Here is where we’re at in the schooling arena, I”m posting in case it helps anybody else.
Our oldest, Jonathan, is 5 turning 6 in November; for various reasons we decided to start him in Kindergarten, away from home (not homeschooling). Our reasons were that due to a possible learning disability, his extroverted and energetic personality and my lack of concentrated time available for him (with 3 younger siblings), home was not the best place for him to learn. So we signed him up for the (public) Montessori program in Ramona, about 30 minutes away. He was attending the Mountain Valley Academy two days a week while on the waiting list for Montessori when we were informed that the Escondido school district people did not approve his transfer. That same day, my younger daughters got sick in the car, because the drive was long and windy, and they were having to make it twice a day (total 2 hours commute time per day). So, Ramona schools: “out”.
Next, we looked at the public school we are zoned for. It’s Conway Elementary in Escondido, and I stopped by to chat with a Kindergarten teacher. I was surprised that the “normal”, one teacher only, class size is 26, while it goes to 34 with two adults. Perhaps I’ve been away from the CA school system too long. Also, while I very much enjoyed my talk with a Conway teacher, my entire impression of the school was that they were simply treading water trying to keep their heads afloat in the midst of budget cuts and overcrowding, not to mention that something like 70% of their incoming students don’t speak English at all, or well. Potentially, we could have had Jonathan tested and put into special classes, where the student/teacher ratio is far better and he would get enough help, but we were hoping to see how well he would do in “normal” conditions first. The final nail in the public school choice? Apparently Conway is only a 2 out of 10 compared to all the other schools in California. TWO. And, they weren’t the worst in the area! They’re “good enough” so that students in their district don’t qualify for the school choice transfer available to almost all the other schools in Escondido, which are 1’s. Ones! The only elementary schools NOT failing miserably are either private or in the rich sections, not a big surprise I guess.
So late on a Friday night Nathan and I found ourselves, in sheer desperation, looking at the private school option. We looked at the various ones in Escondido, checked prices, talked budget, chewed fingernails (metaphorically ;), and finally decided to pursue it. Monday afternoon I was at our first choice, a private Christian one, Escondido Christian School. We really liked the Christian aspect, as I think Kindergarten is a bit young to expect children to be able to rationally, ethically, know right from wrong when presented with “wrong” from an authority figure like a teacher. And public school teachers have no choice on what they teach, they must teach the State curriculum. At the ECS I was heartily impressed by the facilities available (especially right after seeing the public ones!), and by my meeting with one of the Kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Carney. So, we bit the bullet monetarily and Jonathan started school on that Thursday with Mrs. Carney.
Where are we now? Well, Jonathan and Mrs. Carney have survived about two weeks now, and while some behaviour issues need work, it seems like he is at the best school and with the best teacher. For him. And that’s what we wanted…now we just have to see how God will provide the money!! 😀