Despite Lillian only being 11 months old and still shrieking incoherently, the topic of schools is still fairly common. It’s never too young to think about your child’s education. Afterall, Lillian is obsessed with carrying the “L” wooden puzzle piece around in her mouth, so I think she is going to be a genius and we probably should start college visits soon as well.
When thinking about schools, one of the big things that we get hung up on is location, location, location. Private schools around here are outrageously expensive — $20k for 1st grade anyone?! — so we are leaning towards public schools, which I am fine with, as a product of a public high school (albeit, Catholic grade school). There are a few good school districts in the City that we could move to and still be close to cultural and fun activities. Being urbanites, we are excited about the idea of staying in the City; but there is the foreign allure of the county that every now and then rears its head. Our decision is still up in the air, and we have a while, but considering baby#2 hinges on a bigger house (and better schools), I would love to find that dream area relatively soon before all my eggs turn into raisins.
Often, when we talk to people about our school district/living in the City dilemma, they ask us about sending our child(ren) to Catholic school. You see, Baltimore is a City based in über religiosity and there is a large spattering of Catholic schools. They are significantly cheaper than the private/independent schools, and are better than the City schools academically. Lauren and I both went to Catholic schools growing up and would definitely affirm that the education is great. When I entered into public school in 9th grade, I was very much ahead of my “standard” level classmates and immediately jumped into gifted and talented. I credit a lot of this ability to the education I received. I also credit this educational atmosphere for years of therapy from bullying, but that’s another story…
So what’s our trouble with the religious school option? Afterall, it is affordable (comparatively), offers great academic options and really prepares kids for life. Sounds pretty great, yes? Oh, right… except for that “your parents will burn in hell” thing that is often spouted off in such institutions. We find ourselves reminding neighbors, family and friends about this point all the time when they ask. For so many people, sending your kids to Catholic schools is just what you do if you live in the City. I have even briefly considered working for a Catholic school in my next life (to save $ on tuition), but then realized that we know someone who was fired from the Archdiosis for being gay, so that might not be a great idea for our family.
We clearly have a while until she is of school age and have to make any decisions, but it is something that is on our minds. It is important for us to have Lillian attend a school where there are families similar to hers, if not at the very least accepting of them.