the great united states of america, 
people can choose to use their means
to pay for anything they want.  

big homes, fancy cars, expensive hobbies, name brand wardrobes, prestigious colleges, travel, private school... anything. 
we are free to choose our own priorities.  

one educational system, expected to fit the needs of every student it is just unrealistic. there are so many circumstances to take into consideration. successful children exist in every environment. 

my feathers get ruffled when a person concludes that their way, is the superior way. blogs, articles and facebook posts forcing their way on others.

 the raw definition of snobbery is 
“a person who believes that their taste or position is superior of those of other people.”  

thank you under the sycamore for helping me to address our schooling issue too.  i tire of feeling almost ashamed that my kids attend a private school.  how we choose to educate our kids shouldn’t be something we feel the need to hide or justify. and the myth that all private schools are full of spoiled rich kids from socially affluent families... we are living proof that's just not true :)

marlowe said...

I ... and my other public school children ... were given this same reaction when I pulled a struggling child and took her to a charter school. In hindsight, it was the best thing I ever did for her. You so have to think of your children's needs first!

Cheryl said...

Kenny and I made the same decision many years ago. It was one that we thought through, prayed about, and felt very comfortable with. As you have described, others did not agree with our choice. And now, with Kenny gone, I know that it was a decision we made together, and that education, no one can take from them.
Your photos today.... breathtaking!!!! I wish you lived closer. I would love to take a class from you!

Anonymous said...

We have struggled keeping our daughter in private school but know it is the best thing for her. Thank you so much for writing about this. It is so true.
Linda Marsh

The 1st of May said...

OMG! I cannot BELIEVE how you were treated. Ridiculous!

I just want to bust through the computer and hug ya!

I agree with you. Our choices for our children are personal, are made with enormous thought and prayer and are nobody else's business!!!

CathyMA said...

Great post. Public was not our first choice either. The Charter school was (which technically is public, but whatever), but unfortunately due to the lottery to get in, our kids weren't picked. Next I came very close to homeschooling, but for a slew of reasons it did not pan out. Currently my kids (ages 9 & 7) are in public, but that decision is looked at every year with a magnifying glass. We have no problem switching to private or going the homeschool route if need be.
But yes, people do have their opinions. One of my friends homeschools her children. People are practically tripping over their own words when they find out, never mind that her kids are thriving!

You are the parent--you know where your kids belong.

CathyMA said...

ps--Even though I said we would have no problem switching the kids to private if necessary, I meant as a decision. Because financially it would be a problem, but you meet a problem one step at a time. That's all.

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