Hello all! My DS is starting kindergarten next year. We are trying to choose what school to enroll him in; DH has left the decision up to me, and I could really use some impartial advice.
We have ruled out public school for elementary education because the educational standards here are really low and the kids have an, in my opinion, disproportionately high burden of homework. However, we will give DS the option of transferring to public school later because he could earn a 2-year scholarship to community college through the public high school (which is not available in private school). Also, DH and I both work full time.
My top criteria are:
-High educational standards
-Have one-on-one help if he needs it and, conversely, have the opportunity to learn more if he's bored
-Plenty of physical activity - I think it's important for young kids to have an outlet for their energy so they are better able to focus during classtime; and I think it's foolish to expect a bunch of 5-year-olds to sit still and shut up for 7 hours a day
-Social development: DS is pretty shy and a little awkward socially and we want him to have the opportunity to develop more social skills
Further complicating the issue: The two schools we are considering are both religious, to different degrees. DH and I are not affiliated with any specific religion. We have no problem with DS being exposed to any and all religion, but we also do not want him pressured into adopting a religion.
So, our top choices for schools:School A: Tiny cooperative school
-DS would be in a class of approx 6 children, with 2 teachers; so the curriculum can be tailored to each child's needs.
-Plenty of opportunity for him to excel academically
-I attended a school like this when I was in elementary, and it was an excellent learning environment for me; since DS is similar to me mentally, I think he would enjoy the same benefits
-Healthy balance of physical activity and classroom time.
-Concerns about religious pressure
-Since it's a small environment, less opportunity for social development and growth
-Concerns about the transition from such a small school to a larger and more regimented one later
-School is only 2 days per week; since the classes are so small, the kids are able to get through the curriculum in a much shorter period of time. DS would spend the other 2 days a week with the same family members who watch him currently (and 1 day a week at home with DH). He would have some homework on his off days, but I would feel compelled to supplement with additional learning activities, which I can see being an extra strain
Less consequential consideration:
-Very low costSchool B, highly rated local religious school
-Plenty of structure, routine, opportunities for social development and growth
-Highly rated academics
-Probably would have easier transition to another school later
-Less religious pressure
-Less one-on-one attention, tailoring to individual needs
-Limited physical activity (one recess period midday)
-Only goes through 8th grade, so would have to find a new school after that
-Kindergarten is plenty affordable, but tuition gets higher each grade level; by 8th grade, the tuition cost would be equal to our monthly mortgage payment
Once he is out of elementary school, we will have more options. Also, we don't have a problem with him transferring to a different school if one doesn't work out.
Thoughts? Advice? Please?