Well, the deed is done.
I had to make a decicion that day, and I made it: I switched him. It is not the local school, really, it's a progressive charter school with a limited number of spots, which is why they needed me to take the spot when offered, because others were waiting, and the school year was about to end and the registration had to be completed or something. To be fair to the new school, I've been telling them pretty much all year how much I wanted our family to go there (we really had a TERRIBLE year at the gifted school), so it was not unreasonable to expect me to be ready to make a decision when the opportunity arose.
I would have liked to keep him enrolled in both schools for a while, until I was sure of my decision, but I was specifically told that I needed to tell his currently school that he was leaving... my giving up our spot will make somebody very very happy indeed, so ethically it is not right to hold both spots.
But as soon as I registered him at the new school and informed the old school of what I'd done, I panicked and decided I'd make a terrible mistake... spent a day feeling really sick... then came out on the other side, feeling I'd made the right decision after all. (I spent four hours on Friday in a playground watching him interact with his classmates from the gifted school and it was just... I don't know how to describe it... a mess. My son is just really really intense...)
The gifted school looked at probably the top 3% on the OLSAT test, then hand-picked the kids at an on-site assessment (the process has changed now and become a lottery of kids scoring in the top 1%)...so we're probably talking about a fair share of HG+ kids, but they don't seem to know what to do with my kid, he was not inspired or engaged, and it wasn't working-- academically or socially. Also, there was a weird atmosphere among the parents. I don't know if it was a class things, or what, but the place did not seem to match our values, somehow.
Anyway, it's a complicated situation, but what I feel now is this: relief and renewed optimism that I'll now be better able to follow my instincts as a parent, which I used to do quiet well.
I feel like this ambition when it came to schools for him-- which for me started with the "top-tier" preschool and continued with a failed attempt to get him into Dalton or Collegiate or Trinity or whatever-- was somehow profoundly at odds with my core values as a person-- though it may have come from a genuine grasp of how unusual he is.
So I'm going to try a school where I feel more comfortable, where we don't spend two hours daily in the car, where I have to believe they'll notice that he reads and thinks like an adult but gets too excited at recess... and if it doesn't work, then we will have tried everything, and I'll have my husband's support in homeschooling!
Sorry for the long rambling post... it's been an emotional few days.