Workshop #11 Public Schooling - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 73 Old 02-16-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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From what I've seen (and we homeschool), using the public schools in our area is what you'd call "an uphill battle." I tutor two children who go to Baltimore City public schools, and it seems that the school just isn't willing or able to meet thier needs academically.

Our local school was on some list for being really violent, and I believe it. Ds' friend was in fourth grade there last year. He was constantly being beat up at school, either for being Mexican or white, depending on who was throwing the punches. Apparently the school told his mom that there wasn't much they could do to protect him and that she should consider homeschooling.

I am interested in the "improving attention span" bullet point on the list, as the parents of one of the children I tutor are being told by the school to put her on medication for ADD, even though her doctor says she doesn't need it.
Yeah, the school district can really make a difference. My sister was a special education teacher for 6 years in the Baltimore city school district. She was very frustrated by a lot of things that she thought needed to be done. Some of it was lack of funds, some of it was administrative, some of it was bad teachers that they couldn't get rid of for numerous reasons. One being a lot of teachers didn't want to work in those schools.

But I fell in love with her kids. I did environmental education programs with them and then went in to just hang out and help my sister. They were great kids with a whole lot of difficulties to overcome. I was so happy that my sister was their teacher. They needed that.

 
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#32 of 73 Old 02-16-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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This is the way it is in our school district also, but they don't start the letter grades until 6th grade. It was so strange for me when I got his first grade report card. I kept thinking, but where are the letters? I think it's so much better for the kids not to have the letter grades. I wish they continued the other type of grading longer.
Interesting. I went to public school from 3rd - 9th grade, and we only got letter grades in 7th grade on up. before, we got E (for excellent), S (satisfactory), NS (not satisfactory).

And lots and lots of space for notes. This was from 1978-1984.

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#33 of 73 Old 02-16-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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I went to public school, and always had letter grades. 1990 - 2002. The teachers were allowed scantron comments, no personal comments at all.

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#34 of 73 Old 02-16-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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In first grade in 1980 we started with letter grades. I used to remember the difference between and A and a B+ was one stinking point! And how disappointing it was to miss that one question and lose a whole grade! Lot's of pressure!

 
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#35 of 73 Old 02-16-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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Hi. DS is 4 and goes to two, half days a week to preschool. I always imagined I would homeschool, but so far it seems that DS and I don't have compatible personalities for that. So, we've decided to try pubic school. He seems like a student who will do well surrounded by other kids his age. We shall see. I will always remain open and involved in his education, so that he will thrive as best as possible...

Interested more in lurking here and enjoy reading everyone's experiences.

This is us too. This workshop is particularly poignant for me right now. I was kind of struck when I saw it because of the timing.
I have been adament and excited about my plans to homeschool, but as my 4 year old gets closer to "that age", I am really questioning the decision, my abilities etc.

My experiences in public school were nothing short of horrible for the most part. I've been very against sending my kids, but I am starting to change my tune. It shocks me to even type that but there it is.
I don't think I've fully come to terms with it. I seem to change my mind a lot.
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#36 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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I'm in Ontario like allgirls, and my older dd is six years old. She is in SK - senior kindergarten.

When I was a child (I'm 28) JK & SK were both half day/every day programs. Now the JK is a full day, every second day, and SK is a full day, every day.

One thing I found was that it was a bit of a shock for dd to be in school all day when she started last year. She's a January baby, so the oldest in her class, but it was still difficult for her at close to five years old.

This may not apply, but my youngest dd is 14 months and is starting daycare in two months. I stayed home for a eight months of mat leave, and since then my mother has been caring for her.

However, dd2 has mild special needs and is really wearing my mother to the bone. So, hence the daycare setting.

I'm a single parents (soon to be) so I'm interested in maximizing both my dds experiences in the public school setting. My six year old thrives in her class, but I do worry about the rigidness of the school she's in (currently in a Catholic school, the public schools around here are horrendous) so I'm interested in discussing that.

There are no private school options, or I would definitely check that out!

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#37 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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So here's a question. Whenever I talk to people about the school district, I get mixed reviews. Like "oh, it's a GREAT district" and when I ask why, they talk about the technology, AP scores, and standardized testing. Or, "oh, it's really not so good" and they talk about social problems, race problems, bullying, and inflexible teachers. How do you wade through those comments to make the decision?

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#38 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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My sister, the special ed teacher, told me that the single most important factor for a child to do well in school is parental involvment. So that's something to keep in mind. Sending your child to public school does not mean that you are not involved in their education.

There are many ways to be involved, from being a class helper, to checking their homework, and keeping in touch with their teachers. I've done programs for my children's class and gone in on days to read my favorite book to them. So many ways to let your child and your child's teacher that you want to be part of your child's education.

As far as keeping in touch, email has been amazing. There are times when a phone call just doesn't work into the schedule or it's just a simple question that doesn't need a call. I usually hear from the teacher within a few hours.

Also, sending your child to public school does not have to be a permanent decision. You can change your mind if things don't work out. I think sometimes that is the only way you can tell if it works for your child.

 
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#39 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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My DH attended a public school and then Catholic school for a bit before attending a public high school. He will not send our girls to Catholic school because of his experience. He felt it was not a well rounded learning experience and it really caters to that "normal student". Meaning if your child is even a bit above average, they are not going to be challenged and if your child is below the standard for anything, you are going to have to go outside the Catholic schooling system to get the enrichment needed whether a LD, speech or anything like that.

In my area, property taxes are high to pay for the schools and Catholic school in our town is about 3K a year per child in the K-8. So I would have to return to work to pay for this privilage of a 6K education. Add another $1000 or so a year in fundraising, extra activities etc.


I also feel in a public school situation, you can be very involved in your child's education. But you do have to be proactive about this. I would suggest formally introducing both parents to the teacher right away, get to know your child's classmates and their families, get to know the entire support staff at the school. If something comes up whether an emergency or a personal situation, people are more than likely going to asst you in a better manner if they know you already.

Ask the teacher if there is anything she needs done that you can do. You know your talents, let her/him know them. DH built one teacher a large coat rack for the room. I do Xeroxing each week for DD's teacher and the others in the grade. It takes 20 minutes and then she dosent have to do it. My neighbor is an artist and draws up project cards for the kindy teacher. Another friend owns a large van and drives the high school buddies across town once a week to help in our school. I know each and every teacher whether in public or private school has a list of 50 or so things that anyone can do to assist. You just need to ask.

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#40 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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Who has EveryDay Math at their school?? This is new to DH and I this year.

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#41 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 04:32 PM
 
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Hi all. I have a dd in 3rd grade and a ds in 1st grade (public school), plus a dd in preschool who will be in kindy next year.

Our school uses Everday Math, and while we heard a lot of horrible things about it and some of it has taken some getting used to for me (like figuring out what the heck they mean when they say "write 12 names for '10' ") it has actually not been a bad curriculum for my kids. The teachers at our school seem well-trained in using the curriculum, and the kids are also spending plenty of time learning the standard algorithms as well as memorizing math facts (with end of year goals of automaticity with a certain number of facts each year).
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#42 of 73 Old 02-17-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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Ooops, funky server stuff, double post.
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#43 of 73 Old 02-18-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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I don't think our school district uses Everyday Math. I think it is called Spiral Math. Whatever it is, my kids have had a MUCH easier time learning math than I ever did so I have been grateful.

I think parental involvement is key (not to be measured by my lack of knowledge about the math curriculum!!) When teachers know you are involved, they do seem to take a more active interest in your child's education. They know you are 'behind' the child. I'll even get phone calls from my dd's teacher saying she forgot to turn her homework in several days this month, 'just to let you know.' I regularly email my son's middle school teachers to check in. And he does too. When they were in the younger grades, I checked out the teachers ahead of time in order to make informed recommendations about which teachers would be a good fit for them. The school has always honored our requests as they do value parent involvement.

 
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#44 of 73 Old 02-18-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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A few math curricula are spiraling curricula. Everday Math spirals, and I think the spiraling is very helpful.

I agree that being involved and communicating well with teachers is important.

How do you check out the teachers ahead of time? I'm curious how you approach this. In our school, iirc we're encouraged not to make requests for a specific teacher (and that would be pretty impractical with all the budget cuts, since teachers have been losing jobs and moving around so often--there just isn't, as far as I can tell, a way to accomodate every parent's request when things are so up in the air regarding teaching staff every year) but every spring we're encouraged to write a letter to the school about our child, what teaching style or personality we think would be a good fit for our child, what kind of learning approach is best for our child, whatever--in order to help with placement. (We did have a choice last year in that ds's kindy teacher asked to loop with the kids to 1st grade, and we were given the option to choose whether or not our children stayed with her for 1st grade.) We've been very happy with all of our kids' teachers, and our principal is fantastic.
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#45 of 73 Old 02-19-2009, 10:50 AM
 
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Hi all. I have a dd in 3rd grade and a ds in 1st grade (public school), plus a dd in preschool who will be in kindy next year.

Our school uses Everday Math, and while we heard a lot of horrible things about it and some of it has taken some getting used to for me (like figuring out what the heck they mean when they say "write 12 names for '10' ") it has actually not been a bad curriculum for my kids. The teachers at our school seem well-trained in using the curriculum, and the kids are also spending plenty of time learning the standard algorithms as well as memorizing math facts (with end of year goals of automaticity with a certain number of facts each year).
That is the sort of thing we are getting used to! A couple of times we have sent the homework sheet back with a ? mark on it. The teacher is very good about helping us with this. DD1 is in first grade and gets these math sheets sent home about twice a week plus a reading packet to complete over a week or so. It ends up being about 10 minutes daily and then she reads about 20-30 minutes daily.

DD1 picked up reading by xmas in kindy and continued to do fine in it.
That said, she is reading on or about her level and is asking for "chapter books". So far she has read JunieB Jones, the treehouse books, plus all the other types like Amelia Bedlia etc. She was really not into sitting down with books until she was about 4 years old where my dd2 is just 3 years old and LOVES having 5 plus books read to her every night and during the day, even as a baby loved it. I am wondering since she is more interested in it, if she will read at an earlier age or should we just keep reading to her like we do.

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#46 of 73 Old 02-19-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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I'll join in here. I've got 4 kids who are currently attending a public charter school. They've been in school for about a year, prior to that we homeschooled. My kids are in 3rd, 2nd, 1st and Pre-K. The pre-k is a 3 mornings a week program. The school is pretty small and has multi-grade classrooms. The 1st-3rd graders are together, and the 4th-6th graders are together in one class; they separate out by grade level for math and reading.

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Who has EveryDay Math at their school?? This is new to DH and I this year.
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That is the sort of thing we are getting used to! A couple of times we have sent the homework sheet back with a ? mark on it. The teacher is very good about helping us with this. DD1 is in first grade and gets these math sheets sent home about twice a week plus a reading packet to complete over a week or so. It ends up being about 10 minutes daily and then she reads about 20-30 minutes daily.
My kids' school uses everyday math, and I haven't been terribly impressed with it. I do like the hands-on activities and the emphasis on finding more than one way to solve a problem. But it doesn't lend itself well to teaching kids to memorize their basic math facts. I'm not arguing in favor of rigid math drills, but I don't think that 3rd graders should be counting on their fingers to figure out 4+3 either. I also have found a number of assignments to be contradictory and just plain old confusing (figuring out the 10s column first when doing double digit addition/subtraction???). Although I'm not usually a fan of flashcards, I've been using them with my kids to help them work on their basic math facts, because I have very little faith that they will memorize them otherwise.

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#47 of 73 Old 02-21-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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Gosh, there are so many things to discuss with this topic.

I currently teach a full day kindergarten class. The district I teach in (not the district I live in) is the largest in our state. I think it serves something like 42,000 children. Needless to say, there is a lot of variation. This is the second time I have worked in this district... and I have to say that, so far, this time is a much more positive experience. I think that in larger school districts, you really do have to look at each individual school to figure out the quality. And in a lot of cases, I believe that your experience is going to vary year to year simply because every teacher will have their own style and philosophy, and as a parent, you can influence that, but you can't change it. For this reason, I struggle with what to do about DS's education. I'm nervous about him getting a teacher who wants to make him sit in a desk and do worksheets all day long... and IME this is not an unlikely situation. NOw, I'm not anti-worksheet (I usually have my students do one or two every day, not more than that and I don't send any home for homework)... I think that worksheets have a time and a place and they can be helpful.... but too often, I see kids coming home from school with piles and piles of worksheets and then they are assigned another 2 or 3 for homework... and I'm really afraid of DS getting that kind of teacher.

On the other hand, I do believe that public schools offer children an invaluable exposure to diversity. I attended Catholic School for grades 1-12 and yes, the quality of my education might have been higher, but I went to college with this very closed minded, naive POV. Also, I had some major social problems in middle school (in a class of 20, there were only 7 girls, and I was bullied and outcast my entire 7th grade year... I can't help but think that if I'd been at a shcool with a bigger class that I could have found a group of friends and gotten away from the bullies). In high school there were 2 or 3 black kids in my class of about 200. Most of the people I went to wchool with were white, upper class, and Catholic.... not that there is anything wrong with that, but let me tell you... I went into the "real world" thinking that everyone was just like me. And I became very judgemental of those who weren't.... now would public school have remedied all that? probably not by itself. But I think that it would have made a difference.

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So here's a question. Whenever I talk to people about the school district, I get mixed reviews. Like "oh, it's a GREAT district" and when I ask why, they talk about the technology, AP scores, and standardized testing. Or, "oh, it's really not so good" and they talk about social problems, race problems, bullying, and inflexible teachers. How do you wade through those comments to make the decision?
You wade through those comments by knowing the parents who are making them. Do the parents have a similar philosophy to yours? Do they have a chip on their shoulder about something? Do they have any kind of knowledge or background in education?

I really believe the one of the most important factors in having a good experience (public or private schooling) is parent involvement. Get to know your child's school. Get to know the principal. Get to know their teacher. Get to know the parents of the other children. Volunteer in the classroom. Know what objectives are being worked on in the classroom, and help your child with them. I think that children who have involved parents are likely to do well even if the situation isn't ideal.

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#48 of 73 Old 02-24-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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I'll chime in
I have two kiddos currently in public school. I never thought we would public school but I also was never going to go solo homeschool, anyway sometimes I dream about being the one to start a private school here that is not related to the only private church options here.
The thing is my children are thriving at this public school; so really so far it would be my own holdup's about the "establishment" of public school kwim? My 2nd grader has a 5th grade reading level and my Kinder is right on track and they both LOVE the school and the routine and the friends.
So for now it's working educationally and socially. I struggle with the freedom issues (like the rule that my K can only miss 7 days even when sick before social service is called!)
Anyway that's are current experiance.

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#49 of 73 Old 02-25-2009, 01:40 PM
 
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I am happy this topic is being discussed. More than anything I want a foundation in which my daughter loves to learn. In my perfect world learning would be 90% hands on and 10% reading, research or studying depending on the subject and age. In elementary, instead of text books there would be an extensive library and there would be a "literature rich enviroment" including many books as well as the computer with internet access. The school would be culturally and economically diverse and there would be a high value on the whole child and meeting the needs of each individual. I am not sure my ideal is possible in any setting but my hope is to find something as close to it as possible.

In my immediate area public school is not an option however there are solid options in 2-3 surrounding districts and since I do not own my home I am open to moving for a solid school district. My thoughts are if I can find a good public elementary school I will move to the district and will have dd attend public for elementary then send her to a private all girls school in middle school & high school. The challenge with this is that all the public elementary schools seem only be K-5 and public middle school is 6th -8th..... if I want dd to attend public elementary then attend private junior high (7th - 8th) I would have the year of 6th grade to "figure out where" to send her..... has any one dealt with this?

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#50 of 73 Old 02-25-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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Ask the teacher if there is anything she needs done that you can do. You know your talents, let her/him know them.
What a great idea!

DD is just about 8mo I have a little time yet- but it is NEVER too early to think about education

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#51 of 73 Old 02-28-2009, 01:50 AM
 
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I am a public school special education teacher with a third grader going to the school where I teach. My daughter goes to preschool there, and will start K next year. I love : the teachers at our school. I know that my kids will be well taken care of by their teachers. The problem is the principal. Because she is not at all good, there are schoolwide issues like safety and staff morale. If I were not at the school every day to keep an eye on my kids, I would not send them there, knowing what I know. I will move them and myself if the principal is not replaced and if good teachers start leaving because of the poor leadership.

I have always had a flexible view of education, leaning toward public school because I believe in the concept, but if it were detrimental to either of my kids personally, I am very open to homeschooling or private, if we can afford it.
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#52 of 73 Old 03-02-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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Leatherette- Interesting that you have concerns with your principal. I also have concerns about ours.

For me, I know that public school can be so much more than what it currently is. Best practices are being replaced by workbooks, pre-packaged curriculum and lack of creativity. I believe most teachers are well equiped to teach thoughtful, meaningful and engaging curriculum that is not sold by the testing companies.

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#53 of 73 Old 03-05-2009, 06:07 AM
 
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There is so much to think about when it comes to schooling!

Honestly, I am terrifed of sending dd to public school and she is not even 1 yet. And there are so many reasons that I have both seen and experienced.

-just teaching the tests(said by the teachers).
-tons of 'busywork', getting more work to do if one finished quickly.
-being so lost or very bored if not on the exact level of the work.
-total disrespect for children/teens, and ridiculous timing expectations.
-hours of daily homework.
-kids falling through the cracks, getting left behind because the teacher has to keep going, start a new chapter every day, etc.
-not respecting needs such as hunger or needing to use the bathroom(even pregnant students)*HUGE PET PEEVE!!!*
-many teachers hate their jobs and the children are just a nuisance to them. many in this economy/for personal reasons just keep working years after they should have retired.
-the HUGE backpacks weighing children down because they aren't given enough time to get to their lockers and make it to some classes on time.

I had one teacher that was just awful, would 'joke' about running his students over with his truck, among other things.

Of course there are good and great teachers, but there aren't enough. I can't imagine dd going through some things that my peers and I dealt with every day.

I don't feel like I've expressed myself well... What I have said is all negative. I just feel like there is a much better way for children to learn and be treated. And I hope I can find that for my dd(without having to work just to pay for private school.

Does this type of experience sound totally foreign and abnormally bad, or similar to some of yours? It shouldn't be too off, I went to a good number of schools.

*Disclaimer* I apologize if this will offend anyone, I just feel depressed about the system! There are awesome teachers and plenty of positives about public schools too!
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#54 of 73 Old 03-05-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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My kids are young, so we've only experienced elementary school so far, but our experience has been very positive. Your worries are worries I had, too, but so far we've experienced none of those negative things. It's true, I wish the kids had more time to eat lunch and more time for recess. Those are my only complaints. Public school isn't perfect, and schools vary widely, but public school doesn't have to be terrible.

Quote:
-just teaching the tests(said by the teachers).
Standardized testing has become a huge deal where we are, and it begins in third grade. While there is a lot of focus on preparing kids for the test, I would not say that I've seen evidence of only teaching to the test. And, frankly, one of the preparatory exercises my dd brings home regularly is actually very good instruction/practice in reading comprehension and good study skills. So it isn't all so bad. And the emphasis this year on reading instructions carefully is, again, a good life skill to learn (and is good emphasis on comprehension)-as useless as it may sound to hear about it. (I think that so many times in life, we encounter the need for reading carefully-from reading instructions for putting something together, to reading for learning, to reading procedures we'll be needing to follow, to reading the instructions for filling out important paperwork.) So while I'd prefer that there weren't so much focus on standardized testing, our teachers seem to handle it pretty well and it isn't entirely horrible. Yes, I wish there wasn't quite so much emphasis on the test: I fantasize that without it, the kids and teachers would have more time to get creative. I wish there were more money for more teachers, and worry about future budget cuts. But for now we are blessed with a great school system and wonderful teachers.

Quote:
-tons of 'busywork', getting more work to do if one finished quickly.
So far, our experience has been that if the kids finish work early they have the opportunity to read a book of their choosing, or to finish work they may be behind on or that just needs finishing. We haven't seen busy work being piled on.
Quote:
-total disrespect for children/teens, and ridiculous timing expectations
Haven't noticed this either. It may happen, but we've not experienced it. Except for maybe the 20 minute lunch, which is imo too short. But my kids have survived and don't complain about it often.

Quote:
-hours of daily homework.
Haven't seen this in elementary school yet. Most homework has been very reasonable so far. There are days when it can seem like a little much, depending on the child and his or her state of mind. But I think so far it's been reasonable--I don't think it's ever taken the kids more than 45 minutes (except for one day when ds left all his weekly work until the night before it was due, and it took him and hour and a half including the time he spent reading a few chapters because he loved the book so much).

Quote:
-being so lost or very bored if not on the exact level of the work.

-kids falling through the cracks, getting left behind because the teacher has to keep going, start a new chapter every day, etc.
I can't speak to this, because my kids, luckily so far, haven't either fallen behind or been bored because they're too far ahead. My dd reads far above grade level, and has been accomodated by being allowed to choose books that are not typically available in the classroom library (so she's not bored reading things that are too easy, kwim?). But otherwise they seem to find some things easy and others challenging, which I think is normal, and we haven't had any issues with either being very far behind and struggling to keep up or being bored to tears.

Quote:
-not respecting needs such as hunger or needing to use the bathroom(even pregnant students)*HUGE PET PEEVE!!!*
Not an issue in elementary school here. The kids have appropriate timing of snacks, and are not denied access to either water or to the bathroom. They may, occasionally, be asked to wait a short time to go to the bathroom (and allowed to go if you can't wait) but never denied access.

Quote:
-many teachers hate their jobs and the children are just a nuisance to them. many in this economy/for personal reasons just keep working years after they should have retired.
This may happen (I had a couple of teachers who shouldn't have been teaching-and who wouldn't have gotten away with their behavior today), but at least in our school system it doesn't seem to be the norm. We've loved every teacher we've worked with so far. And they have all been very caring, energetic, creative teachers who obviously care. I think there are many more good teachers than bad ones.

When your child begins to near the age where you need to make decisions, talk to the people in your community who have kids in school, and visit the schools. That way you can learn a lot more about the schools in your community, rather than relying only on the memories of your childhood/teen experiences. You might be very pleasantly surprised.
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#55 of 73 Old 03-05-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeneyedmama View Post
There is so much to think about when it comes to schooling!

Honestly, I am terrifed of sending dd to public school and she is not even 1 yet. And there are so many reasons that I have both seen and experienced.

-just teaching the tests(said by the teachers).
-tons of 'busywork', getting more work to do if one finished quickly.
-being so lost or very bored if not on the exact level of the work.
-total disrespect for children/teens, and ridiculous timing expectations.
-hours of daily homework.
-kids falling through the cracks, getting left behind because the teacher has to keep going, start a new chapter every day, etc.
-not respecting needs such as hunger or needing to use the bathroom(even pregnant students)*HUGE PET PEEVE!!!*
-many teachers hate their jobs and the children are just a nuisance to them. many in this economy/for personal reasons just keep working years after they should have retired.
-the HUGE backpacks weighing children down because they aren't given enough time to get to their lockers and make it to some classes on time.

I had one teacher that was just awful, would 'joke' about running his students over with his truck, among other things.

Of course there are good and great teachers, but there aren't enough. I can't imagine dd going through some things that my peers and I dealt with every day.

I don't feel like I've expressed myself well... What I have said is all negative. I just feel like there is a much better way for children to learn and be treated. And I hope I can find that for my dd(without having to work just to pay for private school.

Does this type of experience sound totally foreign and abnormally bad, or similar to some of yours? It shouldn't be too off, I went to a good number of schools.

*Disclaimer* I apologize if this will offend anyone, I just feel depressed about the system! There are awesome teachers and plenty of positives about public schools too!

I think it's very important to keep in mind, not all schools are the same. Yes, some of these things may exist in some schools, but I can say that we have been lucky enough not to encounter this.

Quote:
--just teaching the tests(said by the teachers).
Yes, this does happen with some schools. My sister talked about how difficult it is for her students who are in special ed that are expected to pass these tests on things they haven't even covered. And the teachers are held responsible for it if they fail. But there is a whole lot more going on in my children's classroom than teaching for specific classes. I doubt learning about Brazilian porcupines or having teachers come in and talk about their time in Africa will make it to the tests. So although there may be some of this, there is often a heck of a lot more going on than just that.

Quote:
tons of 'busywork', getting more work to do if one finished quickly.
Never have run into this. Once work is done, my kids have always been given a choice of reading a book they pick out, using the computer, or doing something else that is a fun and educational paperwork free activity.

Quote:
being so lost or very bored if not on the exact level of the work.
We are in constant contact with the teachers. The back and forth is amazing and all of the teachers have been very open to working with what we see at home. Helping with homework and checking your childs work is a huge give away as to where they are. One son was having trouble with some of the math. I contacted the teacher, and they set him up with some pull out time to help him individually learn it. One son was getting 100% on all his math and spelling tests, and doing his homework on the bus on the way home. It was well below what he was capable. Talked to the teacher, and two days later, he had more challenging work. Keeping in touch with the teachers is absolutely invaluable with this stuff.

Quote:
-total disrespect for children/teens, and ridiculous timing expectations.
In our school there are lots of break time given. If a child is getting frustrated with something, they have a quiet space where they can go and chill out for awhile with quiet music or read a book. They can come back when they are ready. The also have recess, lunch, and two snack times. And once a week they get two recesses, not to mention their specials.

Quote:
hours of daily homework.
Again, keeping in touch with the teacher can make a huge difference here. Our school also has time limits on how much homework can be given, and if your child is having to work over those time limits, accomodations are made.

Quote:
kids falling through the cracks, getting left behind because the teacher has to keep going, start a new chapter every day, etc.
See above about communication with teachers. In reality, it is very difficult to let a child fall that far behind, due to the fact that there is testing that makes it very important that teachers try to keep kids from falling behind.

Quote:
not respecting needs such as hunger or needing to use the bathroom(even pregnant students)*HUGE PET PEEVE!!!*
See above about breaks etc.

Quote:
many teachers hate their jobs and the children are just a nuisance to them. many in this economy/for personal reasons just keep working years after they should have retired.
This I have heard in some schools. My sister has been in tears some days because of the way some teachers have acted, and it can be really hard to get rid of these teachers. So far so good in our case.

Quote:
the HUGE backpacks weighing children down because they aren't given enough time to get to their lockers and make it to some classes on time.
There is actually a limit to how much stuff a student can carry in their backpack here. I don't know if it's enforced though. I also know that in the higher grades, you can request a book for both at home and at school so that there isn't so much need for so many books carried back and forth.

So yes, all these things happen, but they don't happen at all schools. Many of them can be avoided even in the schools where it does happen by being very involved. My sister has always told me that parental involvment is the #1 predictor of how your child does in school, even if the school isn't the best one around.

 
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#56 of 73 Old 03-11-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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I'll chime back in. I have been in frequent contact with the teachers my children have. I have been quite happy, generally, with the teaching quality our children are receiving in 3rd and 5th grade. We're transitioning to middle school next year, and I'm nervous a bit about the transition (for our 5th grader) but she's pretty confident.

Hopefully things will be pretty smooth.

I just wanted to agree with the "communicate with the teachers" thing. It makes a huge difference.
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#57 of 73 Old 03-13-2009, 02:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeneyedmama View Post
There is so much to think about when it comes to schooling!

Honestly, I am terrifed of sending dd to public school and she is not even 1 yet. And there are so many reasons that I have both seen and experienced.

-just teaching the tests(said by the teachers).
-tons of 'busywork', getting more work to do if one finished quickly.
-being so lost or very bored if not on the exact level of the work.
-total disrespect for children/teens, and ridiculous timing expectations.
-hours of daily homework.
-kids falling through the cracks, getting left behind because the teacher has to keep going, start a new chapter every day, etc.
-not respecting needs such as hunger or needing to use the bathroom(even pregnant students)*HUGE PET PEEVE!!!*
-many teachers hate their jobs and the children are just a nuisance to them. many in this economy/for personal reasons just keep working years after they should have retired.
-the HUGE backpacks weighing children down because they aren't given enough time to get to their lockers and make it to some classes on time.

I had one teacher that was just awful, would 'joke' about running his students over with his truck, among other things.

Of course there are good and great teachers, but there aren't enough. I can't imagine dd going through some things that my peers and I dealt with every day.

I don't feel like I've expressed myself well... What I have said is all negative. I just feel like there is a much better way for children to learn and be treated. And I hope I can find that for my dd(without having to work just to pay for private school.

Does this type of experience sound totally foreign and abnormally bad, or similar to some of yours? It shouldn't be too off, I went to a good number of schools.

*Disclaimer* I apologize if this will offend anyone, I just feel depressed about the system! There are awesome teachers and plenty of positives about public schools too!

New to this workshop - However, I am a p.s. teacher and have been for almost 20 yrs. This is what I was put on Earth to do and think I do it rather well. BUT...sadly, greeneyedmama, I really agree with you looking from the inside out. There are so many average teachers out there that it's really sad. I remember my first year being asked what teacher in my past motivated me to go into teaching, this was in an inservice for new teachers, everyone had their favorite mentor or grade school teacher that made such a positive influence and so now they teach. I became a teacher, IMHO, because of the lack of positive role-models that I had as teachers from 70-83. Excellent teachers need to be caring, motivated, willing to go above and beyond to make each day for children a positive one. Teaching needs to be viewed, IMO, as a "calling" as opposed to just a job, it truly is so much more.


My biggest issue - and I think many parents will agree - is that so many teachers will teach to one level and generally it's your average student. Students need to be looked at as individuals with unique academic and social needs. Many teachers are unaware of how to differentiate for students in order to challenge them at THEIR level and go from there. This is unfortunate because usually it's the gifted students that aren't challenged .

Kate, Wife to DH and Mommy to a 5yo lovin' DS; three angels 4/08 9/08 3/10 in Heaven,
waitin' for my baby

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#58 of 73 Old 03-17-2009, 01:46 AM
 
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I feel very fortunate that my state allows lots of school choice. I felt comfortable that I would find a public school that was a good fit for my DS. Once I was pretty certain which school he would attend, I asked to observe classes for part of a day and I sat in on each of the K teachers classrooms. The school does not promise to honor teacher requests and frankly I could not be sure which teacher would suit him the best based on my observations (but I could tell which teachers would have been a disaster. But school encourages parents to fill out a questionair and to write about any special concerns you have about your child in the classroom setting. This gave me a chance to describe how he learns and request that they choose a suitable teacher for his sensory integration issues and other things. It worked! He ended up with the perfect teacher for him. She knows how to avoid power struggles with him while still maintaining an orderly classroom where he can thrive.

I agree that parental involvement is so key. I volunteer weekly and as a result I know all the teachers, staff and students in his class. It allows me to have more meaningful conversations with him about school and it allows me to better understand what is expected of him. I get a chance to chat with his teacher every week in person as well a by email. I had a great experience in the public school system until high school but my husband suffered throughout his "formal" educational years. The biggest difference in our experiences was not the teachers or the schools. It was the amount of parental support we received. He was "dumped" into the "system" with no home support. I had parents who were involved in the school and in my education at home. We both had good teachers and horrible teachers but my parents always helped me navigate when I needed it and they always encouraged me and made sure I didn't languish in boredom. DH's folks just expected him to figure it out on his own.

Kris wife to Stew and mom to Joey 8/03 who cares for , 2 frogs and a worm
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#59 of 73 Old 03-22-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I'll jump in.
We are former homeschoolers. I got burnt out when DS2 was about 2.5 and the other 2 kids were 2nd and 4th grade ages.
Anyway, we enrolled the older 2 kids in a public Waldorf inspired school. They leave out the pseudo-religious stuff and emphasize academics a bit more.
What I liked best was the emphasis on parent involvement, 3 recesses a day and the warm and nurturing community.
Yes. All of that in a public school. They did fall a little short academically but we were fine with insuring basic math and literacy skills at home.
It was an OK experience for DD, and a 7 hour playdate for DS1. They just did not ask enough of him. We transferred him to a public IB school for 4th and 5th, He had one great year and then things fell apart in 5th grade. Pulled him out last March to finish the year at home.
They both attend a small private expeditionary school now and will continue through 12th grade.
Middle and High School is like a black hole in our town. Lots of choice and innovation for K-5 but it all falls off in 6th grade.
DS2 attends the same public Waldorf school and is thriving. They have a play-based kindergarten and his teacher for 1-3 is amazing. He's currently in 2nd grade and will stay with this teacher through next year.
I have had mixed experiences with public school and am convinced it all depends on the kid and the teacher.
DS 2 will do great no matter what school he attends. He's a rule follower and likes to please his teacher. He feels a sense of responsibility to his classroom community and is a great leader among his peers. Older kids are bit more head strong and "rebellious." Strong leaders but question all authority.
They are all great kids but to be totally honest, I'm glad I have one so called "easy" kid.
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#60 of 73 Old 04-17-2009, 04:05 AM
 
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Thanks for your help.
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