I'm new here on Mothering. More than anything I need advice. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. My kids do not have the same father. My daughter's biological father is no longer in the picture and my husband and father of my son has been helping me raise her.
My problem is, my daughter has always gone to public school and now that our son is old enough to start PreK 3, my husband wants to put him in a private Montessori. My daughter's school offers preK 3 . At the beginning of summer we had originally decided it was best to enroll him there. Now my in-laws have stepped in and offered to pay for the upgrade to move him to a Montessori school.
First off, I'm afraid of showing favoritism toward my son over my daughter. Which some people seem to thing we are by putting him in a private school, and I agree but my husband strongly disagrees.
And second I can't stand taking money from my in-laws. It makes me feel like I constantly owe them something and that it puts them in control.
My husband refuses to budge on this and is very insistent that our son will go to a Montessori.I have a feeling its his parents pushing him.
Has anyone ever been in a similar situation?
First, I don't really see this as a Montessori issue, but rather an issue between partners about blended families. Montessori schooling just happens to be the flashpoint, but it could have been any other difference in experiences that your children are offered. It could have been the opportunity for a summer camp or overseas travel or joining a competitive sports team with high level coaching or any other unusual, somewhat expensive experience.
I think you may find more help in the "Parents as Partners" subforum or the "Blended and Step Families" subforum.
Having said that, I would look at this as an issue of what you feel is most appropriate for your son at this time and what your family is comfortable doing in terms of managing children attending 2 different schools and accepting financial assistance from extended family.
I don't think it's fair to deny one child an experience only because the other child didn't have the same opportunity. I try to treat my children as individuals. I don't think I can ensure an absolutely equal experience for my children and I think it would be a bad (and futile) idea to try. We've spent a fair amount of money on DS's music - lessons, instruments, participation in ensembles and travel for music. We didn't for DD (mostly because she isn't interested). This summer, we hosted a friend of DD's from overseas and I took the 2 girls to New York city for a few days. DS missed out on that trip and won't get a vacation this summer (mostly because he's working at 2 jobs and saving for university and his own apartment). Eventually, it all balances out.
You may not have been in a position to send your DD to Montessori when she was 3, but I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. In a couple of years, maybe she will have a chance to do a summer exchange overseas or some other exciting program. That program may not exist when your DS is that age and he won't get to do it. That's fine. It all balances out.
If you are worried about an appearance of favouritism, then I think true favouritism is always providing opportunities to Child A at the expense of Child B and never approving opportunities for Child B. In some ways, denying Child B an opportunity just because Child A didn't have the same experience is favouring Child A. Eventually, it will be a recipe for resentment between the kids, since one child will always be setting the agenda for the other, rather than decisions being based on their true personal needs.
Try to offer the most appropriate experiences suitable to their individual needs as well as you can manage. That doesn't mean exactly equal experiences since they are individuals with their own unique needs and interests.
I realize that there are wrinkles for you, especially with the IL's. Taking money from them alone makes it a questionable idea and I recognize why you wouldn't want to do it. But if that's the case, make that the reason you don't send your DS to Montessori - not because your DD didn't go. Good luck with the decision.
Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (15).
I like both of the above comments.
One thing about the Montessori school - how many years does the school enroll students? Are you considering Montessori primary to public elementary or Montessori primary through middle school or high school. Point being and I think it would stand up in any argument - today is today, this is a wonderful opportunity. However, when your son completes primary - will he continue through LE, UE and possibly Middle or High School at Montessori or another private school - meaning after primary,he goes private and she stays public? That seems a bit more difficult scenario.
I cannot imagine a 9 year old caring about what pre-school her little brother attends, but she might be more cognizant if he does not attend the same elementary/middle/high schools that she attends/attended. In her mind, perhaps, he is just a "baby" and Montessori is where babies go - fine. But, when he reaches an age where she can do a more logical comparison, that is where it might hurt - or, as the above posters say, hey, maybe it's all good if she is truly happy where she is at.
These seem to be the basic routes:
Montessori Primary - enter public or public elementary
Montessori Primary + Lower Elementary/Upper Elementary -> Enter public or private school
What your daughter did at pre-school age was a decision for her at the time - and I'm sure you did well for her.
I'd say - do the Montessori as best as you can afford - Primary, absolutely since this is not an apples to apples comparison.
I'd be sensitive to what happens after Montessori primary. That's where it becomes more of an apples to apples comparison - wherein you treat each child equitably at the same age, situation now being that it's a 2-parent household where there is a strong impetus to send son to Private. I think the school is less of a factor than the blended family aspect.
Imagine this - what if you said, "daughter, would you like to go to XX Private School" and she says "Heck no, my friends are at XX public school". I wouldn't stress Montessori as "private" as much as Montessori is Montessori. If she is happy and thriving where she is, might never be an issue.