A rant! ...And in need of advice and thoughts on your public school and home schooling experiences. Not happy with public school. - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 7 Old 10-08-2012, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamakitsune's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NW
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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! :)

mamakitsune is offline  
#2 of 7 Old 10-08-2012, 09:50 PM
 
Christine08's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 33
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My situation is a little different than yours because I don't have a blended family, but I have to little boys and we've decided to homeschool. The decision has not been easy for me. I tend to over-think things. Public school was an awful experience for me as a child. I would cry all the time (embarrassing, but I realize now it was probably due to panic attacks!) It was just too much of a chaotic environment for me. I am sensitive and introverted and everyone convinced my parents that I needed school to socialize. Well, it didn't help at all. Forcing a child to attempt to change their personality can be very damaging. When I became pregnant with my first son, I was very scared he would have my personality and be really "shy". Well, he is a complete extrovert and his brother, while not as outgoing, is very well-adjusted socially too. Anyway, I wanted to make sure that I made the decision to homeschool not on the basis of my experience, but what would really be best for them. My husband is in complete agreement with homeschooling, so I don't need to convince him. I don't care what any of our family or friends think about our decision. I have an undergraduate degree and was headed towards a master's degree in teaching. I decided against it when I realized how much I actually disliked how the system worked and that I don't think it's really the best way for most kids to learn. I also don't like the agendas and politics that get pushed either. The bullying that has become so notorious lately is also disturbing and I think is a good argument against public school 'socialization.' Being able to get along with people from all walks of life, all ages, etc. is really the best indicator of being well-socialized, not being shoved in an overcrowded classroom with kids all the same age.

And, Kindergarteners fundraising??? That would trouble me too.

mamakitsune likes this.
Christine08 is offline  
#3 of 7 Old 10-09-2012, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamakitsune's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NW
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I suppose I was really upset when I started this thread yesterday, I rambled an awful lot! I have a very limited group of friends these days i could discuss this with, and most of them don;t have children or are mutual friends between my husband and I, so I would rather not discuss with them until it is a more open topic between us. Just trying to process things before delving into a massive discussion (or not) with family :)

 

I suppose here, now, I am on a fence between two possible futures- A few details could work out in my favor and the most logical thing to do would be for me to remain a SAHM/WAHM indefinitely. The other possibility is those few details wouldn't end up working out for the long run and going back to work after the 3 older boys are in school full time will be a necessity. I am ok with either, but the reality seems to be leaning toward being a WAHM. I won't consider homeschooling if it looks like I may have to go back to work in the next year or so, but if it seems like staying home would be more reasonable it will probably stay that way until the kids are quite a bit older- and why not consider the option of homeschooling if I am going to be at home anyway? part of me wished I has anticipated this before K started, but it's only 2.75 hours a day. 

 

Christine, I was like you and my middle boy is so much like I was as a child it is scary. A lot of cringing at my past reflected too, lol. In a loving way. I recall being ok with elementary through about the 3rd grade, though i was always friends with my teachers and not the kids- I had a "best friend" or 2, and I am still like that today- and still friends with those friends today! Middle school and high school were horrible. I know that is far down the road, and perhaps we will be in a different financial circumstance then and I could send my kids to the one montessori school here- I would now, but do not have the money! Or perhaps 8 or 10 years from now there will be more charter school options. As it is now there is only 1, and it is all academics and loads of homework. My Husband's son has already gotten "in trouble" in his K class multiple times, for not wanting to sit long periods of time and being too social. He is also a really bright kid but much more extroverted than my son, and went to the same great early learning centers. When asked about K, he says, "We just sit. All the time". 

 

 

I don't like hearing the reasoning "well, they have a long school career ahead of them. They have to learn to sit in a desk and behave sometime." along with all the socializing excuses... how well do they socialize if everything is hurried, outside play is minimal, and family-school relationships so impersonal? They headed out on their "One field trip of the year" this morning. My son was excited, and I am happy for him. But that is the one adventure outdoors/ out of school they will be doing... 

mamakitsune is offline  
#4 of 7 Old 10-09-2012, 11:40 PM
 
heatherdeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Everywhere... thanks, technology!
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

It sounds to me like you're feeling certain that homeschooling (or at least "not public schooling") is the route you want to go and you simply don't have support.  Really, the only one that needs to be on board is your husband.  I get that your mom is important, but at the end of the day, she can respect that you're an adult or she can step back from talking to you about your child's schooling... kwim?  In my family, this got to just not being involved in each others lives for a little while (not specifically about homeschooling, but a complete lack of support or respect for other parenting decisions).

 

So I would tackle this with your dh.  Find out what his actual fears are.  Then ask him if he knows for certain they will be reality.  It's likely he does not (since it's pretty uncommon for homeschoolers to lack for anything).

 

Kids learn how to behave appropriately without a classroom.  Really?  Are they serious?  How did your toddler learn to behave (to the extent that anyone can get a toddler to behave!)

 

Kids with spectrum disorders have the potential to fare better socially through homeschooling.  Rather than re-write my perspective on this here, I'm just going to point you to a guest post I did elsewhere on the matter (and there's no money/compensation to me for that in case someone's concerned about UA violations):

 

Homeschooling, Socialization and the Autism Spectrum

 

But really, you can find information out there to make your counterpoint to all of his concerns.  Thing is, 1) I would lay it on your husband to find the evidence that supports his concern so that he can see for himself what information is out there and let him pick through it trying to find bona fide information that supports his points; and 2) even with all of the evidence, he may still have some deep seated fears.  You need to get to the heart of them.  Is sitting still and behaving the priority for your child's school experience?  Does he truly believe there's no other way for them to learn that than a classroom?  Be calm.  Understand that he is really afraid.  But be strong if you feel this isn't a fit for your child.  And if he won't agree to homeschooling, maybe he'd agree to a private school setting that you'd be more at ease with...?

 

At the end of the day, your dh needs to honor your concerns as much as you're being expected to honor his concerns.  He's going to need to deal with your dismay and unhappiness as a partner rather than invalidate it by saying that it's just the way it is.  In this situation, there are alternatives.  He just doesn't like them.


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg is offline  
#5 of 7 Old 10-09-2012, 11:41 PM
 
heatherdeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Everywhere... thanks, technology!
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakitsune View Post

I'm sure venting about public school experience is nothing new here, 

 

And actually, although this is the second post like this so far this school year--no, it's not the norm.


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg is offline  
#6 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamakitsune's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NW
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you heather- In all honesty, I think some of his biggest fears are the financials and the socialization aspect. I also think there are times when he isn't fully onboard with things because he wouldn't be able to do the same for his son (because his son's mom has the final say in those things). Of course I can never know for sure without asking! We did however have a very good impromptu conversation about our public schools and schooling alternatives last night. He was actually positive about the "unschooling" concept and had the same issues with public school- we just haven't eased into the direct discussion of my kids yet. The conversation started because his ex called and started discussing things with him- wanting to potentially switch their son to a magnet school next year (it is 1st-5th grades) because she is unhappy with his school. Our discussion started because, while the magnet school is an alternative (it is "science" magnet school, it definitely sounds a little cooler and a slightly better fit), it is still a public school and abides by similar environments/ methods/ etc. Where her criticism was that their son was "bored" at school, we feel it is really the whole structure and system, not that he necessarily needs more science-focused material, though it may definitely help. i may even consider sending my son to that magnet school if a better alternative doesn't work out! 

 

You are right about my mom- She won't sway my choices, but she has always been one of my biggest supports and a mentor to me, it would be very valuable to have her on board. In the end, what i really, truly think this comes down to (regarding my fears) is the financial aspect. I see the totally logical side financially of homeschooling- Why work full time, pay for extra childcare, and basically come home with no more money than I have available to me now? But I am asking my partner for that indefinite support, past the baby's toddler years. And it's not his biological son. HE has never voiced these things! these are my fears, lol. I have been in an intense soul-searching phase since about the time the baby was born and the older boys started kindergarten. I have been finding inspiration through the simple parenting/ downshifting movement and, homeschooling, because I am facing that awakening that I don't want to be away from my children most of the time and have institutions I don't agree with raising them. It doesn't make any sense and it's heartbreaking. But it's a social norm, and talking to my partner about it isn't trying to persuade him something isn't good for us- he agrees with me- but it's the fear of going against that social norm. 

 

As for my son with ASD, I am not sure how I feel about homeschooling him at this point. He thrives with his balance of structure and down-time (at home mostly), and I am not sure If I can provide that same structure consistently while raising an infant and homeschooling another child. Not impressed with his special ed class, but I am really hoping to fet him into the ASD specialty class next fall, it has come highly recommended by many families and therapists. He is completely non-verbal, learning to use iPad and PECS to communicate,  has intense sensory-seeking  and I would say on the extreme end of the spectrum, though he is definitely very much his own little person.  I can consider that more as time goes on, as I intend to keep them in school at least through k. If I can stand it. I definitely would like to look at how other parents home school their children on the autism spectrum!

 

 

Perhaps ranting about the public school experience is more common with people who use public school, lol :)

mamakitsune is offline  
#7 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamakitsune's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NW
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

heather I just read your guest post! My goodness, I agree with you 100%... I suppose I have my own issues and fears to meditate on! Did your son get other therapy outside of homeschooling? Does he still? 

 

"2) a school’s ability to direct his interpersonal development. By this, I really meant: are they truly going to be able to supervise and mentor his relational skills in that setting better than I could do as a homeschooling mother? Who's going to be responsible for this in the classroom? A teacher with training specific to my kid's needs (and not split among 6+ other kids)? Or the aide assigned to him who has a high school diploma and MAYBE some specialized training (if at all)?  And do any of them share my ideas of what “acceptable behavior” is?"

 

This is EXACTLY how I am feeling since he started this year in the general "life skills"/ special education class. I have always had qualms with their program even in preK- that they were stretched too thin and at IEPs me and his (awesome) IBI therapis would do mental face-palms constantly when they would praise my child on "new skills" and progress he had shown on things I had told them he could do already months, even YEARS before. It was like it only counted if THEY saw it. How was I seeing it, and his IBI therapist was seeing it, but a classroom of many adults did not? Environment, approach, awareness, ratios... 

 

The pre-k program was a lifesaver because it spanned a time in my life when I was working. I was definitely a "squeaky wheel" parent, and have made them change many aspects of their approach with him. I suppose my fears now are that I havn't been exposed to a whole lot of "special education" homeschooling- because it isn't quite the same requirements as typical homeschooling- what are the requirements for a child on the spectrum? or any child with a developmental disability that will probably never be in the "normal" classroom full time? What does homeschooling with NT and ASD children together look like? 

 

again, thank you. :)

mamakitsune is offline  
Reply

Tags
Homeschooling

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off