Tales from a Mom on the Search for a Private School!
By “Mrs. Jane Schoolfinder”
Jane is going to tell it like it is, not everyone likes that, so the anonymity as she searches for a school for her child is warranted
So that time has come… time to put our money where our mouths are! Private School applications are out. What type of parent are you going to be??? Are you going to be the parent who sends out 10 applications? 5 applications? 1 application? Are you going to be the parent who gets all the applications finished and sent in within a week? I have no idea what my course of action is going to be, but I know that whatever it is — IT HAS STARTED!
If you are anything like me you are scouring the websites of the schools that peak even the slightest interest to you for your child. I am looking at religious school, secular schools, co-ed schools and single-sex schools. OH MY GOODNESS, all the pictures are so PRETTY!!!!
I am starting to narrow down where I am actually going to spend my application fee budget by location. Yes, I know this is supposed to be about my child, but if I can’t get them to and from school that will be an issue for sure. It is a very real logistical issue for our family. I have another child who is in school close to my home and the locations of all the extracurricular activities will also need to be considered.
I am also narrowing down the list by asking my child to look at the websites with me and getting input. I ask for rationales and reasons for the positive or negative remarks. It is really helpful to hear my child’s insights! Of course we get the usual, “I want to go to (school X) because (Friend A) goes there!”, but we get past that when we are looking through and reading the websites. Together we analyze what the schools offer and how the words they use on their websites make us feel. We are critically analyzing them and learning a lot of about ourselves in the process. We are learning about what we value and find important in education. I am learning what my child values and finds important about education. It is not always the same thing as what I, as a parent, values and finds important in education.
My child has reached an age where there are real opinions and feelings about the schools. This whole process is helping to develop the critical thinking and analysis skills I feel are necessary whenever there is a big decision in life. And boy does my child have an opinion! Clarity and bluntness are wildly helpful when we are talking. My child has been very clear about what “needs” be present at the next school. I can’t argue with those opinions either, as they are rather good suggestions: art, PE, Spanish, music and hot lunch!
This has been fun so far – not at all like before when the decision was totally up to me because my child was too young to be involved! I like giving some of the control to my child, as a result we have started to relate to each other in a whole new way. We have embraced this new relationship and role. As long as they understand that I still get all final decision making rights in the cereal aisle at the grocery store!