Private school doesn’t fulfill all needs

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: I am the mother of three boys. Two of my boys are enrolled at the local public school and are quite happy. They are thriving academically and socially. Their class sizes are big, but the school is not overcrowded, and they receive plenty of attention from their teachers. They are also close with many of their classmates, and because the classes are larger, the naughty children don’t stand out much and aren’t very disruptive.

My third child is enrolled at a private school specializing in children with learning disabilities. My husband and I believe it is important to help our youngest child with the private schooling, as the testing and recommendations from schools have indicated it’s helpful to his learning and school experience. His school has a great reputation locally, and we were excited for him to attend. My husband, our two elder children and I are very supportive of him and don’t ever discourage him because he has learning disabilities. We are confident he is in a supportive environment at home.

We are concerned, though, because the school where he is enrolled seems to be poorly managed and struggling with enrollment. His particular grade has only five kids. Because there are two separate classes, the grade is split into a class of two and a class of three. So he is not getting a rewarding experience socially, and the naughty children stand out and are disruptive to his experience. He is doing well academically, but part of that may be because my husband and I get him extra help.

We are concerned that the lack of a quality social environment will put our son at a long-term disadvantage. Do you have any thoughts? — Concerned Mommy

Dear Concerned Mommy: If it walks like a duck, acts like a duck and quacks, it must be a duck. Social exposure is critical for young children, and if you are noticing these issues, then your concerns must be valid. It is great that your family has the willingness and means to support your son and provide him an educational experience that addresses his needs. Given that you are willing to do this, I’d recommend you do some research on schools that offer similar programs and visit these schools. Visit as many times as you need to understand both the academic and the social aspects of these schools. Start to build a pros-and-cons analysis of each school, and determine what environment will be best for him. Good luck.

Dear Annie: I really enjoyed the responses from your recent question to readers about whether they would have children if they had a do-over, so to speak. All the different points of view were very interesting and thought-provoking. Another age-old question I think might be of interest to explore is, Which do you think is easier to raise, a boy or a girl? I’m sure there would again be many points of view to contemplate.

I had three daughters, and my best friend had three sons. We often discussed the topic and one day decided we would trade children for eight hours. I had not realized how physically active boys are — jumping, climbing and wrestling — and was ecstatic once the boys went home. My girlfriend thoroughly enjoyed her day and asked whether we could do it again sometime. I said, “Maybe we can once my house and I recover.” She laughed and said, “See? I told you girls are easier!” — Terry

Dear Terry: Great idea. I’d like to officially pose the question to readers: Do you think boys or girls are easier to raise? Send responses to dearannie@ creators.com.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.