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Do you public school?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

Non-vaxing, non-circ'ing, natural birthing... homeschooling.  Right?  That's the way I see it most of the time!  But I'm curious and looking for input from those who are fairly countercultural but still choose public school.  And what do you do to keep your kids thinking outside-the-box and challenging the status quo? 

 

Reason: we're overwhelmed with educational choices right now.  I've been to every public/private/charter school within a 25-mile radius, and also visited homeschool "schools," university-model, talked with homeschooling parents, researched curriculum, etc. etc.  I'm considering the neighborhood public school because it's walking-distance, and we live in a district that is generally considered above par but moreover offers many enrichment opportunities.  I actually know some midwives whose children do/did attend public schools, so just looking for your thoughts if that's what you do?

post #2 of 47

We are a homebirthing, noncircing, selective vaxing family.  Those were healthcare decisions and philosophical positions about specific issues.  As far as I can see they don't have very much to do with where (or if) I want my children to go to school. We are lucky enough to live in an area where the public schools are good, so that is where my son attends school and where my daughter will as well when she is old enough.

 

I have been a public school teacher, I am a community college (also public) instructor and I'm getting my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (public school focused). I see no disconnect between my commitment to public schooling as a social justice issue and my commitment to natural parenting ideals. I think that the public school system is certainly not perfect, but part of my mission in the world is to improve it. The values we have as a family won't be undone by school.  I was raised by a counterculture family and still attended public school. I grew up to share many of my parents ideals anyway smile.gif  I feel good about my son's school and unless something were to change in a drastic way, our neighborhood school is a good fit for us.

 

Homeschooling can be fantastic for some families.  It isn't our choice at this point and I see no contradiction between that stance and deciding where to birth my babies or circumcise my son. 

post #3 of 47
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your perspective.  I've been a schoolteacher too, but actually not sure where it leaves me in this decision, lol.  Our local schools are definitely considered great academically.  For me I'm more influenced by seeing all the pics of this orchestra performing at Carnegie Hall, or that team winning some robotics competition, and so on and so forth.  I didn't get to do a lot growing up, and that draws me in.  What starts to irritate me though is when my kids make the honor roll and come home with coupons for free doublicious from KFC and stuff like that and I have to be the bad guy; I'd say something like that happens about once per week (today it was my daughter being rewarded by getting a free pass to bring an unhealthy snack tomorrow, something not normally allowed).  But I guess what really upset me recently and had me considering this again was a friend's decision to circ his son--even though he himself isn't.  I mean we've all heard the "to look like dad" argument, but to not look like dad?  My dh is convinced it was from embarassment caused growing up (they were classmates).  So I guess the whole idea of my children being pressured/shamed upsets me enough to give me pause... but then I want to have the best from both worlds. 

I just want it all! lol.gif Anyway, thank you for sharing.

post #4 of 47

We fall on the crunchy side, and I feel strongly that homeschooling -- well, eclectic unschooling -- is the best option for our family under normal circumstances. However, I've become disabled and right now I can't drive the kids to the various activities and homeschool co-ops in which we usually participate. Homeschooling primarily at home really didn't work for us. I was exhausted, my eldest was bored and socially stifled, and my youngest needed some time to develop away from his sister's overpowering helpfulness. (She's very good at speaking for him and directing their play and activities. They get along well most of the time, but it's definitely balancing for him to be in social situations and activities where he gets to be his own person with his own voice.)

 

Given that I was no longer able to meet their needs or to pursue our usual homeschooling schedule, and taking into account my own health and their need to have a break from my illness, it became evident that public school was our next best option. The local elementary school is at the end of our street and is the best in the city. They're very friendly and helpful there, and dd made the midyear transition really well. I have my own objections to the curriculum approach and the focus on test prep, but dd is happy there and looks forward to going every day. I really can't argue with that as long as her natural curiosity and drive isn't being stifled. Our youngest is now at a play-based preschool and I'm *very* happy with them. Their approach is very hands-on, with a lot of active open and guided play, a range of materials for the kids to choose from, and a gentle approach toward discipline and structure. It's there, but they're not shaming or punitive at all -- in fact, they taught classes for parents based off the book How to Talk So Your Kid Will Listen and Listen So Your Kid Will Talk way back in the day when that book first came out. DS's teacher is a grandmother four times over who has seen it all, and finds most of it amusing, so she's a really good fit for him.

 

It's looking like we're going to be following a similar path in the fall. I'm still hoping to return to homeschooling some time in the next year or so, but it's going to depend on my therapies and how well I do. I'm grateful for the chance to focus on my health so that I can be an active parent as much as possible, and I'm grateful that we have the schooling options we do. They may be our second choice, but they're a second choice I can feel good about. My children are happy and well cared for.

post #5 of 47
Um, no, homeschooling is not always the logical consequence of following the "AP Checklist." Sure, plenty of APers HS. But I have a hard time seeing how exactly breastfeeding, not circing and natural birthing lead to investment in any one particular sort of educational setting.

My kids go to public school. After being a sahm, I have absolutely no interest in having my school-age kids home with me all day long, much less being responsible for their entire academic education, especially when the dedicated teachers at the school blocks away can do far better at it than I. I wanted a school with nurturing, smart teachers who teach creatively, with lots of art and music, gardens, projects, and an emphasis on building community and being engaged with the natural and political world. Very fortunately for me, that's exactly what we have at our local PS. It is a rather crunchy place and I couldn't be happier that they're there.

I went to a Waldorf school myself and feel that my kids are getting a far better education than I did.
post #6 of 47

I think this all depends on each families' options, the circumstances, etc.  We're homeschooling right now primarily because the local school system is horrible. Where we move, they are considered better but I'm not sure we'll do ps.  Dd is gifted and works several grade levels ahead of her age, I'm not sure that ps would work out for her.  I don't think that AP=HS, but many ap'ers do hs.  And many conservative, mainstreamers homeschool too,  in fact where I live, the majority of homeschoolers are very conservative, churchy, mainstream, KFC eatin, tv watching kinda people.  The Ap crunchy hser is the minority here. But this is S, Georgia, lol.  

post #7 of 47

I don't feel this is the natural conclusion to the AP checklist either.  Really, AP boils down to meeting a child's needs in the best way possible for that family, right?  Well, sometimes both parents work (and "need" to work to be the best parents possible for their child) so that eliminates homeschooling.  Other parents who live outside of the US simply can't homeschool because it's illegal.  Still others have wonderful public/private school options available locally and feel those would be a better fit to their child.  Sometimes the child themselves want to be schooled (maybe for socialization reasons? maybe for the academics? maybe for all the extracurricular activities? maybe the child has special needs and a public school can offer a number of services?).

 

There's just so much that goes into a family's decision to school a child that it's hard to wrap it up into a neat little bow, especially when children are so different when it comes to their academic needs.  Some children might thrive in a creative Waldorf environment whereas another child might suffer incredibly.  Yet another child might love the child-led approach in Montessori whereas another might want to be pushed more through a traditional public school.  Some kids could absolutely thrive in an unschooling environment whereas others might feel overwhelmed with all that freedom.  In the end APing is about respecting your child's needs and trying to meet them as best you can, while also being realistic about your family situation.  I think earthmama's post is a great example of this.  Her children might do best with eclectic homeschooling but physically she can't pull it off so they do the next best option, which is ok too! I think homeschooling would probably be better with DD too but I work and we can't homeschool anyways in the country we live in so we found a school that we feel meets her needs well.  

 

 

post #8 of 47

MY SON IS SUCH AN EXTRAVERT AND I COULDNT FIND A PEER GROUP FOR HIM THE HOMESCHOOLING COMMUNITY OF MY AREA. THE OTHER REASON WAS JEWISH EDUCATION, WHICH I DIDNT FEEL I COULD PROVIDE. HOWEVER, ITS A CONSIDERATION IN THE FUTURE. (HIRING A TUTOR FOR EG) ADMITTEDLY, HE GOES TO A PRIVATE SCHOOL, BUT WITHOUT THE CONSIDERATION OF JEWISH EDUCATION, SENDING  HIM TO PUBLIC SCHOOL WOULD HAVE BEEN A NO BRAINER, SINCE HE  QUALIFIED FOR SOME GOOD SCHOOLS.  I CANT WAIT FOR THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS, SO THAT WE CAN HOMESCHOOL/HOMECAMP SO TO SPEAK. 

post #9 of 47

All the choices we've made for our kids so far have been in their best interest.  School falls in there as well and we do attend public school.  While I'd love to homeschool at some point, I can't right now, so picking a small, rural school is what works for us. 

 

We do greatly supplement the education our kids get, whether it's a small, private preschool or a small public school.

post #10 of 47

I think it depends on why you are alternative or crunchy.  

 

There are so many reasons people make the choices they do - medical, environmental, parenting and financial.

 

If your choices have been largely centered around attachment parenting (not crying it out, babywearing, minimum use of daycare etc in early years) then I think Hsing in the early years and a graduasl introduction to schooling if you choose is an extension of that.  .

 

Where I live there is such a thing as Pre-K.  Kids as young as 3 go to school  for either 1/2 a day every day or a full day every 2nd day.  Many schools are transferring over to fulltime Pre-K.  My own feeling are that 3 year olds are too young to be in school full time.  I also think it is would be quite the shift for a child who had been with mommy 24/7 to suddenly go to school full time at 3 or 4.

 

If you want your child to go to school, or you think you or child would benefit from it, I would suggest a more gradual entry.  Preschool perhaps (even for an extra year - some kids go to preschool when they could be in school) or part time schooling.  Alternately, just wait until they are 6 or 7 or showing clear signs they are ready.  I believe almost no 3 year olds are ready to be separate from their families for the full day (which doesn't mean they would not adjust, kids are resilient, but it is not my ideal).

 

OTOH, I believe it is very possible for parents to make non-mainstream choice for primarily medical reasons and have no issues with sending their child to school at a young age.

post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tex.mom View Post

Thanks for your perspective.  I've been a schoolteacher too, but actually not sure where it leaves me in this decision, lol.  Our local schools are definitely considered great academically.  For me I'm more influenced by seeing all the pics of this orchestra performing at Carnegie Hall, or that team winning some robotics competition, and so on and so forth.



At what age?  Just because there are great opportunities down the road does not mean your young child has to start now.  

post #12 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





At what age?  Just because there are great opportunities down the road does not mean your young child has to start now.  


I'd say beginning late elementary but even before then.  My children do not attend PreK (they do attend "preschool" usually 2 or 3 part-time days), but even though Kinder is optional in Texas, it is full-day and so far my two eldest have attended.  I think they came to school already well-prepared.  On the other hand, they were in private at the beginning of this school year for one quarter, after which they transferred back to public and my Kinder ds, while generally measuring above-average, already had to have extra work at home in some specific areas where he was behind.  Not because he was "behind" in the true sense but because he didn't have some of the specific learning they were building on.  So that makes me feel like if we are going to go this route, we should commit to it.  I've heard from others that when they moved into the district their children were "behind" as well.
 

 

post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

Um, no, homeschooling is not always the logical consequence of following the "AP Checklist." Sure, plenty of APers HS. But I have a hard time seeing how exactly breastfeeding, not circing and natural birthing lead to investment in any one particular sort of educational setting.


ITA.  I had no intention of homeschooling my son when I chose to have a natural birth, not circumcise him, etc.  I was born at home, myself, and my brothers weren't circumcised and we all went to school.  There were fewer vaccines back then but my parents chose to delay some of them and skip others.  My son is homeschooled because that is what's best for him, nothing to do with any sort of ideals I had.

 

post #14 of 47

I put my daughter in a charter (publicly funded) school when I decided to go to nursing school. My youngest was also very sick for many years and demanded a lot of attention from me. I felt that breaking up older dd's day and giving her a break from her sister's illness and a tired mommy would be good for her-- and so it was. It went so well that she's still in school 5 years later and dd2 is now in school, too. I just graduated with my RN degree a month ago. The kids love school and get many benefits. My 10 year old especially enjoys being around her friends and that's an important part of her life. Both of them have a great relationship with their teachers. Yes I do give up some control of their day and it's not always free of problems, but the pros far outweigh the cons for them, and us.

 

I started off thinking I was going to homeschool, and I did for 2 years before dd1 went to K. She was precocious and we enjoyed doing the K and 1st grade programs together, but she enjoys school a lot more.

post #15 of 47

We homeschooled when they kids were young, and then they attended public school for a while, and they now go to a private alternative school. Every option has done pluses and minuses.

 

When they were very young, it felt right to me to keep them home and near me, and let their academics unfold at the paces that were right for them.  For the most part, it was lovely.

 

We got to a point where homeschooling was no longer working -- we all felt isolated and drained, needed breaks from each other, and they needed the energy of working in groups. One really wanted to see the same kids every day, and the other really needed adults other than me as teachers.  And I was burned out and ready for REAL breaks.

 

Our public school experience was positive -- great teachers and caring staff. It really was a community.  My kids made more friends and they worked harder. They got to do really cool things. And I got some much, much needed time to take care of myself.

 

When we relocated for my DH's job last summer, we found ourselves in a city with the most amazing private school. It's an absolute dream for my kids.

 

My only regret in all this was that we didn't transition from homeschooling to school a little earlier. They were 10 and 12, and looking back, we should have made the leap a year or two earlier. There's so much negativity in homeschooling circles about school, and I really thought that transitioning was a bad thing to do, scary, or a failure or something.  Or selfish because I really did need some time to myself. 

 

Overall, though, it's all been good. My kids are awesome!

 

(And for the record, I AP'ed, my kids co-slept until they were about 4, I BF with child led weaning, I tandum nursed, my kids have only known GD)

post #16 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tex.mom View Post

Non-vaxing, non-circ'ing, natural birthing... homeschooling.  Right?  That's the way I see it most of the time! 

 

Just wanted to clarify that I was referring to the way I "see" it in people's signatures, lol.  Oh, but I forgot CD'ing. :)

 

post #17 of 47

My motto is:  Education is important; the classroom not so much.  We have chosen homeschooling (independently and through public charter school), private school, public Montessori elementary school, combination homeschool/classroom, independent study, community college combined with high school.  We make our educational decisions based on what is best for the family as a whole and for each individual child within the family.


 

post #18 of 47


Quote:

Originally Posted by physmom View Post

I don't feel this is the natural conclusion to the AP checklist either.  Really, AP boils down to meeting a child's needs in the best way possible for that family, right?  Well, sometimes both parents work (and "need" to work to be the best parents possible for their child) so that eliminates homeschooling.  Other parents who live outside of the US simply can't homeschool because it's illegal.  Still others have wonderful public/private school options available locally and feel those would be a better fit to their child.  Sometimes the child themselves want to be schooled (maybe for socialization reasons? maybe for the academics? maybe for all the extracurricular activities? maybe the child has special needs and a public school can offer a number of services?).

 

There's just so much that goes into a family's decision to school a child that it's hard to wrap it up into a neat little bow, especially when children are so different when it comes to their academic needs.  Some children might thrive in a creative Waldorf environment whereas another child might suffer incredibly.  Yet another child might love the child-led approach in Montessori whereas another might want to be pushed more through a traditional public school.  Some kids could absolutely thrive in an unschooling environment whereas others might feel overwhelmed with all that freedom.  In the end APing is about respecting your child's needs and trying to meet them as best you can, while also being realistic about your family situation.  I think earthmama's post is a great example of this.  Her children might do best with eclectic homeschooling but physically she can't pull it off so they do the next best option, which is ok too! I think homeschooling would probably be better with DD too but I work and we can't homeschool anyways in the country we live in so we found a school that we feel meets her needs well.  

 

 


yeahthat.gif  Well said.. and what we practice in our house as we are considering where our second child might go to school. DS1 is in a language immersion program at the k4 level and loves it, but I believe DS2 might thrive better in a montessori program instead of the language immersion program.
 

 

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessemoon View Post

We are a homebirthing, noncircing, selective vaxing family.  Those were healthcare decisions and philosophical positions about specific issues.  As far as I can see they don't have very much to do with where (or if) I want my children to go to school. We are lucky enough to live in an area where the public schools are good, so that is where my son attends school and where my daughter will as well when she is old enough.

 

I have been a public school teacher, I am a community college (also public) instructor and I'm getting my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (public school focused). I see no disconnect between my commitment to public schooling as a social justice issue and my commitment to natural parenting ideals. I think that the public school system is certainly not perfect, but part of my mission in the world is to improve it. The values we have as a family won't be undone by school.  I was raised by a counterculture family and still attended public school. I grew up to share many of my parents ideals anyway smile.gif  I feel good about my son's school and unless something were to change in a drastic way, our neighborhood school is a good fit for us.

 

Homeschooling can be fantastic for some families.  It isn't our choice at this point and I see no contradiction between that stance and deciding where to birth my babies or circumcise my son. 


I totally agree with all of this. My husband is a math and science education researcher, and he works passionately and tirelessly with teachers, principals, school boards, and legislators to improve the quality of our public schools.  We are prepared to teach our children and follow their interests and passions, of course, but I don't think public school is in direct opposition to that.  But I don't have any interest in full-time homeschooling. If it turns out that our children cannot function in public or private schools, I suppose we will consider homeschooling, but I don't feel it conflicts with our natural parenting philosophy.

 

post #20 of 47

I delayed Vax, non circ'ed, Midwife birthed and Breastfeed (and Tube feed) and Homeschool.

 

But we seperate school. I dont think I'm countercultural. My child needed more support, so I pulled her out of school.

 

My others go to a Catholic seperate  school.

 

You can find oppertunities anywhere if you search for them.

 

 

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