That sort of sums it up. LOL
DD1 has attended a wonderful community waldorf-ish preschool for three years now. The school is growing and they plan on encorporating as a "real live private school" next year, blending Waldorf and Sudbury philosophies and teaching k-5.
DD1 loves the school, we love the families, and it would be great to continue on with this community. However, the shift to "formal school" brings a big increase in tuition and time commitment (the community will move into a formal school building that is almost an hour away). And, perhaps more importantly, we plan on moving in about 3 years. After our move we would most likely have the kiddos in a public school for at least a year or two.
Has anyone moved their child (or themselves) from a Sudbury style school into a more traditional school and had it work out? DD1 would be in the 3rd or 4th grade if we moved "on schedule" and dd2 would be in 1st or 2nd. I'm guessing it wouldn't be as big an adjustment for dd2, but I'm worried that unless we did a lot of work at home to make sure dd1 was staying on target with the public school standards she'd have a really hard time moving between the two philosophies. I wouldn't want her to be both the "new kid" and the "kid who doesn't know how to do X that we all learned in 1st grade", you know?
(right now we homeschool dd1 while she attends a 2 day/week homeschooler enrichment program at this school... that homeschooler enrichment program will remain an option even after the program becomes an official private school. So we could send dd1 and, this coming year, dd2 for the 2 day/week thing and keep filing the NYS paperwork for homeschooling. But dd1 really wants to go full time and we may be expecting a baby in September so homeschooling this coming year may not be the best option.... argh! lol)
Anyway... any insight would be appreciated! Thanks all!
My kids switched from relaxed homeschooling to public school when they were 10 and 12. They were ahead in some things (like reading), and a little behind in others (such as handwriting). We took them to a math tutor for a couple of months before they started school to make that subject a bit easier. It was real work for them to adjust, but I'm still glad they had the relaxed experience when they were young, even they they had to work double hard for a few months.
Public school is very repetitive, and kids really don't have to do all that stuff over and over to catch on. At the same time, a child with a mellow disposition who understands that they have to work a little harder for a short period of time as a trade off for having had A LOT of fun and freedom will find this easier than a child with a more perfectionist nature.
My kids now attend a private alternative school founded on the ideas of John Holt. It's awesome, and I feel truly blessed that we have this option. (We moved last summer for my DH's job, and this wasn't an option for us before). I do worry some days about what will happen when they leave (most likely they'll stay through high school). Their academics are very solid, but it's such a nurturing environment that I worry how they will adjust to a less warm and fuzzy situation.
My biggest concern with what you are considering is that if you put your child in a school that is an hour away, you'll spend 4 hours a day driving back and forth, which sounds burdensom to me. Adding a new baby, and sleep deprivation, BF, etc., I don't think I could do it.
but everything has pros and cons
Thanks! That's the sort of info I need! :)
As for the commute... we live really rurally, even though the school is moving the new commute would only be a mile or two further from our home (just in a different direction and one with more traffic). I dislike driving (dislike= hate beyond words actually) and one of the real ironies of our "homestead" is that everything now requires driving. I spend roughly 6 hours a week driving kiddos to and from preschool (2 hrs a day, 3 days a week)... we moved here when my oldest was 2yo and my youngest 6mo, and since then we've added another babe (who is now 1yo). So I've unfortunately done a LOT of driving with babies.
A benefit of having dd1 and dd2 at the same school would be that at least now dd2 would get "something" out of the commute. For the past 2 years we've dropped dd1 off and all dd2 "gets" out of the deal is a long car ride. :(
Right now DH and I are thinking we'll enroll both girls in the 2 day/week homeschool enrichment and just deal with the homeschool paperwork (possibly go with Oak Meadow or something "gently structured" so I can do less planning/prep and it would "fit" with the waldorf themes the school grew out of). But I'd like to hear more about families that have moved from a very self directed to a more formal setting... I just feel like it would be tough on the kiddo to adjust (if they were thriving in the unstructured environment at least).
In our situation, what the kids "thrived" with when they were small wasn't the same as what they "thrived" with when they got big. I think it's best to do what make the most sense each year, rather than coming up with a plan for their whole education.
Kids are really different at 12 than they were at 5.
but everything has pros and cons
That's a really good point. :) Especailly since I don't know if dd1 and dd2 will, actually, thrive in a Sudbury stype school. Up till now the school has been much more oriented along a Waldorf philosophy (so a gentle structure, but still very much a structured setting with routines being set by the adults for the children).
I guess I worry since I know we'll move in roughly three years and that when we move the kiddos will be entering public schools regardeless. Obviously we'd look for a good district, maybe a successful charter school or something that would suit our kiddos where they are then, but we'll be limited by what is available (and i wont know which city we'll be in till, well, a few months before the move). We moved schools a few times when I was young and I had a lot of difficulty shifting between school cultures so I know I'm letting that influence me a bit.
I'm trying to not overthink the process and just kind of enjoy the ride. But it's not coming easily to me! lol
The move is just a big old wild card -- on our last move we ended up with an option that was better than any of the options in the last place we lived. You never know.
My kids' school has some requirements. Every child is required to be in a math class, and until high school, they don't have any say about which math class, for example. But all the kids have a lot of free time too, with some VERY cool options of how to spend that time. It's a really nice balance.
but everything has pros and cons
Our lives have been very unsettled, moving every year or two, but I can't live my life based on 'what if'. My kids are happy in a Sudbury school (in Kingston NY). Of course we know that it's possible we may need to move. In the meantime, we live. KWIM?
Sandra, mom to 3 Sudbury kids and one 3 year old in Ulster County NY