Your Opinion on Public School Choices - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-04-2010, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have joint custody of my 4-year-old son and while I would love to homeschool him, I don't have that option. The only option his dad will consider is public school. I live in a city with a magnet choice program and the application period is between October and February of each year so I have to start looking at my options right now. My top three choices are between a Montessori program, a Waldorf program, and I don't know what to call this but it's very open and child directed. No tests, no homework, no bells and tight schedules. And it's K-12.

My son's only real choice of getting in any of these schools is in Kindergarten, MAYBE first grade, after that it's no chance. We have to pick 4 schools that we would be okay with him going to. 2 from a low socioeconomic background and 2 from a high socioeconomic background. But you still get to rank them in accordance with your preference.

So, I want to know how you guys would rank your choices and why. I'm thinking there are some aspects of the Waldorf program that won't be quite the same in the public school setting (don't they usually hold off on teaching reading until age 7?)

Single mama to DS8 and DD4. Feminist. Queer. Atheist. Poly. Full-time poli sci and econ student.
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Old 09-04-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I think they are all excellent choices. 7 is actual the natural age of coming to learning reading. I would not worry about when they start teaching it. If a child is exposed to being read to and books, which Waldorf definitely does, they will learn to read.

I would look at the other aspects of the schools. Do you like the style of teaching? Do you like the other parents? How do you feel about homework? What is the commute to the school like? Have you met the staff and seen the facilities? Which do you like best? What do you think would fit your child best?

Good luck in chosing!
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Old 09-04-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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Have you had a chance to observe in each of the classrooms? If you call the teachers directly they will often allow you to go in and do that. This will give you a chance to see if you like the dynamics. I think that how the teacher interacts with the students makes more of a longterm difference than the curriculum. There are a lot of different curriculums out there and ideas about what is most important and when to start it. It is hard to really pinpoint which one is the best because there are studies saying that each one is the best. It is more important to me that my dd has fun learning in a classroom with a teacher who is respectful to her students while still maintaining rules and expectations for behavior. I think having fun learning takes kids farther in academics than hating school, no matter where they go to school.

I think there may be a big difference between Waldorf and Montessori also so you may want to really look into it before deciding on that front also. Montessori seems to encourage early reading and academic work, though it is somewhat free there is sometimes a daily requirement for what needs to be done and the choice is in the when and how (or just the when). Waldorf seems to be more of a exploration type method that encourages focus on a theme and creative expression using different artistic mediums and music.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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I'd consider the distance to the schools and how much you like the staff.

I have two kids and they are very different, so rather than a blanket "this kind of school is best" approach, I'd consider your child's personality and where you think he would be happiest and learn best.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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