Fairly long background story:
We live in a city with a pretty open public school system. The parents essentially get to choose which school they want their kids to go to and there are TONS of specialized programs which are part of the public system.
Last year, when we were deciding about kindergarten for DD1, we applied for the school of visual and performing arts, as she is THE most dramatic child I've ever known in my entire life. She was accepted and we were all set for her. The only downside was that the school was about an hour busride from my house, but even that, DD1 would've considered an opportunity to be social with friends for an hour!
Well, at the last possible minute, the school called and said they wouldn't offer noon-hour bussing for DD1 (we live 3 blocks outside their boundry). I had to scramble to find a different school, because driving to the school, 30+ minutes each way, every day was unaffordable, unwise in the long winter, and just downright cruel to her brother and sister stuck along for the ride.
She's been going to a fantastic public school about a 10 minute drive from home. Our neighborhood school isn't an option for us, as the focus programs aren't suitable for her style of learning (Cogito) or needs (Punjabi immersion).
Well, now we're nearing decision time for next year. This year, we dealt with the issue by enrolling her in an acting class since the other school wasn't an option. She has declared that her acting class is her favorite activity. For 1st grade, they would be willing to bus her both ways. I have hopes that by the time DS would be ready for kindergarten, they will extend the bussing boundry by the 3 blocks, but if not, he could always go local for K, IF an arts school would even be in his best interest.
I don't feel that leaving the decision entirely up to her is really a good idea. She's quite shortsighted (as I think all 5 year olds are!) and if I explain that she'd leave behind the new friends she's made, that alone would decide it for her. Yet, she makes friends very, very easily. I'm positive that she'd love the idea of going to a school with more of an emphasis on arts. I mean, the school she's in is great, and their kindergarten is really a learning through play focus, but it goes to desks in rows in 1st grade. OTOH, the current school has some of the best academic performance in the city. The arts school is quite good, but not the same.
Are there other factors you'd consider that I'm completely forgetting? Home schooling isn't a viable option for the next 3 years. I like the idea of enrichment activities if she stays in the closer school, but those add up in expense and time, which will be less once she's in full-day school.
Busy, hectic, HAPPY single mom to 3 awesome kiddos DD1 (10) DS (8) DD2 (6)