Yes, I know, your eyes are glazing over, coming here and reading about schools. It's almost over, I swear! A brief and all-consuming burst and then, poof!, it's over. So bear with me.
I went to a great open house last night for the school closest to where we currently live. I actually wasn't even going to tour it because I hadn't read anything about it that interested me (they seem to have more of a math/science focus vs an arts focus). Then recently I was given a glowing recommendation for the school, so I went to check it out. I ended up really liking the school. Even though they don't have a true arts focus, the halls were literally covered with child-created art. The tours were well organized, the classrooms were big and had big windows, the teachers were all wonderful, the school had some great resources and seemed like a close-knit community. I really liked what I saw/heard. It was funny because many of the parents in the close group I communicate with are all clamoring over a local alternative public school, which I toured last week, but I was much more impressed with the school I saw last night. Another mom at Iris's school told our teacher that she felt like she was just "drinking the kool-aid" (so to speak) about the alternative school, because she, too, wasn't terribly impressed by it despite all of the glowing reviews it seems to be getting. So it felt like we SHOULD have liked it, when really we were more like "meh, this seems okay". Who knows, maybe I actually DO want a more structured, traditional school for Iris? At least, in the two schools I toured, that's what I leaned more towards.
There is another tour coming up that I am most excited about, however. This school has more of an arts focus than either of the two schools I have seen already, so that excites me. I do try to remind myself, though, that art is something Iris can easily be immersed in at home, whereas things like science/math, not so much. Although Iris has family members who are extremely proficient in those subjects, none of them happen to live under our roof. I also try to remind myself of my brother, the most successful artist I know, who was basically just like Iris at her age. He never went to an art school, not even for college, he just did what he loved and that guided him through.
I think we're really lucky here in having so many great public school choices. It could be so, so much worse. We live in an area of the city where pretty much any school we choose is going to be fine. I am really enjoying the tours and wish I could go on many more, just to see more of the schools!