Education! Only one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your child right?! So why is it so bloody difficult?
Now we are doing okay by anyone’s standards. My husband has a good enough job that I don’t have to work. When my son was two, I stopped working to spend more time with him before he went to school. I felt this was so important for his development and I wanted to be there with him through these years. I know I’m really lucky to be in this position and that not all mothers have this luxury.
One thing that was really clear from a very young age was that my son was a quick learner and very bright. I know what you’re thinking… I’m that mum that thinks the sun shines out of her son’s backside. Not true and, in fact, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst he’s super bright, he’s also been quite difficult to manage at times. My son could speak in full, conversational sentences by the age of two, he was reading basic words and writing before he started reception. That’s just the facts. He loves knowledge. He experiments with things and is constantly asking questions. It’s like an unquenchable thirst for him.
Quenching the thirst
In recent months, we have been looking to send him to a school which has more resources to challenge him and at least try to quench that learning thirst. But in this day and age, that means money… A bloody lot of money! Despite my husband being on a good wage, forking out fifteen grand a year just isn’t an option for us right now. Not with two kids to support and a mortgage to pay. In fact, our biggest need right now is to move to a bigger house as my stepson moved in with us a year and a half ago. Realistically the boys having their own space and their own bedrooms is a huge priority. It makes me think though, how much DO you have to be earning in order to be able to comfortably afford a private school, because we’re not struggling, but at the same time, there’s no way we could afford to pay the fees of a private school.
I’m sure you’re thinking, why not go back to work and pay for his education yourself? And this is definitely something I’m considering. However there are a couple of things that are holding this back at present that are too personal to share so publicly right now.
As an incredibly hands on mum to both my boys, this is really getting to me. I have a bright child who despite going to one of the best state schools in the area, is coasting and losing interest. I spend a lot of my time doing bits at home with him and whilst I don’t mind this, there should be some kind of support for this at school. Schools tend to focus on the children who are struggling the most, which is understandable but the brighter kids also need challenging to keep them engaged.
Although his school is one of the best in the area, there is no additional learning or support for the more advanced kids in the year.My son has lost a lot of confidence in the past year or so. He comes home regularly telling me things are ‘easy’ and that he’s ‘bored’. Thankfully he has a fantastic teacher and TA this year and for that I couldn’t be more grateful for. My worry is that from year three and onwards, that’s when the real pressure of school starts. I really want to get a head start on this.
We recently applied for a bursary at one of the local private schools. It was the perfect setting for him academically and extra curricularly. I have absolutely no doubt he would have done amazingly well there and been a real champion. However, our application was turned down due to our income, which although I appreciate is above average, it’s not private school level. Whilst my son took it really well, considering that was the school he really wanted to go to, I was left in pieces.
I feel like I’m letting him down. But I don’t have 15k minimum at my disposal. As a privately educated person all my life, this has really left such a bitter taste in my mouth. I was always under the impression that private schools wanted to attract the brightest students to keep their ‘stats’ up. After this experience, I can’t help but wonder if it’s all about money after all.
As a parent, what do I do? Someone suggested maybe using the money we would have paid to pay for a tutor, but I feel strongly that when the school day is done, it’s DONE! The evening should be a time of recreation and relaxation before bed. Additionally, I shouldn’t have to pay for a tutor because my child wants to learn more. But I also appreciate that the resources available at state schools are limited.
It’s that catch 22 situation. I’d love to hear from anyone who has gone through something similar with their child. I feel that I’m limiting him by keeping him at his current school, but without the funds, I’m also completely unable to further his learning. I know I’m not failing him as I’m doing everything in my power to support him, so why do I feel so much guilt?!