Tomorrow my son has his first ever entrance exam. He will be testing for a competitive public school slot. The school, called Tokushima Fuzoku Shogakko, is academically oriented. It is not my first choice for Jio, who is bright, but not precocious, but his best friend is interviewing as well so we are keeping our options open. My husband thinks that Fuzoku attracts well-educated open-minded families whose children would be disinclined to bully our boy. Also, there is a certain amount of prestige and the school is near the Deaf School, so I could just drop him off. Also, there is no homework. The kids, who are self-motivated, work at their own pace at school. The downside is that there are 40 kids in a class, and no sports.
I would like to send him to Seiko, a private school not too far from here. Half of the classes are conducted in English by native speakers. The classes are quite small, with no more than 20 kids per class. I think the second grade class this year has 16 kids. My husband thinks it’s too expensive. Depending on whether Jio rides the bus to school and eats school lunch, it could cost up to 80,000 yen per month, which would take a huge chunk out of Yoshi’s high school P.E. teacher salary. Obviously I would have to make some money, but it would be worth it to maintain Jio’s English. The older he gets, the less time he will spend with me, and the less he will speak English. I’ve been reading Waking Up American; Coming of Age Biculturally, a collection of essays put out by Seal Press. Most of the essayists write about not being able to speak one of their parents’ languages, or at least not being able to speak it well. It would be nice to be able to speak to at least one of my children in my native language.
The local public school is about a 40-minute walk from our house and there may be up to 39 kids in a class. Also, there is no English. If he goes to that school, it would be easy for him to make friends with kids in the neighborhood (I do believe that building community is important) and he can play sports on the school teams. And it’s free.