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School 30 min. away - would you do it?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

My 4-year-old has been "homeschooled" using Montessori methods and materials for the last 1.5 years. He will going to kindy next year and I'm looking at all possibilities. Our public school (which is a good one) is about 10 minutes away and only offers full-day kindy. I'm really worried about how ds would adjust as he's never been away from us even for a half day of preschool. I just feel it's too much. Plus, I know they do homework even for kindy.

There is a Montessori school 30 min. away, one way - so an hour round-trip. It offers half day kindy. I would have to drop off my ds, then find something to do in town for almost 3 hours with my younger ds. We are normally in town a few mornings per week anyway - we have a playgroup we can go to twice a week, plus we can go to the Y, the library, etc. during this time. I have been told that there are several families attending the school that do this already.

Is this crazy to even consider? I'm thinking ahead as well to when my older ds is in 2nd grade and my younger ds starts kindy. I'd pick up my younger ds and go home, but then we'd have to drive back 2 hours later....but the next year they'd both be in full-time.


Another thought to add is that I would be driving ds to the public school for at least the first year as I don't want him riding the bus at such a young age - even if he *does* ride the bus, the bus stop is 1/2 mile down our road, which he can't walk alone. By the time I get both boys to the school, drop off and drive back it will be close to 25-30 min. every day twice a day.

Any thoughts? Thanks
post #2 of 16
We live in a suburb, but drove ds to midtown - about 25-30 min one way - for 2 years. It was time consuming, but worth it, in my opinion. By the time your younger ds is in kindy, you could find something to do to fill your time between picking up younger and older most days. It would be a lot of mileage and time back and forth that often, but doable if necessary.
post #3 of 16
It takes us 45 minutes to an hour to get to DD's Montessori every day. Same city, but different neighborhood which requires us to ride two different subway lines and walk approximately 8 blocks. It takes us about an hour in the evenings too.

Is it worth it? DD is entering her third year at this school, and despite being a huge effort to transport her there, I wouldn't do it any differently. We researched several schools in our neighborhood before deciding on her current one, and decided that the current one would provide her with the elements we find most important in her growth. Some days are better than other days, but we have grown accustomed to the trip and it is another two hours per day that DD and I get to talk, etc.
post #4 of 16
How old will your younger DS be? I would probably do it if it was just for a year. However, if you decide it's too much to be out during all of that time and you want to send him, why not consider the bus? Might be more convenient and take up less time to just drive him to the bus stop. I don't know what your specific concerns are about the bus, but it wouldn't hurt to ask them questions about their bus policies, i.e. if the younger children sit up front, older children in the back, etc.
post #5 of 16
I do it. The drive alone is 20+ minutes depending on traffic, plus time getting everyone in and out of the car, signing in, maybe chatting a little with other parents at the gate makes it a one hour round trip. Some days I go home (in which case I get approx. 2 hours before I have to leave to pick up DD1), some days I stay out.
I feel it's worth it, but wouldn't if the trip were any longer.

If DD2 goes to the same school, she will be doing half days just when DD1 will start doing full days. If we can afford it, at least some days of the week, I think I will take up the option the school offers where the younger (half day) kids can stay for the full day.
post #6 of 16
I'd do it. I did it when my DD was in 1st grade. We applied for a few Montessori schools, but only got a spot in one 30+ minutes away. I know with half-day it seem like more of a hassle since you'll likely have to stay in the area every day (or spend the whole time driving), but if it's a great school, it will likely be worth it. You can always switch mid-year or in the summer if it's not working out.
post #7 of 16
We did. It was worth it.

One thing to consider is that if your child attends the neighbourhood school, then playdates, birthday parties etc. will likely be in your neighbourhood. If he attends a school further away, your driving will expand to after-school and weekend visits to homes in neighbourhoods that may be another 30 to 60 minutes on the other side of the M. school. It's not a reason NOT to choose that school. Just don't be surprised that your driving may be even more than you anticipate now.
post #8 of 16
I drive my kids 40 minutes every day to get them to their Montessori school. This is our 4th year. I'm committed to doing it for another 5-6, until DS#2 finishes upper elementary.

For us, it's worth it.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses - it's good to know I'm not totally nuts!

The Montessori school starts tours early next month, so dh and I will go together and do some more talking then. It would definately not be the most convenient thing in the world, but I want my boys to have the best education possible.

I have considered the fact that if he attends school 30 minutes away then all friends will be 30 minutes away too. But...all of our friends are already 30 minutes away except for 2 families here in our town. We live out in the country and even drive 30 minutes to the grocery store.

It's such a big decision - hopefully touring the school will make deciding a bit easier.
post #10 of 16

I registerd my child at a public M school, about 22min drive from home to school on highway mostly. People around me say I'm crazy. I really want Montessori but I know I would dread driving every day that far, especially in bad weather. Or I could choose to send her to a private M nearby paying 7K a year. This school has a very good reputation but the public M school started a few years ago so I don't know how good they are, but it's free except the cost of driving. Would you pay 7K and send your child to a reputable school nearby (only 5min away) or do a 44min drive(return) twice to a free M school?\

post #11 of 16

I wonder about the same type of thing, but just the opposite - we do have a public M school a 2 minute drive from the house and a superb private ~15+ minute drive and a mortgage payment away.  I don't have to decide yet - they don't do Primary, just Elementary, so I'll be taking the hit for at least 2 years (fortunately, when it's pre-school, I can get a tax benefit up to 5K).  The conundrum for me will be - "is near perfection worth 10K and a 15 minute drive more than OK?"

post #12 of 16

We're planning to send DD to a Montessori school that will be about an hour away from our work (DH and I work at the same place).  For me multi-age classrooms and child-led learning are really important so it's worth it to me.  We'd be sending DD to a private school no matter what since the public school are just not safe (we'll be outside of the US) so while it costs a bit more we'd be paying no matter what. 

 

Basically we're trying to think of the best way to handle the commute.  Most likely we'll try and switch off pick-ups between the two of us and they also have a transport service if we decide to live in a certain neighborhood, which is where we're looking for housing at the moment. 

 

One thing I was thinking of..  do you have to start your kids for the half days?  What about waiting a year and starting during 1st grade and homeschooling K?  Then you wouldn't have the 2 hour turn around and you could do the same with your younger child.  I'm not sure if K is the point of entry at your school or if that's possible or not but it was just a thought. 

post #13 of 16

There is a very good free baby toddler drop in at the school (although it is not Montessori) that I can take my younger one for 3 hours 8:30-11:30, so I might ask the school if my daughter can do a half day. But then I'm being selfish to take away her learning opportunities.....

Or I will try to kill three hours at the school. There is really nothing nearby. I will have to drive up the winding hill to go to Safeway. I would really hate to spend three hours at the school waiting with my toddler who needs a nap. Or I can use the time to do a reading while he takes a nap. 

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sora View Post

There is a very good free baby toddler drop in at the school (although it is not Montessori) that I can take my younger one for 3 hours 8:30-11:30, so I might ask the school if my daughter can do a half day. But then I'm being selfish to take away her learning opportunities.....

Or I will try to kill three hours at the school. There is really nothing nearby. I will have to drive up the winding hill to go to Safeway. I would really hate to spend three hours at the school waiting with my toddler who needs a nap. Or I can use the time to do a reading while he takes a nap. 


One other thought because you mentioned staying at the school... is there some particular need at the school you could fill?  A good friend of mine is fluent in French and taught French at her children's Montessori school, which allowed her to send her 3 children for free. 

post #15 of 16

I wish I could have a job but my baby is going to be 1.5yrs by next year. 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sora View Post

I wish I could have a job but my baby is going to be 1.5yrs by next year. 



Oh ok, I just realized you're the same poster asking about the 6 month old.  Ok nevermind then. :) I wasn't paying attention and thought your youngest was toddler age.

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