Originally Posted by MittensKittens
The reason I started this thread is that for me, having tried many different schools growing up, "lack of positive experience" meant feeling totally isolated, bullied, and with teachers who thought making their own amateur diagnoses (autistic, hyperactive, defiant) was fine... or in other schools being bored and "the trouble maker" of the class. I was also regularly accused of not having written my own essays, because "a kid can't write that", or got poor grades when I disagreed (especially in history class!). I always knew I was intelligent, but also thought I must have some kind of mental disorder because I was clearly different from everybody else. It was unpleasant, and it certainly was not an optimum academic experience either.
I'm glad you posted this because I was just going to ask you what you defined as a positive experience. Per your definition I had a positive experience (but I wouldn't define it as optimum). Nobody every tried to misdiagnose me, teachers believed I did my own work, and I was rarely bullied (actually only in elementary and that was in the gifted program, I did have some problems later in elementary school too but that didn't have anything to do with giftedness but more due to a stupid boy who liked me and didn't know the correct way to show it ). Oh, I did have once case with a stupid teacher who gave me a B because we didn't share the same political beliefs (I lived in a state where I'm pretty sure I was the only one who voted the way I did).
Knowing my family situation, though, homeschooling would NOT have been optimal by any stretch of the imagination. I think I would've loved something like a Montessori school or a free school but those were not available in my area. So I probably had the optimal experience for the options given to me (well, a grade skip probably could've helped too but, who knows?). That being said I'd probably be considered "successful" in the traditional sense. I went on to a good college, good grad school, now have a good job, and have a happy family life with many friends. Is it in an area where I am kept up all night out of passion for my work? No. But do I enjoy my job, my colleagues, my work? Yes.
DH had a much, much worse school experience in that he was severely under challenged and basically never went to high school (and somehow still passed by the skin of his teeth). That being said he's VERY passionate about what he does and went on to grad school and has a good job. In his case his school was the best his parents could afford and they really didn't have any concept of giftedness. Like me he also feels he would have had a much more enjoyable experience in a school where he was allowed to follow his own interests.
When it comes to DD, we don't have the option to homeschool because a.) we live in a country where homeschooling is illegal (and they take this fairly seriously) and b.) both DH and myself enjoy working and tend to get depressed if we are in a stay at home position. However, that being said we are also fortunate to live in a country where most lower middle class and up families send their kids to private schools so there's a very, very large pool of schools to choose from. Public schools are not an option for us because they are not safe and I cringe at the idea of sending DD to a traditional school environment. She'll be starting a Montessori school shortly and we're hoping that works out but if not they have a number of free schools, gifted private schools, and bi-/tri-lingual schools too within driving distance for us. With schools here it's very much a get what you pay for deal so if we stay here it means we'll probably have to limit our family size to a smaller family (or do extra work on the side or something).
My hope is that DD will have an "optimal" school experience or at the very least a more challenging experience than DH or myself had, since we're going into this much more aware than our parents were. Unfortunately, I can't predict the future so only time will tell.
ETA: after reading another post I did want to mentioned that I did have an instance of being bullied by a teacher in 3rd grade. I wasn't really thinking about it when I wrote this post.
Edited by physmom - 3/3/11 at 7:40am