Hello there internets. Well, here I am jumping into the K search with both feet. Both terrified, leaden feet. I am, like so many, trying to be calm, focused, and organized as I approach this process. I expect to be only occasionally successful. To make matters just that much more interesting, my partner and I have decided to look at both public and independent schools. Because really, who needs to show up to the office this fall anyway? Since there are other bloggers here at SF K Files headquarters reviewing public schools, my posts will focus on the independents.
But before I jump into all that, I’ll introduce myself and my merry little band. My partner Elias, 5 year old son Owen, and I live with our menagerie of pets in a not at all fancy nor trendy part of the city. We have a house, it has a yard and often when folks visit they say things like “So this is still in San Francisco huh?” Elias works (a LOT) in that tech wonderland to the South. I work part-time while Owen is enrolled in a Pre-k program (at a school which sends 90% of its students to public school.)
Owen turned 5 this summer and while he technically made the cut-off to enroll in K this September, we decided, in concert with his pre-school director, to wait a year and do the PK thing. He’s a great kid, sunny, funny and whip smart. A lot of people were surprised when we made the decision to wait. It really came down to thinking about who HE is and evaluating if we thought he was ready. He’s a classic “slow to warm” personality. He can be shy and reserved and is the kind of kid who isn’t interested in trying new stuff unless he’s pretty certain he’ll be great at it. Until the last month or so he cared not one bit about drawing, writing, or sitting still for extended periods unless under the heavy influence of moving pictures. He just didn’t seem “ready” to us. My parents are retired school teachers and after hearing their mantra of “Kindergarten now is just like the 1st grade you attended” ten billion times, it sank in. (My mom also likes to say “We aren’t breeding them any smarter, we’re just trying to cram stuff in faster” – you’re bound to hear more of her gems throughout this process.) We figured, once Owen starts school he’s pretty much in it for 13 straight years, so why rush into this?
I’m a former elementary school teacher (taught in both public and private) and am a product of post Prop-13 California public schools. My K-12 education can best be described as “meh”. My high school lost its accreditation the year after I graduated. I was on the “college prep” track but didn’t see a college counselor until my last month of school. I was busy and involved in non-academic pursuits (clubs and music and boys mostly.) I don’t feel I received a particularly good education and in many ways I slipped through the cracks. Elias on the other hand went to Parochial schools and feels he was very well educated (and indoctrinated.) We’re not considering parochial schools for Owen. Not because they aren’t good or worth considering but because we aren’t religious and don’t believe in going to the concert if you don’t want to listen to the band.
So the independents. . .Man oh man, that’s a lotta dough huh? We are decidedly middle class and expect we will need some aid in order to swing all but the least expensive of the indys. For the right school we’re willing to make the investment and that will mean me working more, plus giving up vacations and other perks we enjoy from time to time. I get that “Private School” can be controversial and for sure it’s not something that everyone is interested in but Kate’s intention with this blog is to give the big picture of the K search and for some of us that includes casting the net wider than SFUSD.
So that’s my deal dear internets. Try to be kind as I share this experience with you. We’re all here to learn right?