She marches to a different beat and I worry that she might be drawn into conforming to the group at the expense of who she is.
however as others pointed out, it so depends on the child's personality, what the school has to offer, funding, diversity present, area, etc.
my dd goes to a public school. and honestly we do that not because we had a choice. my dd is in second grade and has never liked school since her 3rd day in K.
she too beats to a different tune and learns much differently. she has more the personality for a sudbury kind of school. so is she getting much out of the school? not really. she loves skipping as often as she can.
on the other hand her good friend really loves it and gets a lot out of school.
i thought being the ultra social child my dd would love school. but because her learning style is so different (she is the kind who likes spending hours on one thing instead of jumping around a lot) and even what she wants to play so different - that she hasnt really fit into school. she is the kind who would play for 6 months and then learn all teh stuff in 6 months.
so for my family, school is teaching and babysitting because mommy has to 'work'. of course there is a lot dd is getting out of the experience which i think in a sad way IS building her character.
things like understanding that sometimes you just have to deal with the hand life deals you. she likes directing her own learning rather than being told what to learn. left to her own devices she probably wouldnt learn how to read till she was 9 or 10 which would have been fine with me. she would probably do a lot of projects. however me as her only teacher would not work at all.
instead coop hsing is her perfect schooling - though we would lack diversity - which however we have a lot of in our social life.
however i do completely agree with you that schools are meant to feed 'factories'. looking at the curriculum i find v. little is encouraged to make good citizens. it amazes me that reading adn writing is stressed on so much in k instead of developmental stuff like how to get along.
if hsing works for your family - i cant imagine a better education for your child than hsing and internship (i forget the word i want to use here).
the only way you will truly know what school means to you is to put dd in school and see how she does.
i do a lot of afterschool stuff with dd - sometimes academic, sometimes not.
i guess what school means to dd was summed up by her statement to her teacher in k 'i come to school to party and go home to learn.' she hasnt changed that attitude two years later.