I'm sure venting about public school experience is nothing new here, but I feel like when i start venting to my husband or family it seems to startle them and they glaze it over with giving me reasons why public school will do good for my child...
I have worked in early childhood education (birth through preK) for most of 10 years. I am working on my degree in it (but taking a break). I have had the good fortune of working in some excellent, child-centered schools what use mixes of emergent curriculum and reggio-emilia. So not only am I transitioning my child INTO public school, but OUT of these low-ratio, loving, personal, child-centered learning environments. I don't know what i thought. I thought maybe public school had caught on a little, but no- seems like they still drop everything early child development teaches you at the door and proceed to carry on a completely developmentally inappropriate, adult-centered institution. I KNOW schools don't have the funding they need, I know teachers are up to their necks in ratios. But in my mind, some things could be helped. I am having a hard time in part to the impersonal nature of public school. I am used to walking into a classroom, morning and afternoon and spending time with my child, and conversing with their teacher! "How was their day? What's been going on at home? etc etc..." There is NO conversing with the teacher or connecting! I can't even figure out how to, and one e-mail I sent never got answered... On top of that they sent home fundraising stuff the second week of school and rewarded the kids who did sell things- this was my child's first impression of public school- that he had to sell stuff and he was totally stressed out that I wasn't. he kept asking me where his "money envelope" was, and that he HAD to bring it back, or her wouldn't get a treat. Really.
It also breaks my heart lately when I watch my son at home. He used to go to pre-k full days while I worked, and now i am home with my new baby so he just goes to K part days and stays home with me... He is a very bright boy. he is artistic, scientific, and a natural learner. Then I imagine his future in public school... Right now one of their main methods is "centers", which like 5 tables are set up with activities and there are about 5 kids to a table. they shuttle these kids through the centers on a timeline. While I see how this helps break the classroom into small groups, which is good for them and the teacher, It is also totally compressed and factory-like. They go to "art" once a week. they go to "p.e." once a week. they go to "music" once a week. My son is way ahead of many kids his age in reading/ writing/ math skills to boot, so the work he IS doing is not really challenging him.
I think the final let-down came when there was a big controversy at his school. They had a program meant to make it more of a "magnet" school, that set it apart from other schools in our district. Parts of the program were about teaching awareness, to think critically/ ask questions, and awareness of the world/ other cultures/ the environment etc. So a small group of parents decided it was "anti-american and anti-christian". it went to the school board- over 600 parents signed a petition to keep the program, and 20-30 were against- and they pulled the program! the first month of school! Which brought me to the reality of our ultra conservative school board. That probably won't change soon.
I did not enjoy public school, and due to my experiences with early childhood education, I came to realize what a stark contrast there was between prek and grade school. But I felt the pressure of family and needing to work leading me to the logical conclusion he must go.
Whenever I bring this up to my mom (Masters in child development) or husband (son's stepfather) , they both agree with the poor quality of public school, but quickly revert to "He's socially awkward, he NEEDS public school! To socialize! (that is their main reasoning for him! The classic socialization argument... I was "socially awkward" as a kid and just dealt with major social anxiety the entire time, not pleasant)... But both of them agree I should stay home with the new baby because it "makes sense".
I am just wondering how other people dealt with a bad public school experience, how they came to home school, or in the least deal with public school... And how to bring it up as a serious topic to family- especially your partner. I suppose another issue at hand is that we do not have 1 but 3 in kindergarten this year. My 6.5 yo son has ASD and goes to a special classroom and some normal K. My stepson goes to K at a school in his mom's school district, and their custody agreement gives her say over his education. So this has to do with 1 out of the 3 only, and probably eventually the baby when he is school-aged. I know some may look at is as "2 of 3 are in public school, so the 3rd should be too" but they will all be in different schools next year as it is! Also I plan to keep my son with autism in public school and developmental therapy regardless. I know my stepson's mom and my husband aren't impressed with public school either, but I don't think at this point they consider it an option.
Is it doable on a limited income, in a blended family? Is it something you've swayed wary partners and family on?
Please & thank you! :)