Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Madison Public Schools in a Frugal Life

Today our frugal family embarked on a new path, public schools.  Last year we gave a local private school a try, wrongly thinking private equaled small, flexible, attentive.  We have no problem paying for quality, and as we flipped the calendar to September 2013 we thought private school meant all of those things.  After 13 days it was clear it did not, at least at that one institution.  It was more like 1920s Germany there - rigid, dogmatic, inflexible, staff of questionable professional abilities, and absolutely no fun for the kids.  Followers of this blog know the route we took, and that we were grateful to find a different preschool for the children.

However, as we turned the calendar to September 2014 our oldest was now of kindergarten age.  A decision was required, go with the public school up the road or try our hand at another variety of private schools.  I spent a good portion of the winter and spring interrogating schools (the legal training comes in handy at times) and we determined that the public school was by far the best fit for this family.  And the decision is a frugal one.

Today we walked our son to school.  The staff greeted us with music and smiles, it was festive. Enrollment involved some government forms, a materials fee of $40, and less than $100 in school supplies. A far cry from the $10,000 we'd handed over the summer before.  Quite skeptical, my husband is reserving comment until we are a few more days or weeks in, but so far, I am thrilled.  And I am planning to advocate, volunteer, and cheer on the public school teachers.  One of the things I kept hearing in my "research" was that a quality education is less "the school" and more "the family at home".   And that is how 13 days last September turned this frugal Mama into a supporter of the Madison Public Schools, which I attended myself, kindergarten through senior year of high school.  Stay tuned.

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