A New School for Fall 2012

Emma and Will ready for Parnassus Orientation

Once again this fall I find myself hoping that I’m doing the right thing… This time for my oldest two.
Talk about guinea pigs.  Emma and Will have been to private school, then home-schooled, attended public school and are now set to attend Parnassus Prep – a new charter school.

Why did we decide to do this?  What are the pros and cons we weighed for our family?  What are the biggest payoffs we hope to receive from attending this school?

It was actually Emma’s idea to pursue Parnassus.  A friend confided that she would be going to a new school in the fall and Emma latched right on to the idea.  For the past few years, I think Emma’s expectations for her school experience were greater than what reality delivered.  I can’t say I was surprised when she walked into the family room with the IPad open to http://www.parnassusprep.com and said, “This is the school I want to go to, Mom”.  My quiet, obedient, servant-oriented daughter was passionate about something for herself.  I was impressed.

Within a few days, we had toured the school, interviewed a dozen current families, and creeped the PTO pages.  A week later she was enrolled and accepted – along with Will.

Here is our pro and con list….



-Strong curriculum – probably number 1 thing I heard from other parents

-Increased structure/formality (uniforms & character development)

-Language emphasis (Spanish starting in kdg and Latin/Greek starting in 3rd grade)

-TKD contracted through Master Lee, WTA (Emma and Will already brown belts)

-Music contracted through Mcphail

-Lunch food catered in that is organic and healthy

-All four kids can attend the school together and graduate from the school

-No tuition but with all the advantages of private school

-Small environment

-Busing from our neighborhood

-Longer school day (8-3:30) and longer school year (mid-August to Mid June) with an 8  week summer break.

-Grandparents Day at school

-Focus on History




-Homework – Will we be able to handle it?  Everyone says it is so rigorous.

-IEP/curriculum modification. Unchartered waters here for the school. I am used to fighting for what the kids need but this is not typical environment.

-Extra-curriculars just forming

-School is not aesthetically pleasing


For me, the biggest payoff will be stability – having all the kids at one school through graduation.  Despite the rigors of schoolwork, life will be less hectic with everyone in one spot.  I look forward to PJ and John attending (they are on the wait list).

I’m excited to see the curriculum integrated into our family life.  I spoke to a mother who was thrilled when her 3rd grade daughter added meaningfully to a dinner table conversation about Belgium.   The kids have had extra work with Kumon every day for the past four years.  If the curriculum is as solid as touted, then we can look to eliminating extra stop-gap measures like Kumon math and reading.

I think the other exciting benefit will be helping to grow the school.  Will’s class will be the first class to graduate from Parnassus.   (As he pointed out, he will always get to sit in the back of the bus because he will always be in the oldest grade).  I love the energy of startups!

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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