Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What have I learned from writing this blog?

The other day my friend asked me what I've learned from writing this blog and immersing myself in the school search. I've learned a lot—about progressive education, motor perception, language immersion, Orff music, the Reggio Emillio approach, the SFUSD lottery system (though I have to admit I'm still perplexed by some parts of it). But there's one thing that I've learned more than anything: All families are different.

We're all unique. Our backgrounds are different. Our financial situations. Our values. Our priorities. Our willingness to drive across town or to get up at the crack of dawn. This means we're all interested in different schools. And I think we need to respect that. The school search is hard enough and I think we can make the process easier by encouraging our friends when they find schools they love—even if we're not in love with the same schools. Even if one of us is set on private and the other wants to support public schools.

But I think we all have one thing in common: We want the best for our children. We're all trying our hardest to find a school that's suited to our unique child. We're in this together and we need to remember that.


  1. I applaud the sentiment but I do wish that there were more private school families that would consider public schools. The public school situation concerns all of us as a society and if public schools are going to improve, I believe it's going to have to involve families who can afford private school but chose public instead.

  2. kate,

    thank you for starting this blog! you and the many contributors have provided helpful information and a sense of much needed camaraderie.

    i started looking at kindergartens last fall - a year early. now i'm in it for real. i was stressed, waking in the early morning hours thinking about this major transition time. we have only been in SF for a few years and enjoy the city life, but would consider moving for a more affordable home and the right school experience.

    then after touring more than 13 schools, mostly public some private, i felt calm almost zen-like. i knew that what is meant to be! our son could thrive in any of these environments. then, why did i only get 4 hours of sleep last night?

    it started, ironically with the the word "Kafkaesque." i was listening , as i like to do, to NPR. the word was used and i realized i wasn't fully confident i knew what it meant. it nagged at me all day. i kept forgetting to add it to my ever lengthening/never quite happening list of things to google.

    as i settled into bed, there it was - that word. i wondered why i had missed it's fully meaning. i remember learning about the author in high school, but i'm not sure we ever really read any of his work. wasn't there a movie?

    then the fear. i have an incomplete education! what if i could have been smarter? if i had a more academic beginning would i still feel like i'm always trying to keep up intellectually? could private school have made me a different person?

    try as i might, i couldn't stop my brain. it chugged away for hours writing and re-writing admissions essays and weighing the outcome of selling out and moving to the burbs. where was my zen-feeling? why was i stuck in this Kafkaesque brain grinding exercise?

    well, because i'm a mom. and a libra. And this is how I learn, by weighing all sides. What I’ve come to today, after googling my word and realizing I did have a fairly good sense of its meaning, is that my kids will be ok where ever this process leads us. Their schooling will surely influence who they become. But most importantly I’d like them to become life-long learners who know there is always room for growth. And that I’m confident I can teach them!