I received a phone call yesterday about 2 slots available at Genevieve’s Montessori (private) school. And after a brief confirmatory discussion with Josh, I enrolled Cameron for first grade. Genevieve will be there as well, like last year, and they plan on staying open for her age group even if schools are mandated to close, as they meet criteria as a day care.
And I feel . . . so much better about the months to come. I also feel:
- guilty for abandoning our public school system (though Annabel is staying enrolled and I highly doubt Cameron is leaving it behind forever)
- guilty about the privilege associated with being able to make this choice
- anxious about inevitable outbreaks (and likely temporary closures) — but I do think they are taking as many measures as possible to mitigate this risk
Class sizes are very small, children will be masked (not sure G will keep hers on, but they will attempt), and they will not have any large group gatherings or activities. They have had a (small) camp running all summer without incident, so they have had some practice with putting these safety measures in place.
I acknowledge that there is some risk involved, and I know that taking risks involving our children is not a popular concept (and I may receive some comments that reflect that — bracing myself). The thing is, this is a risk that feels worth it to me right now. YES, there are a very small number of children who become very sick from COVID-19. But it is quite small from a percentage standpoint. YES, even young children seem to be able to transmit the disease — but at fairly low levels.
But online learning was just not working for C, and I’m not sure the traditional public school setting was ideal for him either (we had discussed the idea of having him move to this school even pre-pandemic). It was not working for our nanny (I am not going to go into detail, but I could see her stress levels increasing — quite understandably!). Having to care for G while attempting to manage two kids doing online learning (one that has trouble sitting still for more than 30 seconds) DID NOT WORK.
I thought about what society would probably think was the ‘best’ choice: I leave my job and homeschool all 3 kids (with our nanny continuing to help with G). I did consider this; I honestly did. From a financial standpoint, we could do this, though the financial outlay would be far higher than private school tuition. There is also no guarantee I could get my job back, and there is a not-insignificant chance that leaving would also realistically mean giving up the GME portion of my career, because those positions are hard to come by (and I got really lucky!).
I also considered hiring a college student to come to our home and work with the kids, or joining a local learning ‘pod’ (though this opportunity hasn’t really come up and I’m not sure a ‘pod’ would be a great setting for C either). So in the end both Josh and I felt the risk/benefit ratios of sending them to school to be worth it.
(At least we felt like this yesterday.)
Okay. Here’s one more journal pic from the week.