This is The Boy's last year at his school.
My son goes to a private Catholic school. Since before he was born, I knew that he'd attend this school and he has done so for kindergarten, first grade and is currently finishing out second grade.
First day of Kindergarten, 2009
I love his school. The teachers are all so sweet and personable. Hugs and expressive "I love you"'s are frequent. Everyone knows each other. Even junior high teachers know my second grader by name. The big kids "buddy up" with the little kids so I've noticed that there isn't attitude with the big kids and the little kids aren't scared of the junior highers. There is religious study during school time, including Mass, and the kids can openly discuss God, which is incredibly important to me. I love to see The Boy's school work with spelling word sentences referring to Jesus and the Bible.
Artwork made at school last year
Class work is high-quality and presented at a fast-pace but there is time to assist each child who needs help. Tutoring was offered to The Boy after school last year at no cost to help him catch up on reading skills (and he's now been awarded Advanced Reading certificates). The classes are small, especially The Boy's class which only has 12 students.
And therein lies the problem...
Only 12 students in the second grade class. Most of the classes have more, a few have less and that's just not enough. His school needs 200+ students to stay viable and they only have 134.
First day of Second Grade
So, this is The Boy's last year at his school because, well, this is the final year of the school. After 50 years (this year is the anniversary), the school will be closing for good.
We received the news last week, which came as a shock not only to us parents, but to the teachers as well. My heart breaks for these teachers who have put so much love and effort in this little school and into each student.
First day of Kindergarten, 2009
The news was bittersweet for me because I was already at a crossroads. For many months, I have faced having to take The Boy out of this school and move him to public because of financial constraints.
To be honest, sending him to private school has been a bone of contention between my husband and me. I started The Boy at the school before we were even dating with every intention that he would go there until he went off to high school. My husband, concerned with the yearly cost, wanted to switch over to public school. At least for a year, he said, to try it and see how it goes. I didn't want to pull The Boy from his friends, from all that he's ever known and start him somewhere new. I like the individual attention, I like the close community our school has, I don't want to make any changes.
First day of First grade
But with a recent cut to his monthly child support, I was smacked with the facts: After this school year, I could no longer afford to send him to the school and change was inevitable. However, I would have preferred for the decision to be on my own terms and not pulled completely out of my hands and made for me.
The parents of the other children in the class are doing their research and visiting other Catholic schools in the area in preparation for making changes. I'm hoping that many of them will be able to stick together and go to the new school as a group, but it does crush me that my boy won't be joining them. I went to the same school from kindergarten through 8th grade and enjoyed the familiarity of the school and of knowing the same people as we grew up. I was expecting the same experience for him, I'd been counting on it for as long as he's been born.
Christmas Program, 2010
I am praying that his new school (which is down the street from my parents' house and is where my first grade nephew attends) will be a friendly and positive atmosphere. I know that a lot will change for him (no more coloring pages of Jesus, I would guess!). There will be about seven times as many kids in the third grade at the new school. I don't know about the curicculum yet, either. There will be a playground, The Boy is looking forward to that. And my nephew will be there to play with at recess. My mom will walk to pick up the boys together now instead of having my dad drive across town to pick up The Boy. I hope that we can make the transition a good thing for him.
And I pray for me to look at this as a positive as well. It has been really hard for me. I can't help but mad-dog my husband because he's been wanting this for a while (to try sending The Boy to public school) and it's almost like he willed it to happen, grrr! And with the cut to child support we weren't going to be able to afford it next year anyway so I've been upset for months, thinking about how it was all going to work out for us. I didn't want him to have to leave his school and his friends. But now it's worse, because it's not just The Boy that is leaving but now all of the kids are scattered to the wind.
End of year party, 2011
Having the decision laid out for me doesn't make the change any easier to accept. I just pray that my heart will see that God has an ultimate plan and that I need to open up and see what that will be. I have tried to control this situation for so long and have been very stubborn-headed about the whole thing from penny-pinching to send him there to fighting with my husband about it...and it just comes to an abrupt halt right now. There is nothing to fight about anymore, no rebuttal from me. I have nothing left and can only succumb to the inevitable, whether I want to or not.
As they say, I'm letting go and letting God. Reluctantly...