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WWYD if you couldn't afford private school, HS was not working out, and PS didn't offer gifted... - Page 2

post #21 of 41

I faced a similar situation.  We lived in a very rough neighborhood and the PS was scary and gifted accommodations were the last thing on their agenda.  I did try sending them but my bright, introvert, quirky kids were bullied and picked on.  We then got a scholarship to a mediocre private school.  Same thing happened.  We are now back to homeschooling and I'm just going to stick it out even though it's not perfect and I often lose heart that it is working.  But gifted kids are good at carving their own path.  I try to strike a balance between requiring a certain amount of academics and letting them do their own thing.

post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post  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.


I would say that some of this sounds pretty normal. My children have both been known to complain when they're asked to do something "hard"--whether it's actually difficult for them or just interfering with looking out the window. Also, I am a classical homeschooler, and I use curriculum that keeps my kids actively engaged--the "classical" label does not prescribe any set curriculum. For example, instead of using something like First Language Lessons, we skipped grammar until second grade, (except for Schoolhouse Rock!) and then started Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Island, which is the least workbook-y grammar you can find. You might find it helpful to visit the Well Trained Mind forums--there's a forum there for gifted kids--and see what other "classical" homeschoolers are using. As far as hard work goes, well, it is my view that children need to learn how to work hard--they will naturally balk at hard work, the same way that they naturally balk at trying new vegetables. The point of homeschooling, for me, is that my children can learn to work hard while they are young, rather than having it come as a shock in high school or college. Also, my kids know, because I tell them, that we can do an hour or two of hard work together in the morning, and then they can have the rest of the day for their own activities and hard work, but they don't waste nearly as much time as public school kids do, who do the same amount of work (or less) but have to occupy their desks for six hours. It helps tamp down some of the whining.

 

And my kids have far, far more time for art and craft projects than public school ever provided. If your son is mentally contrasting his current experience with a Kindergarten class, you may wish to tell him that as public school kids get higher into the grades, they spend much less time with crayons and much more time with pencils. Perhaps some exciting new art materials might spice up his art time, or a book on cartooning, or an Ed Emberly book. While I find "how to draw" books kind of limiting, my kids adore them, because they enjoy drawing things that they can recognize as the idea they started with, like, a helicopter, for my son, or different animals, for my daughter.

 

To a certain extent, I ignore most complaining. Everyone has something to complain about--if it's not one thing, it's another. If your son complains that he's not getting enough social time, remember that the kind of socializing that can happen during a school day is pretty limited, and not necessarily with the people he might choose to socialize with. He might turn out to be the same kid who would complain, if put in all day school, that he doesn't get enough down time. I'm not accusing your son of anything, by the way, I'm that way myself and I recognize it as human nature. We only see the rocks we stub our toes against--we don't notice all the potholes that we don't fall into.

post #23 of 41

I would try to find the best public school in the area, and try to get the oldest kid in there. In our area, once one kid is in, you can request all the kids go there.  But I'm likely in a different boat.  Our public schools are really good here, and honestly better at dealing with kids across the range than the private schools I know.  In DD's first grade, approximately half the kids met the initial district criteria for gifted, so it's like a gifted class.  Private school, IME, is not a panacea.  The small class sizes can be vital for some kids, but here I believe you sacrifice teacher quality and the ability to meet the needs of all students, not just the ones in the middle.  JME.  

 

I say this as someone who has never considered homeschooling though.  

post #24 of 41

Disclaimer: I happen to live in a country where homeschooling is illegal, have a kid who does much better with "external" teachers than with me and could personally never wrap my head around the time commitment, the organization and the social aspects of homeschooling. We have no choice, ourselves, but to make some kind of brick and mortar schooling work. So this may colour my thinking or it may not. Just so you know!

 

I have no illusions about PS, particularly the early grades: I was not accomodated whatsoever, thought I'd die of boredom sometimes and would cry myself to sleep every night in early elementary because I just did not fit in etc. So what struck me about your posts from the beginning was that unlike me, and unlike a lot of kids on this board, was that your DS was HAPPY in school! I think if he really wants to go to school, you should listen to him. Maybe you can work something out about the homework, if it's just busywork he does not need, maybe you can work with the school the way other posters have suggested (I'd look into a grade skip, too) but otherwise just treat school as socialization and enrichment through specials. If he does not mind learning the alphabet all over, thank your lucky stars, work on reading with stuff he enjoys at home and by all means do supplemental math every two weeks - this should not be precluded by the time commitment of PS.

 

Just my thoughts!

post #25 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

Disclaimer: I happen to live in a country where homeschooling is illegal, have a kid who does much better with "external" teachers than with me and could personally never wrap my head around the time commitment, the organization and the social aspects of homeschooling. We have no choice, ourselves, but to make some kind of brick and mortar schooling work. So this may colour my thinking or it may not. Just so you know!

 

I have no illusions about PS, particularly the early grades: I was not accomodated whatsoever, thought I'd die of boredom sometimes and would cry myself to sleep every night in early elementary because I just did not fit in etc. So what struck me about your posts from the beginning was that unlike me, and unlike a lot of kids on this board, was that your DS was HAPPY in school! I think if he really wants to go to school, you should listen to him. Maybe you can work something out about the homework, if it's just busywork he does not need, maybe you can work with the school the way other posters have suggested (I'd look into a grade skip, too) but otherwise just treat school as socialization and enrichment through specials. If he does not mind learning the alphabet all over, thank your lucky stars, work on reading with stuff he enjoys at home and by all means do supplemental math every two weeks - this should not be precluded by the time commitment of PS.

 

Just my thoughts!



I see what you're saying, but I know for me, I was not unhappy in elementary school, for whatever reason, but by middle school it was sneaking up on me, and by high school, my bad attitude was cemented - all while never realizing how bad it was to never be challenged and just sit there and wait.  As dh reminded me, the only time he missed school was after his birthday party when he saw some kids from his old school.  He complained for a week, and then has stopped since then.  It has been 3 months since he was in PS, and it finally seems to be fading - he never says "At my school, we do it this way" anymore.

post #26 of 41

It's helpful for me to give myself permission to rethink this decision as often as necessary.  What is best for your family as a whole today may not be what is best a month from now, a year from now, or three years from now.  I certainly don't think you will ruin your children by trying one way as well as you can and then deciding to change.  I do think it is important to balance the sacrifices you are making for one family member against the needs of the whole family.  It sounds like you are doing that very well.  

post #27 of 41


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by physmom View Post


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. 

agreed. My kids go to an amazing private school (which we pay for) but they offer some need based scholarships and teachers receive a substantial discount. If you really believe the best option for your child is a private school, it may be possible to make it happen in a creative way.

 

Also, looking at your signature, I noticed that your kids are really young. Whatever you decide will most likely get easier over the years (unless you plan on more kids). Once your family is complete, the children gradually learn to do more and more things for themselves. Moms have more energy for educating children when they aren't also changing diapers and night-time parenting, and I think that's true if you are homeschooling, supplementing a public school education, or working at a private school so that you are afford to have your kids there. The problem is that you really can't do everything at once.
 

(even private schools will have more flexible options for payments when we the economy picks up)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

Disclaimer: I happen to live in a country where homeschooling is illegal, have a kid who does much better with "external" teachers than with me

We used to homeschool, and this is absolutely true for both my kids. Both my kids do better with teachers other than me. When they were little it wasn't much of an issue, but by upper elementary school/middle school, they needed  teachers other than me.  My kids also are happier with some structure. Unschooling was miserable for them -- they just fought with each other.

 

I would try to figure out what works for now, but not put pressure on yourself to figure out the whole big thing. Kids change as they get older, and the whole dynamics in a family change as you move from the baby stage to the kid stage to the teen stage.
 

 

post #28 of 41

I would use public school or try to fix/figure out the HSing situation.

 

I would not go private - you cannot afford it and you could find some excellent extra-curriculars and even some babysitting for a fraction of the cost of private.  I place a premium on family togetherness - DH working extra hours for someone to go to private school would not work for me.

 

Hugs - I know some parents have found solutions they are totally happy with, but for many of us there is some muddling along.  Perhaps teaching (and learning ourselves) how to thrive in our situations is the best idea.  

post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post





I see what you're saying, but I know for me, I was not unhappy in elementary school, for whatever reason, but by middle school it was sneaking up on me, and by high school, my bad attitude was cemented - all while never realizing how bad it was to never be challenged and just sit there and wait.  As dh reminded me, the only time he missed school was after his birthday party when he saw some kids from his old school.  He complained for a week, and then has stopped since then.  It has been 3 months since he was in PS, and it finally seems to be fading - he never says "At my school, we do it this way" anymore.


I agree that by middle school at the latest, something's got to give - accelerated tracking started in 5th for me, and as I had been grade-skipped, I was 9. If my bad schooling situation had gone on longer, I would have gone into depression, or acted out, or something. But your DS1 is in K, right? New options may open up, a teacher may be amenable to differentiation, he may win a scholarship - as a lot of other posters have pointed out, sending him back to school now does not mean he will remain unchallenged until college. Which is what you're worrying about, I'm sure. I understand, I am the same way - DS won't be at the regular age for formal schooling for another 2 years and I have been worrying about middle school already!

 

It appears to me, however, that the indecision and the worry are really paralyzing for you and precluding joy in life! So you feel unable at the moment to meet all his needs and think there may be that perfect school out there that might meet them all but that you can't afford and go in circles. I'm just saying that you can meet some of his needs at home (challenge, family time) or some by sending him to school (specials, socialization), but if you have to choose, meet those that seem to be the needs he is most aware of for the moment, and from your posts it appear to be the latter. Even if he has given up talking about going back to school thinking it won't happen anyway. Which has the added advantage of enabling you to meet the needs of your other children and maybe even meet his other needs in the afternoon and the weekends better, being all around more relaxed.

 

I realize, rereading my post, that I may have sounded insensitive by ignoring your worries about the perfect education being out there, but being unable to afford it by consciously deciding to downscale your life. I have made a similar choice so I could have a bigger family or even a family at all, and I still fantasize about that perfect Montessori preschool or the superexpensive IB school early years program which we cannot access or cannot afford. I think you may have to allow yourself time to grieve about not being able to offer this to one or all of your children, and then set out to make the second-best, or third-best option work.

 

I have mentioned the possibility of a grade skip - would the PS be at all amenable? Maybe you could tell them you'll homeschool the gap...just an idea.

post #30 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post



 

It appears to me, however, that the indecision and the worry are really paralyzing for you and precluding joy in life! So you feel unable at the moment to meet all his needs and think there may be that perfect school out there that might meet them all but that you can't afford and go in circles. I'm just saying that you can meet some of his needs at home (challenge, family time) or some by sending him to school (specials, socialization), but if you have to choose, meet those that seem to be the needs he is most aware of for the moment, and from your posts it appear to be the latter. Even if he has given up talking about going back to school thinking it won't happen anyway. Which has the added advantage of enabling you to meet the needs of your other children and maybe even meet his other needs in the afternoon and the weekends better, being all around more relaxed.

 

I realize, rereading my post, that I may have sounded insensitive by ignoring your worries about the perfect education being out there, but being unable to afford it by consciously deciding to downscale your life. I have made a similar choice so I could have a bigger family or even a family at all, and I still fantasize about that perfect Montessori preschool or the superexpensive IB school early years program which we cannot access or cannot afford. I think you may have to allow yourself time to grieve about not being able to offer this to one or all of your children, and then set out to make the second-best, or third-best option work.

 

I have mentioned the possibility of a grade skip - would the PS be at all amenable? Maybe you could tell them you'll homeschool the gap...just an idea.


You are right about my mind going around and around in circles, and I have decided for the time being to make homeschooling work.  My main tension is that my expectations of homeschool have got in the way, and my imagination has not yet caught up with the myriad possibilities that HSing offers.  It is odd that I continue to think that he has to do the rote drills that I hated in my school when he is not even in school.  I also agree that I need to grieve the other possibilities that our choice to be together and poor has precluded.  Anyway, it is not much to grieve, as this was a conscious choice, but sometimes these things recur. 

 

I feel like I have not given HSing a fair chance yet.  I am going to try that EPGY math next - ds1 loves all things computer - and continue to do fun stuff like read science and history books as a family, and play Scrabble with ds1, and Uno altogether - these are very much "learning" and yet fun.  Ds1 takes piano lessons and does Lego club, and I think maybe I'll find him an art class, and look into that HS coop for next fall.  I think it is all my attitude that needs to change - that even though he is not sitting in school cutting out pictures of pilgrims and rabbits and practicing telling time, he is very much learning.

 

Again, thank you to everyone for your help and support.

 

post #31 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Hugs - I know some parents have found solutions they are totally happy with, but for many of us there is some muddling along.  Perhaps teaching (and learning ourselves) how to thrive in our situations is the best idea.  


I agree.  Wishing for things to be other than they are usually only lasts a little while before I wake up!

 

post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I would use public school or try to fix/figure out the HSing situation.

 

I would not go private - you cannot afford it and you could find some excellent extra-curriculars and even some babysitting for a fraction of the cost of private.  I place a premium on family togetherness - DH working extra hours for someone to go to private school would not work for me.

 

Hugs - I know some parents have found solutions they are totally happy with, but for many of us there is some muddling along.  Perhaps teaching (and learning ourselves) how to thrive in our situations is the best idea.  



Kathy, very succinctly put.  Sometimes it's about being ok with imperfect, or not as we'd like.  Really sucks when it's our kids though.

 

Galatea, I recently read a GREAT book that you might find helpful. It's written by a woman who HS'd her quirky, gifted daughter for grade five.  She's conflicted about the education system, about homeschooling, and describes the ambivalence and shaken confidence that many of us experience as we grapple with things not being as we'd hoped or expected.  She took her dreamy, lovely, imaginative, quirky kid out for one year as a sabbatical for her DD.  It's an easy read, so even though you're time crunched it's not a huge time suck.   Interestingly, it's being re-released under a new title.  I read it under the title Love in a Time of Homeschooling, but it's coming out shortly in paperback as:

http://www.amazon.com/One-Good-Year-Daughters-Educational/dp/0061706507/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301438064&sr=1-1

 

post #33 of 41

I just want to reiterate that MANY private schools offer (sometimes substantial) financial aid. In my neck of the woods, many of the elite private schools have something like 50% of the kids receiving some sort of financial assistance. Generally, at least in my experience, your children need to be accepted to the school in order for you to put in the application for financial aid--so it might be worth applying to some of the schools in your area and then seeing if you're offered a suitable financial aid package. Schools will also often waive the application fee for families that plan on applying for aid. 

 

post #34 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post

I just want to reiterate that MANY private schools offer (sometimes substantial) financial aid. In my neck of the woods, many of the elite private schools have something like 50% of the kids receiving some sort of financial assistance. Generally, at least in my experience, your children need to be accepted to the school in order for you to put in the application for financial aid--so it might be worth applying to some of the schools in your area and then seeing if you're offered a suitable financial aid package. Schools will also often waive the application fee for families that plan on applying for aid. 

 



In your experience, do they hew to the policies stated on their websites?  For example, the private school in our town (where I went to high school) says they offer aid based on need only (well, we have need, but if they would add weight to me being an alumna and the kids' giftedness...)  And the other private school in the big city where I went for grade school, they say they base it on merit and need, but in lower school, it won't exceed 50% of tuition (then 75% in middle school, then more in high school.)  I wonder if these policies are hard and fast, or not.  And at this late date in the application cycle, is there anything left?

post #35 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post





Kathy, very succinctly put.  Sometimes it's about being ok with imperfect, or not as we'd like.  Really sucks when it's our kids though.

 

Galatea, I recently read a GREAT book that you might find helpful. It's written by a woman who HS'd her quirky, gifted daughter for grade five.  She's conflicted about the education system, about homeschooling, and describes the ambivalence and shaken confidence that many of us experience as we grapple with things not being as we'd hoped or expected.  She took her dreamy, lovely, imaginative, quirky kid out for one year as a sabbatical for her DD.  It's an easy read, so even though you're time crunched it's not a huge time suck.   Interestingly, it's being re-released under a new title.  I read it under the title Love in a Time of Homeschooling, but it's coming out shortly in paperback as:

http://www.amazon.com/One-Good-Year-Daughters-Educational/dp/0061706507/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301438064&sr=1-1

 


Thank you - this looks interesting!

 

post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

Hugs - I know some parents have found solutions they are totally happy with, but for many of us there is some muddling along.  Perhaps teaching (and learning ourselves) how to thrive in our situations is the best idea.  


So true. You know, even when relatively happy, I think it's human to wonder about other possibilities and "what ifs". It's a "grass looks greener" thing. Some, if not most, of those "totally happy" people are probably still wondering what else they could do, have or get for their children's education - or at least, some aspect of it. My dc are pretty happy with their education, but we all sometimes wish for the opportunities that would have been available if some things were different. Personally, I try to optimize whatever situation we find ourselves in - since I think that's the best way to stay emotionally healthy. Unless full-scale change in school is realistically possible, then I think it's best to enjoy the positives and ameliorate the negatives however we can. 

 

 

 

post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post
In your experience, do they hew to the policies stated on their websites?  ...  And at this late date in the application cycle, is there anything left?


The policies are not stated on the website for the private school my kids go to. Scholarship money is VERY tight right now because the school is working to keep kids into whose families used to pay for the school but due to job lose no longer can. Rather than booting them out, they've been switched to scholarships (which is the right thing to do). So families who've never been to the school really can't get  scholarships right now. But this is temporary. The economy will turn around.

 

And the OPers child is like 5. It's VERY early in the cycle. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that everything needs to be set up for middle school when a child is in k or first. Or that just because you can't make something happen this year or next, that it's off the table.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Some, if not most, of those "totally happy" people are probably still wondering what else they could do, have or get for their children's education - or at least, some aspect of it.

My kids are older than most on the board (12 and 14) and we are past "still wondering,"  but only because we've tried different things, made their education a priority and really worked at all this. I think that for any parent to think they can have it all figured out for a 5 year old is unrealistic.

 

post #38 of 41
Thread Starter 

He's going into 2nd grade, but it's okay, I understand why you're saying.  I just meant, for this year, the finaid money is prolly all gone (at least according to the admissions office.)  Anyway, it doesn't matter, b/c I have decided to make HS work, and am already feeling reinvigorated.  I just needed a reminder that we pulled him out of PS for a reason and that I am not supposed to recreate school at home.

post #39 of 41
I have read a couple of your posts and they sound very familiar. We also have four kids: 8,7,4, and 2. All of our kids are bright but our 7 year old seemed exceptionally bright. We had his IQ tested last year and we found he was in the 99.9%. For about a year I went a little crazy researching and trying to find the best schools, activities, etc for him. He is now a Davidson Young scholar. In August he got into a full day public school gifted program about 40 min. away from our house. My husband took him in the mornings and I picked him up in the afternoon. I thought I did my research on the school but it ended up being a disaster. He learned nothing and was with very socially disturbed kids. In January we brought him back to our small school district PS with his siblings and he is doing great. The teachers are at least trying. After searching and searching my advice to you would be to calm down and try and see the bigger picture. He needs to be happy, he is a child. I know our son isn't learning much but is very happy and socially great. I think later on social problems might arise so I feel I am getting him a head start right now. I have to remember I am trying to raise a whole child into a whole adult, not just a gifted bright adult. He needs to learn how to be kind, caring, loving, etc. He even got into a prestigious gifted private school, but we could not afford the tuition. Now looking back I am glad we didn't make the sacrifices to get him in, he is in 1st grade and I do not feel he needs the pressure. He absolutely loves to learn so that is what I am trying to let him do, while still being a kid. I do think finding their passions are a gigantic help! He used to love geography, now it is his atlas and piano. He doesn't require nearly the sleep my other children do so he stays up late and plays the piano for an hour or reads his favorite books. I still can't believe I am typing and saying these things because a year ago I felt completely different. The best advice I feel I have receive so far is: "You know he is exceptional but if that is all he knows how will he relate to normal" Good Luck!!!
post #40 of 41

I have a good friend whose son is enrolled in a virtual online public school called Connections Academy. It is a PA public school, so free, but the child works at his own pace, like homeschooling. He is very bright--he just turned 9 last week and is entering 5th grade. He can work as far ahead as his pace allows. It has been a fantastic experience for them. My DD LOVES her school, and we are very happy with it as well, but if it ever starts not working out for any reason, that's what I plan to do with her!

 

http://www.connectionsacademy.com/home.aspx

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