family fun

on education and trying to predict which paths will lead to success


This fall two very adorable children in my home will be going to the same school. He, a seasoned second grader. She, an exuberant addition to the 4k program. Both terrifically excited about the coming school year.

They will be attending the same school that MM is currently enrolled in. If you have been following my little education dilemma / saga, then you know this means that my transfer request was denied. I have been trying to get both kids into the school that our neighborhood was originally zoned in. The zoning was changed shortly before MM began his first year of school but of course all the neighborhood kids just transferred back to their old school, with a few exceptions of course.

So it was partly about wanting him to be in the same school as the neighbors… and partly about the fact that said school got much higher test scores than our current school which did very poorly. It’s partly about all the whispers I hear about bullies and a tiny bit of just neurotic mommy wanting the very best for her kid. Okay, maybe more than a tiny bit. The truth is, I’d really like to send my kids to some swanky private school but there aren’t a lot of those here in the Midwest and the ones around are either Very Catholic or VERY EXPENSIVE or both and / or far away. So I’m not sure if that’s ever going to be feasible here and you know, maybe that’s fine. Lots of people, myself included, do pretty well for themselves with a basic public school education.

But then there are also people like my incredibly intelligent husband, who did even better with a great private education. I’m sure part of this was very caring and involved parents who nurtured his education and part was the fact that he’s probably a LOT smarter than me and applied himself harder. But at the end of the day, looking at my education and my husband’s if I could pick one for my kids, of course I’d go for my husband’s education. I want the very best for them.

I’ve thought a lot about what the best is. Is it a local Catholic school? A private online school? Homeschooling? Is it moving to a new school district with better public schools or just making the best of the public education available to us here? For the moment, we will be going with the last one, it’s simply the option that will work for right now. And I’ll be doing my best to be very involved with both kids’ educations so that I know what is working and what isn’t.

The important thing to me, right now, is that both of my kids are very excited about their schooling this fall. MM literally hugged me with glee when I told him he’d be returning to his current school. I don’t blame him. For all my complaints about the school at large, he has a truly fantastic teacher, a good group of friends and his grades are stellar. BB is ecstatic about going to the same school as her brother so I’m glad that if one kid was denied the transfer that both were. It will be easier and I think they’ll love being in the same school. So I am super happy for them. But momma bear also continues to be cautious and plans to be paying close attention.

At the end of the day, there is no way to predict the outcome of all the options or to know which path could be the best. All I can do is follow my gut, do what I can and make the best of the roads laid before me – and be absolutely thrilled that I have two kids who love learning and are so excited about going to school. If I can be encouraging and positive about their educations, it can only improve their chances for success.

motherhood photography

they are like night and day.

the result of spaghetti night

Have you ever seen a child so gleeful and delighted in her own messiness? This is a girl who is not afraid to get her hands dirty exploring the world around her. She dives in headfirst in her adventures and seems confident that she’ll succeed in everything whether it’s reading a book or eating a mouthful of spaghetti – and if she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’s not above faking it until you make it!

lady killer

He is totally the opposite. He’s always been my cautious guy and seems to have a moral objection to getting his hands dirty. Finger painting? Totally uninterested. He wants to know he’s going to do something perfectly before trying. And the thing is? There are a lot of things that he excels at without trying. He learns quickly and with gusto in some areas like reading, writing and math. But when it comes to art, sports, swimming, etc. it’s a lot of careful precision and planning before jumping into action.

Of course these are just generalizations. There are things that BB will be tentative about or insist that she “can’t do” and MM is quick to see every new person he meets as a lifelong friend. And while they are total opposites in a lot of ways, they are also definitely two peas in a pod in other ways.