Anyone ever given up on their child's school? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 08-20-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS's grade school is academically poor. Bottom third. For example, his teacher has no idea what his reading level is, so his reading homework is always on a very low level. Luckily he reads library books, so I am not too concerned. He never has math homework, as in never, but much worse, imo, is that the math teacher has no idea what level he is on; he has no idea about any of the kids. I don't know what, if anything, they actually do in math. 

 

HOWEVER - it is only to blocks, so he can walk there and back. All of the neighborhood kids go there, so it is very easy to arrange play dates with the other kids. He is happy and has all his friends there. He likes the school. He likes his teachers. For us the social aspect is very important. And although his younger sister is in private, he does not want to go to the private grade school. And I don't want to take him kicking and screaming, as I feel that will backfire, both socially and academically. 

 

We have signed him up for a private middle school. He is top of the list, so is virtually guaranteed a spot, starting in 6th. it is a creative school which will fit his interests well. So in the meantime, for 3rd, 4th and 5th we have basically given up on our sons school. If he learns something great, if not, too bad. We are basically waiting out the next 3 years until he can switch in 6th. We have talked to him about it, and he says he does not want to move in 6th either, he wants to stay at his school. We have not told him yet that he MUST switch, but both DH and I agree there is no way we are wasting 7 years there, three more wasted years is bad enough. We also think that age 8 is very hard to move him now, but by age 11 he will be in a different place and more ready to see that a switch will help him get a better education. 

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#2 of 16 Old 08-20-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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Oh absolutely. Our eldest was super excited when she was accepted into the performing arts high school magnet. It was a horrible fit for her academically. She was falling apart but still insistent on staying. After 2 years, we told her she was NOT going back period and she moved to a different high school program. She's thriving now and so grateful that we put our foot down. 

 

If he's always been in this school than he really has no concept of how it could be different. Absolutely listen to him. Consider his feelings. Make sure you are making a fair assessment of the school. There does come a time though that parents have to over-ride a child's wishes when they are struggling to see the big picture.


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#3 of 16 Old 08-20-2013, 08:23 PM
 
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I've not actually been in your position.  I gave up on our public schools before even getting there and started in parochial school immediately.  I'm so struck by your comment that he has no math homework.  From K - 2, almost all of our kids homework was math, other than they were supposed to read a book of their choice for a certain amount of time each day and study spelling words given weekly.  But most of the work in the early grades is usually math.

 

We've also always been big on using the library and the kids have always read books above grade level that we get there.  So, it's good he's doing that.  Are you supplementing his math learning at home?

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#4 of 16 Old 08-20-2013, 09:32 PM
 
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Yep. We just gave up last school year. We were at a crunchy, alternative, private school for years. I loved it, my kids adored it. There were many quirks and issues that come along with a very small, alternative school, I was always able to look past them over the years. The education that they received wasn't always the type that could be easily tested or put into a box.  DD1 thrived there and she is not a kid that could just go to any school. It was home. 

 

And then we had a bully that targeted DD1 last year. We endured far more then we should of. Even left for 3 months for a local public school and came back because it still felt like home. Second to the last week of school I realized that we had to leave and I frantically was able to secure slots for three of my children at private catholic school. Our old school essentially exploded over the summer so I am so glad that I left when I did. Only I am still quite sad about it and so are my kids. Our new school, while nice and very academic, is just not us. Maybe it will be eventually but for now, everyone is walking around with sad faces in their new, crisp uniforms. DD1 moves to middle school next year and we secured her a slot last year at tech based charter middle school that I think will be amazing for her.  Not sure what we will end up doing with the rest of the kids then, it just depends on how this year goes I guess.


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#5 of 16 Old 08-20-2013, 11:12 PM
 
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I haven't been I'm your situation but just want to suggest researching your state's grade level proficiency standards so that your child enters sixth grade ready for sixth grade. That's a tough year, and if he's not being taught at his level now, it will be really hard to catch up later.
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#6 of 16 Old 08-20-2013, 11:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Peony View Post

Yep. We just gave up last school year. We were at a crunchy, alternative, private school for years. I loved it, my kids adored it. There were many quirks and issues that come along with a very small, alternative school, I was always able to look past them over the years. The education that they received wasn't always the type that could be easily tested or put into a box.  DD1 thrived there and she is not a kid that could just go to any school. It was home. 

 

And then we had a bully that targeted DD1 last year. We endured far more then we should of.

Peony's story is basically mine.  My children spent the past two years in a Montessori school.  We loved the teachers, assistants, teaching methods, etc.  My children looked forward to school every day; their joy of learning had returned after being crushed at our previous school.  But last year my son was physically aggressively bullied repeatedly and the school did nothing (The aggressive boy's mother is a teacher at the school and his family has a long-term relationship with the owner of the school.)  My husband and I wanted to pull him out after the first incident last Sept. but my son didn't want to leave...he didn't think the bully should get to stay in the school he loved and he wanted to fight to stay.  But by the end of the year and after more aggression, we decided we had to leave.

 

Prior to the Montessori school we spent one year at a charter...a charter school I helped organize.  I gave up on it for various reasons - too long to explain.

 

My children are starting fourth grade and we will be schooling at home.  I am excited, nervous and bitter.  It bothers me that my children had to leave the school they loved and that fit our family so well and the bully gets to stay at the school.  However, quite a few families are leaving the school this year so it may not have been the same anyway.  Also, I worry that my children have had no consistency in their schooling and no opportunity to build long-term relationships.

 

Good luck with your decision. 

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#7 of 16 Old 08-21-2013, 06:45 AM
 
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But I have to wonder - don't you meet with his teachers at all? If so, how is it they are not aware of what level his reading and math are at? Honestly - the school/teachers are only part of the equation. 

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#8 of 16 Old 08-21-2013, 08:58 AM
 
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I think the OP lives in Denmark and that schools operate differently there. I did think that your son was supposed to go to a different school this year. I probably would have gone with that.
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#9 of 16 Old 08-21-2013, 09:07 AM
 
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But I have to wonder - don't you meet with his teachers at all? If so, how is it they are not aware of what level his reading and math are at? Honestly - the school/teachers are only part of the equation. 

You'd think it would be that way. I met with my DS's teaching team for one hour during the second week of school last year. I was a teacher and my son has an IEP and has had several full assessments (school and private.) His teacher apparently thought differently and that he could do math that he clearly not do. His math skills are on a six-year-old level and struggles with understanding basic math concepts. but, she was giving him ENRICHMENT work. And was giving him books like "This is my pet. My pet can play" when he is a fluent reader. She didn't get that his problem isn't comprehending text. He has ADHD and Auditory Processing Disorder. Last school year sucked...
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#10 of 16 Old 08-22-2013, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

But I have to wonder - don't you meet with his teachers at all? If so, how is it they are not aware of what level his reading and math are at? Honestly - the school/teachers are only part of the equation. 

We are supposed to have two parent- teacher meetings a year. Last year we got one; the second was cancelled due to lack of parental interest. However, individual parents could ask to still have a meeting. We asked. Nothing happened. I like his teacher, do not get me wrong. She is very kind and good with the kids. There are no major problems in the class. The social context is high. But the academics are very poor, and no one seems to give a damn. And if the majority of the class is at a specific, low, level, then the approach seems to be to make sure that those that are behind get only a little help to catch up, and if you are ahead then to bad for you, do the boring work all the time or daydream to preoccupy yourself. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

I think the OP lives in Denmark and that schools operate differently there. I did think that your son was supposed to go to a different school this year. I probably would have gone with that.

 

That was my DD. We got her out, and into private. Best decision we ever made. We HAD to get her out, it was not a safe enviornment. DS is still at the same school, for the reasons I posted originally.

 

Chipi and DBSM, that is terrible about the bullying, but unfortunately not surprising. Same thing happens here. My SIL and her colleague both asked the principal to remove a bully, the school refused. Both SIL and the other teacher both ended up on sick leave for 6 months each. It cost the school a lot more than whatever the tuition for that one child was. 

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#11 of 16 Old 08-24-2013, 09:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Peony View Post

Yep. We just gave up last school year. We were at a crunchy, alternative, private school for years. I loved it, my kids adored it. There were many quirks and issues that come along with a very small, alternative school, I was always able to look past them over the years.

 

 

same here. We ended up leaving over a couple of issues -- one being that the school had gone from being a haven for quirky kids who think outside the box to a place for children with serious behavior issues whose parents didn't want to deal with the public schools anymore. The children were frequently not supervised, so it was like Lord of the Flies. when children were hurt, it wasn't dealt with appropriately or reported to authorities as required. I started feeling like if one of my kids was assaulted (sexually or otherwise) I wouldn't be able to live with myself because I could see the risk.  I know of several children who were seriously hurt by other children at the school.

 

Also, while the academics had always been project based and open ended, they just kept getting looser and looser. My children were not learning math. I felt like I was throwing their futures away.

 

The decision was painful (there is an old thread here about it somewhere) and the change over bordered on traumatic, but it was the right thing to do. My kids deserve to LEARN at school and BE SAFE at school. Every single thing that has happened since we pulled them out has reaffirmed that we made the right decision for them.

 

I cannot believe we paid for that nonsense for as long as we did. I now love public school.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 16 Old 08-25-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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We haven't "given up" exactly. We have made changes but I've always thought about it in terms of pursuing a new opportunity that seemed like it would be a better fit. We've never had your experiences with an underperforming school though. I am so sorry to hear that it isn't a better situation for your DS. I remember how hard you tried to make it work for your DD. I hope you find some solutions for your DS. 

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#13 of 16 Old 08-25-2013, 08:48 PM
 
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We haven't "given up" exactly. We have made changes but I've always thought about it in terms of pursuing a new opportunity that seemed like it would be a better fit. . 

 

 

For us, it felt like giving up because I had put tremendous effort into trying to correct the situation. I really believed in the mission of the school. I was an officer on the board when I withdrew my kids. It was more like leaving a religion than just changing schools.


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#14 of 16 Old 08-26-2013, 09:50 PM
 
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For us, it felt like giving up because I had put tremendous effort into trying to correct the situation. I really believed in the mission of the school. I was an officer on the board when I withdrew my kids. It was more like leaving a religion than just changing schools.

 

 

Wonderful analogy. I felt exactly the same. I was not on the school board but we had volunteered extensively and maintained all their technology for free for years. I usually say the school was our home. It truly felt like it was. We were so comfortable there to the point where we could be found hanging out on non-school days, just because. It literally felt like we were/are creating new lives, new identities. 

 

 

I'm not sure that I will ever feel that way about our new school. I know transitions take time, but this just isn't similar. I walked into the charter middle school over the weekend that DD1 has a slot for starting in 2014 and it was "home", I felt welcome just in this empty, dark building, totally different vibe then new, current school. I can't wait until she can go there. Now to continue to convince DD2 that our new school is comfortable and safe, when I'm not comfortable there myself. Sigh. 


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#15 of 16 Old 09-04-2013, 05:53 PM
 
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Yes. We switched DC from a traditional neighborhood PS after being very off-put by some of the reward incentives and poor response from the teachers when I approached them with my concerns. We were on the wait list for a charter school and switched DC when she got offered a spot.  It's a hard thing as an NFL person to drive past many schools to find a good fit for your kid, but that's something we've reconciled. For me, I'm happy to have always found a good public option but I would also consider private or homeschooling if I just couldn't find a PS that was a good fit for my DC. 


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#16 of 16 Old 09-04-2013, 06:01 PM
 
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Sorry, I see the OP is in Denmark. I don't know what the schools are like there. We did send DC to her first school in Germany (the US equivalent of pre-K) and did end up pulling her out of that school as well.  OP, are you from Denmark?  My DC ended up having some mild language LD and I have often thought how grateful I am that we ended up moving back the the states for her schooling. I feel like I would have struggled with confusing learning a second language with whatever was going on with DC as she struggled to learn to read. I also wonder very much how well I would have been able to navigate the German school system (having never attended myself) and advocate for my DC.  I think I would have second guessed myself a lot of the time. 


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