I am at my wits end trying to decide on which school to send my younger son to! I would really appreciate some advice as I have to make a decision by Monday and have not clue what to do.
Basically, I can choose between two options: the local elementary school and the Montessori school his older brother attends which is about 15 miles away. I do have a space at the Montessori school but am unsure whether to take it or not.
I have been making lists of pros and cons but still don't know what to do. However, here are the main points:
Advantages of our local school:
- Friends: All his friends from preschool will go there and he really has several good friends that might end up in his class. If not, he will at least see them during recess. Also, the entire class will be made up with kids from the neighborhood so that meeting up after school to play etc. would be quite easy. In contrast, only very few kids from our town will attend the Montessori school and arranging anything with children from there will be quite difficult.
- Cost: While the Montessori school isn't extremely expensive it is still a significant amount and I would rather save this money if the experience there is no better than the one here in town.
- Convenience: He could walk to the local school in about 15 minutes and would be coming home around 11:30/12 several days a week in first and second grade. He could also attend after-school-care at his current nursery school (which has a program for school children) and I am sure he would enjoy this. If he goes to the Montessori school he will have to ride the bus vor about 40 minutes twice a day and won't be home before 2 pm on any day (only one bus). In addition, the bus ride is NOT pleasant (lots of fighting between the children). Also, I do not have a car and getting to the Montessori school for talks with the teacher, picking up a sick child etc. is VERY difficult and stressful.
Advantages of the Montessori school:
- To be honest, I am not as happy with the Montessori school's program as I had hoped when I sent my older son there. However, a lot of the problems we have had are connected to my older son's personality. My younger one is a very different child (very sociable, easy going etc.) and probably wouldn' t have any of the same problems.
- The Montessori schoold does have a much better teacher /child ratio (2 to 24 compared to 1 to 28) and does offer electives that the kids can choose. Also, they really do LOTS of really fun stuff (field trips, preparing shows, experiments, projects etc.). However, I am a bit worried that there is not enough time to work on the basics. Also, classes are quite loud (which would bother my younger son).
- No grades. Grades in public school here are quite competitive and usually cause quite a bit of stress starting in third grade. This does not apply to the Montessori school.
I know looking at the list it seems quite clear that the local school has more advantages. However, these are mostly organizational and don't weigh as heavily as the general happiness of my kids. The local school is not very progressive and there are bound to be many things I do not agree with.
There are several more aspects but this is already way long. Still, I would really appreciate some input as I just can't make up my mind.