Things have been going well mood wise around the house... but just under the surface I am starting to really sweat the school issue. We just can't afford to continue to send Kid to her current school. Private school is shockingly expensive here and we needed Mr F's bonus and an anticipated yearly raise to make ends meet. Neither of those are looking very likely and things are beyond tight. There is really not much more we can do. I'm struggling to lower our food costs and Mr F is selling his car... so when I say things are tight I really, really, mean it.
Taking her out of school is an unfortunate necessity at this point. She'll finish out the year but there is just no way we can swing another year's tuition. This year's has already pushed us past the point of comfort. But pulling her out isn't easy either. Kid suffers from pretty severe social anxiety. And I'm not just saying that. I mean it's a real problem.
We held her back from Kindergarten in Michigan, which was the best possible decision we could have made for her, and that extra year did help her... some. But being the "new" kid is excrutiatingly difficult for her. She has made herself comfortable at her new school. She is doing very well socially and has become a social leader among her classmates. That is a triumphant accomplishment for a sensitive kid who compares herself to others in a very self-depreciating way... on just about every single level (except looks... she's pretty into her long golden hair!). Her current social comfort is a reflection, in no small part, on the particularly wonderful group of kids she just happened to be placed with. Kids, who due to the very small nature of the school, would be her classmates all the way through the 8th grade. She has taken great comfort in that thought.
Even still Kid is a kid who rips up her artwork if it isn't perfect enough. She comes home and announces (daily) that she is the only kid who doesn't know how to: read, spell, add, play violin, swim in the deep end, climb Mt Everest. She refuses to preform on any type of test, and is routinely under evaluated because of it. Long story short the girl has got ISSUES. She is intensely observant... and to her... everyone else's strengths exaggerate her weaknesses. She's smart (and hysterically funny)... but school isn't as easy for her as it is for others.
Right now, with LOTS of coaching from yours truly, she has got a set of teachers who (for the most part) get her. She is thriving (beyond my wildest imagination). She's still got her issues but they are not holding her back as much as they used to. She wants to go to school everyday (unheard of!) and loves all her friends. And lets face it... happiness should count for something. She is in an environment that has nurtured her quirks and allowed her to blossom in spite of them. At the same time, we can't jeopardize our financial health when there are other schooling options. And while I don't know that the other schools will fail to bring her out of her shell... I fear it... and that fear can be almost paralyzing.
It's a hard time for me since I will be the one to make and carry out this decision. The completely ridiculous school system here isn't helping matters. It would be one thing if I could know what school I was preparing her for. I have filled out the Magnet application and will be submitting it next week. It will be another couple of months before I find out her placement. In the meantime I will also apply to all the charter schools and hope (against hope) that she manages to snag a spot (available only if someone vacates a spot and then we win it by lottery). In April or May I will weigh our options (including homeschooling) and see where I think her best interest lies.
But I know she will be heartbroken to leave the small comfortable space she's made for herself among friendly faces. Especially since not even a year ago she said goodbye to her childhood friends in Michigan. That's a lot of unwanted change for a socially anxious kid... any kid for that matter.
It's tough, too, since I have completely no control. I have to just wait and see what spots we're offered and hope that what is best for her presents itself. I am thankful that this transition will happen after the summer break so that she will have already spent some time away from her classmates and the adjustment won't seem so abrupt (I hope). But seeing as there is no way we could ever afford to send Baby to preschool (or have either child take any type of extracurricular class) and afford Kid's tuition we'd have to pull her out sooner or later. So hopefully sooner, while hard right now, will be easier in the long run.
Listen, I know to most people the decision would be a no brainer. Take her out and put her in whatever free school you get into. "She'll do just fine!" But when your child has an issue and you find them a place that allows for them to develop confidence (and is markedly happier than she has ever been) it isn't so easy to pull her out. She loves her current school because she is happy socially. Taking her out is one of the hardest things I'll have to do. It's killing me. I want to do what is best for her but can't. This is one case where what is best for the family isn't best for everyone in the family... and Kid is taking a hit for the team.