French or Jesus

first world problems

Continue sending the kids to public French immersion
vs
Transfer them to private Catholic school

it's a big decision.  when you first get pregnant, school is so very very far away from your mind.  getting through 100 sleepless nights is usually the priority, but one day you find yourself surrounded by the mom friends you have accumulated over your first 3-4 years and suddenly everyone is yammering back and forth about what they have heard from pre-schools A, B, and C.

we've had a decent experience this year.  school started late with the teacher strike and of course there was much adjustment for many kids transitioning from 3 days of 2.5 hour preschool to 5 full consecutive days of a new classroom, new teacher, new lessons, new kids and for many, their first introduction to a new language.

the behaviour issues aside, Moses has excelled with the French.  his vocabulary has grown and he has received 3 GOTCHA notes for "speaking French".  his R's are all deep in his throat, his pronunciation is incredible.  i can tell because my high school French teacher tortured us with pronunciation.  if you were in class with me you might remember a particular instance where teacher and student went back and forth a dozen times with the word BONHEUR… yes Boner vs Bonheur.  classic.  Moses loves it.  he knows half a dozen songs which he also translates in English.  he knows the days of the week.  he can count by 10's to 100, he can count to 30 the last time i heard though i'm sure he can probably count to 100 by now since he already understand how to count to 100 in english.  if he knows the 10's he understands he just needs to add 1-9 in between.  he can identify his numbers (do simple addition and subtraction) and letters (spelling) in French which is amazing since i've known how to count to 10 in Chinese since i was a kid but i could not identify them or know which number is which if asked at age 31.  blah blah blah...

i love it.  i love the French and i know that i am being selfish about it.  i love hearing it and i love how proud he is of himself.  I AM PROUD OF HIM.  i know he will excel in it, that he will absorb it easily, but i have to ask myself how much i am weighing having a second language against his overall academic achievement.  i know that having a second language is supposed to have many benefits for the brain, but every person is different and these benefits may not always be as obvious or especially useful despite what studies find.

...it has been shown to enhance children's cognitive development. Children who learn a foreign language beginning in early childhood demonstrate certain cognitive advantages over children who do not. Research conducted in Canada with young children shows that those who are bilingual develop the concept of "object permanence" at an earlier age. Bilingual students learn sooner that an object remains the same, even though the object has a different name in another language. For example, a foot remains a foot and performs the function of a foot, whether it is labeled a foot in English or un pied in French.

Additionally, foreign language learning is much more a cognitive problem solving activity than a linguistic activity, overall. Studies have shown repeatedly that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind in young children. Students who are learning a foreign language out-score their non-foreign language learning peers in the verbal and, surprisingly to some, the math sections of standardized tests. This relationship between foreign language study and increased mathematical skill development, particularly in the area of problem solving, points once again to the fact that second language learning is more of a cognitive than linguistic activity.  

it's hard to shake off the benefits of a second language for the sake of academics.  i've considered keeping the kids in immersion until grade 4 and then transferring them, but is that still so young that they will just forget everything they learned?  will their once exercised minds lose those benefits over time?  would those 5 years + 2 years of bilingual preschool have been a "waste of time"?  would the roots wither up and die to be forgotten forever???   I DON'T KNOW.  

that said, i shouldn't rule academics out since Moses clearly thrives in a challenging and academic environment.  it is second nature for him to learn, in fact he ENJOYS learning and absorbs information like a sponge.  i feel like learning French IS the challenge for him at the moment, that if he were in the English program, he might be absolutely bored as hell.  he needs the challenge and i feel like private school will make more time and more opportunity for him.

private schools, and Catholic in particular do tend to focus on behaviour more in accordance with the teachings of the religion.  i'm sure many of you who know me are laughing tears right now wondering what private school did for me since every second word that comes out of my mouth is simply foul and i'm pretty disgusting in general.  during my crazy hell-bent teenage years, i clearly recall my Dad asking me why the hell he was paying so much money to send me to LFA if i was going to be so shitty.  i responded, of course, with a smart ass answer: Just think how much worse I would be if you DIDN'T send me to private school!  A total Chloe answer.

on that note, there is definitely a little of the US vs THEM with private and public schools.  back in the day, i was definitely snobby about being a private school kid.  high-school set the motions of change for that school of thought, especially since one of my high school best friends to date attended public French Immersion for elementary and is pretty much a genius and was our Valedictorian…  to some extent, i feel like people are going to be who they are going to be.  their environment will surely have an impact on them, but i feel like once they become adults, they basically settle into the person they have always been since they were 6 years old.  on top of my sailor mouth, i can't say how much private school contributed to my life.  i wasn't an academic even though i had decent grades.  i'm an artsy fartsy creative individual and Catholic private schools just don't seem to care about that.  i feel like public schools offer more opportunities in that area.  plus, just look at me, i'm 32 and i still don't know what the hell i am doing with my life!

in terms of school ratings, their current school is rated 5.5 out of 10 whereas the private school we have in mind rates 8.5.  the scores have meaning but it is hard to grasp their true meaning and i cant help but consider the trade offs between choosing one over the other.  yes, the private school will probably offer a better academic education but is it too narrow minded to think that academics are what really get a person further in life?  it is wonderful for getting good grades that will help you get into UBC SFU or into a post-secondary institution of your choice, but what if that is not the path you wish to take?  and if it is not your path to thrive in academics in your field of work, would you have missed out on the benefits of a second language?  would you have missed out on a possibly greater pool of the population that seems a little truer to that of "the real world"?  in some ways, i feel like private school can be a little sheltered and although they may provide opportunities academically, perhaps they are less flexible and open to different ways of thinking and interacting.  it is a completely different social circle!

these scores rate writing and reading and numerics but that is not the only thing that makes a good school.  community needs to be included and this is where i get selfish again.  i've had a year to meet and get to know the parents/families of Moses' classmates.  i'm a social person and the thought of not seeing these familiar friendly faces in the morning make me sad.  and can we discuss the whole WALKING ACROSS THE STREET TO SCHOOL vs DRIVING 10 MINUTES.  not so bad if you have 1 kid, but i've got 3 to shout at every morning and between the 3 of them, it will be TWELVE years of driving.  SELFISH SELFISH SELFISH.

i know i will meet other parents.  plus, one of my good mama friends has just officially transferred her son over and the boys get along well.  i will have her to drop F-bombs with (because dropping f-bombs is what takes you from acquaintance to BFFS with me HA!).  i can't help but be nervous because of the religious factor despite the fact that more than 50% of the students are non-Catholic.  i had such an intense religious upbringing that i am really uncomfortable having my kids immersed in it.  when we visited the school last Friday, my stomach turned seeing photos and statues in the halls and in every classroom even though i shared the same experience as a child.  i should admit that up until grade 7 i had a very positive relationship with my religion.  it was comforting.  however, i can also say that i was one of those kids that were all "YOU ARE GOING TO HELL" if you didn't believe in God.  i don't want my children to become narrow minded Christians that develop a US vs THEM mentality.  i don't want them to be close minded about other religions and ways of life.  i believe in the general message of Catholicism but isn't it every parents' hope that their kids will BE A GOOD PERSON????  Mostly it is the ideas of Creationism and all the anti-gay, anti-divorce, anti-women-as-priests-and-popes-etc and all these antiquated ideas that make me sick to my stomach.  IT'S HYPOCRACY.  you can't preach about LOVE and then go hating on everyone that isn't Catholic.  PS Jesus didn't create Catholicism, dudes created it after he died thanks to the Jews.  i don't know, maybe i would crucify someone who kept claiming he was the King of the Jews and hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes?  no i wouldn't, but whatever.  he was seriously JUST A GUY.  the whole Loaves and Fishes story was not a miracle, it is just a really old version of the Stone Soup story where if everyone shares a little, everyone gets fed.  i don't understand how people take a book that is thousands of years old literally!  haven't you ever played Telephone?  the Bible is a bunch of guys playing Telephone and not just in one language, it has been translated over and over and there are multiple versions!  Have you not heard of the term LOST IN TRANSLATION?  i think what bothers me the most is the blind faith, that people do the motions and the devotions but don't actually give a clear thought about any of it or put in the time or effort to research and really learn their religion and its history.  i know not every Catholic has brain damage, but i didn't meet them until after i was tainted and bitter.  honestly, all i can say is THANK GOD THE NEW POPE IS DOPE.  i can see all the blind faith minions feeling uncomfortable as the new Pope advocates all the things they knew deep down were totally ok the whoooollleee time.

in conclusion to this rant, the atheist kid next door told me that learning about Catholicism was NBD when she came knocking for Walkathon pledges yesterday so i should simmer down.  plus, if they can get in touch with their spiritual side, i'm down.  it doesn't mean they will be crazy or that they will even stay with the religion into their teens or adult life.  people are people.  faith is faith.  do what works the best for your life.

religion aside, i have heard nothing but raving praise for the school.  parents are so happy with every aspect from the community to the academics and the programs/clubs offered.  the Principal was so kind and patient with the kids as he interviewed us and gave us a tour of the school.  Chloe came home saying "Mr K was so nice, i didn't think he was going to be THAT nice!" and they have chimed about wanting to attend the school despite the newness and not having French and not seeing their current classmates.

the uniforms that will save my life with Chloe



I AM TORN.
i can hardly manage to order a drink at a coffee shop never mind what school to put my kids in.

it's 1am.  i may or may not add to this post but we need to make a decision VERY soon.  UGH.


Comments

  1. I'm here. Registration opened for Junior Kindergarten at the Waldorf school I know will be perfect for Nova. But...do I really want to register her so early (at the tender age of 4) so far away (12 minutes) when I could just put her into a Christian Pre-School program a 10 minute walk from us? Or do I hold off completely and just think about this next year? I mean, who really needs preschool/junior kindergarten anyway? (While my academic, yearning for learning mind screams at me to get her started as early as possible!!!) Do I go where I know we are welcome and the teachers are kind or put her somewhere we've never been with people we don't know who will do lord knows what?!?! Public or private? Waldorf, Catholic, Ukrainian? Where will they excel? Where will they be nurtured? What will appeal to who they will be years and years and years from now?

    I hate thinking about school....but registration opened 3 days ago....

    So I have to decide...:(

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  2. Stacey. My decision was made and based on the fact the their current school's EduPac was due on Monday. So we are currently staying where we are, though I still feel like maybe i should make a last minute switch. I keep going around in circles with the same arguments for both, for and against for and against. It's so hard to know what decision is going to benefit your kids best, and even worse, if different schools will benefit different kids. There are definitely parents that separate their kids based on their different learning abilities. Good Luck with your decision Stacey!

    ReplyDelete

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