I continue my travels, this time to a Montessori school. The Montessori school is picture perfect to me. I look through the observation windows into the classrooms only to see primly dressed, neat, and clean children learning their little hearts and minds out. Oh, what glory! Here’s one boy placing cubes in descending order by size, there’s another, picking pom poms up by a little scooper, and there, over there, a girl reading a book all on her own, looking so peaceful while others carry on their own form of learning. What beauty! And then the reality check as the fuzziness in my head clears away…do we really want to pay this hefty tuition on a monthly basis for kindergarten, or save that for college later on down the line? Kindergarten or college?! Hmmm, but he will never experience this kind of beauty again, I say! We could already visualize my husband and I, telling our parents (the grandparents), and our parents giving us this look “So…you decided to PAY for kindergarten huh? When there’s a school right across from it that’s FREE? Well, that makes sense. Didn’t you two go to your neighborhood school…” Well, the Montessori school played with my heartstrings, to say the least, and we would need to check one last option.
The local elementary school. Why not give everything a chance right, if I’ve gone this far down the path of crazy, one more step surely can do no harm. It was a brief visit since it wasn’t preplanned. I got the basic info from the secretary at the front desk, she gave me all the pertinent paperwork. She told me about the upcoming orientation where we would be able to meet the teacher, see the classroom, etc. She was very friendly and I left, as I usually do, with more indecision. I worried about some of the behaviors or manners my son, at the tender age of five, might encounter that were unIslamic. We, as his parents, would counter them of course, but let’s focus on building this little person with all the etiquettes we do want him to manifest first, right? And of course, negative influences come with any form of schooling. Later, I email all four kindergarten teachers (yes, I’ve gone completely stir-crazy, I concede!), to ask questions about the kindergarten schedule, class size, etc. I get a brief response telling me that all my questions will be answered at the orientation. Secretly I know that the four teachers probably checked with each other (I would know, I was a teacher!) and laughed about my email and I’m almost embarrassed. But hey, a crazy momma’s gotta do what a crazy momma’s gotta do, right?
And so now we come, good riddance, to the end of our fact finding mission. I’ve not given an exhaustive (believe it or not) narrative of all the thoughts and feelings, pros and cons of each place, and ongoing discussions we’ve been having as a family. Each day, my heart tugs me in one direction, then another. I have days of pure, innocent, ethereal bliss with my children and days where I just one to stay under the covers and not come out. The only things guiding me are the duaas and prayers. I know that we are not making a permanent decision, one that cannot be reexamined later to fit our son’s needs and growth. And so one day, subhanaAllah, I feel at complete ease with a solution we’ve come up with. Let’s hope it lasts more than 15 minutes
Fariha Khan lives in MD and is blessed with one daughter and two sons. She loves reading, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.