Does you child go to an academically rigorous school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-14-2008, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds, 3rd grade, currently goes to a wonderful very heart centered (buddhist) private school which I would say is moderately academic. Ds is bright, somewhat competitive and could obviously cope quite well in a more rigorous academic environment. To that end I am applying for a place at an academic focused charter school, evidently it is rated as one of the top 40 public schools in the country. The thing that concerns me is the pressure he might be under, right now he gets little homework, just reading and spelling and the odd piece of math homework and this works well for us as a family as ds is also athletically gifted and spends a fair bit of his time in soccer training. I wonder if I am going to bite off more than we would like to chew by pushing his academics. If you have an elementary aged child in an academic school what is the stress level like? How much homework do they get? Would it be workable if your child was in a sport that requires three weekdays of training, plus weekend games?

Of course this could be all "academic" because the chance of getting a spot in 4th grade, via lottery, is slim.

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#2 of 7 Old 12-14-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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How much homework he gets will vary by school, academic or not. Is there any way to ask parents of current students, or even ask the school? Sometimes it will be written in a parent handbook that might even be available on the web. ?

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#3 of 7 Old 12-15-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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Definitely you will want to check out the specifics for your particular school. My kids go to an private school with a pretty rigorous academic load. My 3rd grader has homework that must be done every night -- no skipping for practice or any other reason. He gets the homework that day and it is due the next day, so there is no way to work ahead. It is usually some assignment with that week's 20 spelling words, about 2-4 pages of math, 1 page of grammer or writing, plus free reading. Takes approx 1 hr. per night. There is usually about 1 special assignment a month that we spend weekend time on. School is from 8:30 to 3:30 each day. We make that harder by community 30 minutes each way.

We could not keep up with this load and do a rigorous sport as well. Currently DS does karate class (1 hr., 1/wk). For the spring he will switch to little league (1 practice per week, 1 game on weekends). He also does Adventure guides, which meets 1/month on a weeknight and one weekend activity -- but these are all optional. That's about the right balance.

I do know of families at this school whose children do more sports than we. They do homework during 1/2 time of a game, or by reading light in the car on the way to/from a game. Or they go to bed at 10. IMHO that is not good for a child.
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#4 of 7 Old 12-15-2008, 01:53 AM
 
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my 8 yo is in a GATE cluster class-the beginning of the year was an adjustment (a lot more tough love than second grade,) but my dd has managed well and is really hitting her stride now. The academic load is quite rigorous-not so much the homework as the classwork, which is fine. But there is a lot of reading and actual studying that needs to be done on a daily basis after school, because the tests cover a lot and are quite hard. There's a big emphasis on independence and accountability, which is nice to see.
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#5 of 7 Old 12-15-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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My kids play sports, including more than 3 nights of practice during the week and some weekend travel. One attends a rigorous public school, the other homeschools. For my DD who attends school, this all works because she really enjoys everything she is doing. School is interesting and she likes learning, and practicing is more fun down time for her. She can have an 1 1/2 practice plus hour of drive time plus 2 hours of homework all in one night. Some kids thrive on being busy and having lots to do. There's no way I would try to make her do all that, but she is happy doing it all.

Many of the kids we know through sports are the same way -- attending rigorous public or private schools with good grades and spending lots of time and energy on atheltics. They are very hard working kids with very involved parents. They don't watch much TV!

Even though my homeschooling child is receiving an excellant education, the intense schedule of my schooled child wouldn't work for her. She needs down time. Every child is different. Part of it is just the child's personality.

Rather than changing him now if he is happy where he is, why not let him stay there and think carefully about what to do when he reaches middle school? Kids can have a pretty mellow primary education and still be ready for a rigorous environment in a few years as long as they are very solid on the basics. That can happen in a less rigorous environment. "Rigorous" doesn't always equal "better". I really think that *most* kids are better off with a more mellow primary education, and saving rigorous for when they are a bit older. There's no hurry.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 7 Old 12-15-2008, 08:13 PM
 
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I think my son's school is rigorous, but it's Montessori and the children aren't pushed. The environment is just prepared for them to take on the skills when the are ready, but most of them are reading by 4, doing complex math, etc. There is no homework and little stress. My older son is in a public honors program and there is a lot of homework. A lot of it feels like busywork or that they assign extra work just to say they are more academic than the other schools.
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#7 of 7 Old 12-15-2008, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the time to reply to my post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move
Rather than changing him now if he is happy where he is, why not let him stay there and think carefully about what to do when he reaches middle school? Kids can have a pretty mellow primary education and still be ready for a rigorous environment in a few years as long as they are very solid on the basics. That can happen in a less rigorous environment. "Rigorous" doesn't always equal "better". I really think that *most* kids are better off with a more mellow primary education, and saving rigorous for when they are a bit older. There's no hurry.
That makes total sense!

Ds is very happy where he is and he is doing incredibly well. His little school is definitely strong on the basics and it is nice that they offer two languages (Spanish and Mandarin) too. I had already planned to try and get him in the other school as a 6th grader (it goes up to 12th grade) as not only is it a strong academic school it is also known for its middle school and high school sports program, which, for ds, is equally important as academics. My reasoning for trying to get him in now is the tuition is really going up at his current school for next school year and it is a stretch for us to have two children in private school (DD#2 goes to a different school).

I will obviously check out the homework, it might not be as much as I am imagining. The homework load in his current school definitely will be greater in 4th grade anyway.

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"If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings"~ Leonardo da Vinci

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