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Workshop #11 Public Schooling - Page 4

post #61 of 73

I had my very first parent teacher conference yesterday!!! I was very nervous, turns out my daughter is doing very well.  I had wanted to do the homeschooling thing, but staying at home really isn't something that I am very good at.  (I just don't have the stamina or the drive to do all that it needs done to stay at home :-( )  Anyway, I came across this article this morning, and I wanted to share it.




this article makes me a little nervous, but so long as I'm involved in my childs education she should be fine!  right?

post #62 of 73

thanks for sharing that link, Sweetmilo!


i had been home-schooling my daughter and she's now in kindergarten while i supplement with home-schooling. however, i haven't had access to reliable transportation, so i couldn't get her involved in social activities as much as she needed - she's a social butterfly big-time. it was a very hard decision for me that felt like i was letting her down. she's doing very well, and i hear nothing but great things about her behavior, her love of math and reading, and how she's always a leader.


the main struggle i have with the local public schools (Cheshire County, NH) is that because we live in low-income housing, we only have one choice of school to send her to, since she has no learning disabilities. the school here seems to have absolutely no resources for children who are bright, gifted, or simply ahead in their education - yet they seem to have unlimited resources for the children who need extra help in any way. a fairly large percentage of the kindergarten kids are there for their second year, they were held back. i didn't even know it was possible to "flunk" kindergarten! especially after 2-3 years in Head Start.


my girl turned 6 in mid-October, so she was put in kindergarten, even though they saw her school portfolio from home. i've talked it over with my girl at least weekly, and she's quite bored with kindergarten because it's all things she learned when she was 3 and has mastered (except for the normal 6-yr-old handwriting oddities). when i explained to her that first grade would have no nap, one less snack, and lots of worksheets and books, she always says, "yeah! i want to LEARN!" i'm so happy i've been able to give her a love and learning and a sense of wonder about everything.


i've met with her teachers, the school psychologist, the principal and the reading specialist about how to keep her from feeling bored (hopefully averting later behavior problems). she gets extra worksheets, she chooses to do worksheets during some of the play time, and the reading specialist meets with her separately since she's the only child in the class that can read fairly well. she's doing 2nd grade math at home, yet learning no math at all in school.


i'm troubled that she's made the leader of so many things and her work shown to the other kids as an example of what the other students should be doing. she says she loves helping everyone with their work, but she wishes she could "learn something new i don't know yet." the partial home-schooling keeps her sharp and motivated. the only opportunity to volunteer in her class is to cut out things for the teachers. when i'm present at her school, i see my kidlet basically teaching the younger kids herself, being a tutor and mentor rather than an actively learning student. i'm troubled by the amount of kids doing kindergarten a second time (why were they placed with the same teacher?), and some of the more violent behavior problems trouble both me and my daughter.


i have a meeting in December to re-evaluate whether she moves on to grade 1. i've done a lot of research and i'm going to propose a plan: since the kindergarten teachers say that the children need 4-5 weeks to "normalize" before they fit into kindergarten, move her up to first grade and after 4-5 weeks, then see how she's doing. since the "slow" children are given so much more attention and resources, surely she'd flourish.


i'd rather have my daughter be the slowest child in first grade than the fastest child in kindergarten, if that makes sense?

post #63 of 73

You can have your dd tested-if she is gifted and performing far above grade level, that may ease the transition to skipping a grade.  You could post in the gifted forum here for advice that might help.


FWIW, you aren't in one of the states that has mandated gifted services.  And, using the term "slow kids" is considered offensive.  Children with identified LD's and IEP's are federally guaranteed educational support.  An LD does not equate to "slow".  There are huge variances in terms of skill level in kindy, from kids who are reading well to not reading a all.  That's very normal.  I does tend o even out, IME.


Hopefully the school psychologist and teacher can help your dd ge to the mos appropriate place for her.

post #64 of 73

Our family is at the far end of this continuum.  DS1 is a 2008 graduate and sophomore in college (took a gap year), and DS2 is a h.s. senior planning to start college in the fall of 2011.  I just wanted to speak to the parental involvement piece:  We've interacted with the schools, teachers, admin, from the beginning, and it helped our sons beyond imagining.  We were able to offer more lucid and relevant encouragement, even translate personalities or perspectives so our kids could address their situation more easily.  But the most important benefit for our family has been the ability to more completely hear out our kids as they made their way through these years.  We knew exactly what they meant when they raised a certain approach, personality trait, or aspect of the school climate, and that helped us honor more effectively what weighed on them in a given situation.


Another aspect of the benefit/s of parental involvement, for me, is that I realized how terribly I want to see a school in which that *isn't* what it takes for a family to have a great experience.  Our own family always felt the local schools were welcoming, but I've come to feel that is the case only if the people at a given school know you're involved.  When someone hasn't recognized my name, their behavior to me has been quelling and distracted; then they realize I'm on an errand for the parent board, or they see the principal greet me, and the ice would melt.  When I saw a new member of our board, a conscientious, articulate, and compassionate mom, ignored by staff she was trying to contact so that she could do some heavy lifting to set up a fundraising system to benefit them -- because they didn't "recognize" her -- I realized that no matter how personally warm the school's response was to my own involvement, the climate of my sons' building was disrespectful and harmful to my family and the community.

post #65 of 73

6 yo DS is in kindergarten and went to public preschool (IEP).  He is no longer on an IEP.  He attends a public specialized school where all parents are required to volunteer half a day a week.  (well, one adult per child in attendance, and yes that is a half day per CHILD not FAMILY--but there's other jobs to combine with direct classroom involvement for families with more kids in the school)


So--I volunteer (or my mom will be since I now have a newborn again) a half-day a week with his class.  My other requirement was to do a booth for one of the schoolwide parties.  I also bring my child to the school activities that take place outside of school hours whenever possible.  I also have his teacher's email and use it whenever I have a question or concern.


The half day of volunteer time helps me know what is going on a lot more than I did when he was in preschool...yet I wish I could switch off sometimes and see what goes on in a morning or something.  I do see a little disadvantage to being 'assigned'.  Though I suppose if I reallly had a concern or a good reason I could trade times with someone or sub for someone just to see a morning.  (since it's a requirement the times are assigned, and we are given specific jobs in the class.)


There are 2 other things I love about his school.  One is that it's small, 1 class of 26 per grade.  The other is that they have multi-age activities planned into the curriculum.  Monday, DS's class has "reading buddies" with the 3rd grade class next door.  Tues, Wed and Thurs they do what they call "Family" which is where each teacher has 5 kids from each grade and they do planned activities together.  The older kids help the younger ones...it's pretty neat to watch.  The whole school also has lunch at the same time and recesses have most grades out at the same time.  The older kids have jobs like safety patrol (crosswalks) and "conflict managers" on the playground--helping the kids work out differences.  I like how that kind of stuff teaches some responsibility and fills a need in the school--something that makes a real difference.

post #66 of 73

I am a former special ed teacher and current adult ed teacher in a high COL area in SoCal, with what I believe to be an excellent school district.

Boy#1 was pulled out of public high school two years ago, due to the influences his friends were on him, and the fact that he was falling through the cracks. Not qualifying for special ed, but being very slow to learn. He is now at community college.

TheGirl is in 8th grade and labeled gifted, but that means next to nothing as far as what the school is doing for her. She has the opportunity to be on some academic competition team and that is about the extent of "gifted education" the school is giving her. But she is thriving there, learning tons in honors classes and the school has the most amazing Choir program, which she has been a part of for 3 years now. With high school looming I am getting worried, but she isn't her brother, is the mantra I keep on telling myself.

Boy#2 is in the 6th grade at the same school as TheGirl. He is in special ed for emotional disability. (Pediatric Bipolar Disorder) His schooling since 2nd grade when he was identified has been really promising. He went into third grade, not reading, not writing and barely doing math, because he had no chance to learn when spending his days banging his head against desks. By 5th grade he was above grade level for math and at grade level for reading. In addition to being placed in a classroom with a 1:3 adult to student ratio, he received therapy three times a week. The transition to middle school has been rough, but not because of the staff or the program.

Boy#3 is in kinder at a brand new charter school, it is based on progressive philosophies, parental envolvment and sustainability, so far so good.

post #67 of 73

Since this is a "workshop" are there any rules that are different then a typical thread? I wanted to ask what other public school AP mamas thought about the recent documentaries about public schools in the US. I have seen Waiting for Superman and will soon see Race to Nowhere.

post #68 of 73
Originally Posted by Mommy Piadosa View Post

Since this is a "workshop" are there any rules that are different then a typical thread? I wanted to ask what other public school AP mamas thought about the recent documentaries about public schools in the US. I have seen Waiting for Superman and will soon see Race to Nowhere.

What did you think?  I haven't seen either but am trying to keep my eyes open.  Ironically timed, too, since DS2 is in the home stretch of college applications right now!


Anyhow, either of the above out on DVD yet?

post #69 of 73

Race to Nowhere is being screened across the country, my employer (Adult School Parent Ed) and my littlests' charter school are both holding screenings.



Waiting For Superman was interesting and pulled on your heartstrings, but from a sociological standpoint, the evidence they used in support of their proposed idea to save the schools did not take into account a very key ingredient and variable, parental involvement. 

post #70 of 73

I wont be making education decisions for my little one for quite some time (she six months) but right now I see the struggles that we face with my 7 year old SD and I feel very apprehensive about public school. It seems that her teacher spends more time yelling at the children to listen then she does teaching, and for the most part every aspect of her education is approached in a half-hearted manner.

With Private school costing 10k a year I think I will be homeschooling my little one

post #71 of 73

Our experience with public school is a very positive one. I debated if to homeschool ds (he'll be six in a couple of days), and after spending many hours on homeschooling boards, reading positive and not so positive stories, reading some books and articles on homeschooling, we decided to go with public school.


So far we've been extremely happy with our decision. Ds has made many friends, he loves his teacher and is exposed to so many different cultural aspects that we couldn't have provided for him at home. He goes to a French school and is currently fluent in French. Sometimes the workload he gets is pretty easy for him, but he's happy to do it.


There are good and not so good aspects of public schooling, but in my experience as a former student, as a mother of a student and as a teacher, most teachers and people who work in public schools are very dedicated individuals who put a lot of soul and passion in what they do. It was such a pleasure to talk with ds's teacher and see how much she cares about ds, when he's good, but also when he has his bad days.

post #72 of 73

I have been on both sides of this. I homeschooled until last year, though my 9th grader decided to remain at home. So I had MANY years of homeschooling a large family. I admit, I was VERY nervous about the transition - especially with my 11yo.


It went great. My 7th grader loved the art classes, music, etc. took AP classes and got straight As. She also played volleyball and met friends. She opted to go to school to deal with her social anxiety (something from a wee age, not something I link to hs'ing. We dealt with selective mutism as a toddler thru 4-5 yrs old). The younger boys (1st & K) really made up for some gaps they had forming - mostly due to my erratic schedule. The child I was worried about did struggle. We are working through a psychologist with anxiety issues, high levels of frustration, and we found a severe deficit in his handwriting abilities -- this isn't just a "he's a boy" thing that people blow off so often in the hs'ing community. Next year he should be able to use a laptop or word processor to help curb that frustration. 


Next year they'll all go back to traditional school, even the 4yo is in a preK program. The year after they know they can choose to return to hs'ing if they want. For the most part, school has been positive. Everyone has new stuff to talk about, I get to "just" be mom (after a decade of homeschooling) and I've truly liked their teachers. 


My confession? I *love* knowing that next year I'm 100% free of lesson plans. :) Though I used to love that part of homeschooling.. I'm thinking maybe I hit a burnout stage. 

post #73 of 73

People have believe that minimum age for primary school is 3 years. But my personal thinking is 5 year at least. We have to prepare our child at home.

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