Okay, let's do this. CATHOLIC SCHOOL. I might not send my kids to Catholic school. WHAT WHAT!
I wrote about this maybe a year ago? Am obviously too lazy to look that up. But I remember some "Catholic school is VERY important to us" comments and a few that seemed surprised there were other options, as well as a handful of former varyingly scarred former Catholic school students. So THAT was helpful.
Tonight I was sitting here looking up all the numbers. If we want both kids in 3x a week preschool next year, we're looking at a price of We Could Just Barely Pull That Off, I Mean, JUST BARELY. We would do it knowing that we would only have two kids in preschool at the same time, so it would be only one year of JUST BARELY.
Except what if we send Jack to kindergarten at a Catholic school? What are we looking at then? And after a bunch of Googling and calculating, I realized that if we sent both kids to our parish school, which claims to be the least expensive Catholic school in the city, we're looking at $800 a month. Which. Well. Hmm.
(Note: This would be in-parish tuition. If you are not a parishioner, it's more like $1200 a month for two kids HOLY CATS.)
Yes, there is tuition assistance blah blah blah, but like Phillip said when we were talking about it tonight, if we applied for assistance we would then feel guilty every time we went out to eat or bought fancy new computer equipment (him) or a fabulous pair of boots (me). So. Hmm.
If I want to send my kids to preschool/pre-K at my parish school, I have to start making my decision NOW. So this time next year, I will be required to make my decision about kindergarten. You see why I want to hurry up and find out where we're going to LIVE. (Note: preschool/pre-K is marginally less expensive than our current preschool, and lasts an hour longer each day, but I don't know if I LIKE that extra hour and I think I've mentioned that we LOVE our current preschool.)
OKAY SO ANYWAY. Here's my deal with Catholic school. I basically know nothing about it. Other than what I learn at my various churchy meetings and quick conversations with school parents, I'm completely in the dark. My mom went to Catholic school, but that was in the Dark Ages (sorry Mom) when nuns were still smacking you around with rulers. My handful of friends who went to Catholic school have different experiences, most of them not so great. And the youth minister at my church swears up and down her kids will go nowhere near a Seattle-area Catholic high school. SO ENDS MY CATHOLIC SCHOOL KNOWLEDGE.
But when I think about it, I think it would be SO NICE. Especially in K through 8. I feel that I'm sorely lacking in a Catholic Foundation. I don't know so many of the really basic things you're supposed to know, and I have this idea (incorrect perhaps?) that Catholic school would give my kids what I don't have. I LIKE that there is prayer in school, I like that religious holidays are observed and celebrated, I like the uniforms and school Masses. Our school has very small class sizes and lots of music and art. It's for sure a better education than they'd get in some of the neighborhood schools, but we ARE focusing on neighborhoods with better schools (and the suburbs we're particularly interested in are known for their excellent school district). So I don't know that this is about making sure they get a better education so much as preferring a CATHOLIC education.
However. EIGHT HUNDRED BUCKS A MONTH DEAR GOD.
And you know, because I've mentioned it nine thousand times, I come from a Proud Family of Public School Teachers. Not that THEY think one is better than the other, they know there are too many factors involved to generalize, I just mention it to show that I'm pretty positive on public schools.
What if we buy a house with a Just Fine public school two blocks away, but the Catholic school is across town? Or if we stay where we are even, with a great public school, a different parish school five blocks away, and our parish school farther away? Is it bad to say proximity is kind of a big factor with me? It just makes sense somehow, and I'm all about Being Part Of The Neighborhood. What's funny ("funny") is that if we could somehow swing a house near-ish to our parish school, we'll no doubt be spending all our school money on the mortgage.
I wish I felt strongly one way or the other. Instead, Catholic school just seems really NICE, like a BONUS, but public school would be totally fine too. Phillip is less inclined towards Catholic school, precisely because of the cost, and maybe that makes me a little bit afraid of deciding to insist on Catholic school.
Maybe it's because neither of us went and we don't exactly have a context for it and we never really thought about paying for it. I know there are ways to make it work. Our priest goes on and on about how they don't turn anyone away and so many people just ASSUME we are sending our kids there. That's what you DO. So maybe I feel a little guilty too. (Well, obviously.)
ANYWAY. A couple of you have emailed/commented with the same sort of dilemma and I honestly don't know what we're going to do. I think on the preschool front we're going to send in the applications and the nonrefundable registration fees and just see what happens. We'll either find a great house and possibly lose our registration fee, or we'll stay and our kids get to go to an awesome preschool. It'll work out either way. But the SCHOOL school issue keeps bugging me, and while I understand I can't really make any decisions yet, I wish I knew what decisions I'd LIKE to make!