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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.

No One Here But Us

We’ve been considering another school for Oscar.

He is in sixth grade now at our parish school, and with our move to Indiana this past spring, he had to adjust to entering a new class mid-stride. He is starting to settle in socially by now, but it hasn’t been an entirely easy transition.

There is another private, Christian school nearby that operates out of a great books model of education. That was the philosophy behind my major in college, and I’m a big believer in a classical, well-rounded liberal arts education. The curriculum at this new school begins in seventh grade and runs through high school, so the time is now to make the decision.

There are several positives: Besides the quality of the education itself, Oscar would be starting a class with others on the ground-floor, so to speak. He would have the advantage of beginning a school with other beginners, and would no longer be “the new kid.” He has a good friend who will be attending, so he’d even have a good social connection there to start with.

There are drawbacks as well: the new school would be expensive, for one. Also, it has been nice having all three of our children at the same school for the first time ever. There is one drop-off and pick-up location, and I know they see each other during the day. Oscar does a great job of taking Simon and Lucy in to school, and gives them each a hug before they go into their separate classrooms. He is on the basketball team, and is just starting to mesh with other kids there. There is also the fact that yet another move would have Oscar in his third school in three years.

What is the right decision?

There is no map here. There are no answers in the back of the book we can use to check our work. There is no one here to guide us, and we can only try to inform ourselves and make a reasoned judgment.

It is not easy, and it feels like the stakes are high.

We’ve been to an open house at the new school, and Oscar has made two visits to see the school and walk through a typical day. We talk nearly every day about how he is feeling about both options. We want him to feel like he has a voice in the conversation, and that we hear his preferences. His is not the only opinion that counts—as parents, we feel like we have the responsibility to make the best choices we can to provide for his education—but it would be foolish to leave him out of the discussion, or, worse, go against his wishes.

Right now, he has a balanced opinion, so that leaves things open for us to be able to make an open and free decision. What we will do, I’m not entirely sure.

It is a scary thing to be entrusted with these kinds of decisions that will set a trajectory for the life of our children. It is a choice between two goods, in the end—he’ll do fine in either place, I’m sure. It just seems like we should have access to some source of certainty for decisions so momentous.

All we have is our wits and our prayers, and I have to trust that those will be enough.