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Deal with bad fit PS or pay for Montessori? - Page 2

post #21 of 33

I wonder if part of your hesitation is not wanting to start something that it's not clear you can sustain, financially. My own experience is that even a few years of a school experience that is a great fit is worth it. Not as good maybe as all 12 years, but some is definitely more beneficial than some, and the more the better. I went to Montessori through K, then a few years on not-great-academically public schools, then a fantastic, wonderful private school that was so good for me, socially and academically both. Then a public school that was supposed to be great academically, but wasn't a great fit for me. I am so, so immensely glad and thankful for the years I had at my good school. The things I learned there are the things that have stuck with me, and the sense that I could be a good learner stayed with me through years at the less-good places. I do think there is tremendous value in building the memories of what it feels like to be working in that sweet spot academically, and of being in a learning environment that feels right, even if it's not sustainable. Especially if not. I think those memories are a great gift to carry through leaner years.

 

But it's so hard to judge other people's finances! Being up nights worrying, not knowing how to pay the $5 for a class project... at some point there's a tipping point, and it's so hard to plan in advance where the tipping point is, because how can you predict what might come up? Can you work as a tutor if you need to get some extra cash at some point?

 

Heather

post #22 of 33

If you can afford it I'd pay for the private school.  My kids were homeschooled and then we put them in private Christian school.  We absolutely love their school and would not ever consider public school (if we truly couldn't afford private we'd homeschool).  To us it doesn't even register as a financial sacrifice.  Yes, we know we could buy a bigger house where they all have their own rooms, and yes we'd have more financial freedom, but this is their childhood we are talking about!  You can't redo your childhood.  This is the only one they get and I want to make it the best I can and being in an awesome school is a huge part of that.  For us no vacation or whatever else you could use the money for would make up for spending every day in a bad school.  I say go for the private school. 

post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 

I think starting something that may be hard to sustain is part of it.  Part of it is worry that this school won't be a good fit for my child, either.  However, we're going to give it a go.  We have 6 weeks into the school year before we need to commit financially.  And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have some major issues with the public schools here and it wouldn't feel right to me to put my child back in that environment.  This is especially true since she hated it. 

 

I do wonder if my daughter has sensory issues -- is this something that should be formally diagnosed?  Or is it something that I just need to keep tabs on to make sure nothing becomes too overwhelming? 

 

I've seen her completely shut down and tune out even in small groups of children if they are loud or boisterous.  I think a persistent public school environment in our community would be a recipe for disaster if she truly does have sensory issues. 

You make good points about no vacation or anything else could make up for being truly miserable much of the year.  And I think we do a lot of enriching things anyway, just because they are cheap and readily available. 

Thanks again for your thoughtful responses. 

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post

I do wonder if my daughter has sensory issues -- is this something that should be formally diagnosed?  Or is it something that I just need to keep tabs on to make sure nothing becomes too overwhelming? 

 

There are a lot of great resources on sensory issues and if you post this exact same question on the special needs board, you'd most likely get different answers. winky.gif

 

If you have good insurance that will pay for the eval and some therapy, it's worth going down that route. If you don't, rather than beat yourself up over it, there's really a ton a stuff you can do at home. I'd start by reading The Out of Sync Child by Kranowitz and go from there. It has TONS of ideas in the back.

 

Figuring out the right sensory diet for a child can make a world of difference. It would be easier working with a professional, but there are a TON of things you can do at home.

 

I'm usually a huge fan of getting dx's, but the nasty little thing about SPD without any other issues is that very, very few states require schools to make any accommodation for it. So if a child has sensory issues as part of another dx, like Aspergers' the schools can accommodate the sensory issues, but if it's *just* sensory issues, the child may not be able to get any accommodations even with a water tight dx.

 

Next option, since you are worried about the long term plan, paying for the school year and year, etc., are there any better school districts you could move to reasonably close to where you work?

 

Ultimately, it was the hustle and bustle of the public middle school that caused us to switch our DD to a small, private school. She couldn't cope with the bells or the sounds of the lockers.

post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 

This is super helpful, thanks!  We've done an intake with a psychologist.  Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this if only for the sake of our sanity.  It's good to know that schools don't always have to accommodate SPDs, but it doesn't actually surprise me. 

 

There are better schools nearby.  Even if we were to drive about a mile from where we live now we'd be in another school district that is supposed to be much much better.  However, I think the "better" assessment has to do with higher test scores.  Demographically, that district has a far lower ESL population and a higher overall income so that is not surprising.  A lot of my university professor colleagues and their kids also live in that district.  So I don't really know if they have smaller classes or if ultimately the whole school feel of the building would be different for my child, if that makes sense.  Also, all the districts around here put a lot of faith in the whole high stakes standards testing, and I just don't feel like that is a good approach to learning for so many kids, mine included.   Plus public schools tend to switch from subject to subject rather abruptly during the school day and my child really *really* didn't handle that well at all.  I'm thinking in a Montessori environment they might be more in tune with that. 

 

If Montessori works out, maybe we can get in on the scholarship applications for next year.  We missed the deadline this year because we didn't know we'd even be applying to this school or in this position. 
But we'll deal with one crisis at a time winky.gif

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
I do wonder if my daughter has sensory issues -- is this something that should be formally diagnosed?  Or is it something that I just need to keep tabs on to make sure nothing becomes too overwhelming? 

 

I've seen her completely shut down and tune out even in small groups of children if they are loud or boisterous.  I think a persistent public school environment in our community would be a recipe for disaster if she truly does have sensory issues. 

You make good points about no vacation or anything else could make up for being truly miserable much of the year.  And I think we do a lot of enriching things anyway, just because they are cheap and readily available. 

Thanks again for your thoughtful responses. 


I agree that if you have insurance that covers OT then getting an eval could be helpful, though paying cash may be an option for you as well and they might offer a discount because they don't have to deal with an insurance company (I think our eval was $150-$200). Ds' OT evaluation was extremely helpful for explaining ds to others though we didn't pursue OT therapy at that point because the ADHD/ODD was the most pressing issue--but, we asked the OT to write the report with the school in mind and she included a lot of explanation and advice on things they could do to help ds. So the eval was worth it just to have an "authority" explain ds to the school/doctors. On the other hand, it didn't tell us much that I didn't already know from my own reading.

 

Ds' first school was a K-5 600+ student school. There were 5 Kindergarten classes, and going to the school for activities gave ME a headache! Ds was more sensitive to sound then and he literally climbed a wall when they had their first fire drill. Gym class was usually a disaster because of the lack of structure and the noise level; once I stayed for his gym class and their was construction outside--ds was the only once with his hands on his ears the whole class. The cafeteria was just as bad; though when parents visit for lunch they had us sit on the stage to eat with our student which was much less noisy.

 

Ds is now in a charter school, and though the structure of the school is similar to the one he left, it is much smaller (a 700 student K-12 population), with only two classes per grade in the elementary school.

 

 

post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
Ds was more sensitive to sound then and he literally climbed a wall when they had their first fire drill. Gym class was usually a disaster because of the lack of structure and the noise level;

 

 


 

How does your son do with fire drills at his new school? Our private alternative school pulls out the SPD kids and takes them outside before pulling the alarm. (There are several SPD kiddos at the school)

 

PE was a nightmare for DD in public school. As part of her 504, she had a shorted school day and did PE as an independent study. She and I would go to the Y, which she could handle, and then I would take her to school and she would do her other classes.

 

Cafeteria was difficult, but there was no way around it while having her in school. The mixture of the various smells (she's VERY sensitive to smells), the noise, the chaos, the confusing social situations was all a bit much. Making the other changes (like PE) was enough to make school doable for her. It's much more sane for her at her current school. They get a whole hour of lunch, it's not as noisy or chaotic, and because the school doesn't prepare any food (every one brings a packed lunch) it really cuts down on the smells. The time when they aren't eating they can go outside or read in the library or play a board game with a friend. It's sane! 

post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post




 

How does your son do with fire drills at his new school? Our private alternative school pulls out the SPD kids and takes them outside before pulling the alarm. (There are several SPD kiddos at the school)

 

PE was a nightmare for DD in public school. As part of her 504, she had a shorted school day and did PE as an independent study. She and I would go to the Y, which she could handle, and then I would take her to school and she would do her other classes.

 

Cafeteria was difficult, but there was no way around it while having her in school. The mixture of the various smells (she's VERY sensitive to smells), the noise, the chaos, the confusing social situations was all a bit much. Making the other changes (like PE) was enough to make school doable for her. It's much more sane for her at her current school. They get a whole hour of lunch, it's not as noisy or chaotic, and because the school doesn't prepare any food (every one brings a packed lunch) it really cuts down on the smells. The time when they aren't eating they can go outside or read in the library or play a board game with a friend. It's sane! 



Yes, fire drills completely freaked my daughter out.  She'd talk for weeks after it about how loud and scary it was and kept asking if we were going to have a fire.  Just as she seemed to be over it, they'd go and have another one.  It's nice to find people whose children have felt the way mine has.  It feels much less intimidating.  So is having just 2 classes per grade really enough to help your child?   I hope he continues to do well there. 

 

You can get a shorter day?  Interesting though I don't think the schools around here would go for that.  They went so far as to offer drawings for big prizes (new bicycles) for kids who attended school every day, all day.  When I pulled my child and submitted my NOI to homeschool the remainder of the year, I got a snarky letter from the superintendent expressing his disapproval but accepting my watertight legal NOI.  Part of the after school meltdowns this past year I think were related to exhaustion.  And I know from personal experience that it takes a lot of extra energy to mediate a world around you that you find too stimulating.  I don't think a lot of people understand that.  Her teacher told her to tell me my daughter needed an earlier bedtime.  But that wasn't it. 

 

Ironically, if I am to pay for this alternative school I probably can't do a $100-200 OT assessment, but I am paying some fees for her evaluation for her behavior issues that I think are sensory related.  I hate that it comes down to money but she's my kid and I want her to be happy and well-adjusted.  Well, as much as any of us can be orngtongue.gif

 

post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
You can get a shorter day?  Interesting though I don't think the schools around here would go for that.

 


It wasn't the first thing we tried. By the time we got to the shorter day, we had exhausted homeschooling as an option, my DD was seeing a private therapist every week, my DD was spending 2-3 hours per school day in the school workers office, she had missed about 50 days of school (not counting the days she went home early) and my DD has been dx'ed with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder on top of Asperger's.  We were also looking into a school for kids with emotional problems (one step away from in-patient treatment) and it would have cost our school district 24K a year (and was 40 minutes from our house).

 

god -- it hurts to even type all that up. mecry.gif

 

Our school staff was really awesome with my DD and I always felt at every single step of the way they were trying to figure what the heck would work for her. I only have good things to say about the staff at the public school she attended. They were great, but school wasn't the right place for her.

 

Back back to your original question, paying for the alternative school for her is the right choice.

 

It's weird how it all played out. While all of that was happening for DD, my DH's company restructured and we HAD to move. We ended up with our choice between 3 new cities, and I got to pick based on where I though DD would be best. So she's now at a school thats ideal for her,  that was my top pick of 3 cities, and far better than any of the options in our first city. It's a great situation, but we went through h*ll to get here.

 

(I gained a lot of weight that year)

 

 

post #30 of 33

To clarify something --

 

My DD is a former homeschooler and the sh*t hit the fan for her while homeschooling. She was dx'ed with clinical depression while she was still a homeschooler. It was actually part of the reason we decided to do something different, like school.

 

I don't want any one to read this and think that I put my perfectly happy homeschooling child in school and she became depressed and anxious. My child was extremely Not Happy during her last months/year of homeschooling. It was a situation where any decent parent would change things -- anything really, to try help.

 

Raising a SN child ain't like raising a typically developing child. We had reached a point where no one outside our family was trying to interact with her. (She's not an easy person to interact with). Our experience was the homeschool moms are busy with their own kids and that as kids get older, they get picker about their friends. DD was completely and totally isolated.

 

At school, my DD had people trying to interact with her. It was a step in the right direction for her.

 

 

post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View PostHow does your son do with fire drills at his new school? Our private alternative school pulls out the SPD kids and takes them outside before pulling the alarm. (There are several SPD kiddos at the school)


I'm not sure how the new school does fire drills, but it didn't come up as a problem this year; perhaps he was just used to it. I don't remember how it was handled it K, but they did have some solution.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post


Yes, fire drills completely freaked my daughter out.  She'd talk for weeks after it about how loud and scary it was and kept asking if we were going to have a fire.  Just as she seemed to be over it, they'd go and have another one.  It's nice to find people whose children have felt the way mine has.  It feels much less intimidating.  So is having just 2 classes per grade really enough to help your child?   I hope he continues to do well there.
 

 

Ds said the same things about the drills/fire in K. I do try to explain the "why" of things which is working better as he gets older; I think, at the time, I tried telling him that "fire drills" help everyone leave the building at the same time fast without anyone getting lost--and I came up with some non-fire examples, such as when a water pipe broke open over dh's desk and everyone had to leave because their feet were getting wet (I didn't mention the dangers of a flood in a comm roomwink1.gif). He can be sensitive to smells, which usually results in him complaining about them loudly.

 

At the same time that ds started at the charter, he started treatment for the ADHD and had the OT eval so we had more information to work with in helping him at school. And the scale of his charter is smaller, "cozier" (the elementary school has it's own wing) and he has a better relationship with the staff--had a super teacher last year. He still has issues, but is dealing with them better overall.


Edited by Emmeline II - 7/11/11 at 11:39am
post #32 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

To clarify something --

 

My DD is a former homeschooler and the sh*t hit the fan for her while homeschooling. She was dx'ed with clinical depression while she was still a homeschooler. It was actually part of the reason we decided to do something different, like school.

 

I don't want any one to read this and think that I put my perfectly happy homeschooling child in school and she became depressed and anxious. My child was extremely Not Happy during her last months/year of homeschooling. It was a situation where any decent parent would change things -- anything really, to try help.

 

Raising a SN child ain't like raising a typically developing child. We had reached a point where no one outside our family was trying to interact with her. (She's not an easy person to interact with). Our experience was the homeschool moms are busy with their own kids and that as kids get older, they get picker about their friends. DD was completely and totally isolated.

 

At school, my DD had people trying to interact with her. It was a step in the right direction for her.

 

 



 

Oh, I'm sorry you had such a hard time.  hug.gif  Thank you for sharing your experience, even if it was hard to write.  I'm glad you were able to figure out what your daughter needs and help provide it.  We're not quite in such dire straits but I can't imaging putting my child through misery again.  I think the advice of many here has been wise and I'm thinking seeing if my daughter will adjust to PS is a bad idea, a very bad idea. 

 

And I agree completely that homeschooling may not work for everyone.  Until this past year I was 100% committed to homeschooling for these early years but I've come to realize it's not the right thing for my daughter.  I have personal issues with school in general and education laws that I see as outdated and of little value, but the reality is that my child thrives when she has other kids (just not too many) to play with on a regular basis and she just loves to learn.  Public school in our case had too many kids and not enough intellectual stimulation.  Homeschool just won't provide that social interaction for her, even with joining up with other homeschool groups, because the reality is that I work full time.  And there's no reason we can't still have enrichment experiences like museums, zoos, etc.  Deep down I don't want her to go to school at all, but I've dealt with that in the name of what she needs, not what I want.  I'm hoping that this Montessori school will be the right balance. 

post #33 of 33


I really hope it all works out for you. Having done all three, public school was better for DD than homeschooling, but the private school is a better fit than public. It's so hard to figure it all out. Every child is different, every public school is different, and every private school is different.

 

Your DD is  REALLY young. She could be a very different kid in a couple of years. She may not always need to very sheltered environment. But it sounds like it's the best option for this year.

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