Worried about curriculum - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 08-30-2010, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. This is the first time I've posted in this forum. Our children (grades 4, 2, pre-K) go to a small private school. It's not affiliated with a church, though they use Abeka curriculum. They don't teach the religious subjects.

I like the school because it's small but I have a real problem with the number of worksheets they do. Beyond that, I worry that the curric is not that challenging. The school claims they are a "year ahead of the public schools," but I honestly don't know if that's true. When I look at reviews online of Abeka, I only see homeschoolers (who may or may not think grade levels are important) saying that it's a wonderful and challenging curriculum. When I compare the public school district standards to Abeka's year by year, they seem similar. I just don't know if they (Abeka) is as rigorous.

I'm really feeling frustrated. I don't know how to find out if what they are teaching is indeed challenging relative to grade level. I know that, for my kids, it's not challenging. I have a friend whose son is the same grade as my oldest at another school and he is writing all kinds of reports and research papers. Mine is filling in blanks on a worksheet.

I'm not sure what to do. We really love this school, the environment, the people, but I don't want my kids to be unprepared by the time they reach high school (our school is only k-8, so they will be going to the local high school). WWYD?

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#2 of 3 Old 08-30-2010, 03:15 PM
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I've found it pretty common for private school in our area claim to be a year advanced of public schools. However, when we were researching more challenging options for our eldest, we found it wasn't the case unless you were comparing them to a handful of lower performing inner city schools (of which most other public schools were a year advanced of them too.) I'm not saying there aren't private schools where this holds true, just that we never came across a private school that was able/willing to accomodate advanced children as well as our local public schools.

As for Abeka, it is heralded as being challenging but I must say, none of our homeschooling friends with gifted children use it (and we know many.) I believe Abeka uses a "spiraling" technique. This is nice in that it gives youngers kids who may be ready for advanced math a "taste" of what is to come but not so great in the large and steady stream of review work that comes with it. An accelerated child can go bonkers having to continually go back and review material they have already mastered!

I will say that 4th grade in our district is a big year for research projects, reports, written essays, ect. Neither of my kids did much in the way of worksheets past 3rd grade.

As to what to do, well, if your kids are happy and healthy, it may not be an issue. If they are becoming frustrated with the lower level work and the school is unwilling to work with you, it may be time to try someplace else.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#3 of 3 Old 08-30-2010, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your answer. I'll definitely pay attention to how the work unfolds, particularly for my 4th grader. My kids are happy there, so I hope that their teachers will be willing to adjust to their individual needs if that's something I feel they need. Thanks again.

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