Frickin’ frackin’ foreclosure

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Last year, I wrote a post titled “Off to School”. The post was about our oldest son starting Kindergarten and our decision to enroll him in a Montessori school. I wrote the post early in my blogging career, back when I had all of two readers: a sister and a friend.

This post is about school, too. Actually, this post is about one school. My son’s school. The school my youngest was going to enter in August. The school we hoped to stick with through elementary school. Funny how things change. Not funny really. Sad. Quite sad.

I have a list of books recommended by my readers. As a result, I am reading more and more. I am exposing myself to many different authors. I am learning that many authors write incomplete sentences. For impact? Maybe? Regardless, based on the books I am reading, there is nothing wrong with the short non-sentences in the second paragraph. Moreover, the fact that this has nothing to do with the bulk of the post is acceptable, too.

Joe and my Mom, his Grammy on Kindergarten graduation day.

So, I picked up my son from camp on Friday. He was so excited to tell me about the animal of the day. The animal of the day was a giraffe, but that is not important right now.

Before Joe and I walked out of the school, the Director said she wanted to talk to me. She and I walked out to the school’s family room, leaving the other kids with an assistant. The Director handed me an envelope, explaining many of the parents were receiving the news in the mail.

The news? Foreclosure. The school was foreclosed. One more time for effect – the school was foreclosed.

Please know, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the Director. The school was her baby. She and her husband put everything into this school. I commend her. Truly. And my son? Clueless. The week at camp was wonderful. He had a blast learning and playing. She was there – with the kids – every day. Her world was crumbling around her, yet she managed to educate, inspire and entertain kids throughout all of it.

After the tears, and there were many tears shed, came the realization that we needed to find a new school. In fact, we needed to find a new summer camp. Actually, we just received the news days ago; we still need to find a new school and a new summer camp.

Commence the freak-out. ACK! Oh my gosh!! What are we going to do?! I do NOT want to put the boys in public school. Where are other Montessori schools? How am I going to research schools, hold down two jobs and watch Joe?

“Rob… would you please stop and get some ice cream on your way home from work?”
“Seriously? I just bought you two pints the other day.”
“Yes, seriously. That was two days ago – they are gone.”

We spent Friday night, Saturday and Sunday in shock. Thankfully, Saturday was also spent with family, which offered a nice distraction from the shock. Monday was spent online and on the phone, trying to get appointments to visit schools. Tuesday was spent juggling kids and touring the first school. Wednesday, we’ll tour two more schools. Thursday, we’ll tour a fourth school. Friday, we have an appointment to tour a fifth school. However, the fifth school’s tuition for one child is just over $15,000 a year. I am working a 2nd job to help pay for the boys’ private school; I have no intention of working a 3rd and 4th job to cover two kids at $15K each. I need to cancel Friday’s appointment.

Monday night, as Rob and I sat down to discuss the schools I found to visit, we had a blow out. For me, the blow out consisted of my sadness for the school closing, the pressure to find a new one and the feeling of being overwhelmed. For Rob, the blow out consisted of me yelling. Though let’s be honest here, Rob reviewed the list Sunday night by my side. He did not utter a word. However, Monday night, after appointments were made, Rob’s response was, “First, I don’t approve of all the schools. I think some are too far away.”

“What?! Why didn’t you tell me this last night – before I made the appointments? How many schools have your approval?”

“One.”

[We are experiencing technical difficulties in the form of expletives and hand gestures. Please duck, cover and be patient. We’ll resume shortly.]

Happily, Rob saw the light. Once again, his wife was correct with everything she thought, said, and did; he loved her, and their life was filled with unicorns and rainbows. Well, the love part is accurate.

The public school near our house is 2 1/2 miles away, with the first mile consisting of getting out of our subdivision. The school is convenient both in location and price (ahem, free). But, my personal choice, and the personal choice of my husband, is that we want our kids to attend a private school – Montessori preferred.Β  That said, we do not have many options within a 10 mile radius, so the options are not few, per se, just far between. (Well, we do have that one – the sole recipient of Rob’s approval.)

When I started this post in my head Friday night, I was consumed with sadness and shock, and I was frazzled with the abrupt and sudden change. With each passing day, nonstop emails between the families from the (now) closed school and the realization that options surround us, I am feeling more at ease with this bump in life. I am still sad for the Director and her family, as well as the newly unemployed teachers and staff, but I am thankful for the family of friends we made during our seemingly short time at Woodstock International School. Memories were made, and even the worst of economies and countless foreclosures can’t take those memories away from us. Thank you, Jory Family.

Me and Joe during Morning with Mommy at his school. One of many wonderful memories.

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37 thoughts on “Frickin’ frackin’ foreclosure

  1. Well that bites… as a former public school teacher I would say that public schools often have a lot to offer, but it is so important to continue educating the kiddos at home. We supplement education through home enrichment-activities and tutoring. It’s cheap. It’s fun.

    I hope it all works out.

    If I lived closer I’d bring ice cream.

    πŸ™‚ J.

    • Julie – hear me now … if the boys could have you as a teacher, I’d sign ’em up! Teachers make the difference. Bottom line. Period. The best teacher I had was my 1st grade teacher, Ms. Judge. When my first elementary school closed, she came to the new school with me. As a result, I was fortunate to have her as my fourth grade teacher, too. I love Ms. Judge. Honestly, I had great teachers throughout my public education. Truly. You can find good teachers in public and private schools, just as you can find bad teachers in public and private schools. Good teachers make a difference, wherever you find them. Thank you for teaching the kids. Honestly. Oh, and thanks for the ice cream offer. (I have two more pints in the freezer. No, I’m not kidding.) ~ Lenore

  2. I’m terribly sorry about the curve you’ve been thrown. Life has a way of doing that. My 2 nieces started their life with Montessori and then began public school. They do wonderfully in school. One has evenbeen invited to go to washington dc. Although I don’t know an awful lot about the Montessori school of thought, I am a public school teacher in Texas and I can tell you how different school is today than when I went. Most teachers should have a very hands on approach, a child centered learning environment rather than a teacher led, a discovery approach to lots of math and science. Public education is moving away from the “sit and get” old way, at least in elementary school. I wish you the absolute best in finding a new school. I know your boys will have the best education possible with the wonderful parents they have. Best of luck!

    • Thank you, thank you, Angel. Through blogging, I have ‘met’ incredible folks who are teachers. You, included. Based on your writing, your Dad and your overall outlook (through writing), I imagine you are a fantastic teacher. I’d be honored to have you teach my boys. As I told Julie, it’s not the location of the education, so much as it is the teacher giving the education. And, yes, as Julie said – supplementing the education at home is as important. The state of Georgia is not rated all that high in the US for education. My niece and nephews went to public schools in Coppell, TX and excelled. Great schools – great teachers.

      I agree with you, too. The elementary style of teaching is different from high school. Elementary is focused more in integrated learning – it works. I wish the public schools would do that throughout the levels of school. Again, thank you! ~ Lenore

  3. Andrea HT

    The first thing I wanted to say was, “Oh, Rob”. Not the Laura Petrie Oh Rob, but more of a really???? WTH were you thinking Rob by not speaking up Sunday night? Huh? (tell him I still like him anyway!) And I love the expletives and hand gestures – very well timed. I know it’s hard to think clearly when you’re hit with the unexpected but so glad you are getting support from family, friends and fellow bloggers and you can see a little more clearly. With 4 to choose from, one of them will be right. And seriously….$15k a year for grade school??? That’s just ridiculous.

    • “Not the Laura Petrie Oh Rob.” That’s funny, Andrea HT! That is down right hilarious! It’s OK. We worked it out. And well – the man brought home two more pints of ice cream, so yeah – he’s forgiven.

      I am amazed at the emails going back and forth between the families. We are all keeping each other updated on the various site visits, etc. It’s wonderful. I am appreciating more and more the village that surrounds me. Hillary Clinton was right … it does take a village. Love you! Mean it! ~ Lenore

  4. Ah! Deeeeeep breathing…in and out. And raise a spoonful of ice cream between breaths…I can only imagine how sad you must be feeling to be dealt with such a huge change so suddenly. But I’ve no doubt you will find the right school and it will all come together. In fact, I know it will be all right as you still have your sharp wit and sense of humor (love the line about you being right all the time and unicorns and rainbows) It’s clear in that sweet picture of you two that you are an amazing mom and your kids and husband are very lucky to have you!

    • Darla – if you only knew how many spoonfuls of ice cream I have raised between breaths. Folks talk about waiting for that glass of wine at the end of the day… Me? I’m all about the pint…. the pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I think an intervention will be needed soon. Let me finish the two pints currently in the freezer first, though. OK?

      Things are settling down nicely. Now that we are getting out and seeing other places, I know we’ll be fine. But yes – the huge and sudden change was startling to say the least. The post ended up being more comical than I had intended, because in the beginning I was so sad and so scared. Now, I see the humor and I am embracing it. Genuinely good times, even amidst the crazy. ~ Lenore

  5. What about Furtah Preparatory School on Highway 92? We are Pre-K through grade 12 and our Pre-K through grade 3 is Montessori! πŸ™‚ First grade tuition is $8,500, but we are waiving several fees for Woodstock International parents. Call us! 678-574-6488.

    • Doors are opening, Young American. We are making progress, and I think I am starting to see a little bit of light at end of the tunnel. Actually, the light looks more like …. Hey! It’s a rainbow!!! πŸ™‚

    • Ms. Kim the G is silent …. is that good look or good luck? Because honesty, I’ll take either. If the picture of me is a good look for me – cool! If you’re just offering me luck – well, that’ll work, too. I’m easy like that. πŸ™‚

  6. Argh. That’s all I can think to say. Someday, this will be only a crummy memory, but today it’s a crummy now. I’m glad you’re trying to look forward, that being said. Good luck–and I don’t must mean finding a new school! (There was one point in your entry where I wanted to utter a few expletives of my own.)

    • The steady stream of emails from the other parents talking about the various schools visited – things are looking better. The families are doing their best to find new jobs for the teachers, help the school sell the furniture, and help everyone find a good ‘new’ school. We are all working together. My heart still goes out to the Jory family. Thanks for sharing in my spouting of expletives. I hate to “expletivate” alone. πŸ™‚

  7. OMGosh Lenore, that’s tough! For you and the school!
    One of our private parochial schools had to close this year and it has been a big blow for many families and the educators. The parents banded together and rented space in a local church, and a community center as well as space in a public school to start a new school. New name, same teachers, same kids. So the grades won’t all be in the same place but as you said it’s all about the teachers and the process. Mothers have incredible ingenuity. Eventually this horrible recession will abate. Foreclosure of schools is so wrong!
    Good luck with your finding the right place for your darling children. God bless.
    gmom.
    I’m right there with you spooning up the Phish Food.

    • How wonderful that the families of the parochial school got together and made it work in a different way. If you could see the emails going back and forth with the families from Joe’s school – it is truly amazing and heartwarming. Well, I shouldn’t say it is amazing. The school was made up of great people – but yeah, it’s amazing! It’s going as well as it can. I think the hardest part for everyone is letting go of such a wonderful place. The common response in the emails circulating is how none of the other schools have the same feeling WIS offered.

      Good to see you, GMom. You’re in my thoughts – even as I eat ice cream. πŸ˜€

  8. Priya

    All the very best, Lenore. I want to say this, though, that no matter what, your boys are going to get the best of education. They have thoughtful and considerate parents. (Surely Rob is a gem for getting you ice cream two days after the initial 2 pints? Very, very considerate.)

    Hang in there!

    • Priya, Rob is a gem – not only for providing me with ice cream, but because he puts up with me. He’s a keeper – and thankfully, he’s keeping me, too.
      Thank you for your kind words.

  9. Hope it has all worked out for one and all. I agree with Priya – with great role models like you (way to go in working through liife changing circumstances together – swearwords et al) your boys have an abundant advantage.

  10. georgettesullins

    You’re in my thoughts as you make this very important decision. We DO want the best for our children…the best that private, home school and/or public have to offer. Look forward to hearing what you choose. Sounds like you’re on top of it!!!

  11. Hey Lenore! Your boys are adorable! It does sound like everything is going to work out for everyone. I was fortunate – and determined – that my girls would go to public school K-12; our state has gifted and talented programs through Middle School, then International Bac for high school. Fortunately, they did well all the way through and had a myriad of choices for college. More than those in private school. Plus, I would have had to live under a bridge to pay the ridiculous tuitions the privates charged. My youngest just graduated from UTx a couple of weeks ago. Paying for college cleaned my clock, but now they are both on their own and doing well. You are so smart, I know your sons will do well wherever they land. Good luck, my friend!

    • Ooooo….. International Baccalaureate. I would love to get the boys into an IB school, but the cost is way out of our league. Your public schools sound great! What state? GA still lacks a bit … My nephew is at UTx now. He is in his second year. I’m not sure if you live in TX or not, but TX has some fantastic public schools.

      Thanks for visiting, Izzie! It’s great to see you! ~ Lenore

      • Lenore – I am in Texas and the IB program is offered only in public (free) schools. You mean to tell me they charge for the IB program in GA? Ridiculous! Call your state government – we have the dumbest gov in any state but public schools here have gifted and talented for K-8; special ed K-12, and IB 9-12 – all free, state law. Hope your nephew likes UT – it is GREAT. Although Athens wouldn’t be a bad little spot to be, either. x iz

        • Oh yeah. No, IB is not a public option for our schools. Nope. You want IB – you have to go private. Honestly, Texas has fantastic schools. GA is improving, but the state has a long way to go still.
          Athens? I love the city of Athens. Graduated from UGA and loved it – but I loved it more for the city. I have a niece staring at UGA in the fall.

  12. A suggestion: As a newspaper girl, I’m sure there is a reporter or columnist who covers the economy where you live who would love to hear this story and talk to the school director. Contact your local paper and talk to them. Tell them the school went into foreclosure. This might be a bigger issue where you are; there may be other schools going out of business in the same manner. Also, the story may help you get the word out that you’re looking for a top-notch program for your son. This really is very sad. I hope everything works out for you!

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Kristina. One of the parents actually did contacted the media to trash talk the school. Thankfully, the rest of the parents rallied in favor of the school, making sure the truth got out. We were all reimbursed for camps and enrollment/application fees for the upcoming year. You are correct – it is a bigger issue – but the bigger issue is the state of the economy. Many private schools are struggling. This was the third school to foreclose in our area.

      Thankfully, we have found another school for the boys. We will miss WIS greatly, but I think we found a wonderful new place.

      Good to see you again!

  13. jackiequeen

    Interesting read, for someone coming from Scotland to Canada, and not well versed in state/public schools in the US. I taught my son at home until he was 17 years old and then he went off to University. He was a most creative individual, writing poetry and stories, painting and making imaginative constructions – until he entered the ‘system’. Then he had to conform and stick with the course work given. Given those years again, I would repeat everything up to University and then allow him still to be that ‘individual’.

    • Jackie – I admire the fact that you home-schooled your son. I’m afraid I would do my boys an injustice if I home-schooled them, because I am lazy at heart. (Not to mention my dislike/fear of mathematics.) Though my boys are in the very early years of school, I am committed to find places where they have the freedom to explore. For me, that means Montessori.
      Thank you for visiting, reading and commenting. I hope you’ll come back. Cheers! ~ Lenore

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