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Am I over-protective?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I think I may be...  but I was caught off guard today be my 8 year old's best(ish) friend's mother calling to tell me that her son and my ds's other best(ish) friend are leaving our montessori for a public school next week.  There are only 15 kids in their class and these two are/were my son's closest friends.  I feel pretty down about it because I know that Milo will be so sad to lose his friends.  (We will see them, I'm sure, but it's different when you see them once or twice a month instead of nearly everyday.)  I think this will really turn his world upside down for a while, and that's making me feel a little sick to my stomach.

 

So, against that backdrop...  I went to look at the website for this new school the two boys are going to.  It's a smallish school, with only one class per grade and I actually know the building fairly well because it's the building my dh worked at until his work moved a few months ago.  So, in a way, it should feel *safer* to me than some huge anonymous public school.  But I am used to dropping my kid off in the morning with his TWO teachers, both of whom I've known for a couple of years and feel very good about, at his 15-kid class where the teachers are very involved with all of the ins and outs of the kids during the day.  There are only a couple of adults that work at his school that I don't know fairly well and I know all of the kindy through third grade kids personally except for three who just started this year.  So, when I think of the idea dropping him off at this new school, I feel horrified!  I don't feel scared that he'll be abducted or something, it's more like I worry that he will feel sad or lonely or get picked on or something along those lines, and nobody will be there to watch out for him or let me know what's going on, and that I wouldn't have any control over it.  Like, if it happened, you can't just pack up and move to the next school or something.  I didn't feel this way about camps over the summer (and he went to several different ones with large variation in degree of supervision and adult/kid ratios), and I think it's because school seems SO important and because you can't just walk away from it if it isn't working.  

 

I'm really feeling kinda freaked out by the whole thing  --  both the idea that his friends are leaving and he's going to feel pretty hurt by it and by this idea of him going to such an unprotected feeling school (he's not going, but I think the other moms would love it if we did move him and there are some issues that moving there would resolve, like where he'd go after 3rd grade since his school ends there and the never ending battle to come up with the tuition that we can't really afford  --  which is why my mind is going in the direction of what it would be like to leave him there).  So, I keep telling myself that the vast majority of parents are fine with the idea of dropping their five year olds off at a public school, I went to a public school and didn't have any disastrous outcome, why is this idea so scary to me???

 

eta:  One thing I can't seem to get past is that in cali they've just upped the permissible student/teacher ratio to 28:1.  When we were looking at schools for kindergarten, we went to the orientation for our first choice public school that he got a spot at and asked the teacher if she thought she'd have enough one-on-one time with the kids if the class size went from 22 to 25 and she basically said it wouldn't make any difference at all because there has never been any one-on-one time because classes were too big to begin with.  greensad.gif


Edited by rubidoux - 10/7/11 at 1:53pm
post #2 of 9

I think it really depends on the kid, just like almost everything else. 

 

This is our first year at public school and my almost 8 year old has adapted easily and I'm sure she would have done fine if we had taken her there in K, but our older dd1 was already at the private school so we just sent dd2 there, too. The private school was a really good fit for dd1, though, and I'm glad she was able to be there as long as she was there (K-4th gr). She really needs a smaller environment. She has some anxiety issues, etc, and public school would have been a disaster for her in K and the early years. She's making the adjustment to 5th grade pretty well. She still has some struggles (timed tests, more structured classes and homework, etc), but overall I'm pretty happy with her adjustment. We had initially planned to stay for 5th grade at the private school, but it didn't work out that way and I'm actually pretty happy since both dds are at the same elementary this year. Next year they will be at different schools and I think jumping straight into middle school would have been a harder adjustment for dd1.

 

I think, unless your ds has some issues (anxiety or otherwise) he probably would be fine at public school, but I understand why you like the private school. It is such a relief not to have the burden of tuition hanging over our heads, though. 

 

Good luck!

post #3 of 9

IF ther eis only 1 class per grade, how big is this school that these kids are going to?  It sounds pretty small to me.  

 

My kids have always gone to public school.  It is the only option here other than homeschooling.  The Catholic system is public here too.

 

The class sizes vary from 15 kids to 28, most of it depends on the kids in the class.  The class sizes are often determined by the dynamics of the kids, also on the teacher's ability & experience.  In the school I work in there are 2 Grade 5 classes & a 5/6 split.  The 2 full grade 5 classeds have 26 students in 1 class & 18 in the other class.  The smaller class started with 20 & 2 kids moved out in the same week. The larger class started with 22 & they've put 4 more students into that class just in the last 2 weeks even though the other class already had less kids.

 

post #4 of 9

Everyone has their own tolerance levels. I'm more relaxed than some parents on some things and more protective than some on others. Change is always a little nerve-wracking when it comes to your kids. 

 

Personally, my kids go to moderately sized schools. About 90 kids per grade in elementary, 200 in middle and my DD's high school is 1200 kids grades 6 through 12th. Those are quite small compared to many other schools in the county. I panic at every transition... when they start elementary, when to move to the middle school, when they started high school.... I've got one starting college in a couple years... I'll panic about that too lol. Forgive yourself the worry. Give yourself a little time to sit with the new idea, do your research, I suspect you'll feel better about the whole situation in a few days... I always do!

 

Oh, and you can absolutely walk away from schools if they aren't working. There are all sorts of options in the world when if comes to schooling. If something really isn't working, try something else. 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Gah!  I have been fairly consumed by this issue today.  I usually don't get so freaked out by things.  I am almost wondering if it's at least partly hormonal.  

 

Anyhow...  I've been mostly worried about how he's going to handle the news.  I think it's going to be rough to hear the news and then maybe the first couple of weeks.  In a way, though, I am looking forward to seeing what new dynamic happens with the class.  It's so small that I think these two boys leaving will make a huge difference.  There are several other really nice kids in the class that Milo hasn't played with much because he's been pretty focused on these two.  So, I keep reminding myself that it's quite likely going to be a short term problem and that he'll adjust.  I am still a bit worried that he'll not like school as much, at least for a while.  Up until now he's been pretty consistently happy with school, but there was a few weeks a couple of years ago that he decided he didn't like school and didn't want to go  --  and that was right after xmas break when a couple of the kids he really liked in his class were moved up to the next class.  Sigh...  

 

Whatsnextmom,  I think you're right that it's normal to worry at the transitions.  I was worried when he first started, but that passed pretty quickly.  And while the idea of leaving him at that school freaks me out, I can also imagine that it would be a non-issue if he seemed happy there.  

 

Beanma,  I think he's a little sensitive but also outgoing and gregarious.  I think he doesn't really have any issues.  They're all my issues!  lol  I just want my boys to stay about ten months old so I can hold them in my lap and cuddle them and make sure nothing bad ever happens to them.  I keep thinking of that quote about having babies being like having your heart walking around outside of your body.  So true!

post #6 of 9

Unfortunately, we don't get to save our children from hurt. All we can really do is give them the most positive and healthy approach we can to it. Stay positive about his friends move. Be excited for them as it could be he moves in a year or two as well. You want him to see it as a positive and "right for their family" move. It is a chance to get to know other kids. It'll mean he gets together with those boys to play and do fun things as opposed to just going to school with them. He'll have more time with his teachers, ect. Lots of good things. 

 

Both my kids have had their hearts broken at times but I have to say, what came out of those hurts was all good. Better friends were found, growth in independence, new activities tried, more emotionally and socially savvy, ect.

post #7 of 9

As far as choosing schools, I would pick what is best for you as a family, not where friends go. 

 

My DD is in older elementary school and over the years has had many friends move, friends who were once friends become adversaries, and ones she never thought she would like be best friends.  I guess I am saying that friend dynamics change so much over the years, it is better to make choices about the curriculum, environment of the school, teachers, and how situations are handled more than friendships. 

 

It has been so hard this year for my DD trying to move away from her "friends" who are not treating her nicely but insist on playing with her.  It only gets harder I have to say. I am seriously taking into consideration where this group of girls goes in our choice for middle school, even though I know she could end up in the same situation with another group of girls.  agggghh .  I have been a stress ball too.   I think my mom and DH are just sick of hearing about it from me. 

 

 

I wish too they could stay snuggly little babies for longer. 

post #8 of 9

Unfortunately, it can also be true that even in a tiny school where you know the kids and teachers and the teacher/student ratio is really low a child can be hurt, picked on, bullied etc.  We actually moved from just such a school to the public schools because of these issues.  The other disadvantage we found with such tiny classes is that if you don't fit with the few other boys/girls in your class, then you really have no other options for school friends.  The tiny school that I thought would be so perfect turned out to be a social and bullying trap for both of my children.  So there are pros and cons to any situation.  Not that this always happens by any means, but it is important to realize that "bad" school experiences can happen anywhere.

 

So, we switched from tiny to mid-sized public this year.  My 3rd grade DD is doing really well and loves it.  Might I have felt less comfortable if this were K?  Perhaps.  But by this point she is independent enough that she can navigate this much larger school with ease and confidence.  My 6th grade DS is having a much harder time with the transition, but he also made the jump from elementary to middle school and into a much, much larger environment.  So now he isn't getting bullied but he also is finding it harder to connect with others.  Is that better?  I don't know yet.

 

If you are happy with where you are now, then don't "borrow trouble" before it happens.  Yes, your child will miss his friend.  But kids move, whether its across town or across the country all the time.  Children learn to cope, and that's part of growing up.  We can't, and really shouldn't, shield them from these experiences.

 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post

Unfortunately, it can also be true that even in a tiny school where you know the kids and teachers and the teacher/student ratio is really low a child can be hurt, picked on, bullied etc.  We actually moved from just such a school to the public schools because of these issues.  The other disadvantage we found with such tiny classes is that if you don't fit with the few other boys/girls in your class, then you really have no other options for school friends.  The tiny school that I thought would be so perfect turned out to be a social and bullying trap for both of my children.  So there are pros and cons to any situation.  Not that this always happens by any means, but it is important to realize that "bad" school experiences can happen anywhere.

 


I agree. My DS didn't go to a tiny school but he was in a specialty start-up program and so only 30 kids in his grade from 1st through 5th. There were different classroom configurations from year to year but the same 30 kids. Often the same teachers. Unfortunately, it wasn't a nice group of kids and DS's experiences with peers were mostly bad. He's actually been happier in middle school where there are 200 kids per grade. He has so much more social options!

 

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