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My son is at a Catholic school now for preschool and I'm not sure what we are doing next year. My husband and I both went to Catholic schools for grade school and high school (and my husband for college). I always assumed that I would send my children to Catholic schools, but now I'm not sure.

I like the parish school where we are, but I'm not crazy about our parish as a church. So, I'm REALLY conflicted about this!

On one hand, I do like the idea of a Catholic education for my kids and here is why:

* Smaller class size/ better learning environment
* Smaller school - the school secretary knows every kid and the parents - I think that is awesome!
* Smaller community makes it easier for me as a parent to know my children's friends and their parents
* It would make us more invested in our parish (I have been church hopping and I find things I don't like at every parish. Maybe it's time to just settle for where we live...)
* I think there is less "teaching to the test" and less emphasis on test scores. The public schools by us are VERY focused on tests.
* I like the fact that kids wear uniforms. Even as I kid, I liked having a uniform - it made being a dork less noticeable.
* The Catholic schools have before and after-school care on-site. I expect that I will go back to work at some point and this is a HUGE bonus.
* I LOVE my son's preschool teacher - she teaches the 3 year olds and the 4 year olds and it has been a lovely early childhood education program, but I do hesitate...

Here is why I hestitate about Catholic schools:

* I believe in strong public education. If I don't send my kids to public school and advocate for excellent schools for EVERY child, then have I dropped the ball in this area of civic involvement?
* I live ACROSS the street from a public school. I would LOVE to be able to open my door and send my kids to school.
* Public schools have more resources. Better libraries, couselors, special ed and gifted programs, teachers with high salaries...
* At public schools I wouldn't be forced to do fund raising.
* I have already paid for public schools thru my taxes. How would we afford Catholic schools for grade school AND high school for our kids? Would I have to go back to work sooner? Is that good for our family?
* I believe in prayer, but prayer before the school board meeting is sort of weird. Also, I noticed that the school board meetings are not as "open" at the Catholic school as at the public school. I have been attending both to see what I think...
* I am pretty ambivalent about the Church and it's role in our lives. I'm not sure that I want my kids to be steeped in Church doctrine. Last year my 3 year old told me that "God is a man" - because that is the impression that he got at Sunday school. The Church patriarchy makes me mad. I think I might prefer to have more control over how my children understand God.

All that said, this is my year to make a decision. The Catholic school has all day kindergarden (wow, that seems like alot for my son), and the public school across the street from us has 1/2 day kindergarden. That actually makes my decision harder!

Kathleen
 
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