Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another New School Year, Another New School

Parenting is seriously the hardest.job.ever. 
Especially when it comes to making decisions for your kids and constantly wondering if you are doing the right thing. Here's our story of one child and three schools.
First day of Pre-K at Delaware
Four years ago I was teaching first grade at Delaware Elementary in the Southeast Polk district. Rebecca was going to turn 4 on August 31. Was she ready for Pre-school?? She still seemed like our little baby - and she really was - our only child at the time. I wanted her to go to pre-school, but still couldn't imagine it. Delaware had a new PreK program and we open enrolled her. At first we were told there was no room and I tried to be okay with that, but then 4 days before PreK was to start, we got a call that they had room. Rebecca was in Mrs. Alberts' morning PreK class just down the hall from my first grade room. I really loved having her at my school and it was only slightly inconvenient to transport her to daycare over my lunch break. *On a side note, Blake was born in January of Rebecca's PreK year and she only went to school once a week while I was on my 12 week maternity leave. 
Rebecca and her teacher, Mrs. Alberts
At the end of PreK, we agreed with her teacher that she was ready for Kindergarten, even thought she is young for her grade. She started Kindergarten at Delaware in Mrs. Kuebler's class. She had a pretty good year and loved school. I liked having her close, but it did make my day more hectic before and after school as I tried to do what I needed to do as a teacher and yet have Rebecca hanging around. (If you know Rebecca, she is not one to sit quietly with a book or the Ipad and let me do my thing every well ;)
First day of Kindergarten at Delaware.
By her classroom door, Mrs. Keubler.
As she was ready for first grade there were two main reasons why we felt that she could not longer stay at Delaware. #1 Transportation - we knew that we were expecting our 3rd child and I was again planning on taking a 12 week maternity leave. How would Rebecca get to school for 12 weeks while I was home? (Delaware is 25 miles from home). #2 Teachers - did I really want Rebecca with me again especially as I taught the same grade that she would be in? Therefore we decided to send her to Pella Christian. We both believe strongly in the importance of Christian education and as a bonus - the PC bus came right past our house. A lot of families from our church attend PC so Rebecca already knew a few kids in her class as well as her cousins that attend. Rebecca had a great year at Pella Christian - great teachers, classmates, and school atmosphere. The only draw back really was the 2 and 1/2 hours on the bus every day.
First day of 1st grade at Pella Christian with Mrs. Howerzyl.
First time riding a school bus to school!
Rebecca never complained about the bus ride, but it was a big concern. An extra 2+ hours away from home above and beyond the school day is a lot. And what about as she gets older and wants to be involved in extra activities? How many trips to Pella would we need to make in a week? A year? This is where the hardest decision we've had to make comes in. Weighing the pros and cons, which school comes out on top - the Christian school 30 miles away or the public school 3 miles away?

After much prayer, advice from others, sleepless nights, and yes, even a few tears, we decided that for now, the local public school would be the best school for our kids. I hated leaving PC because it was such a great place for Rebecca, but we pray that she will also grow strong academically and personally at PCM. 
First day of 2nd grade at Prairie City Monroe.
Our silly 2nd grader!
Now her bus ride is less than 10 minutes.
So that is the story of 3 schools in 4 years. As a teacher, switching schools often doesn't sit well with me because I have often judged families that I saw move their kids around so much. But our hope is that our kids will have great school experiences regardless of where they go and what the future holds. 


  1. Ohhh Sarah....First of all, Second grade!!! When did that happen? I remember when you announced that you were pregnant with her. It seems like just yesterday!! Second..all the pictures of I miss you guys!! I am right with you on the whole education/school thing. Maybe it is the teacher in us. As I am starting to think about going back to teaching, I am having a hard time trying to decide if I want to teach in the same district as my kids. Especially since it is such a small one. There are many pros, but I also know me and that I will be all over my kids when I see them doing something they aren't suppose to be doing. Whether it be in the halls, at lunch, on the playground, etc. They will be like "Mom, leave me alone!!" :) We also looked into the Christian school in Indianola. We love Interstate, but just wanted the christian impact in their education as well. Unfortunately there is no busing, so that would mean 60 minute drives- round trip- twice a day. Not sure I want to do that in the middle of January. I also hear you about being on the bus for so long. My kids use to get picked up at 6:50 in the morning and then would get back home around 4. Praise JESUS..they changed the bus routes this year and now the kids don't have to get on the bus until 7:37 and are usually home by 3:40. I was so excited to find this out this year since Kennedy is starting preschool and I was NOT looking forward to getting her up that early every morning. She is my doesn't usually get up until around 9!! :) So still getting her up and ready be 7:37 hasn't been fun, but at least it is way better than 6:50!! We need to get everyone together for lunch sometime soon!! Hope she has a great year!!

    1. It's kinda of crazy how our situations are so similar! :) it would be nice to be in the same district especially when they are older and involved in activities so you would be on the same school schedule.

  2. I think you made the right decision. As a teacher at a charter school, I see kids switching schools a lot, but if the parents are doing it for the right reasons (life situations) and not just to get away from a teacher or administrator, it usually works out great. I have a charter school 4 blocks from my house, but the one that I teach at 15-20 min. away has better scores, a better demographic and more involved parents...therefore I am taking Jay to my school next year when he is ready for Kindergarten. I guess as a teacher I also feel I want him with me. I commend you for sending her to PC to try it out. I'm sure my parents would love my kids to go to Christian schools, but this is going to be what is best for us. That was a long bus ride...without seeing her. Let her be in sports and go to school where you can pick her up quickly when she is sick. AND...have fun being a stay-at-home mom!!!!

    1. Loving being home - so much more relaxed! I'm sure your boys will do great at your school!