I went to private school until 4th grade, then attended public school from 5th grade until high school graduation. I would consider myself an average student who excels in verbal communication and has a passion for writing. I worked hard for almost every grade I got – even the C’s. I attended a commuter college, The University of Texas at San Antonio. For the most part, I enjoyed school. School was a socially stimulating environment that happened to require some academic attention. It served it’s purpose. I graduated. I went to college. I got a job.
That’s what you are supposed to do.
The Tortoise attended private school from kindergarten until 4th grade. She has now attended public school from 5th thru 8th grade and is excited about being a freshman next year. There were a couple of rough school years that I worried. She struggled to strengthen social skills, develop organizational skills and learn how to motivate herself. We have seen her fail as many times as she has succeeded, helping to build strong character and insight into what her strengths and weaknesses are. I am so relieved to see a more confident, articulate and happy teenager now.
The Hare attended private kindergarten but spent 1st thru 4th in the same public school system as her sister. In the beginning, I thought she loved school. I realize now that she doesn’t love school, she just loves learning. She qualified for a Gifted and Talented program in 2nd grade, which we tried. It wasn’t an environment conducive to her learning style and she was miserable. Third and fourth grade has been spent back in the regular classroom.
She is just as miserable.
My heart cracked like an egg dropped on the kitchen floor a few nights ago.
“I hate my life,” she cried, “I wish I could sleep forever…or until school is over.”
I am familiar with hormones and preteen drama. I understand bad days. But I am not prepared to watch the light of curiosity and passion fade from my daughter’s eyes. I am not prepared to keep watching my daughter scramble to keep her emotions in check or force her to fit my idea of what life is supposed to look like.
That’s why, as a family, we have made the decision to keep her home next year.
She is relieved and happy.
I am relieved and scared.