Please tell me why you like your school...... - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 10 Old 12-31-2003, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
Graceoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Montgomery, AL
Posts: 1,245
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am in the process of really trying to decide (at least for now) how we are going to approach ds and dd's education. They are both young - but with ds being preschool age I am feeling the need to really look at all my options.

I have done A TON of reading on homeschooling and am very much interested in the idea.....but it is all very biased of 'tradional school' and I know from my own experience as a student for 12 years ( I really enjoyed school), that it can't be all that bad - PLUS - DH is not sold on the idea of hsing......he has this annoying idea that our kids should be 'normal - just like everyone else' UGH!!!

So I am looking for some opinions on what you like about sending your children to school, how you feel they benefit, why you choose your paticular school, ect..... I would also like to hear from those of you who may have hsed or considered hsing and instead choose to send your children to school. And of course any downsides that you have found as well....

Some of my concerns regarding schooling involve the lack of mulit-age classrooms, standardized testing, the whole 'everyone has to do the same thing at the same time' kind of teaching. I would love to hear about some non-traditional schools that may approach these concerns.

Thanks so much - I would love to get LOTS of opinions to consider and share with DH so please post a response!!!! THanks!

Grace

Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
Graceoc is offline  
#2 of 10 Old 01-01-2004, 10:21 AM
 
lauren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In a state of grace
Posts: 6,784
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
graceoc for starters I pulled a thread forward entitled "what do you like best about your public school?" so you can read some of those responses. I'm sure you will also hear new responses from those who first considered hsing and then switched. I am one of them myself, and will respond later...I've been away and am just checking in to get things moving again here.

 
lauren is offline  
#3 of 10 Old 01-02-2004, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
Graceoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Montgomery, AL
Posts: 1,245
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
anyone, anyone????? thanks

Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
Graceoc is offline  
#4 of 10 Old 01-03-2004, 12:22 AM
 
bestjob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have 3 kids: dd is 9yo, ds1 is yo, and ds2 is almost 3yo.

dd is in Grade 4 in a French Immersion public school. I have really enjoyed watching her learn there. She is a very even-tempered, easy-going, fun-loving child, and she has always been able to find something satisfying in her schooling. She loves the social side of school, and she spends her time with really nice kids at recess. For 3 out of 4 years, she has had really top-notch teachers, and the other year she had a very good teacher who was struggling emotionally. That was a tough year for me, but dd took it in stride.

ds1 was in preschool for 3 years. It was a play-to-learn type of preschool and he enjoyed it, but I felt that 3 years was too long. He was a bit weary of the offerings by the third year. He went to kindergarten, but it was too structured for my taste, and I withdrew him after a month. Now we're homeschooling, which we're both enjoying. Our plan is that he'll go to Grade 1 at the FI school, but I have secret hopes (and worries, at times) that he'll ask to be homeschooled.

I'll keep ds2 at home until he's 4 and then I'll consider one year of preschool, just for fun. If there's a good kindergarten at our local English public school, I will send him, or I will teach him at home. He'll go to Grade 1 at the FI school, though, and if he enjoys it, he'll stay there.

I've posted a number of times about FI and why I like it.

I really loved ps, too, and dd really loves her ps. Many teachers are just wonderful. I work hard to get to know them as individuals, and I volunteer in the school a lot. I think that we have successfully blended the ps experience into our sense of community and we do many things to make dd's school into an extension of our family. It really helps that we have a very friendly neighbourhood, that most of the neighbourhood kids go to dd's ps, and that FI schools are somewhat distinctive, being public schools that parents have to choose. Most of the parents at dd's school are pretty involved parents, and they are highly interested in their kids' schooling.

My opinion, FWIW!
bestjob is offline  
#5 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 01:23 AM
 
lauren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In a state of grace
Posts: 6,784
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Whew, I finally have a turn at the computer tonight. My son and husband got new programs for Christmas and it's been hard for me to get a turn!

We strongly considered homeschooling for our children when they were little. Some reasons we elected to go with public (for now)-- our son turned out to be quite a spirited tyke who also didn't take well to learning things from us. He's strong willed, wants to figure things out for himself, hard to guide. He takes instruction quite well from others-it's just a fact. So we decided to let others teach him. Of course we supplement at home. Our daughter could have gone either way, she is a teacher's dream. We had economic reasons--neither of us could be home as much as it would take to really be committed to hschooling. So, we still take it year by year, seeing what will work.

What I like about our public school, since we have made the commitment is the "center of the community" feeling I get there--like I run into all kinds of friends and acquaintances my own age to connect with, which I think we'd be sorely missing if we hschooled in this area; the diversity of students and need for my children to learn how to deal with many many different kinds of kids and adults, not just the ones we hand pick with like minds; also, the curriculum has been pretty decent overall. As I said we supplement when kids are really excited about a topic. It's close (2 miles), it's free (well, taxes), and the classroom sizes are small, about 14-15. There are at least two choices in teacher per grade, so we feel we have some flexibility. We know we can always change our minds later if things arren't working out. The principal is very approachable. If my son ends up needing any special services we'll be able to get them.

Those are just some things off the top of my head.

It sure has been quiet around here. When everyone gets back from school being out, I'm sure there will be some more responses!

 
lauren is offline  
#6 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 01:27 PM
 
lorijds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,950
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I homeschooled for a while, and many of my close friends continue to homeschool. Now my kids go to pucblic school. So I feel I have a little insight on this...


I LOVE MY KIDS' SCHOOL!!! It is sooooo awesome! My kids have so much diversity in their classrooms; as white students my children are actually minorities. As children coming from a two parent home, they are minorities. I love it.

The public school that my kids go to is very aware of the fact that just because a bunch of kids are the same age doesn't mean that they are at the same level. In both my kindergartener's class and my 3rd grader's classs, they break into groups for reading. Groups of 3 in K, groups of 4 in 3rd. My dd in K is starting to read, while my dd in 3rd is learing how to facilitate group discussion. The teacher doesn't do it; each child in the group takes turns being the facilitator for the reading group. She has to come up with three discussion ideas that will help bring about a good discussion of the chapter they read, and has to discuss what she thinks the main idea of the chapter was, and how it fits into the book so far. It is great.

In K, there are obviously also many different levels of learning. Each child has "homework" where they have to do flash cards with their parents. There are two sets--literacy and math concepts. The literacy set started out at letter recognition, then went to sounds, then blends of sounds, and now word recognition. The math set started at number recognition, then went to counting by different sets (2s, 5s, 10,s, etc) and now we are on money. Each child has to go through each set twice getting everything right before they graduate to the next set. They get tested on it, individually, by either a volunteer, para, or the teacher, every day at school. My dd is whizzing through them, in part because she loves the idea of doing homework, like her big sister. I have volunteered before, and I know that some kids are still on basic number and letter recognition. Each child gets to work at their own pace, and every day the concepts, no matter where they are in the series, are reviewed in a positive, one-on-one manner.

There are tons of university students in the school, doing internships. My daughters' favorite is one of the university football players, who comes in and does reading. He is a big, tall, handsome, articulate black young man, and he is a wonderful role model. The children love him and just hang off of him (and he is strong enough to handle it!). It is great for the kids to see this black guy who is great in school (and thinks it is cool to do good in school), who is also good looking and a great athlete.

They also have a teacher/para who is a total punk, who has a mohawk that changes colors every week. There are many extra teachers; for example, a reading teacher that just helps in different classes. They have a full time school counselor who works with the kids on positive communication skills, on conflict resolution, that sort of thing. She also has a dog that comes with her all the time. If a kid gets sent to the principal's office, the dog is there to be the kid's friend. The dog sits next to the child, sort of as a silent advocate and support. If a child gets out of control, he/she is sent to the couselor's office to be with the dog, to diffuse the situation. If a situation/classroom gets out of control, the counselor and the dog are sent to help diffuse the situation.

They have something called discovery lab that each class goes to. For kids who need extra help in a certain subject, the teacher/tutor helps them work on that subject. For kids who are doing fine in school, they do extra "work". It is all educational games and such. But most of the time, the kids don't know they are learning. Sometimes its chess or some form of bingo (division and multiplication, for my 3rd grader), or some sort of internet scavagner hunt. Sometimes it is working with manipulatives...build a tower out of a set amount of straws that will support this block, that sort of thing.

Okay, and as far as socialization goes....yes, my kids are getting exposed to some words and behaviors that I would rather they not. But they are also learning how to deal with those situations. I do notice that my kids do better is many social situations than many of my friends's kids who are homeschooled. My kids are more comfortable around a variety of kids. Yes, my friends who hs get their kids lots of socialization opportunities...but it is often with kids whose parents are like them: educated, usually two parent, white, liberal. One of my youngest dd's closest friends in kindergarten is a different color than her, has several siblings who each have a different dad, has a dad who is currently in prison, and lives in a dinky little apartment. I love that they play together, that they are learning that there are more similarities between them than differences, and they are learning to deal with those differences positively.

We were really concerned about bullies, violence, crappy food (my kids take their own lunch!), classroom craziness. And sometimes our concerns are validated, unfortunately. But the bad is 100% outweighed by the good. We are really involved in the school, and the principal is GREAT. The teachers are awesome. The paras and volunteers are fantastic. I love it. My children love it.

Not every school is like this, I know. I know we are very lucky. But, we also EXPECT that we are going to have an awesome school, and we have it. I do alot of work at that school to make it an awesome school. Me and four others basically organized a huge community project/fundraiser that was amazingly successful and a lot of fun. Enthusiasm and happiness is self-perpetuating. When I see the principal being happy and excited to see my kids, I get happy and excited tosee the teacher, who in turn feeds on that and turns it to my kids, who in turn are happy and excited to do their work and be with their friends. Being in public school doesn't mean that you drop your kids off and don't have anything to do with them for several hours. You still have to be involved. Sometimes it is more difficult (and I may be singing a different song if we get a crappy teacher sometime in the upcoming years), but it has been very rewarding. I feel very connected with my neighborhood and my community, more so than I ever have before.

So, there you have it. My long love story with my kids' school! It has been a really positive experience for us. It doesnt work for everyone, and that is why homeschooling is a great option. I wouldn't rule it out (it saved my daughter in first grade, when she was really struggling academically and socially). There are times when one is obviously superior over the other. It is so awesome that our children have many different options. Public school can also be a positive, wonderful option. It doesn't just have to be the fall back, second best option. For us it is currently the BEST, number one option.

Good luck!

Lori
lorijds is offline  
#7 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 02:16 PM
 
lauren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In a state of grace
Posts: 6,784
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Lori-I love how you describe the effect of attitude on the school experience. Definitely what we bring to it, is how things will turn out, for the most part! Even when things aren't going well, if one takes a problem solving approach, things turn out o.k. usually.

I agree that having my kids exposed even to the not so good things at the school is good for our family. I also know lots of homeschooling families that gravitate towards like minded folks, which can be limiting. The thing is to find out what works for our own families and do what works!

 
lauren is offline  
#8 of 10 Old 01-20-2004, 04:18 PM
 
Kirsten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Washington state
Posts: 5,463
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It would take me days to type in all the reasons I love my dd's school! It is a small multi-age K through 5th - 70 kids total, 3 classrooms. Very "community" feel there. Very caring, lots of attention to social aspects but with high expectations for all kids to do their best learning. Focus is more on cooperative learning than competition. Just a very positive place, very respectful.

I had lived in this small town for many years and hadn't heard of it. It is just a small program of the public school district here. Not hidden but not really advertised so much either. Have you looked on your district website? It should list elementaries, middle schools, high schools, alternative programs. Look under alternative programs. Anything multi-age I would look into. Ours is just so fabulous that when we were looking for a larger house recently, I wouldn't even consider anything out of district - would not leave our fabulous school! You mentioned lack of multi-ages in your original post so maybe this isn't an option for you but just wanted to let you know that I didn't know about ours until I luckily heard about it from a friend.

I loved school and didn't consider homeschooling for my kids though so my experience may not be as helpful in your decision as those who have done both. Is there the occasional issue at school? Sure, but there are issues in life - in the workplace, in the family, etc. so it is good practice in working out differences of opinion. Oh, and I forgot to mention that our school requires 60 hours of parent participation a year - and most of us do much, much more than that. Having the families so involved is such a great thing for the kids - it is just a fun and fabulous place for all of us! I can't wait til the other two kids are old enough to go there and I can volunteer all I want!
Kirsten
Kirsten is offline  
#9 of 10 Old 01-20-2004, 05:22 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I replied on the other similar thread, but something else just came to mind. I like the values that my school teaches.

One example: Last week, I went to visit my first grader's class, to attend their "morning meeting." I read a story and visited with the class. One of the neat things that the teacher did was have each child name a word to describe the work of Dr. Martin Luther King. They had been studying him the week before. We had been taking about MLK at the dinner table the night before and dd knew so much dh and I were blown away.

While we could (and do) teach her these values at home, it is great for her to see them coming from other people.
EFmom is offline  
#10 of 10 Old 01-21-2004, 02:01 PM
 
AnnMarie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 3,064
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'll give this a shot. :LOL

My kids are making new friends so that's good...... but on the other side of it, they aren't always so nice. Overall it's been a good experience for them though.

My daughter is able to get the special education that she needs at no cost to us.

Their school is very big on teaching about respect -- daily.

There aren't too many kids in the classes. Several teachers have helpers.

That's all I can think of right now.
AnnMarie is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
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