Hi, I'm brand new here and have spent the last hour reading over some old threads. I'm wondering if any of you can offer some insight for the decision we have to make in the next few months.
I'll give some background: I have three boys age 1,3 (soon to be 4), and 5 (soon to be 6). My 5 yo is currently in a public school kinder program. It is a very good school, ranked 10/10 in the state; and yet... I'm not thrilled with it. The class size is 29 students with only one teacher. He is new to kindergarten and has taken a while to get into the swing of things. Additionally, there are 1-2 high-needs boys in the class that take up a lot of the teacher's time. So I have been disappointed this year. But a lot of that is just dependent on this particular class and could be totally different next year; although class sizes won't be getting any smaller. By second grade this school offers a "rapid learner" program which is more academically rigorous and is likely what he would be doing if we stick with this school.
My 5 yo is very bright, motivated, athletic, and very advanced for his age for math, and above average for reading. He is one of those kids that constantly wants to learn more; and with relatively little pushing from us, asks us if he can work on math problems and wants to learn cursive all on his own. He has told me many times that school is boring because he already knows how to do the things they are working on. He has weak areas too. He is not terribly creative and has struggled in unstructured activities like art where they aren't told exactly what to do. Additionally he is pushy, bossy, and lacks in flexibility. Though he seems to do fine socially and has lots of friends. My husband and I are both very laid back people and can't quite figure out how to get him to be more relaxed (think Alex P Keaton).
My 3 yo is the opposite of his brother. He would be content to sit and cuddle with me all day. He has no interest in any of the things his brother was eager to be doing at this age. He never even went through the "why" phase of asking about the world. We have the opposite worry with this one and want him to just take some interest in something... anything.
At this point I am trying to decide if we should give up on the public school system. The class size issue is going to be a problem regardless of any kind of advanced learning programs. Although the 5 yo will likely thrive in most environments, I suspect his younger brother might struggle more in a traditional school; and I'd rather have them not doing two totally different schools either. I toured our local Waldorf preK-12 school and really loved it; but I have some concerns:
-Will my over-achieving 5 yo be bored by the lack of emphasis on reading and academics in the 1st grade level? I would HATE to put a damper on his current excitement for learning.
-will the emphasis on art and creativity help his current difficulties with being creative or make it even more of a struggle for him to adjust?
-will the lack of structured sports programs make him miss out on various sports that he seems to have strong potential in?
-even if Waldorf is not the best fit for the 5 yo, will the probable good fit with my 3 yo make it worthwhile? (I know you can't answer this one, but it's also on my mind as I try to puzzle out what's best for the family)
-we are not exactly the perfect Waldorf family. We watch TV and do computer time on the weekends. I'm an atheist and find religion and even spirituality to be kind of silly. My husband and I are both practical and scientifically minded and would struggle with the lack of science/ emphasis on magical fairies in the early grades. We both came from very traditional and high achieving schools/families, so it would be a bit of a change for us not to have that emphasis; though I think we can make the adjustments esp if it will allow the boys to thrive.
Wow, that came out way too long. I guess it helps just for me to write out my thoughts. But if you have any insight to help in making the decision, I'd love to hear it; or even just hear your experiences. Thanks!