By Emma Toomey.
As the first day of the school year looms large there is the usual nervous buzz of anticipation – stationery is bought, haircuts are had, uniforms are sorted and old pencil cases are salvaged. But this year at our house there is a palpable anxiety … at least for me. Our three children are all starting at new schools this year – three different schools.
But this year at our house there is a palpable anxiety … at least for me.
Sadly, we had to make the difficult decision to take them out of the independent, co-ed school they had all been attending together, as the fees were already exceeding our initial projections with many years still ahead of us. No doubt the decision would have been made easier if one, or all of them had been unhappy, but this was not the case – they were all happy and thriving. Ouch.
And so began the odyssey of choosing a school for each of them. In the case of our youngest the decision was easy; she will be starting at the wonderful public primary school nearby that her brothers also attended, and we still have plenty of time to work out what to do for high school.
We had to make the difficult decision to take them out of their independent, co-ed school, as the fees were already exceeding our initial projections
We investigated several possibilities for our boys; tests were sat, applications submitted and interviews endured. Conversations were had and advice sought from parents near and far. Our boys were both adamant about wanting to remain in co-ed schools, which cancelled out our local high schools and meant that our search went out of area. Schools, like life, are not one-size-fits-all. How do you know which one will best cater to the unique strengths, talents and vulnerabilities of your child? Do we keep them together or encourage them to go in different directions? The responsibility of getting it right weighs heavily.
Just as we were all feeling good about our decision to keep the boys together at a public high school several suburbs away, we were thrown a curve ball. Our new high schooler was offered a coveted place at another school with a very different focus … a once only opportunity. They needed an answer by the following morning. He decided to take it.
The responsibility of getting it right weighs heavily.
As daunting at times as the whole process of choosing a school has been, it has also been a valuable exercise in resilience and following gut instinct for all of us. The prospect of leaving old friends and of making new ones has at times been tough on all of them. Sometimes we have to stand back and let our kids be brave. We are yet to see how it will all unfold, and the logistics of dealing with three schools will no doubt have its challenges. But change is part of life and adaptability is a vital life skill … so here we go! Wish us luck.
How did you go choosing a school for your child? Was it a difficult decision?