I pulled my child from public Kindergarten in March. Despite dedicated teachers, the school itself was not a good fit for my child personally on too many different levels to detail here. She'd shake and cry at night if the next day was a school day. It was a low-performing title I school where all the attention went towards getting low-performing kids up to performing well on state standardized tests. The entire curriculum was inflexible -- each term parents would get a note detailing exactly what they'd be learning and the number and title of the state standard to which it corresponded. I personally am not a fan of this form of education either but I put on a positive face for my daughter's sake. She was miserable to the point where I worried about her health.
We have been homeschooling since March. It's been great for my child; she has been, on her own volition, choosing and reading all kinds of animal books from the library, books that her school would have deemed too advanced for her and yet she reads, comprehends, and proceeds to tell the world about the facts in them. On the other hand, I work full time. I'm on summer break, but homeschooling won't work for us long-term if I am to be fair to my child's needs and get tenure and stability in my job.
We have the option of a private Montessori for 1st grade. It's pretty expensive by my standards. Technically, I can afford it, but barely, and it will mean very careful creative budgeting and a lot of sleepless nights worrying about money. We visited and my child spent time in their classroom. They were impressed with her and we agreed her learning style seems much more aligned with Montessori than public school. She'd be a rare case of accepting an elementary student that had not been in Montessori kindy because she made that much of an impression on them.
I am hearing that all kids hate school and she'll adapt and get used to it, thus I should save my money and send her back to PS. Then I can use the money to do something great and educational next summer, like travel or something. Also that I can't rush in and rescue my child just because she's having a hard time, in other words, she needs to figure it out for herself. It's been suggested that as the youngest in her class maybe my daughter just didn't have the maturity to handle kindergarten, despite the fact that she went for 4 semesters to a Montessori-like preschool.
Would you give the public school another go? My gut tells me that if money were no object to put her in Montessori and objectively I know it's a better fit for her and for my family's values, especially regarding education. On the other hand, I worry about the careful budgeting -- what if we have a crisis that requires money during the year? There will be little to no cushion. Is it more important for a child to be happy in the first grade than to be able to do something great with her family (me) when school's out?
I'm a confused and worried mama. Kind words are appreciated. Thank you.