Why I chose public school

Last year at this time, I was tearing my hair out, in tears trying to figure out where Isaac was going to school for kindergarten. He had just come out of an amazing integrated preschool, where he had been for 3 years. I wasn’t handing my crazy boy off to just any school. I had only a few weeks left to make a choice. I had options for Isaac to go to private school, public school or even homeschool.

I knew what Isaac needed. I knew he needed a teacher who would love him for his sillies, accept his twitches, and not put up with any of his garbage.  Because of this, I immediately ruled out homeschool. I knew if we did that, it would be the biggest mistake I’ve made in a long time. Isaac wouldn’t learn much, because we’d butt heads all of the time and we’d pretty much spend the day miserable. Plus, Isaac is too social a creature to even think of just teaching him at home.

So, in reality, we were down to private and public school.

I wasn’t sure of either, but I had to pick one. I had to do what was right for us as a family.

So, the first thing I did was tentatively hold a spot for him at the private school I teach at.  I wasn’t really thrilled with that option, as I had this sick feeling if anything went even slightly wrong, he’d be sent upstairs to me for me to deal with. I adore the kindergarten teacher, but knowing the incoming group, I knew that’s what would have happened. But, better safe than sorry.

I then went and looked at a private, integrated kindergarten. It was wonderful…but…it was a one size fits all behavior approach. They used 123 Magic. I’ve got nothing against the system, but honestly, it doesn’t work for every child. Then, there was the cost. At almost $1,000/month, it wasn’t really feasible for the family. We were even offered a scholarship, but even at $600/month, it was still really out of reach.

We visited one last Catholic school. This one was right by our house, literally four blocks. We took Isaac for a visit, and it was a raving disaster. He was made fun of for his clothes by one of the teachers, and there were other things too. Other teachers didn’t make him feel welcome in the school and I was mislead on them taking kids with IEPs. On the phone, the story was that they had kids with IEPs the size of a small phone book. In person, it was a whole different story. They were extremely resistant to even talking to Isaac after they found he had an IEP. It was NOT where we wanted to send Isaac. We wanted to like it there. We really did.  It was perfect, on the surface. Full day Kindergarten, after school program…but with the people we encountered…not so much.

So, we decided, with a lot of sighing, second guessing and tears to send Isaac to public school. We knew they had the resources to really give him what he needed-therapies, differentiated instruction and the majority of the kids in the neighborhood. The only drawback was that the program was half day.

And you know what? It worked.

I was shocked. Stunned and thrilled.

Isaac made friends, made his teachers fall head over heels for him and his goofy ways. There were teachers that he needed.

And he’s got kids in his class on his hockey team.

Public school may not be right for everyone, but it is what’s right for us.

Photo credit


  1. 1

    I had to make the same tough decision for my daughters 15 years ago, and believe me, it was just as difficult then as it is now. But I, like you, chose the public school and haven’t regretted it for one day. Both of my girls are still in public school, one is a sophomore and one is a freshman this year, and they are happy, well-adjusted, and much more mature than a lot of private school students their age. I wouldn’t go back and change my decision at all, and I am sure you will have the same feelings down the road, too!


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