Deal with bad fit PS or pay for Montessori? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 33 Old 06-17-2011, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
cyberfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere...
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I pulled my child from public Kindergarten in March.  Despite dedicated teachers, the school itself was not a good fit for my child personally on too many different levels to detail here.  She'd shake and cry at night if the next day was a school day.  It was a low-performing title I school where all the attention went towards getting low-performing kids up to performing well on state standardized tests.  The entire curriculum was inflexible -- each term parents would get a note detailing exactly what they'd be learning and the number and title of the state standard to which it corresponded.  I personally am not a fan of this form of education either but I put on a positive face for my daughter's sake.  She was miserable to the point where I worried about her health. 

 

We have been homeschooling since March.  It's been great for my child; she has been, on her own volition, choosing and reading all kinds of animal books from the library, books that her school would have deemed too advanced for her and yet she reads, comprehends, and proceeds to tell the world about the facts in them.  On the other hand, I work full time.  I'm on summer break, but homeschooling won't work for us long-term if I am to be fair to my child's needs and get tenure and stability in my job.

 

We have the option of a private Montessori for 1st grade.  It's pretty expensive by my standards.  Technically, I can afford it, but barely, and it will mean very careful creative budgeting and a lot of sleepless nights worrying about money.  We visited and my child spent time in their classroom.  They were impressed with her and we agreed her learning style seems much more aligned with Montessori than public school.  She'd be a rare case of accepting an elementary student that had not been in Montessori kindy because she made that much of an impression on them. 

 

I am hearing that all kids hate school and she'll adapt and get used to it, thus I should save my money and send her back to PS. Then I can use the money to do something great and educational next summer, like travel or something.  Also that I can't rush in and rescue my child just because she's having a hard time, in other words, she needs to figure it out for herself.  It's been suggested that as the youngest in her class maybe my daughter just didn't have the maturity to handle kindergarten, despite the fact that she went for 4 semesters to a Montessori-like preschool. 

 

Would you give the public school another go?  My gut tells me that if money were no object to put her in Montessori and objectively I know it's a better fit for her and for my family's values, especially regarding education.  On the other hand, I worry about the careful budgeting -- what if we have a crisis that requires money during the year?  There will be little to no cushion.  Is it more important for a child to be happy in the first grade than to be able to do something great with her family (me) when school's out? 

 

I'm a confused and worried mama.  Kind words are appreciated.  Thank you. 


Single Mama to my sweet boo.
cyberfish is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 33 Old 06-18-2011, 09:34 AM
 
AnnR33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: California
Posts: 3,683
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post


  Also that I can't rush in and rescue my child just because she's having a hard time, in other words, she needs to figure it out for herself. 


I bet this advice is from a grandparent or other "well-meaning" friends. Sorry, but I don't buy it-it's your job as a parent to "rush in and rescue her!" You said she was crying at night if the next day was a school day-once in a great while this might not be a big deal, but if it was most nights-its a warning sign that all is not well and it has nothing to do with her "figuring it out for herself."

 

I know as a first time parent it can be tough knowing what the "right" answer is-it can be agonizing! But I can tell you from experience with 4 kids-you need to go with your gut when it comes to your kids. Your head can debate about money, logistics, and what others tell you, but your GUT is what is right most of the time.

 

If you re-read your post I think the answer is rather obvious. You need to do what's best for your daughter NOW, not worry about trips or something in the future. If you can't homeschool, then the montessori would be best for her. Yes, money might be tight, but the right answers aren't always easy.

 

Think about it-these early years are the formative years, she needs to feel safe and nurtured, not scared and held behind in reading or stifled. How she develops now will shape her attitudes about learning and about herself.

 

Please don't take any of this as harsh words towards you, they aren't meant to be. They are meant to be an honest assessment from my perspective. But since I don't know you I can only take what you've written and go from there. Don't think "well, she doesn't know how tight money will be or this will be tough to manage" because honestly, I don't really put how tough it will be as the priority, I care about the best thing for a child. And as a parent, your child is your utmost priority-and I say this with kindness, not criticism. 

 

Good luck with your decision. It will be tough, but no one said parenthood would be easy ;) But it will be the best job you ever do!


Full-time homeschooling mama : of a 15yo "teenager" , 12yo DIVA, 9yo builder, & 4yo treasure.
AnnR33 is offline  
#3 of 33 Old 06-18-2011, 09:42 AM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,972
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)

If the school doesn't work and you see no hope of working anything out with them, getting her out is the right move. However, is there no other option for the montessori? Have you looked into other public schools? Some are really fantastic. Have you looked into charters or lower cost private? I'm just not a fan of risking financial security. Kids are happy when their families are happy and mom being stressed out isn't good.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
#4 of 33 Old 06-18-2011, 04:23 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
We make scarifies to send our kids to a private school we love. We even downsized our home. We just finished our first year at the new school and are very pleased. The school is effecting the kind of people my kids will turn out to be. Both my kids love their school and they are excited about learning.

It's worth the money *for us*. One of my DDs used to have panic attacks about going to school, and she would lay in bed at night and tremble. She's really happy now, and you just can't put a price tag on that.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#5 of 33 Old 06-18-2011, 04:56 PM
 
Peony's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,918
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

We make scarifies to send our kids to a private school we love. We even downsized our home. We just finished our first year at the new school and are very pleased. The school is effecting the kind of people my kids will turn out to be. Both my kids love their school and they are excited about learning.

It's worth the money *for us*. One of my DDs used to have panic attacks about going to school, and she would lay in bed at night and tremble. She's really happy now, and you just can't put a price tag on that.


Very similar to us. 2 years at a private school now. Public school was not a fit for DD1 at all. She is thriving at her school beyond my wildest dreams, she adores it there, that is what makes it worth it to me. She is an entirely different child since she has been going there, and in a good way, I certainly credit the school for assisting in helping her become the child she is today. People ask how we manage to afford it, but we have different priorities then they might, we aren't vacationing in Hawaii every year. There is no blanket right or wrong decision. It is just what works for your family. 

 


There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
Peony is offline  
#6 of 33 Old 06-18-2011, 07:27 PM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,972
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)


I think it's important to note that lots of families already have made major sacrifices and still can't afford private schooling. Being on a shoe string budget doesn't automatically make private school accessable. Being a family that doesn't go to Hawaii doesn't neccessarily mean tuition is possible. While I'm positive it's not intentional, these sorts of posts sometimes come off as "you could do it if you only sacrificed or prioritized your children more." There is nothing wrong with not wanting to live on the edge where a blown-our tire causes panic in the household. Certainly, if homeschooling isn't an option and there truely is no other public option, you might just have to put yourself on the financial ledge. I just cringe a bit when I hear things like "we have different priorities" in response to a poster being squeamish about the financial responsibility of private schooling. Again, I don't think it was intentional but just a thought.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post




Very similar to us. 2 years at a private school now. Public school was not a fit for DD1 at all. She is thriving at her school beyond my wildest dreams, she adores it there, that is what makes it worth it to me. She is an entirely different child since she has been going there, and in a good way, I certainly credit the school for assisting in helping her become the child she is today. People ask how we manage to afford it, but we have different priorities then they might, we aren't vacationing in Hawaii every year. There is no blanket right or wrong decision. It is just what works for your family. 

 



 


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
#7 of 33 Old 06-18-2011, 10:13 PM
 
karne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I would take issue with the idea that all kids hate school, to begin with.  My children love school.  Most of my kid's friends love school.  If you child is miserable, it's worth really examining because I don't see that as the norm, at least in our circle.

 

I also think that there is a fine line with the idea of coming to a child's rescue in school.  I wouldn't rescue a child who forgot their homework every day by driving to school to provide it, for instance, but I would look at the reason for the lapse, and try to help put a better system in place.  In your situation in sounds like you identified your child's needs, determined that despite her, or your, best efforts, the fit and experience were poor, and you made another choice.  That's advocacy and a plan in my book.  If your child needs a different situation next year, by all means do what you can, that is within your means.  If Montessori works now, and you can swing it, than go for it.  It may not need to be forever, but it's definitely preferable to have your child in an optimum environment for their learning and overall quality of life.

 

I would second the suggestion to explore a bit and see if there are any other options.

 

Good luck.

karne is offline  
#8 of 33 Old 06-19-2011, 02:29 AM
 
FedUpMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 64
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I took my older daughter out of public school after she became profoundly depressed in the 5th grade.  (This was a highly-regarded suburban district, BTW.)  She now attends a Quaker school and is doing very well by the standards I care about -- she's generally happy and confident.  My family and friends were shocked that we were willing to shell out the big bucks for her school, but your child's mental health is priceless. 

 

I don't agree at all that your child will adapt over time.  I had a miserable public school experience and it was a terrible beginning to my adult life.  The depression, lack of confidence, and feeling that it was impossible that I would find a place where I could fit in and be happy, affected me for years (decades?)  Many public schools these days are brutal places that will do a number on a sensitive child.

 

Does the Montessori school offer any financial aid?  Can you get help from someone in your family?  If you get tenure, will you get a raise?  It's worth exploring all the options.

 

I agree with a previous poster that you should follow your gut, and make the decisions one year at a time.  If you can manage Montessori next year, go for it, then re-evaluate next summer.

 

FedUpMom is offline  
#9 of 33 Old 06-19-2011, 05:32 AM
 
JElaineB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 827
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

I would take issue with the idea that all kids hate school, to begin with.  My children love school.  Most of my kid's friends love school.  If you child is miserable, it's worth really examining because I don't see that as the norm, at least in our circle.

 

 

I agree, I'm not sure who is telling you that all kids hate school. My son has liked his public school from the start. I think you should do what is right for your daughter now, which doesn't sound like it is the public school you are in. The Montessori sounds great, and if you can swing it it sounds like a good fit for your daughter. However, if you really don't think you can afford it, are there any other options, such as open enrolling at another public school nearby?

JElaineB is online now  
#10 of 33 Old 06-19-2011, 07:36 AM
 
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,895
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

 

Difficult decision. I think it's important to have some financial breathing room. I wonder though, if this isn't the crisis that you are trying to budget for. Her emotions are involved to the point that it is affecting her physically. It's hard to live with financial stress. It's even harder to live with watching your child be miserable to the point of ill health. I would consider this a crisis worth making room in budget to handle, assuming that there is room. It sounds like the money you would spend on schooling would otherwise be set aside for vacation ("Then I can use the money to do something great and educational next summer, like travel or something.") and your emergency cushion fund. This may not be an emergency exactly, but it is a very important quality-of-life matter. 

 

I think the well-meaning people who are trying to reassure you about the situation are mistaken. They are probably trying to make you feel better about making a tough decision. All children do NOT hate school. She MAY adapt. Children are terrifically resilient. It may take a long, miserable while and in the meantime, the unhappiness and physical ailments may not be worth it. As for "rushing in to rescue her" - I'd say that a parent has a responsibility to foster a secure, nurturing environment for her child. Isn't that essentially a parent's most important role? If a learning environment isn't working out, a parent should take steps to find solutions and either improve the current situation or find a new one that works better. Especially at such a young age, when a child has little power, ability and skills to improve or change the situation herself. 

 

Personally, I'd lean toward making her day-to-day life as wonderful, secure and fulfilling as possible, and forego the  wonderful educational experience next summer - if that's the choice. Especially at age 6 y.o. or so, she isn't going to miss travel or summer camp or anything else that you might plan for her summers.  

 

I'd also encourage you to look closely for other alternatives, or perhaps even take another look at the public school. It sounds like it is completely rigid, but possibly a different teacher with a more relaxed attitude and an independent learning plan might make a difference. If there truly is no way to make it work, then I hope you can manage some alternative. Good luck. 

 

 

ollyoxenfree is offline  
#11 of 33 Old 06-20-2011, 12:14 AM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

If my child were crying at night because of discomfort of school, I'd do the Montessori, or see if there's another PS you can transfer into (you can sometimes do an administrative transfer). And I say that as a parent in a school that sounds very much like the one you were unhappy with. My kids are in a Title I school (80% free and reduced lunch) with a lot of English language learners (67%), and they're thriving. The school manages to teach my children (who are performing several grade levels above their age) and the children who clearly need extra help. They have multiple recesses a day. They have PE, music and art. They have a caring a dedicated staff. It sounds like a lot of those elements were missing from your PS.

 

Despite the fact that I really like our school, I would not hesitate to pull my children if the school itself changed and was no longer a good fit. That may well happen with our dd -- she's just finished 1st grade, is reading at a 5th-6th grade level, and I'm giving them next year to show me that they can continue to meet her needs. If they can't meet her needs, we will look elsewhere.

 

Not all kids hate school. If your child hates school, then there's something wrong. My kids love school. They were a little sad that school ended last week. They are eagerly looking forward to next year. Your daughter deserves to have that experience.


Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#12 of 33 Old 06-20-2011, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
cyberfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere...
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

These are all great, thoughtful responses.  I have investigated all the school options around and have been doing so since last fall.  There are no other public options.  We are a low-performing, high ESL, Title I district that struggles to meet the needs of kids who don't fall into those categories.  There is one part time gifted coordinator who has to divide her part time hours between two schools with total enrollments of 400+ kids each.  She's stretched to the limit and has admitted it.  We have no school choice other than the one in our home district but all the public schools are pretty much the same.  The superintendent is a huge advocate of the state standardized tests and is implementing a teacher evaluation system based on how well their students do on those tests.  That makes me cringe.  I personally don't like the one size fits all mentality pervasive in our district. 

 

There are other private schools that I like, but the Montessori seems to be the one that is the best fit for my child.  I think she'd flounder in the free democratic school because where the public school had too much structure for her, this one, while cheaper than Montessori, has too loose of a structure for my daughter.  There's another private school that's a good second choice but it's a half hour drive each way, amounting to 2 extra hours of driving on my part per day.  So I'd need to factor in my time plus the extra gas I'd be using.  I've spoken with other parents who have kids in the school I pulled my daughter from.  One has her house on the market to move out of the district.  Another is thinking of homeschooling.  My daughter's teacher sends her kids to a local private school. 

 

I'm teaching a summer class that will cover about 2/3 of the Montessori tuition, so that's money I wouldn't have had otherwise.  The school has no financial aid but is willing to work with me on payments if necessary.  Tenure and promotion will theoretically carry a raise but that is a number of years away.  So as I said, it's do-able but a little scary and it will require some creative budgeting.  However, after reading your comments and again listening to my gut, I think we'll do the Montessori.  I feel fortunate to even have the choice, even if it does mean watching money more carefully, something I'm terrible at; I don't spend foolishly but I'm not good at keeping track. 

 

Thanks mamas. 

 

 

 


Single Mama to my sweet boo.
cyberfish is offline  
#13 of 33 Old 06-21-2011, 08:17 AM
 
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: So. CA
Posts: 4,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

A couple more things to consider.  We just pulled our children from a private school where I loved, loved, loved the actual academic philosophy.  But the scoial interactions with the other students was getting increasingly ugly.  We were on the bottom of the economic scale at the school (one of the few families with financial aid).  Not being able to keep up socially was making my kids miserable.  And the others teased them about how "poor" we are.  It really turned into a bullying situation.  And completely warped their perception of the world in lots of ways.  So, do check the social interactions and atmosphere before you stretch yourself thin to make this happen.  It might be more important than you think and it *could* be a negative.  Not saying it would be, but it could be.  And its hard to be on the financial edge and hear your child complain about not going to China over fall break, YK? 

 

That said, I am feeling really good about "rescueing" my children from a negative school experience.  They started out loving school and wanting to learn.  Over the years I've watched that diminish and its really hard to do.  They don't all hate school and they don't all adapt to whatever situation they are in.  I would definitely recommend doing what you can to make things better.  And while live on the financial edge is scary (BTDT, still there), sometimes its worth it.  And I second the "one year at a time" thing.  You never know what next year will bring, so make decisions for this year.

 

Evan&Anna's_Mom is offline  
#14 of 33 Old 06-21-2011, 09:30 AM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,668
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)

I thought I replied to this thread but I think the site ate my reply:(  A new teacher in the public school may make a lot of difference so staying at the public school may not be a bad thing.  Going to a Montessori school may also be a good thing though because it isn't the horrible atmosphere you had to deal with last year so you may feel calmer about sending her.  Even in Montessori school though there will probably be things she has to do even if she doesn't want to and there is still a structure though it is very different from the structure that public school has (the people on the Montessori board can describe it better).  Does the Montessori school have a part-time summer daycare option?  Many of our Montessori schools offer this here in town and it may make the transition back to a school setting better if you do go with the Montessori school, plus you will be able to see if it really is a good school with a good fit before school starts and you are locked in to a contract. 

 

My dd had a bad first grade teacher and I homeschooled her for half the year in a way that is similar to what you describe.  She had a very rough transition back to a school setting even though the school was different because she did some very serious boundary testing.  It may have just been her, but I think that she kind of thought that since she didn't like the rules she just needed to behave extra badly so she could go back to homeschooling where there was a lot more freedom than a teacher in charge of a whole group can give.  I think a slow adjustment might have helped that problem and I really recommend you look into ways to give your dd a slow adjustment if you can.

One_Girl is offline  
#15 of 33 Old 06-21-2011, 04:08 PM
 
JudiAU's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Where creepy facebook-featured threads can't find me
Posts: 3,609
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

I'd make the choice to move to montessori, even if requires very careful budgeting. I do think it is your role to "rescue you" here, and more to the point, to help her find an educational environment where she can be successful. If it doesn't work, you can try ps again or perhaps a different one. But you probably won't have the montessori option again...

JudiAU is offline  
#16 of 33 Old 06-21-2011, 09:42 PM
 
meemee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,624
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)

a few things to think about.

 

which middle school will your child go to? will it also be a montessori?

 

i know this is a weird question for a first grader but i see so many struggle the first year they change over from schools with different philosophies. in our elementary the kids from montessori take a year to settle with the differences, even more. in middle school its even harder.  

 

can you hs for one more year? just one more year? your dd would go to first right?!! i have noticed with schools in my area the kids are stressed adn have high anxiety about schools in K and first grade. by second grade they are not so scared and by 3rd the anxiety is just a thought. so no matter what your decision know that the your dd will have 'settling pains' the first month or two. 

 

right now i feel you dont have a choice. kinda. 

 

your child has nightmares with school. you can squeak by montessori, and its really hard HSing which i totally get.

 

i want to say try the ps again but not for first grade, but second. something happens around the 2nd grade time when kids lose a lot of their fears. its perhaps a developmental issue. if u can keep your child with montessori through middle school then by all meams do mont.

 

if you can squeak by another year of hs, i'd try ps again (it soooo really depends on the teacher) and if that failed again after 3 months or less, i know my only other option owuld be montessori and nothing else.  


 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is online now  
#17 of 33 Old 06-22-2011, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
cyberfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere...
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Well the Montessori does have scholarships but we got on board long after they were gone.  So maybe for next year if it works.  Also, there were many, many issues with the public school.  One was that my daughter didn't deal well with the loudness of the lunchroom.  She was excluded by many of her peers.  She hated lining up for everything.  She hated other kids bumping into her in line.  She'd come home and explode over having to line up.  There were kindergarteners making death threats against other kindergarteners.  One first grader had his throat badly hurt by another first grader who was strangling him.  The school-wide art teacher doesn't let kids create --she tells them what to make and exactly how to make it, which frustrates my creative child to no end, and again, she'd come home and explode on art days.  She spent a lot of time sitting and waiting for other kids to figure out stuff she's known for a long time.  These are all things I think having a different teacher will not affect.  I am also pretty against priming kids for standardized testing.  I understand the reasoning behind it, but I don't agree with it at all; that's just me. 

The Montessori school is giving us an option to get out of the contract within the first 6 weeks of the school year.  The director understands what we've been through and doesn't want to lock us into another situation in case it doesn't work out.  So really I'm starting to think there's nothing to lose right now by going that direction or at least trying it out.  My child is a flexible structure type of person.  She needs some background structure but will lose it if every minute of her life is orchestrated. 

 

I am planning to homeschool for middle school and beyond.  She'll be more self-sufficient then and our lives will, if all goes according to plan, be more settled. 


Single Mama to my sweet boo.
cyberfish is offline  
#18 of 33 Old 06-22-2011, 07:38 AM
 
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,895
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post

Well the Montessori does have scholarships but we got on board long after they were gone.  So maybe for next year if it works.  Also, there were many, many issues with the public school.  One was that my daughter didn't deal well with the loudness of the lunchroom.  She was excluded by many of her peers.  She hated lining up for everything.  She hated other kids bumping into her in line.  She'd come home and explode over having to line up.  There were kindergarteners making death threats against other kindergarteners.  One first grader had his throat badly hurt by another first grader who was strangling him.  The school-wide art teacher doesn't let kids create --she tells them what to make and exactly how to make it, which frustrates my creative child to no end, and again, she'd come home and explode on art days.  She spent a lot of time sitting and waiting for other kids to figure out stuff she's known for a long time.  These are all things I think having a different teacher will not affect.  I am also pretty against priming kids for standardized testing.  I understand the reasoning behind it, but I don't agree with it at all; that's just me. 

The Montessori school is giving us an option to get out of the contract within the first 6 weeks of the school year.  The director understands what we've been through and doesn't want to lock us into another situation in case it doesn't work out.  So really I'm starting to think there's nothing to lose right now by going that direction or at least trying it out.  My child is a flexible structure type of person.  She needs some background structure but will lose it if every minute of her life is orchestrated. 

 

I am planning to homeschool for middle school and beyond.  She'll be more self-sufficient then and our lives will, if all goes according to plan, be more settled. 


I can see a Montessori environment addressing some of those problems. IME, there was often a quiet buzz but not the same level of chaos and loudness as in a public school. Both my dc had some adjustments to make for noise and chaos when they left Montessori for public school. Since students are self-directed and choose their work independently, there isn't a lot of time waiting for other children. However, there were line-ups in Montessori, although the students seemed to cope better with queuing due to the self-discipline and respect for others that Montessori seems to foster (there's a thread about this in the Montessori subforum right now). Regarding the creativity issue, Montessori encourages students to use the materials and equipment properly for their intended use. Some teachers can be quite rigid and harsh about how they direct the students in using the materials. OTOH, others are very good at encouraging students and manage to redirect without stifling creativity. This doesn't apply to creative artwork (my dc brought home lovely art and crafts), but given your description of your dd's frustrations, you may want to investigate how they will work with your dd if she's not using the Montessori materials as intended.   

 

Montessori was a terrific environment for my dc and I support the method. It isn't always the best fit for some children and parents though. It sounds like you've had some honest discussions with the school, since they recognize that your dc has been unhappy at public school. Probably you've already talked to them about these things, but I thought it worth pointing out. Good luck with everything, 

 

 

ollyoxenfree is offline  
#19 of 33 Old 06-22-2011, 01:16 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)

For my DD who really needs to be in the private alternative, school, she couldn't cope with the noise and bustle of school. She has sensory issues and the bells were very scary to her. She was in middle school and the sounds of the lockers were like a firing range. The various smells of the cafeteria were just.too.much. She's also fairly intuitive, and picking up on the energies of so many people in such small spaces without ever getting REAL down time was overwhelming.

 

These are aren't issues that got better was age, but rather worse.

 

The private school has been a god-send for her. She's like a totally different kid. It's very, very worth it to us, and I can only hope that your experience goes as well.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#20 of 33 Old 06-28-2011, 06:37 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,669
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Yea kids adapt and learn to accept school.They stop complaining when they know it won't matter anymore.

 

I would opt for homeschooling or the montessori.I have mine in montessori.My ds started in mid-K,and I got my dd in for 3rd year lower El. No school is perfect and that goes for Montessori.Maybe a year or 2 of M would be good enough for your dd,but I have found that even my school hater wants to stay in M to the end.For our school that means grade 8.

 

Another thing to consider is the additional fees and required volunteer hours the M school requires.We pay extra for gym classes and ofcourse the field trips and class events. For the volunteer hours you put in the time or again pay.

 

Does your state give scholarships or money to kids  from low rated schools? We have kids that go to M and the state pays the tuition,because the kids are coming from low rated schools.I wish our local schools were low rated,because the tuition is tough to come up with.

 

I think the struggle to pay for an alternative school is worth it if your child was not happy at the public school.My ds was bullied daily,and he changed for the worse at public.It was so sad to see.The years go by so fast and it is so cruel to make the kids suffer daily in a place they should be thriving in.I know a lot of parents who have said,"Hey I hate my job and still manage to go to work,so my kid should just learn to deal with school even if they hate it."

 

Lol, I always tell my kids life is to short to spend it in a situation you hate.Make a change.

mattemma04 is offline  
#21 of 33 Old 06-29-2011, 08:37 PM
 
domesticidyll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 220
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I wonder if part of your hesitation is not wanting to start something that it's not clear you can sustain, financially. My own experience is that even a few years of a school experience that is a great fit is worth it. Not as good maybe as all 12 years, but some is definitely more beneficial than some, and the more the better. I went to Montessori through K, then a few years on not-great-academically public schools, then a fantastic, wonderful private school that was so good for me, socially and academically both. Then a public school that was supposed to be great academically, but wasn't a great fit for me. I am so, so immensely glad and thankful for the years I had at my good school. The things I learned there are the things that have stuck with me, and the sense that I could be a good learner stayed with me through years at the less-good places. I do think there is tremendous value in building the memories of what it feels like to be working in that sweet spot academically, and of being in a learning environment that feels right, even if it's not sustainable. Especially if not. I think those memories are a great gift to carry through leaner years.

 

But it's so hard to judge other people's finances! Being up nights worrying, not knowing how to pay the $5 for a class project... at some point there's a tipping point, and it's so hard to plan in advance where the tipping point is, because how can you predict what might come up? Can you work as a tutor if you need to get some extra cash at some point?

 

Heather

domesticidyll is offline  
#22 of 33 Old 07-06-2011, 08:59 AM
 
Heavenly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 4,743
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

If you can afford it I'd pay for the private school.  My kids were homeschooled and then we put them in private Christian school.  We absolutely love their school and would not ever consider public school (if we truly couldn't afford private we'd homeschool).  To us it doesn't even register as a financial sacrifice.  Yes, we know we could buy a bigger house where they all have their own rooms, and yes we'd have more financial freedom, but this is their childhood we are talking about!  You can't redo your childhood.  This is the only one they get and I want to make it the best I can and being in an awesome school is a huge part of that.  For us no vacation or whatever else you could use the money for would make up for spending every day in a bad school.  I say go for the private school. 


Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
Heavenly is offline  
#23 of 33 Old 07-09-2011, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
cyberfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere...
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think starting something that may be hard to sustain is part of it.  Part of it is worry that this school won't be a good fit for my child, either.  However, we're going to give it a go.  We have 6 weeks into the school year before we need to commit financially.  And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have some major issues with the public schools here and it wouldn't feel right to me to put my child back in that environment.  This is especially true since she hated it. 

 

I do wonder if my daughter has sensory issues -- is this something that should be formally diagnosed?  Or is it something that I just need to keep tabs on to make sure nothing becomes too overwhelming? 

 

I've seen her completely shut down and tune out even in small groups of children if they are loud or boisterous.  I think a persistent public school environment in our community would be a recipe for disaster if she truly does have sensory issues. 

You make good points about no vacation or anything else could make up for being truly miserable much of the year.  And I think we do a lot of enriching things anyway, just because they are cheap and readily available. 

Thanks again for your thoughtful responses. 


Single Mama to my sweet boo.
cyberfish is offline  
#24 of 33 Old 07-09-2011, 10:16 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post

I do wonder if my daughter has sensory issues -- is this something that should be formally diagnosed?  Or is it something that I just need to keep tabs on to make sure nothing becomes too overwhelming? 

 

There are a lot of great resources on sensory issues and if you post this exact same question on the special needs board, you'd most likely get different answers. winky.gif

 

If you have good insurance that will pay for the eval and some therapy, it's worth going down that route. If you don't, rather than beat yourself up over it, there's really a ton a stuff you can do at home. I'd start by reading The Out of Sync Child by Kranowitz and go from there. It has TONS of ideas in the back.

 

Figuring out the right sensory diet for a child can make a world of difference. It would be easier working with a professional, but there are a TON of things you can do at home.

 

I'm usually a huge fan of getting dx's, but the nasty little thing about SPD without any other issues is that very, very few states require schools to make any accommodation for it. So if a child has sensory issues as part of another dx, like Aspergers' the schools can accommodate the sensory issues, but if it's *just* sensory issues, the child may not be able to get any accommodations even with a water tight dx.

 

Next option, since you are worried about the long term plan, paying for the school year and year, etc., are there any better school districts you could move to reasonably close to where you work?

 

Ultimately, it was the hustle and bustle of the public middle school that caused us to switch our DD to a small, private school. She couldn't cope with the bells or the sounds of the lockers.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#25 of 33 Old 07-10-2011, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
cyberfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere...
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This is super helpful, thanks!  We've done an intake with a psychologist.  Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this if only for the sake of our sanity.  It's good to know that schools don't always have to accommodate SPDs, but it doesn't actually surprise me. 

 

There are better schools nearby.  Even if we were to drive about a mile from where we live now we'd be in another school district that is supposed to be much much better.  However, I think the "better" assessment has to do with higher test scores.  Demographically, that district has a far lower ESL population and a higher overall income so that is not surprising.  A lot of my university professor colleagues and their kids also live in that district.  So I don't really know if they have smaller classes or if ultimately the whole school feel of the building would be different for my child, if that makes sense.  Also, all the districts around here put a lot of faith in the whole high stakes standards testing, and I just don't feel like that is a good approach to learning for so many kids, mine included.   Plus public schools tend to switch from subject to subject rather abruptly during the school day and my child really *really* didn't handle that well at all.  I'm thinking in a Montessori environment they might be more in tune with that. 

 

If Montessori works out, maybe we can get in on the scholarship applications for next year.  We missed the deadline this year because we didn't know we'd even be applying to this school or in this position. 
But we'll deal with one crisis at a time winky.gif


Single Mama to my sweet boo.
cyberfish is offline  
#26 of 33 Old 07-11-2011, 08:02 AM
 
Emmeline II's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 8,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
I do wonder if my daughter has sensory issues -- is this something that should be formally diagnosed?  Or is it something that I just need to keep tabs on to make sure nothing becomes too overwhelming? 

 

I've seen her completely shut down and tune out even in small groups of children if they are loud or boisterous.  I think a persistent public school environment in our community would be a recipe for disaster if she truly does have sensory issues. 

You make good points about no vacation or anything else could make up for being truly miserable much of the year.  And I think we do a lot of enriching things anyway, just because they are cheap and readily available. 

Thanks again for your thoughtful responses. 


I agree that if you have insurance that covers OT then getting an eval could be helpful, though paying cash may be an option for you as well and they might offer a discount because they don't have to deal with an insurance company (I think our eval was $150-$200). Ds' OT evaluation was extremely helpful for explaining ds to others though we didn't pursue OT therapy at that point because the ADHD/ODD was the most pressing issue--but, we asked the OT to write the report with the school in mind and she included a lot of explanation and advice on things they could do to help ds. So the eval was worth it just to have an "authority" explain ds to the school/doctors. On the other hand, it didn't tell us much that I didn't already know from my own reading.

 

Ds' first school was a K-5 600+ student school. There were 5 Kindergarten classes, and going to the school for activities gave ME a headache! Ds was more sensitive to sound then and he literally climbed a wall when they had their first fire drill. Gym class was usually a disaster because of the lack of structure and the noise level; once I stayed for his gym class and their was construction outside--ds was the only once with his hands on his ears the whole class. The cafeteria was just as bad; though when parents visit for lunch they had us sit on the stage to eat with our student which was much less noisy.

 

Ds is now in a charter school, and though the structure of the school is similar to the one he left, it is much smaller (a 700 student K-12 population), with only two classes per grade in the elementary school.

 

 


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
Emmeline II is offline  
#27 of 33 Old 07-11-2011, 10:13 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
Ds was more sensitive to sound then and he literally climbed a wall when they had their first fire drill. Gym class was usually a disaster because of the lack of structure and the noise level;

 

 


 

How does your son do with fire drills at his new school? Our private alternative school pulls out the SPD kids and takes them outside before pulling the alarm. (There are several SPD kiddos at the school)

 

PE was a nightmare for DD in public school. As part of her 504, she had a shorted school day and did PE as an independent study. She and I would go to the Y, which she could handle, and then I would take her to school and she would do her other classes.

 

Cafeteria was difficult, but there was no way around it while having her in school. The mixture of the various smells (she's VERY sensitive to smells), the noise, the chaos, the confusing social situations was all a bit much. Making the other changes (like PE) was enough to make school doable for her. It's much more sane for her at her current school. They get a whole hour of lunch, it's not as noisy or chaotic, and because the school doesn't prepare any food (every one brings a packed lunch) it really cuts down on the smells. The time when they aren't eating they can go outside or read in the library or play a board game with a friend. It's sane! 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#28 of 33 Old 07-11-2011, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
cyberfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere...
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post




 

How does your son do with fire drills at his new school? Our private alternative school pulls out the SPD kids and takes them outside before pulling the alarm. (There are several SPD kiddos at the school)

 

PE was a nightmare for DD in public school. As part of her 504, she had a shorted school day and did PE as an independent study. She and I would go to the Y, which she could handle, and then I would take her to school and she would do her other classes.

 

Cafeteria was difficult, but there was no way around it while having her in school. The mixture of the various smells (she's VERY sensitive to smells), the noise, the chaos, the confusing social situations was all a bit much. Making the other changes (like PE) was enough to make school doable for her. It's much more sane for her at her current school. They get a whole hour of lunch, it's not as noisy or chaotic, and because the school doesn't prepare any food (every one brings a packed lunch) it really cuts down on the smells. The time when they aren't eating they can go outside or read in the library or play a board game with a friend. It's sane! 



Yes, fire drills completely freaked my daughter out.  She'd talk for weeks after it about how loud and scary it was and kept asking if we were going to have a fire.  Just as she seemed to be over it, they'd go and have another one.  It's nice to find people whose children have felt the way mine has.  It feels much less intimidating.  So is having just 2 classes per grade really enough to help your child?   I hope he continues to do well there. 

 

You can get a shorter day?  Interesting though I don't think the schools around here would go for that.  They went so far as to offer drawings for big prizes (new bicycles) for kids who attended school every day, all day.  When I pulled my child and submitted my NOI to homeschool the remainder of the year, I got a snarky letter from the superintendent expressing his disapproval but accepting my watertight legal NOI.  Part of the after school meltdowns this past year I think were related to exhaustion.  And I know from personal experience that it takes a lot of extra energy to mediate a world around you that you find too stimulating.  I don't think a lot of people understand that.  Her teacher told her to tell me my daughter needed an earlier bedtime.  But that wasn't it. 

 

Ironically, if I am to pay for this alternative school I probably can't do a $100-200 OT assessment, but I am paying some fees for her evaluation for her behavior issues that I think are sensory related.  I hate that it comes down to money but she's my kid and I want her to be happy and well-adjusted.  Well, as much as any of us can be orngtongue.gif

 


Single Mama to my sweet boo.
cyberfish is offline  
#29 of 33 Old 07-11-2011, 11:24 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
You can get a shorter day?  Interesting though I don't think the schools around here would go for that.

 


It wasn't the first thing we tried. By the time we got to the shorter day, we had exhausted homeschooling as an option, my DD was seeing a private therapist every week, my DD was spending 2-3 hours per school day in the school workers office, she had missed about 50 days of school (not counting the days she went home early) and my DD has been dx'ed with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder on top of Asperger's.  We were also looking into a school for kids with emotional problems (one step away from in-patient treatment) and it would have cost our school district 24K a year (and was 40 minutes from our house).

 

god -- it hurts to even type all that up. mecry.gif

 

Our school staff was really awesome with my DD and I always felt at every single step of the way they were trying to figure what the heck would work for her. I only have good things to say about the staff at the public school she attended. They were great, but school wasn't the right place for her.

 

Back back to your original question, paying for the alternative school for her is the right choice.

 

It's weird how it all played out. While all of that was happening for DD, my DH's company restructured and we HAD to move. We ended up with our choice between 3 new cities, and I got to pick based on where I though DD would be best. So she's now at a school thats ideal for her,  that was my top pick of 3 cities, and far better than any of the options in our first city. It's a great situation, but we went through h*ll to get here.

 

(I gained a lot of weight that year)

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#30 of 33 Old 07-11-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)

To clarify something --

 

My DD is a former homeschooler and the sh*t hit the fan for her while homeschooling. She was dx'ed with clinical depression while she was still a homeschooler. It was actually part of the reason we decided to do something different, like school.

 

I don't want any one to read this and think that I put my perfectly happy homeschooling child in school and she became depressed and anxious. My child was extremely Not Happy during her last months/year of homeschooling. It was a situation where any decent parent would change things -- anything really, to try help.

 

Raising a SN child ain't like raising a typically developing child. We had reached a point where no one outside our family was trying to interact with her. (She's not an easy person to interact with). Our experience was the homeschool moms are busy with their own kids and that as kids get older, they get picker about their friends. DD was completely and totally isolated.

 

At school, my DD had people trying to interact with her. It was a step in the right direction for her.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
Reply

User Tag List

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


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not 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