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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<b>Warning: LONG!</b><br><br>
We've been hs-ing (and were in waldorf preschool before that) but had some doubts and conflicts and decided this week to give PS kindergarten a try. DS got into one of the "best" schools here and we were worried if we didn't try it now we may not have such good options in the future (lottery system).<br><br>
Yesterday was day 2 and we are already seriously considering pulling him out. He is saying he likes it, it's fun, and saying he wants to keep going, but our hearts are telling us otherwise. I had many reservations about PS but went into this excited and wanting the best for him.<br><br>
Just in the first 2 days I've been so disappointed by the whole thing, and I honestly think he is too. All the endless rules, the lack of freedom, only being able to do certain things at certain times, the lack of toys, the intimidating recess with a huge amount of mixed age kids all on one play structure, the fact that he is older and bigger than most kids in his class and clearly developmentally pretty advanced...I could go on and on. Each time I pick him up excited to hear about his day, everything he tells me seems ridiculous and breaks my heart.<br><br>
He started joking about it yesterday; when we asked what he did he said the teacher told him about calendars and money (true) but then went on to embellish with all these other things that were clearly not true but what he had expected/hoped for...like writing a story, drawing a picture like a photo, making their own drums, building a house.....these are all things he's seen and heard about in waldorf in some way.<br><br>
He also expressed disappointment/bewilderment that at snack time there is no table and chairs and napkins or blessing, that they have to sit in a line on concrete and that they can only eat things you hold in your hand. He has been talking a LOT about his old waldorf teacher and friends there.<br><br>
The trouble is he is not one of the children who will cry or say he doesn't want to go. He will go along with any new experience and try his hardest. He also likes to please people.<br><br>
Yesterday he woke up with a stomach ache before school. Tonight he has been tossing and turning all night and has hardly had any sleep. After school yesterday I heard him playing, saying "Sit on your bottom. You don't know the answer because you weren't listening to the teacher. Daniel your last name is fart butt"..it went on and on, clearly things he'd heard all day long. He also spent ages swinging (a very soothing activity for him) and singing (also soothing) but it was all about how school goes every single season of the year and how there shouldn't be any school in the summer...(it's hot here and still summer)...<br><br>
The worst was last night when I was going out he suddenly said "Well that's f***ing stupid!". I couldn't believe it. I asked who said that and it was one boy who he has been describing as his "friend". We talked a long time and it turns out there are two boys who have been using all kinds of outrageous language, poking him, grabbing his wrists and twisting them....this is not stuff he would/could make up, and he was saying it thinking they were his friends and playing with him (maybe they ARE playing but still...). When I asked what the teacher did he said she told the class, "When you use the word f***ing I'm not going to listen to you". That's it? He understood it to mean that she wouldn't listen to HIM if he told her they called him names.<br><br>
The worst part of all of this...here they have this crazy system where for the first 3 days the kids rotate between teachers and classrooms before they place them in classes. So we have no idea who he will have till this evening and clearly one teacher is more competent than the others. Part of us prays he will get her, part of us hopes otherwise because even with that there are SOOOOO many things we are struggling with and it would make it easier to pull him out. I think/hope kids behavior will settle down once they are assigned to a teacher/room, and the whole point of this process is to figure out the problem kids and break them up.<br><br>
Also parents are not allowed to be in the classroom for the first 2 weeks so we can't get a first hand sense of what is going on in there or how he is really doing.<br><br>
I honestly haven't heard one single thing from him that sounded good so far, other than him liking most of the adults and some of the kids. Yet he will tell us he likes it and is going back. I wonder though if he'd be relieved if we said no. Mixed feelings most likely.<br><br>
If you've read this far...thankyou! I can't believe I'm in this situation after such a peaceful nurturing yr of hs-ing. We're wondering whether to get out quick while we can and get back to life as usual, or stick this out, hope things settle, hope for a decent teacher and that he makes some friends...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>muse</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9050946"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also parents are not allowed to be in the classroom for the first 2 weeks so we can't get a first hand sense of what is going on in there or how he is really doing.</div>
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See this is what bothers me. I understand that it would be mayhem if all the parents showed up and stayed the whole 2 weeks, but why would it hurt for a parent to see their child's classroom and get an idea of what their educational experiences are going to be like?<br><br>
I think its the general crappy attitude of public school (not parents, but some teachers and many administrators) where they feel they have the final say and don't actually HAVE to work with parents, that is the root of many problems.<br><br>
I hope you can find a solution that works for you. I'm in a situation where I am going to most likely be homeschooling my son till the end of his school years because I am not comfortable with the situation they insist on putting him in, and they refuse to take my input into consideration.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>muse</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9050946"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The worst part of all of this...here they have this crazy system where for the first 3 days the kids rotate between teachers and classrooms before they place them in classes. So we have no idea who he will have till this evening and clearly one teacher is more competent than the others. Part of us prays he will get her, part of us hopes otherwise because even with that there are SOOOOO many things we are struggling with and it would make it easier to pull him out. I think/hope kids behavior will settle down once they are assigned to a teacher/room, and the whole point of this process is to figure out the problem kids and break them up.<br><br>
Also parents are not allowed to be in the classroom for the first 2 weeks so we can't get a first hand sense of what is going on in there or how he is really doing.</div>
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I would consider rotation for the first 3 days the worst part. I think it's a good thing for the teachers and students so that they can get to know each other and figure out what groups will work best.<br><br>
To be honest also, even if you could be there everyday for the first two weeks sitting in the classroom the only thing you'd get a first hand sense of is the teacher's teaching style. I have yet to sit in on anything my dd has done and have it be like it is when I'm not there.<br><br>
Some of the things you bring up like snack time, of course no two schools are going to do snack time the same way. It's good for anyone to learn that different people do things different ways.<br><br>
For the cursing I'd talk to the teacher. Your ds may not have seen or know the full consequences of the cursing.<br><br>
But overall, it sounds like you'd prefer to hs your ds or put him a more Waldorf situation. Just b/c he got into the best ps, doesn't mean he has to go to it. You could have the opportunity further down the line if a ps is what's best for your ds. And the best in this case may not actually be the best for you or your ds.<br><br>
Even the best public school is still just that a public school with a mainstream teaching style. It's not going to be like Waldorf or let your ds do the things he wants to do when he wants to do them. That's neither good nor bad. If you want him to be in the ps you have to help transition him and help him set his expectation for the type of schooling involved. If you don't agree with what they're doing or don't want a mainstream teaching style for your ds then you need to pull him. And either find him a Waldorf school or homeschool him so both of you are happy.<br><br>
If you really do want to give this school a chance then I'd give it at least two weeks. So classes can be assigned and things to calm down.
 

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What I'm reading in your post is that you are uncomfortable with the idea of public school. Since you've already signed him up and started him there, why not give it a certain amount of time (maybe two weeks, as OPs have suggested, maybe more) to really get a feel for it. It sounds like a big adjustment for both of you and it might not be wise to make a decision based on those initial feelings of discomfort, when they may well turn out to be temporary.<br><br>
It seems though, that you are more philosophically in tune with hs or waldorf education. Public schools can be really good, but they are just not the same as hs or waldorf. If you are fundamentally opposed to things that are just part of the ps experience (teacher-directed activities, schedules, etc) then you are never going to be happy sending your ds to one.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lisalou</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9051374"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">To be honest also, even if you could be there everyday for the first two weeks sitting in the classroom the only thing you'd get a first hand sense of is the teacher's teaching style.</div>
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This is what I meant. I guess that really all that I see as important is understanding how the person who will help mold your child, does that. Just like how I extensively interview child care providers, I would like to have more than a cursory knowledge of the style of care/teaching my child would get under them. But public school assumes that there is no option other than to hand your children over to them for most of their young lives, so they don't feel the need to prove their worth to you.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jenlaana</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9052175"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is what I meant. I guess that really all that I see as important is understanding how the person who will help mold your child, does that. Just like how I extensively interview child care providers, I would like to have more than a cursory knowledge of the style of care/teaching my child would get under them. But public school assumes that there is no option other than to hand your children over to them for most of their young lives, so they don't feel the need to prove their worth to you.</div>
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I'm sure the OP could meet with her ds' teachers though without having to disrupt class and sit there in the classroom. I've gotten much better reads on teachers by talking to them directly with my child with me and I can watch how they treat dd directly as well as get answers to questions I have. If I sit in a class all I get is having to get dd to pay attention to what's going on. I will say if you can't even meet with your child's teachers during this 2 week period, then I wouldn't enroll dd in the school to begin with.
 

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We live in the east bay, too (Alameda) and I am really curious about which system you are in: Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco? Is it a full day kindergarten or half-day?<br><br>
My oldest boy is in first grade, and what you are describing as a first experience of kindergarten might put me over the edge, as a parent. But it is very different then what we experienced--being at a small, family-oriented Catholic school.<br><br>
I would follow his lead. Breathe. He'll have good days and bad days--but they will be his days. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I would give it more time. My dd had some experiences sorta like that her first few days, too. It is a huge adjustment for any child, even in the best classroom, and he needs to adjust to the routine of the school. If the problems continue beyond the first month then it's time to schedule a conference with the teacher and talk about your concerns. If there is something that really concerns you a lot and it can't wait, then you can talk to her now. Maybe offer to go in at lunch time or right before/after school when your son can be on the playground and not listening to the conversation.<br><br>
My dd has a friend at school that I'd rather she didn't have because of some of the things the friend teaches my dd. I use it as an opportunity to talk about life lessons. Example: if you hang out with someone who breaks the rules and is sneaky, the teacher and kids might think that you think those things are okay to do, too. Or you might get in trouble when she does, because you were with her. I tell her that in our family we don't do ____ even if other families do that kind of thing. It really really has helped her to define who she is and what her own personal beliefs are by seeing the other values of other kids. She has become a much stronger vegetarian, for example. If she went to a school where everyone was veg she might take it for granted, but now she actually has to examine why she is veg.<br><br>
As far as kids making things up about what happened that day-- my dd does it and from talking to other parents I think it's pretty normal at that age.
 

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It sounds like your heart is into homeschooling. If you can do it..why not??<br>
I wouldn't be happy with the situation that he is in either. If my child came home and told me that she was being played with roughly and swearing I would be livid. Good luck with your decision!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone...what a journey this all is...<br><br>
The 3 day rotation was definitely the hardest part of all of this, and now we're feeling it's effects sorely. The past 3 days he has been praying for one particular teacher (who everyobdy raves about) and has been working really hard getting to know all the kids in his class. We just got the class list and he got our 3rd choice teacher, in the room he did not want to be in, and not one of the children he'd connected with is in his class. He was devastated and we had many many tears. I really felt awful and wondered why we have put him through all this.<br><br>
Within an hour though we sat down with the class list again and he started recognizing names and teling me bits and pieces about them (like the Tibetan boy who is learning English, the girl who has a nice polka dot dress, and so on...) and I saw him lighting up. He loves people. He makes friends wherever he goes. I love this in him. He also started letting out a few positive things about the teacher and some of the toys in the room.<br><br>
So, we'll see....we had seriously considered pulling him out last night but seeing him there today was completely different. He was laughing, relaxed on the playground, meeting new people, learned to swing on the monkey bars, etc. I was so impressed that the principal knows every new child by name already and is in the classrooms a lot. There are so many good things about this school - as PS's go - and yet it is complete culture shock for us all. A huge adjustment. There's no real reason for him to be there unless he's happy. So we will have to take it day by day I guess.<br><br>
In terms of the swearing etc the 2 boys in question are NOT in his class..hoorah. I'm sure there are others and it will be a test of this new teacher. I'm having trouble getting over the thought of her being so incredibly young and this being her first year of teaching...(can't help but wonder, how could she possibly have what I can offer at home???)<br><br>
Yes I think I've learned from this experience that my heart is really in hs-ing...a complete shock to me! I miss him like crazy and his sister is heartbroken. And yet he is getting something different already from this school experience that I know he's been missing since his preschool. In terms of waldorf there is so much there that I struggle with too, as well as the fact that we can't afford it.<br>
The number one reason we are in PS is to be in a school that reflects the diversity of our community, and in that way this school is fantastic. Waldorf just doesn't reflect that. I love that in 3 days my son has played with white, latino, African American, Indian and Tibetan children.<br><br>
(Carmel, we're in Berkeley, full day K...8am-1.20..urgh...)
 
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