Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Our Virgina Adventure

We're back from our whirlwind tour of Virginia Beach. My son and I actually had a pretty good time together, despite the stress of testing, interviews and sleeping together in one room.

We arrived on Tuesday evening, grabbed a quick dinner, learned that the indoor pool was under renovation and both were in bed and asleep by 8 o'clock.

But at 2 a.m. my son woke me up. "Is it time to visit the schools yet?"

"No," I grumbled. "It's the middle of the night. Go back to sleep."

This happened every half hour for the rest of the morning until I finally turned the television on at 6:30 and told him to leave me alone. He was excited.

And then we showed up to the first school an hour early. We were there before the admissions people. I could have sworn she said, "I have your son scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Friday." Apparently she had said 9 a.m. to 11. Whatever. Being that early makes almost as bad an impression as being late.

But they let us sit in the office and wait for the 9 a.m. testing to begin. They had some blocks with numbers and math signs on them in a basket. My son sat on the floor and starting writing equations with the blocks. 6+5=11 and so forth.

You know what I was thinking! Is anyone watching this?

When my son and the other five kids who were going to be evaluated in a group that day gathered in the lobby, the admissions director sort of led introductions. Most of these were the kids who were applying from out of town.

She introduced a Canadian boy and asked him if he had taken a plane to Virginia. The kid buried in head in his dad's leg and sort of mumbled something. She introduced another boy and asked where he was from. He sort of mumbled, "Florida," but then refused to say another word.

Then she said, "And here we have Little Tuna Boy..."

He took two steps forward and declared, "I'm from Louisiana and I had to take two airplanes to get here!" He even made accompanying hand gestures.

Well, I had told him to just be himself and he was certainly doing just that.

I have no idea how his testing went, because parents were not invited to watch. But I was very proud of him. He handled himself very well. We had a little interview and individual testing the next morning. He loved it all.

And this school was amazing! It had everything we love about our own school plus an unbelievable facility. And they even have a school orchestra and violin program.

In the meantime on Friday, we grabbed lunch and headed out to another school. At the first school I got the tour while he tested, but since this second school is going to use the testing scores from the first, he was able to tour with me.

He was very impressed with how big the school was. He asked pertinent questions and introduced himself to everyone he saw. Before we left, the admissions director actually offered us two spots at the school.

It's hard because I was constantly comparing that school to the one we had seen that morning. And that first school wasn't only one of the best in the area, it was one of the best in the country and it fit in with our family philosophy and style. I was as little put off that this second school was so eager to have us.

I mean, sure. I know I have pretty great kids, but they haven't even met my daughter yet. The recommendations our teachers and headmaster sent to this school must have been stellar.

Since we've been home, I can't stop thinking about the choice we need to make. The first school accepts 80 first graders so I think my son has a decent chance, plus he won't be the "new kid" there. But they currently have no room in the fourth grade, so unless someone moves, there is very little chance my daughter will get in there.

And the more I've thought about it, the more I think I like the second school. It can't quite compare to the first, but it is still a very good school. They have more military people than the first school and it definitely had a less "moneyed" atmosphere. It felt more homey but less academically outstanding.

Do I want send my kids to different schools?

I guess I should wait until we find out where we're accepted before I get myself all wound up about it. But I really do hope that by some stroke of luck, they both get into the first school. Still, it is comforting to know that we have a good school to go to there no matter what.

Of course, we STILL don't know if we're even moving to that area!

The stress around my house right now is absolutely palpable. This "not knowing" is the worst.

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