Do I have to send him to school?

We’ve begun thinking and talking about kindergarten(!) over here.  To be honest, it is completely freaking me out.  Just as I am starting to feel like I am getting good at this parenting thing, the future comes to slap me in the face.  It feels like someone hit fast forward and my kid is growing up before I’m ready.  I haven’t even stopped thinking about preschool yet and now I am moving onto elementary school?  What’s up with that?

Jack turns 4 in July (only four months away, people!).  From what I understand, enrollment applications for San Francisco schools are due in January for kids starting school Fall 2011.  Our city works on a lovely system whereby parents pick their top 7 schools and then there is some sort of lottery that is weighted mostly according to demographics and not so much according to proximity to the school.  Even better – SFUSD does not provide bus service for the kids enrolled at schools across town.  So in addition to trying to figure out where Jack is going to be educated for the next seven years of his life, we need to prepare for the possibility that it may not be anywhere close to where we live (about 20% of students don’t get into any of their seven requested schools).  Have I mentioned that all of Jack’s parents work full time?

So yeah, I’m worried.  I’m not sure where to start in this process (although I did identify three schools in our area that all look decent).  Furthermore, I have no idea what Jack is going to do when the school day ends and all of his parents are still at work.  I have some vague hope of cutting down to part time work by then so that I can pose as a soccer mom, but I’m not convinced that is remotely feasible.  The thought of putting Jack into an after school program in addition to his regular school day makes me want to cry.

How do I even begin to deal with this next step in our lives?

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Comments

  1. Right there with you, as you know. The years just fly by. Where do they go? It sounds so cliche, but it is so true. And, they just sneak up on us out of no where. We go from ‘is it time to stop the bottle’ to ‘is it time to start kindergarten’ in what seems like a day. I don’t have an answer for you (still trying to figure it out myself) but everything does have a way of working itself out, at least that is what I keep trying to tell myself. Good luck with your decision.

  2. Ouch! SF may not be very big, but him being enrolled at a cross town school could be a major headache every day. I guess that’s the downside of choice. I have several years before my baby goes to kindergarden, but because LA is such a beast I’ve started doing a little research. One website I’ve found helpful is greatschools.com. They have all the test scores and demographics of schools. Good luck Mama!

  3. Oh my! and I thought LAUSD was messed up! That’s ridiculous!

    I know exactly what you mean about being unprepared for kindergarten. The week before Reed started I was more ready to back out than send him, even though I knew it was best. We got really lucky. He is in a small, cozy school and his classmates are wonderful! Good luck to you! What a scary step in parenting.

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