Everyone in my home will be attending public school this fall. This was a decision that I have had a lot of trouble making.
I'll start with me. I will be completing my last year (3 semesters) of grad school. It will feel so great to finally be finished. I really questioned whether I wanted to return after the Spring semester. It was a really difficult semester. I had a new job, was pregnant for part of it before losing the baby in a miscarriage and completed Matt's adoption. It was really just too much. I think I would have struggled without school but the demands of school were just too much. Then things settled down the last few weeks and I was able to pass all of my classes and actually did better than I thought I would.
Next year will still be difficult. I am worried about completing my internship in the spring and summer. I will have to work 16 hours a week at my internship as well as my normal 40 hours a week at my job. My employer has said they will help me as much as they can. I can do some work at home for both the internship and regular job which will help. I can also work the internship through spring break and break between semesters which will also help decrease the hours a little. A lot of how easy it will be to get all of the work done will depend on my caseload at work. Since I can't control my caseload, I'll just know that I have to work hard and it is only for a few months.
Jacob will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Another decision that was a little difficult but probably the easiest one of all. Jacob will be attending public school for several reasons. I like our school system and know he will get a good education there. I have spent quite a bit of time in the schools and know the teachers really care and Jacob will do well there. He will also have more diversity than he would get in public school or the neighboring school districts. His elementary school has a mission statement that includes celebrating the cultural history of all of it's students.
Matthew will be attending 4K in the public schools this fall. This was a little more difficult decision. I knew I wanted him to attend 4K but it was hard to decide where he should attend. The district has several sites parents can choose from. Originally he was going to attend at the Y so he would have cheaper wrap around care but I was concerned about him changing day cares. He has been at our current center for just over a year. It's the longest he has ever attended one daycare and he has been thriving there. He has some trouble with transitions so I was concerned about how changing daycares again would affect him.
I considered leaving Matthew at the daycare he is at now for 4K but it is very expensive. It would have cost about $240 a week to attend there. I could save a lot of money if I had him go to the Y and had Jacob attend daycare either at the school or at the Y. This would have meant having kids at 2 different centers that needed to be picked up every night which is not something I was looking forward to but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the extra money.
I mentioned to the daycare that we were leaving in the fall because it was too expensive to stay there. I needed to save the extra money especially since I no longer receive a subsidy for Matthew (it ended after his adoption). The director spoke to me and we began discussing discounts if both children attend and if Matthew attends 4K off site in the morning. I called the school district last week and they stated they would provide transportation for him to and from 4K at a nearby elementary school for free. The director stated this would be fine and he will be charging me a lot less every week.
It is now affordable to have the kids attend public school for 4K and 5K and daycare at the same place they have been going. I will be saving about $800 a month in daycare costs. The kids will have the security of attending the same daycare when they aren't in school. Matthew will be able to attend "big kid" school 3 hours a day and will be a nice way to transition to full-day school next year.
So after months of struggling with trying to decide where everyone should go to school, the decisions are finally made. Everyone has spots reserved in the desired programs and registration has begun. Now, I just need to swallow hard and begin looking for sales on school supplies.