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So talk to me about school

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
After years of planning to homeschool I've realized I'm totally not cut out for it. Well I realized that awhile ago (as did probably some of you when you've read my posts! LOL) but it took awhile to come to terms with it. My DH was a harder sell. But after me telling him if I have to homeschool I am afraid I will snap he finally is willing to admit it might be the best solution. We don't really know if it will work out though because we are absolutely not willing to consider public school and we are in a really small area so that doesn't leave much. There are tons of schools in Ottawa but unfortunately that is an hours drive one way. I don't really feel like being in the car for 4 hours a day and I know my 2 year old would not approve. We need to figure something out because school sign-ups for this September were last month. We are hoping to be able to get into the Christian school but they are really small and probably have limited enrollment. So I don't really know what's going to happen. Is Catholic school any better than public school? Well Catholic school is public school in that its free. But is it any better? I am a Christian and would like something religiously based or at least Christian-respectful (I really feel a lot of people are harsh to Christian ideas nowadays). Money is going to be an issue but my MIL, who works for the school board in Waterloo, will be so thrilled we are agreeing to send him to school she will probably offer to help with tuition.

Side note: I feel like such a failure. I've been telling people for years i'm going to homeschool. But I really don't feel I have the patience for it. Actually I know I don't. But I feel like I'm failing my son because my school experience was SOOO bad and I want to protect him from that. But maybe his would be different. Any good stories out there for me? Thanks for any help or advice!
post #2 of 10
Hi Shawna. First, I hope you won't feel like a failure! We all come to parenting with very high ideals for ourselves and our children. Then our children arrive and they are perhaps different people than we anticipated, and our parenting is expressed differently than we expected. Sometimes all our wonderful love and parenting tools still don't make the experience exactly what we envisioned, before we had children. I am also someone who pictured us homeschooling, but my firstborn ds had a temperament that would not have worked for either of us to homeschool. He wont' even allow us to teach him how to play mini-golf!!

So anyway, 2 children later, we are using public school. I can't comment on Catholic school, only having the experience of going there myself as a child. I know the reputation the C-schools have around here is of being slightly more rigid and a bit less creative in curriculum.

There are some great older threads on this forum about what people like about their public schools.

Mostly, be gentle with yourself and free yourself to seek alternatives.

My baby just got handed to me by my daughter--I had more to say but will have to postpone it!
post #3 of 10
When the time comes, we will be using public schools. I will admit that I was a teacher so I am probably biased. That said- we will be using our states "school of choice" program to choose the district & school that DD will attend and work w/the principal & teachers to place her in the "best fit" classroom. Our local private schools are exceedingly strict (IMO). I have heard tales of full day kindergarten kids in chairs all day long, raising their hand to speak. I attended a private school Kindergarten where I was discipline for coloring a tree purple because "God did not make them that way." I have vivid memories of that room and they aren't positive not that I am saying all private/religous schools are bad, just like not all public schools are good. The 1/2 day K. program in our local school is a wonderful developmentally appropriate classroom, complete w/indoor climbing structures and other large motor activities. The K. teachers at that school all have Masters and all have been teaching for 15+ years. I don't have the least bit of hesitiation that I will be able to find a room & teacher that I feel works for DD. I really think that there are public (and private) schools that ARE good. Baby calls- must run... Good luck!
post #4 of 10


We moved last fall to a new city/state and planned to homeschool our ds who is now 6. We went to a secular homeschool conference, did the research, and the more I wanted to "work" with him the worse things got.
I wasn't doing school at home, just asking if he wanted to do this or that.

I found a school in our new city/state that is based on the bank street method and they are doing many of the things we were doing @ home with much better results. We were doing dictation if/when he wanted to write and he was not motivated with me. I think for us I finally had to realize that if it was going to damage our relationship and drive me crazy if I tried to organize his whole life and couldn't find the right group to socialize with, motivate him, etc. that I shouldn't. I can't do it all, and now he comes to me, motivated and excited about what he's learned, and new things he wants to learn.
He wants to show me, and it's working out great for us right now.

I say go with the philosophy, religion, etc. whatever you would do and see how it goes.
Hope that made some sense.
post #5 of 10
First, please don't feel like a failure. I think you are making the best decisions you can for you, your children, and your family. The fact that you were willing to look at the situation, figure out what was not working so well, and make a change is a great, wonderful model for you to set for your kids! Give yourself a big pat on the back for showing that people should be flexible and use new learning to approach problems and always keep learning about yourself.

Schools are really, really individual. Some public schools are great, some are less so. Some Catholic schools are great, some less so. The only way you will know is to go and visit, ask lots of questions, use all of your senses to get a true feel of the place, then make a decision based on those facts and your family's values. Having any of us tell you what schools around us are like probably isn't very helpful, unless some of us live close to you -- I can tell that I live in another world!

I am very blessed in that I get to send my children to a private school that I worked at when I had my catering business for about 5 years. So I know really well what a regular, day to day student life looks like and have as much confidence as possible about a good fit between school and my kids.

Go and visit the schools you are considering. Talk to the people in charge. See if you can get into the grade-level classroom(s) you will be in next year and observe for a period of time (longer than 5 minutes). Ask yourself if your child would fit into what you see. I suspect people here would be more than happy to help you formulate a list of questions that you should answer (by talking or by observation) to help you decide.

Also, remember that sending kids to school doesn't take you out of the loop. Not only should you be involved in their school, but you still have a lot of time and control over what they do outside of the classroom. If Christian teaching is important, you can plan ways to accomplish that, even if the school doesn't. If science or math or reading is important, then you can plan activities accordingly. If the school doesn't do art, then you can do it at home or find outside enrichment classes. As wonderful as the school my kids will go to (starting next year) is, they lack diversity and any sort of perspective on wealth (we will be the poorest by far!) So I am already planning ways to make sure that my children don't think that all the world is white and belongs to the country club. All schools have shortcomings and we have to figure out ways to suppliment what our children learn to make up for them.

Good luck in your search and decision making.
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by Heavenly
Is Catholic school any better than public school? Well Catholic school is public school in that its free.
To the best of my knowledge, most Catholic schools DO charge tuition. Not as much as other private schools and the tuition is higher for non-Catholics (because Catholics contribute financially to their Church, some of which is directed to the schools).
post #7 of 10
I wouldn't eliminate any option. Look at every type of school you can within a reasonable distance from your home. We were just looking at schools for our son, and we looked at private, Catholic (we're not even Catholic), alternative public, and traditional public schools. The one we ended up liking the best was our neighborhood public school, after all that.

Are you against public schools because the ones in your area are specifically bad, because you had a bad experience with public school as a child, or because you want a school with religious instruction? It is work to find a program that matches your child's needs and your desires.

Best of luck.

I considered homeschooling as well, but my son loves school (preschool) and does not want to be with me all the time. We have great times together, but he needs his school time. With a high needs baby, I need a little of it, too.

I am a teacher, and felt like I really knew what I was looking for in a school. I know we have found it. I plan to spend a lot of time in the school, know what is going on, and support what is being learned at school.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
My husband will absolutely not agree to public school. I think we are mostly worried about the morals taught at public school that we don't agree with. We are also worried about negative influences that would be less likely at the private Christian school. There are only 125 students at the Christian school and its grades K-8. That said I am a big dolt and have done nothing in way of finding a school. I got scared about letting my son go to school again and decided I couldn't do it. But I KNOW it is the best decision. I am just so terrified of someone hurting him (ie. molestation). To explain my fears a bit more - I was molested as a child so I am already scared but when he was almost 3 he was almost taken at a play group at the library. I just turned around for a second and the guy almost had him in the bathroom. So I am terrified of someone getting to him. And it certainly doesn't help, the recent news story I read about a 6 year old boy attacking and raping/molesting another 6 year old in the bathroom at school. I told DH I couldn't send him to school and he was so happy. But I am going to have to upset him again and tell him I know the best choice will be to send DS to school.

There is actually a school right in my neighbourhood. I am between two small towns (one 6000 people, one 9000 people) in a small little village. There is a small public school just down the road. I don't know how many students or their policies or anything about them really. I have never even considered it. DH would say no way! But maybe I should look into because even though I'm going to call the Christian school on Monday it is probable that they are full as registration was last month. I hope they aren't as that would be the best solution. But I know that the public school down the road is really small. It probably doesn't have more than 200 students. It has a climbing structure outside that we go play on alot after school hours and a big huge field. No swings, but oh well. I don't know! I think there is no way that my husband would agree with that though. It would be nice to have him just down the road as when he gets older he could come home for lunch and he would be able to walk to school.

Can anyone tell me what kinds of things I need to look for and what kind of questions I need to ask when considering a school? Thanks!
post #9 of 10
You know, I would definitely at least visit and gather information at all of the local options. You never know, it may be that the local public school is more in tune with your values than the local Christian school is. There has been so much emphasis on "character education" lately that many schools are doing a decent job at morals and values. True, they won't put God behind them, but you can do that. At the same time, some Christian schools don't do a very good job at teaching morals/values at all. or only teach the ones that they think are "Godly". So before you (or your DH) automatically write off an option, visit and ask questions.

As to what questions, I think you should face your fears head on, among other question. Ask how they safeguard against molestation and children getting lost or snatched. In the years between your childhood and now, there has been so much attention to these problems that most schools have elaborate protocals in place to protect kids. I used to run a youth group and I can tell you that the guidelines are very specific. Of course, no one can molest your child if your child feels comfortable telling you everything, so there is another safeguard for you. Ask about what values are actively taught, and what "bad" things are tolerated. Ask about bullying and teasing. Then, of course, ask about mundane things like how they deal with discipline, how they teach reading, how they support families with non-mainstream lifestyles (be that vegan food or same-gender couples). Ask about homework and expectations for various ages...

That should get you started.. I'm sure others will have different ones for you.
post #10 of 10
Thanks for this thread. I'm compiling a list of questions as well so keep em coming.

A great book for learning to protect your children from harm is "Protecting the Gift" Gavin DeBecker. Am I spelling his name right? He actually has a list and letter examples in the book ready for you to use.

I also toyed with the idea of homeschooling. I've come to the decision that I am not homeschooling material. I wish I was but we all have our weaknesses and not having the patience for homeschooling is mine. Who knows maybe someday that will change.
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