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WWYD if you couldn't afford private school, HS was not working out, and PS didn't offer gifted...

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I am really frustrated.  My kids are all bright (have not been tested) and I feel like I have no options for them to get a good education.

 

Ds1 was in 1st grade in PS and we pulled him out in frustration b/c of a lack of accommodations for gifted students - basically just 1 pull-out enrichment class each week, and then the attitude of "it will all even out by 3rd grade anyway."

 

We have been HSing since then, but it is not working out well, partly b/c of the fact that I have so many kids and responsibilities, and partly b/c he is social and artistic and I worry about not meeting these needs myself b/c of the nature of HSing.

 

We have visited some lovely private schools, but are looking at a minimum of $2000+ per month (with scholarships) once they are all in school, up to $4000 or more per month.  We cannot afford this.

 

I am angry at myself for my naive idea that being rich doesn't matter, and that we could have a large number of children b/c school is free, and choosing a career so that our family could be together, rather than sticking with a high-pressure, high-pay career.  (We own a natural family store together and work together and our kids can come to work and we can prioritize family time, but this means that neither dh nor I earn what we could at two other jobs.)  I wish I had known how much I would want to give to my kids, and how much it would cost, and how our society really is set up in two parts (the rich, and everyone else.) 

 

So yeah - WWYD?  Send them to PS, knowing that they will not be getting the great education they could be getting, but our family could continue to be together?  Send him to a great private school, even if it means dh would need get two more jobs to pay for it and we would never see him?  Or continue to try to HS, which is not working?

post #2 of 41

I am sorry you are struggling with this.  hug2.gif

 

WWID??  this:

 

 

Quote:
Send them to PS, knowing that they will not be getting the great education they could be getting, but our family could continue to be together?

Because I disagree that they won't get a great education.  If your children are bright and self motivated they can get a good education anywhere. They may have to work harder than their peers, you may have to expend some money (tutors. On line programs. Summer camps/school) but a good education can be done via PS. My nephew in-law got almost a full ride to Dartmouth after graduating from one the bottom ranked public high school in the state.

 

Even "bad" schools have the potential for good teachers.  You will need to be proactive and seek them out. Talk to parents in grades above yours.  Who are the teachers that shine? How can you get your kids in those classes? Be an active part of the school-volunteer, chaperone. Get to know the "powers that be"

 

You can also supplement PS with some aspects of homeschooling. Are there "holes" in the PS curriculum? How can you fill those holes?

 

Giving your kids your time, your love and a great warm loving family is a wonderful thing! Have parents who are present and not stressed out all the time is an even better gift.

post #3 of 41

I would continue at the home schooling.

 

It was not working out with my 1st grader at first. I was on the verge of sending him back to school at Christmas. But did not, as the memories of why I did not like it are too vivid. Anyway, try looking at what you are doing with your child. Are you doing tons of workbooks? Are you following some strict curriculum full of read this paragraph, answer these questions, read this paragraph, etc?

 

When people tell me things are not working, it seems to come down to curriculum and expectations 99% of the time at this age. 

post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thank you both.  I know that the HS issues are my problem.  I was doing classical method at first, but the grammar was too easy and repetitive, so I started skipping multiple lessons at a time, and the writing was also too easy, but also ds1 really balked at any writing (even though he can do these amazing compositions with no work.)  I have been using the Singapore Math b/c I felt that the way it teaches how to do the problems was useful, natural, and sequenced correctly.  We have just been reading biology and space books that he is interested in.  It is more that he misses the socialization and the extras - art projects, dance dance revolution in gym class, etc.  Also, he preferred public school b/c it was easy and he perceived HS to be hard (even though he still never got anything wrong, it was harder than practicing writing the alphabet at PS.)  This really disheartened me, b/c he complains every time we sit down to do school.  And we can't provide the constant socialization that he likes.

post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

Thank you both.  I know that the HS issues are my problem.  I was doing classical method at first, but the grammar was too easy and repetitive, so I started skipping multiple lessons at a time, and the writing was also too easy, but also ds1 really balked at any writing (even though he can do these amazing compositions with no work.)  I have been using the Singapore Math b/c I felt that the way it teaches how to do the problems was useful, natural, and sequenced correctly.  We have just been reading biology and space books that he is interested in.  It is more that he misses the socialization and the extras - art projects, dance dance revolution in gym class, etc.  Also, he preferred public school b/c it was easy and he perceived HS to be hard (even though he still never got anything wrong, it was harder than practicing writing the alphabet at PS.)  This really disheartened me, b/c he complains every time we sit down to do school.  And we can't provide the constant socialization that he likes.


Ok, I have NO experience here but here's my 2 cents... maybe you need a period of deschooling?  Let him explore some of his interests for awhile instead of being set on a certain curriculum.  Also... could you afford finding a used playstation 2 or something like that so he could do Dance Dance Revolution at home (if that is something he really misses)?  It's sure a lot cheaper than private school. winky.gif Maybe you mentioned this already but are there any homeschool co-ops around that he could join for the social aspect? Or maybe he could take art classes? 

 

ETA: I forgot to mention this too... at the private schools, do you or your DH have any talents they would be interested in? I have a friend of mine who was a French teacher and got her 3 kids to go to a great private school for free because she taught french classes there. 

post #6 of 41

 

Realistically, what can you do to solve the challenges posed by each of your options? 

 

1. Homeschooling - I realize this option places a lot of responsibility on you and your Dh, but at this age can you take an unschooling approach and would that make it a little less onerous? Not that unschooling parents don't work hard at it, but possibly there's less pressure if you don't have to administer a curriculum etc. Are there homeschooling co-ops, art lessons and extra-curriculars that might fill his needs? Even a fraction of private school tuition would pay for quite a few extra-curricular art lessons, art gallery day camps, theatre groups etc.  

 

2. Private school - is their financial assistance available? Bursaries, scholarships, etc. Are there smaller private schools, perhaps with religious affiliations, that are less expensive? If there isn't any way to make it more financially feasible, personally I wouldn't stress my family by pursuing this option. 

 

3. Public school - Is the attitude one of benign neglect (as suggested by "they'll all even out by third grade" type of comments) or hostile obstruction? If it's benign neglect, I might consider public school because I think I can work around this kind of attitude. I'd seek out the most sympathetic teachers and try to work with the school to create better learning opportunities. I'd suggest independent studies, using distance learning programs, introduce or nurture school activities like science and history fairs and math competitions and language arts festivals, and generally work toward making it the best possible learning environment for ALL students. That way, it doesn't matter (as much) if they just don't believe that giftedness exists. If, on the other hand, the school is hostile, uncooperative and downright obstructionist, and thus unwilling to change or work with you at all, I'd avoid it and look for another public school.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #7 of 41

I am in a very similar situation.  Homeschooling worked well for my oldest after we pulled her out of PS and probably still would.  My second on the other hand didn't take to it.  Plus, at that point I was also taking care of a 4 and 2 year old.  We have opted to partner with the public school and make the best of it.  I have regular meetings with teachers, offer to prepare and send in supplemental activities, volunteer in the classroom, push them to do more, seek enriching opportunities for the kids in our community, try to make all vacations/trips teachable, etc.  So far it is working for us.  My highly social children are enjoying PS and although I feel like their "school day" could be higher quality right now it is what works best for our family.

post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 

We have received the deschooling suggestion and indeed, I did stop doing school with him.  Now what I do is just talk with him, and read with him as he wants, and about once every 2 weeks, we do a math "lesson" orally and then maybe a page of practice to see if he gets it.  I got him in piano lessons, and a homeschool Lego club.  I just am not comfortable with this unschooling and feel like he is missing out on so much by not being at school.

 

Gotta run.  Washer broke again and have to go deal with a washer full of rotten diapers.

post #9 of 41

I might consider a combination of public schooling and homeschooling. I'd be prepared to spend a good chunk on at-home supplies, figuring that it'd be way less than private school but would still provide the enrichment you desire and that you feel is lacking at public school. If, instead of spending $2000/month on private school tuition, you spend a few hundred each month on things like outings, art supplies, a game like Dance Dance Revolution, short enriching trips, extracurricular activities, etc., you might feel like you're getting the best of both worlds, because the burden won't rest squarely on your shoulders and you can spend your time with him doing educational stuff that the whole family will benefit from, instead of just trying to barrel through the curriculum. 

 

I'm unhappy with my DS's public school too, and although he's probably not gifted, he's very bright and I don't think his school provides enough enrichment for him (or for any child), so the above is the method we've chosen to deal with it (since we can't afford private school either and I'm not interested in home schooling). We've applied for a transfer to another school, but there's a good chance it won't be approved, so if not we'll plan to put a specific amount of monetary resources into enriching his education ourselves. 

post #10 of 41

Do you have charter schools in your area? They may be worth looking into.

 

I feel like the benefit of public school for my kids is being exposed to all kinds of people, rather than just the privileged. I think that's worthwhile on its own, and that it's possible to supplement academics at home.

 

There is also the option of testing, at which point the PS may be obligated to provide IPEs for your children.

post #11 of 41

 

Quote:
 If your children are bright and self motivated they can get a good education anywhere.

 

I just have to disagree with this as being universally true. smile.gif

 

Galatea, I understand your confusion and ambivalence.  I'm living it.

 

Is the public school your only public school option?  Are there other public schools within driving distance?  IME with the five public schools my kids have attended between them, administration really does set the tone, and there are huge variations among teachers.  Could you contact a special needs or gifted coordinator for your school district and seek their advice?

 

As for HSíng, I imagine you were overwhelmed if you were trying to work, parent multiple kids and classically HS.  I am fascinated by the orientation, but liken it to unzipping a child's head and pouring information in there methodically ROTFLMAO.gif.  I would love to have the focus, time, resources and organizational skills that classical takes, but I also have another child doing something totally different and work.  I have great admiration for those who make it work, but it's just not going to work at my house.  I also have pretty self-directed, out of the box, imaginative kids who like to learn through exploring versus completing prescribed worksheets and copy/dictation.

 

Using your siggie link, I looked up what might be resources for you:

 

A HSing convention is like a goldmine of info, where you can talk to experienced people and look at curriculum/materials directly:

http://www.homeschoolcentral.com/support/pennsylvania_homeschool.htm 

 

This looks interesting, and they meet Fridays:

http://nphep.org/ 

 

What about virtual schooling?  Your son could do his academics through the computer in a more self-directed fashion, and the online/resource teacher could take on some of the directive role for you.  Then you could put him in community-based activities with other kids to meet his social needs.

 

My last comment is that you have time - it doesn't have to be perfect.  We work year by year, and every year looks different around here.  This year we're HSing one while the other is at a local public school, and next year we may be homeschooling both of them, or DS may move to a different public school which may better meet his needs.  I HATED this concept of moving all the time as I strongly believe in community and stability.  We've had to prioritize other aspects over community/stability to meet the overall needs of our kids, however.

 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 41

Personally, I wouldn't make any choices that seperate the family or lesson the quality of life for the other children and yourselves. Not only is that not healthy for the family but the amount of pressure it places on that child to "be worth it" is enormous. Family is the biggest influence in our lives, more so than school. If you can't comfortably send him to private school, don't.

 

You've probably already done this I'll suggest it anyway. Look into all the educational possibilities in your areas... even other public schools. We've had very good experiences with public schools even when they had no gifted program. It's all about the individuals involved and their willingness to be flexible. Charters can often offer something different without the cost of private. There are homeschooling charters out there too which may be able to help you strike a balance between what you feel you can do and what you are uncomfortable doing.

post #13 of 41

I would continue to homeschool, but I'm feeling a little bitter today. We started out homeschool, but I felt too disorganized. So we enrolled DS in public school. Now, I see that it's not a good fit for him. I've been told the same thing - that it "evens out" and that we have to give kids without a good home foundation a chance to "catch up" while my son just twiddles his thumbs all day. The thing is that DH was never on-board with homeschooling, and now he's dead-set against pulling him out and homeschooling for 1st grade. I don't even think our public schools are all that bad, but they have no incentive to spend any resources on gifted kids. They need more proficient kids, so if something has to get cut, then it gets cut first for kids who already are proficient. Plus I still feel that I spend a lot of time trying to make school work, and I could be using that time homeschooling instead.

post #14 of 41



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

3. Public school - Is the attitude one of benign neglect (as suggested by "they'll all even out by third grade" type of comments) or hostile obstruction? If it's benign neglect, I might consider public school because I think I can work around this kind of attitude. I'd seek out the most sympathetic teachers and try to work with the school to create better learning opportunities. I'd suggest independent studies, using distance learning programs, introduce or nurture school activities like science and history fairs and math competitions and language arts festivals, and generally work toward making it the best possible learning environment for ALL students. That way, it doesn't matter (as much) if they just don't believe that giftedness exists. If, on the other hand, the school is hostile, uncooperative and downright obstructionist, and thus unwilling to change or work with you at all, I'd avoid it and look for another public school.  

 

 

OP, since home-schooling isn't working out and you aren't comfortable with un-schooling (I wouldn't be either), I second the advice from ollyoxenfree above about public schooling.

post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

I just have to disagree with this as being universally true. smile.gif

 



Well of course its not universally true. Hence the word "can" not "will".  Honestly, is anything regarding schooling universally true? 

 

 

 

post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

I just am not comfortable with this unschooling and feel like he is missing out on so much by not being at school.

 

 


I certainly understand why unschooling can feel really uncomfortable to a parent, and I don't want to try to talk you into something you don't want to do. But I did want to suggest two things.

 

First: we have to raise the kids we have been given, not the ones we thought / wished we'd have. Sometimes our kids need things that force us outside of our comfort zones. As someone who was roundly successful throughout 19 years of formal schooling and post-grad training, I would never have thought unschooling was the path for my kids. But I was forced by my eldest two kids to start looking seriously at it. And gradually I changed ... and got comfortable with it.

 

Secondly: I'm sure your ds is missing out on lots by not being at school. I have a dear old unschooling friend who refers to something called FMS Syndrome: 'fraid of missing something. She says that everything in life involves choices and missing out on something. If you have cheerios for breakfast you can't have waffles. If you marry Jim you can't marry Doug. But you shouldn't let the fear of missing out on something stand in the way of making the best choice. The thing that's hard for parents who haven't grown up as homeschoolers to see is that going to school means missing out on lots too. For instance in your case this might mean: piano lessons, homeschool Lego club, relaxing mornings, deeper sibling relationships, well-nurtured talents and the energy and motivation that breed a lively curiosity, impromptu celebrations, deeper connections to community, mentorships... the list goes on. For my own kids, now aged 8 through 17, I could write a list yards long of specific experiences they've had, resources and opportunities they've been able to take advantage of entirely because they are homeschooled. It's important to embrace the possibilities engendered by a choice at least as firmly as you cling to what you're missing out on. Because you miss out on something whenever you make a choice. And not making a choice really isn't an option. 

 

Good luck!


Miranda

 

post #17 of 41
My last resort (in my head) has always been virtual online school, which is available free of charge in my state. The students have teachers work with them personally, and the structure, etc is all completely provided. They can be a good option for GT kids because there's much less lockstep by grade. Also, I know I would have a hard time homeschooling and this would take a lot of pressure off me. Have you looked into it?
post #18 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post

I might consider a combination of public schooling and homeschooling. I'd be prepared to spend a good chunk on at-home supplies, figuring that it'd be way less than private school but would still provide the enrichment you desire and that you feel is lacking at public school. If, instead of spending $2000/month on private school tuition, you spend a few hundred each month on things like outings, art supplies, a game like Dance Dance Revolution, short enriching trips, extracurricular activities, etc., you might feel like you're getting the best of both worlds, because the burden won't rest squarely on your shoulders and you can spend your time with him doing educational stuff that the whole family will benefit from, instead of just trying to barrel through the curriculum.


This is a good idea.  Thank you.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by imogenlily View Post

Do you have charter schools in your area? They may be worth looking into.

 

 

There are no charter schools that we are eligible for (only within city limits and we are in the burbs/different school district.)  So we'd have to move.  Those programs look awesome, but we can't.

 

Online: There are several on-line free charter schools and I will investigate those.  I had not done this before b/c I thought that classical was going to be awesome.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by joensally View Post

 

 

I just have to disagree with this as being universally true. smile.gif

 

Galatea, I understand your confusion and ambivalence.  I'm living it.

 

Is the public school your only public school option?  Are there other public schools within driving distance?  IME with the five public schools my kids have attended between them, administration really does set the tone, and there are huge variations among teachers.  Could you contact a special needs or gifted coordinator for your school district and seek their advice?

 

As for HSíng, I imagine you were overwhelmed if you were trying to work, parent multiple kids and classically HS.  I am fascinated by the orientation, but liken it to unzipping a child's head and pouring information in there methodically ROTFLMAO.gif.  I would love to have the focus, time, resources and organizational skills that classical takes, but I also have another child doing something totally different and work.  I have great admiration for those who make it work, but it's just not going to work at my house.  I also have pretty self-directed, out of the box, imaginative kids who like to learn through exploring versus completing prescribed worksheets and copy/dictation.

 

Using your siggie link, I looked up what might be resources for you:

 

A HSing convention is like a goldmine of info, where you can talk to experienced people and look at curriculum/materials directly:

http://www.homeschoolcentral.com/support/pennsylvania_homeschool.htm 

 

This looks interesting, and they meet Fridays:

http://nphep.org/ 

 

What about virtual schooling?  Your son could do his academics through the computer in a more self-directed fashion, and the online/resource teacher could take on some of the directive role for you.  Then you could put him in community-based activities with other kids to meet his social needs.

 

My last comment is that you have time - it doesn't have to be perfect.  We work year by year, and every year looks different around here.  This year we're HSing one while the other is at a local public school, and next year we may be homeschooling both of them, or DS may move to a different public school which may better meet his needs.  I HATED this concept of moving all the time as I strongly believe in community and stability.  We've had to prioritize other aspects over community/stability to meet the overall needs of our kids, however.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, that nhpep link was awesome!  It seems perfect!  I'm going to check it out.

 

As for switching schools, our district is tiny and there are only two elementary schools and they have the same program, curriculum, etc.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Personally, I wouldn't make any choices that seperate the family or lesson the quality of life for the other children and yourselves. Not only is that not healthy for the family but the amount of pressure it places on that child to "be worth it" is enormous. Family is the biggest influence in our lives, more so than school. If you can't comfortably send him to private school, don't.

 

You've probably already done this I'll suggest it anyway. Look into all the educational possibilities in your areas... even other public schools. We've had very good experiences with public schools even when they had no gifted program. It's all about the individuals involved and their willingness to be flexible. Charters can often offer something different without the cost of private. There are homeschooling charters out there too which may be able to help you strike a balance between what you feel you can do and what you are uncomfortable doing.


I tend to agree that our family needs are paramount - dh and I both gave up more lucrative careers in order to have our family business, so I am loath to give that up for more money.

 

Dh is resistant to sending him back to PS b/c the PS really made everything even more unmanageable - the mountains of busywork homework, specifically, and then all the homework for the parents, etc.  The PS would have to make some serious accommodations for it to be okay for us.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post




I certainly understand why unschooling can feel really uncomfortable to a parent, and I don't want to try to talk you into something you don't want to do. But I did want to suggest two things.

 

First: we have to raise the kids we have been given, not the ones we thought / wished we'd have. Sometimes our kids need things that force us outside of our comfort zones. As someone who was roundly successful throughout 19 years of formal schooling and post-grad training, I would never have thought unschooling was the path for my kids. But I was forced by my eldest two kids to start looking seriously at it. And gradually I changed ... and got comfortable with it.

 

Secondly: I'm sure your ds is missing out on lots by not being at school. I have a dear old unschooling friend who refers to something called FMS Syndrome: 'fraid of missing something. She says that everything in life involves choices and missing out on something. If you have cheerios for breakfast you can't have waffles. If you marry Jim you can't marry Doug. But you shouldn't let the fear of missing out on something stand in the way of making the best choice. The thing that's hard for parents who haven't grown up as homeschoolers to see is that going to school means missing out on lots too. For instance in your case this might mean: piano lessons, homeschool Lego club, relaxing mornings, deeper sibling relationships, well-nurtured talents and the energy and motivation that breed a lively curiosity, impromptu celebrations, deeper connections to community, mentorships... the list goes on. For my own kids, now aged 8 through 17, I could write a list yards long of specific experiences they've had, resources and opportunities they've been able to take advantage of entirely because they are homeschooled. It's important to embrace the possibilities engendered by a choice at least as firmly as you cling to what you're missing out on. Because you miss out on something whenever you make a choice. And not making a choice really isn't an option. 

 

Good luck!


Miranda

 

 

You're talking about opportunity costs, and I get that, and it is an excellent point.  It is weird how I can understand it, and have hated a lot of my own schooling, and yet still be brainwashed when it comes to my own kids.  I think b/c I don't know any homeschooled or unschooled older kids to see if they turn out okay, and sometimes on MDC you can get the impression that unschooling means nothing but video games, and so I have very little personal evidence to make me feel secure.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

My last resort (in my head) has always been virtual online school, which is available free of charge in my state. The students have teachers work with them personally, and the structure, etc is all completely provided. They can be a good option for GT kids because there's much less lockstep by grade. Also, I know I would have a hard time homeschooling and this would take a lot of pressure off me. Have you looked into it?


No, I have not, but I will.  I had not thought of it in that way, but definitely one of my problems is hating to be the taskmistress with ds1.

 

Thank you all so much.  This is causing me such stress that it means so much to have such support and thoughtful answers.

 

post #19 of 41

You might also consider some single courses done online to ease your homeschooling experience.  You might look at Athena's Advanced Academy http://athenasacademy.com/

Time4learning

EPGY open enrollment -http://epgy.stanford.edu/openenroll/signup.html

 

post #20 of 41

nak

 

I understand your troubles right now.  My oldest just turned 6, and we are settling into unschooling. 

 

Some things that have pushed me to do it were:

 

1.) When I take stock of what she knows and can do, I am amazed at it all.  She is at least at a second grade level across the board, and higher in some things.  She has made it this far, so I can trust her to go farther.  It's not like she's now suddenly 6 and won't learn anymore unless I do something formal.  And I really don't care to present her with material aimed for older kids at this point.  What I do give her is carefully screened as she is a sensitive child.

 

2.) When I look at other people's 6 year olds, I am struck with how young they are.  While she seems big to me, she has plenty of time for books and the like.  I'm not going to stress her or me with formalities.  She only gets to be little once.  I am content if she learns nothing more than the joy of childhood this year.

 

3.) I have learned to not allow laziness.  I don't have to force education, but I believe it is my job to teach my children to be industrious.  So, she does not do formal school, but I do require her to be thinking about something.  Sitting around doing nothing is okay sometimes, but I don't allow it to be a habit.

 

4.) Through experimenting, I have found lots of ways of sneaking in more education.  Maybe I need a shopping list written while I feed the baby, or I need something measured.  There are lots of ways.  I am trying not to teach her, per se, but to live life with her. I am finding it challenging to give them all what they need, but I think we are moving in the right direction.  I remind myself that things always feel a bit out of control when I have a baby.

 

4.) I found someone in my state who does the required year end evaluations for homeschoolers, and she unschooled her own children.  Two of the six have master's degrees, and 3 are in college now.  She encouraged me a good bit, and gave me some "official" confidence to do it.

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