Private School: Did We Make A Mistake?
For the last seven years I have had at least one of my two children in a private school. When we made the decision to start my daughter (the first) in private school, the choice was solely based on the fact that the school was a parking lot away from my mother-in-law. I was raised in a Catholic family, but I attended public school. My husband was raised in a non-religious family and attended the private school because he was a parking lot away from it. It’s a wonderful school and I am not by any means saying that the school itself is bad, but I do have to second guess my decision. My daughter was there from Pre-K through grade 5. At grade 6 she decided she’d like to move to public school and we entertained the idea of it. She was growing more and more social and it was harder and harder for her to play the sports she wanted or to branch out. Ultimately we decided moving her to public school was the better option for her.. and we were very correct, she loves it and does outstanding.
Now I have my son, who is still at the private school. I don’t have issues with the private school, other then the class sizes. I thought I would LOVE the smaller class sizes. For the most part I did. The problem is, in the last 3 years registration has declined to a little over 100 children in grades Pre-K through 8th grade. Last year my son was in a 3rd/4th grade split class. I wasn’t all that excited about that, but we seemed to do okay through the year. Now this year he is again in the 3rd/4th split class as a 4th grader. So far it has been okay, but I am beginning to look at my son and wonder if I have made a mistake with his education. I feel awful because I don’t want to move him to a new school for 1 year (5th grade) and then he moves to another new school for 6th grade (all 6th graders move in the public schools here). Here’s the thing with my son.. He’s both ADHD and Autistic. While he truly does okay in the classroom setting and not needing extra attention, it’s difficult. His socialization is VERY lack there of. He doesn’t interact with children the way that I see others. He’s very shy and reserved and would rather be alone then with the group. I feel that because there are very few kids in his class that this is enabling him to continue on with this behavior and the socialization skills he currently lacks.
My husband and I have talked about it multiple times and while we really WANT to move him to public school at 6th grade as we did our daughter I fear that he doesn’t have the socialization skills to do so. He does amazing academically. He is better in a few subjects then other, which is common with Autistic children. He is not behind in any of his learning, which is a very positive thing. He doesn’t seem to “hate” school, but he’s not all that thrilled about it either. I’m not sure that this has to do with the activity of school as much as it has to do with the classes and class sizes. He has only 2 boys in his class that he really talks to and/or every wants play dates with. Since he goes to a private school there is no school boundaries, so his friends do not live in our neighborhood. This is another obstacle.
I feel that we have made a horrible mistake with his education. I am not sure where to go or how to fix it. He’s started school, I am not moving him mid-year or until the school year is complete. If I switch him next year that means he will have a new school next year (however these children would be the same ones that would move to the middle school and 6th grade with him) and the following year. I fear that having him learn a new school next year and then a new school again the following year will be too much. I don’t want to trigger anything for him. I don’t want him to fail or fall behind because he cannot handle the change. I can tell you, my son doesn’t do well with change.. AT ALL! He really truly doesn’t. If our morning routine is going to stray at all from what our “usual” is, we have to tell him the night before. He will ask 3-4 times how the morning will go and then he goes to bed, wakes and it better be what you said or you will end up with a meltdown.
In all fairness, I had no idea registration would decline so much. When my daughter attended at first the classes were between 14-22 children a class. I never expected that would drop to 6-8 children in some classes. It’s something I should have prepared for though because with the job market and the tuition, there is never any guarantees. I am enrolling my son in some outside of school sports and activities in an attempt to try and solve some of the socialization stuff. I guess we move from there. We cannot predict how the future will play out and had I known this is where we would be, I would not have enrolled him in private school.