I'd like to hear from people who were planning on homeschooling, but ended up sending their kids to a tradtional school (public or private) by choice. I'm really just looking for general BTDT experiences, but for some perspective, we've always planned on homeschooling (while both parents work FT or close to it). Our nearby public schools are crappy and there are no charters. But weve recently began to consider a local private school. DH and I had opposite experiences in PS growing up. I was very smart, but work was WAY to easy and I was very bored. I was even enrolled in a pull-out enrichment program that failed to capitalize on the opportunities they could have given us. I feel like my love of learning was dampened and opportunites to expand knowledge, develop skills, foster a passion, etc. were lost. My DH had problems reading in early elementary and, although he received extra help, he sort of fell through the cracks. Although he is really brilliant, he felt very 'un-academic' and at times, stupid. On top of that, we've both witnessed cruel teachers & administrators in our childhoods.
We've also spent a few years convincing ourselves that homeschooling will provide a better education to our kids than a brick-and-mortar school would.
The school we're considering is small. About 100 students in PreK through grade 8. no more than 12 kids in a classroom. It is secular school (a plus for us) and seems to echo some of our educational philosophies, although it is a bit more book-based (less hands-on & student led) than I would prefer.
If you were originally 100% about homeschooling and ending up changing your mind, how did you deal with your worries about the social and educational differences found in a traditional school? Did you find that your worries were unfounded? Were there issues that you didn't anticipate?
student momma to two great girls
I wanted to homeschool or eldest and DH would have supported me in doing so though not totally sold on it himself. However, our DD very strongly insisted on school. It's a very long story with lots of twists and turns but I must say that in the end, DD really made the right decision for herself. I'm not saying that parents should automatically defer to a 5-year-old but I can say that their opinions are very worth considering.
Yes, I worried. DD is a highly gifted girl. She started kindie 2 to 5 grade levels advanced all around. DH and I both carried the gifted label in school and have plenty of baggage (baggage that we have since let go of thankfully.) The local public school really did their job. Has it been perfect? No. Have there been bad moments? Yes. Public school has been overwhelmingly positive for both my kids though (6th and 10th grades now.) They have made some incredible connections and had remarkable opportunities. Not ALL my worries weren't unfounded but those that realized were far easier dealt with than I had anticipated and ended up only blips in the large picture. Issues I didn't anticipate reared their ugly heads too but we've always been able to turn those situations around quickly.
It's very important to remember that no decision is final. Parenting is all about trial and error. It's OK to be open about that with your children. Yes, we are going to try this. If it fails, we'll try something else. As long as kids know you are listening to them, acting not only on what YOU think is good for them but on what THEY think is good for them, they'll adapt.
Our situation isn't exactly the same, but has some similarities. We started out homeschooling -- mainly because I didn't believe the school system could meet my very-advanced-but-very-attached eldest child's needs. We continued homeschooling our subsequent children because they were also unique in their own ways, as all kids are, and we had discovered how well homeschooling nurtures a child's particular strengths and interests. So in our case there was no real fear or negativity associated with the school system, just an appreciation that it couldn't provide nearly the flexibility and individualization that we wanted for our kids.
I ended up with three kids attending the local public school, which is smaller than yours: a K-12 school of 92 students. It was their choice, but in two cases I felt it was a good time for that choice, and with my other dd, though I had some reservations, I was happy to support her in her experiment.
Our fears about lack of challenge have turned out to be unfounded. They have placed my kids a year or so ahead, and let them move further along in the course sequences according to their ability and inclination. My 12-year-old is reviewing 9th grade math and planning to move into 10th by Christmas. My 15-year-old is doing 11th and 12th grade courses in his areas of strength. They arranged a timely evaluation of his IQ and learning difficulties (he's gifted and dysgraphic), but even without the formal evaluation they were good about allowing accommodations. My 17-year-old, who is now finished attending high school, was initially placed a year ahead and allowed free rein to attend part-time and take courses years ahead of her age-grade, as well as given credit for out-of-school learning considered to meet or exceed course standards.
I've also discovered that the personal passions of the teachers have been positive influences on my kids. One teacher has a passion for XC mountain biking, social justice, environmentalism and local history. Another is an amazing creative writing facilitator with interests in documentary production and story-telling through animation and other digital media. Another has an interest in alternative education, including self-directed learning, homeschooling and outdoor education. And so on. With so few teachers and so few students, personalities and passions are easily shared within the school culture, and my kids are discovering new interests through their teachers.
(I will say that there is not enough flexibility to allow for adequate challenge in our particular school at the elementary [K-7] level. My 8-year-old continues to be homeschooled as a result. She's a bit of an outlier and there's schedule-wise there's no way to accommodate her advanced needs within the elementary program.)
Anyway, I've been impressed with how positive an experience school has been for my quirky kids. I wasn't coming from a position of negativity and reservations about this school ... I've always been an admirer of our local school and how well it serves many children and the community ... but even so I've been pleasantly surprised.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups