Getting Schooled


I had kids a few years before many of my friends, which means that about this time every year, I start getting calls. Worried calls. Trying to make the right choice calls. Trying to not make the wrong choice calls. Calls from terrified, about-to-start-kindergarten moms.

Don’t get me wrong. Nothing has wrecked me in the same way as sending my first to kindergarten, except maybe perhaps my first heartbreak. And I, unfortunately, responded in about the same pathetic fashion. I did stealthy drive-bys. I cried. And then anytime anyone would ask how I was, I cried again.

It is a very vulnerable and fragile time for us mamas.


Almost everyone you ask tells you to do exactly what they are doing. They love their school. They tell you which teacher to get.  They will stack the cases until you are sure that must be the only school for your very unique, special, and sensitive child. You are decided! At least, until you talk to someone else who also sings the praises of their school, or PTA, or programs?

The secret of this whiplash dilemma is this: The fact that so many people are sure of their choices means there is no wrong choice.

Be positive

Missoula provides some pretty spectacular education for our kiddos. Even with budget cuts, our kids are some of the luckiest around. (That being said, I think funding for education is the best ROI there is. And whether you attend that school or not, your neighborhood PTA being well-funded is going to increase your property values better than any remodel.)

There are a million ways to see pros AND cons to both public vs. private, class sizes, special programs, neighborhoods, median incomes, etc. So instead, I say make this decision on what you do want, not on what you don’t.

This outlook cuts down on the number of factors that you are deciding on, and also serves to make sure that whatever you choose, your kids don’t go around spouting the negatives of other places. They are so incredibly aware of these conversations, and I am pretty sure that none of us want to teach our children snobbery.


At the end of the day, you can change, and goodness knows, your kids will. This is just good practice in simply doing your best and then stepping back to see if it works out.

So there you go. Free yourself by knowing that this moment is not as make-or-break as it appears. Missoula is a blessed little valley of opportunities. We have as much to learn as our kiddos do.

Reminder: Kindergarten Round Up / Registration for Fall, 2011  is this month for MCPS!


Like this blog?  Check out more blogs from the Mama About Town, Elke Govertsen:  This is the Ride I’m On, or Bedtime, or F*#%ing Mittens.

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Bio: Elke Govertsen is the publisher of Mamalode which is a magazine and website for area moms. When not juggling her family, business, and the laundry (disclosure – there is no laundry being done whatsoever), Elke tries to eek out time to write, do yoga, and read like a fiend.