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Vent - in the closet about private school

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Our DD started public school in august and the class was beyond bad. We tried to work with the school but they were not flexible, AT ALL. Wouldn't move her from one class to another, wouldn't let her take classes in the next grade... Until the day we filled out the paperwork to switch to another public school. Then suddenly they said they would pull her to the next grade for danish and math. They became flexible only when we were leaving. This was in January, but there was always one activity or another they said later, later.... and it never happened. 

 

Well, she just got a spot at our number 1 choice of private school. It is a great fit for her, and we are thrilled. She starts the week after next. Next friday is her last day at the public school. We asked the teacher if we could bring in cake, and she said sure. 

 

We still live in this neighborhood. Almost all of the kids here go to the public, where her big brother goes (he is staying, his class is acceptable.) She has made some great friends. I want her to be able to keep some of her local friends. I told my husband I was going to write an email to the parents, letting them know friday would be DDs last day, that she had made some good friends and we hoped she could still get together with her friends. DH was like no way, you can't email them. I can't even tell them she is going to private. Unless they specifically ask one of us where she is. Why not? It is anti janteloven. It means we are bragging. Even if I only write "she is changing schools." It is bragging he says, because it indirectly means we have money for private school, that she is going to private school means we don't approve of the public, and it should not be discussed. It is like it is a shameful, dirty secret. We have to leave, and not tell them. Bring in the cake. If any of the parents find out from that, fine. 

 

Not looking for a solution really. I can't change an entire culture. And this is so ingrained it is beyond belief. If a child actually tries at school, and is considered ambitious, they are royally teased for it. Not ambitious in the walk over people way, but ambitious as in quietly doing ones best and not accepting less of oneself. Those that have an inner drive eventually loose it or move to anther country where their skills can be put to good use. Everyone is always equal, in all things, in all ways. (Unfortunately that is not how reality works, but in this tiny nation it is accepted fact.) In the long run if I send an email or not is not that important. Eventually people will find out and hopefully I can find a way that she can still play with some of her local friends. But I have to say UGH. 95% of the time I am happy we are here, but every once in a while Janteloven comes in and rams me in the face. It is f***ing annoying. 

post #2 of 19
I had to google Janteloven. Interesting.

I've known people who have switched schools here in the US and I've never had anyone send me an email or anything about it. Usually it just comes up in conversation at some point. "What teacher does Ann have next year?" "Oh, Ann isn't going to X school next year. She'll be going to Y school."

So these are friends who aren't in your neighborhood? Can you just call them and set up a playdate at some point. You don't have to specifically even say it's because she's switching schools if that would still be a problem culturally. Word will get out quickly enough after one person knows, and I can't imagine any way it wouldn't come up at a playdate.

Good luck! It sounds awkward but I hope you keep her in touch with her friends.
post #3 of 19

I agree with mamazee, I'd take a more middle of the road approach. Let a little time pass, and then just get together in a casual way, rather than calling attention to the fact that the kids won't be in the same school. Approach it as completely natural--if they are friends, then of course they'd want to stay in touch/continue to get together, regardless of what school everyone is going to. Make it a non-issue and perhaps everyone else will as well.
 

post #4 of 19

Yeah, I'm not sure it's a specifically Scandinavian sentiment. I imagine a celebratory cake in a classroom for a departing student would be awkward here in my part of North America too. Leaving a school for reasons other than a move or graduation tends to be tinged with a bit of a perception of disloyalty and "so you think you're too good for us." At least that's true when you're not in an area that has a ton of schooling options and a lot of students moving school to school on an annual basis. I've caught myself thinking such things fleetingly when students leave our local school seeking broader course offerings and more robust science teaching elsewhere. I think "It's been good enough for my kids -- what's so special about yours?" And the year my dd left home to study violin and do her schooling remotely, I was the recipient of some of that sentiment -- particularly envy that we had the financial resources to pay for her to live in another part of the country on her own. I think it's easier for everyone if the shift is handled quietly and matter-of-factly, so that people have a chance to process the possible motives for such a move a little more privately and gradually.

 

Miranda

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

because it indirectly means we have money for private school, that she is going to private school means we don't approve of the public, and it should not be discussed.

 

 

 These things are true though, right? You don't approve of the public school and you do have the money for private? And many others are content with the public and don't have the money to shift out. So, as mooninmama said, it is somewhat natural for others to feel a bit uncomfortable. Close friends, though, should stick with your child. She will also meet new friends at the new school.

post #6 of 19
I would lower your expectations of keeping friends. At that age they change friends quickly. Let her embrace her new school
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Yeah, I'm not sure it's a specifically Scandinavian sentiment. I imagine a celebratory cake in a classroom for a departing student would be awkward here in my part of North America too. Leaving a school for reasons other than a move or graduation tends to be tinged with a bit of a perception of disloyalty and "so you think you're too good for us."

 

yeahthat.gif

 

My children have never attended public school.  But the fact that I sent them to a charter, and now a private school, irritates quite a few of my neighbors - some of which have had no problem telling me directly that they think it is wrong not to go to the public school or that they think I feel my children are 'better'.

post #8 of 19
I have a story very similar to yours. Pulled my youngest from the school his older siblings attended for much the same reasons you are and we had a spot at a magnet school. We did our best to keep he and his best friend together as they were both pretty quirky kids. It went well up until best friend went to middle school and my guy was dropped like a hot potato for the bigger pond.... We never told anyone but them why we left. But a couple years later we found multiple families left for similar reasons that year.

Just sharing our experience.
post #9 of 19
I just had a thought though....

SOMEONE must be ok with private school and achievement or there wouldn't be one, right?
post #10 of 19

We pulled our kids out of a crunchy private school (which has very serious problem) at Christmas time and lost friends over it. It ended up feeling like we had left a religion or something, and we lost a feeling of community. We worked for changes at the school first, and were honest about why we left -- and I think that may have made things worse, not better.

 

Changing schools isn't just about the money part, taking your child out of a school sometimes bugs the parents who leave their kids in.

 

One of my DDs has maintained her closest friends from the school. Some of them gave her crap about switching schools, but one stuck up for the decision. After a few months, it blew over.

 

I suspect that some of your DDs friends will still be her friends, but that others were more friends of convenience (like people you work with and like, but never see again when you change jobs).

post #11 of 19

I can sympathize. I live in the Netherlands and I think the mentality/culture as quite similar to Denmark. The only difference, I think, is that there isn't the public/private divide in NL (even Montessori, Waldorf, religious schools are "public" in the sense of not having to pay school fees and ultimately being responsible to the Ministry of Education. Only international schools are private in the way we think of that in North America).

 

Listen to your partner on this if he's Danish and then just let it go. Talk privately to the parents with whom you're well-acquainted and pitch the move in terms of what's best for your daughter and play up the fact that your son still goes to the school.

 

Glad your DD got a place at a school that's a good fit!
 

post #12 of 19
LoL @ Janteloven. It's why my ex-boyfriend's parents built their million dollar apartment in Malmö instead of Copenhagen (their actual residence), and why another friend sent his daughters to school in England. They wanted better and wanted to avoid the hyper-socialized belittlement!!

It sounds like you did the right thing for your daughter, and it's unfair that you might be judged for that. I'm a firm believer that education is not "one size fits all."
post #13 of 19

I had to look up Janteloven. What an interesting (and bizarre) concept.

 

I found a few links others that are new to the concept might find interesting, so I thought I would share:

http://blogs.transparent.com/norwegian/janteloven/

 

http://www.nordicspotlight.com/ns/index.php/arts-a-culture/152-84-how-to-be-danish-learn-and-secretly-reject-janteloven

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post

My children have never attended public school.  But the fact that I sent them to a charter, and now a private school, irritates quite a few of my neighbors - some of which have had no problem telling me directly that they think it is wrong not to go to the public school or that they think I feel my children are 'better'.

 

Of course you don't think your kids are better--you just actually love them better than you do any other child. :D  But, you know, aren't we supposed to think our kids are better?

 

Where I live in the US, it's fairly common for a child to leave a school.  You might do something special for the last day of school because you were moving, and I don't think people would question it. I went to 5 different elementary schools, and we always seemed to move in winter. My younger daughter got accepted into a gifted magnet type program that is held in another school, so I switched her to that school.  I still love her original school and I volunteer there.  My first daughter went there for 6 years, so you know, I am attached. Most people don't even question that I would pull because they might have a child in the same program and another at this other school.  Or they tried the special program and then decided not to stick with it.  So sometimes I get questions about if I'm bringing her back or not, and a little weirdness about how I'm disloyal, but it's by someone I have a deliberate joking relationship with.  So I give her a hard time about the fact they didn't accept my daughter for the two-way immersion program.  I would have kept her at the school if she had gotten in there.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post

 

Of course you don't think your kids are better--you just actually love them better than you do any other child. :D  

That's true!

I used to reply to the nasty comments of others by mentioning my daughter is quirky, my son really shy and sensitive, etc. in an attempt to explain our choice.  I sort of made it my children's 'issues' which was not fair to my children.  So, now I simply say "We have great schools in our town but for now, x school is a great fit for our family".  And I've learned to limit how much I talk about school because my saying anything positive about our experience is taken as an insult to the public school by some people.

post #16 of 19

We pulled our son shortly after 2nd grade started from the large public school to a small private one.  The public school here is considered an excellent school by the way.  I did not send any emails out to families and tried not to make a big deal out of it, which I did on purpose, so the family friends we had and our son had would not be offended in any way, and also so our son didn't interpret the move as a "really big deal" in terms of adjustment.  I know of course it is not a small deal either, but kids pick up on our feelings, and I wanted to convey the attitude of all is good.  What was surprising is that his closest friends parents came to us a couple weeks afterwards and were upset that we DIDN'T tell them ahead of time so they could prepare their son!  I explained our intentions that we didn't want to draw more attention to it than necessary, and of course we aimed to keep the boys as close friends--but I could tell they were still a little hurt.  Now there are other families we are friends with who didn't even ask and so with regards to them, we did the right thing and are still friends with them as well.  

 

FWIW I did not bring in a cake for him or anything like that for his last day, I feel personally as if it puts a spin on your daughter leaving that it is a celebration she gets to go somewhere else, though of course I know that is not your intention either.  Its just not something I would choose to do.

 

My advice is--if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing noone ;)  Do what you think is best and some families will react well, others may not, you will find out eventually.  But from our experience--don't worry so much about what everyone else thinks b/c after a few months it all totally blows over--our son is still great friends with all the kids he was friends with at the public school which is great.  And other families (contrary IMO to your husbands thinking) will actually not care, some people do not want to send their kids to private, and in fact may personally think you are crazy to give up a good free education in order to pay for one.  I say that b/c we had conversations like that with some people, and no I was not offended in any way, since all of us as parents get to chose to do what we think is best and we will not always agree which path "best" takes.

 

We did have to work a bit to maintain the friendships at first, but luckily in terms of sports and other activities, our son still sees the kids most weeks of the year, and I am really glad we encouraged the friendships to stay b/c its worked out great for our son.

post #17 of 19

Janteloven, I've never heard of this and googled it. Really interesting. There is no word in English for this, but I have definitely seen that type of group thinking in the small town I grew up in and in other small groups. It is funny English has no word for this.

post #18 of 19

Yeah, it's not that unfamiliar a sentiment to this small-town Canadian either. It probably fits better with cultural stereotype (but grain of truth) of Canadian modesty than with American individualism. I too am surprised there's no English word for it.

 

Taken to extremes it's harmful no doubt, but to a degree I see it as taking sensitive account of others' situations, perspectives and perceptions. My own spin on it is not the negative "Stop thinking you're so special," but rather the optimistic "Don't assume others are any less special than you are."

 

Miranda

post #19 of 19

I'm finding this an interesting discussion. As I mentioned in your "Gifted in Europe" thread, I'm an Australian living in Sweden with my Swedish husband and our four year old son.

In Australia, there is actually a traditional sentiment similar to Janteloven - "Tall poppy syndrome"... The name is quite descriptive and definitely implies punishing those who excel rather than celebrating the fact that everyone is special in their own way. However, IME the concept seems to be fairly obsolete, at least in urban Australia (though I'm not sure about rural Australian, the situation may be different there).

I think some of the situation you described is definitely cultural, but there also seems to be a personal element to it. Some people are simply more concerned about how their decisions are seen by others and whether they might somehow cause offence. I am far more like this than my Swedish husband. When our four year old displays not-so-typical four year old behaviour, like reading out the pizza menu, my first, rather involuntary, reaction is to cringe and look around to see if anyone is looking at us. I make a big effort to control my reactions to things like this, for the sake of our son, but it still feels awkward. My husband, on the other hand, treats it like the most natural thing in the world.

We actually have a somewhat similar situation with our school choice. In our case, our son goes to Montessori preschool in a neighbouring town, about 10 minutes drive away. There are half a dozen preschool/daycares in our town, including a Montessori, and people around here do seem to find it quite surprising that we didn't choose one of the local options. The truth is that we did visit a couple of preschools in our town but were much more impressed with the preschool we ended up choosing. I always find it a bit awkward when this question comes up... but for my husband, it's a total non-issue "We were really impressed when we visited and it's turned out to be a great fit for DS." End of discussion.

In your situation, it wouldn't have occurred to me to send out an email or even to have a cake. Though I would have asked my son which school friends he felt it was important to keep in touch with and made an effort to do so... and be prepared for a few negative reactions but not let that stop me.

I hope the move to the new school goes really well for your DD!

Linn

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