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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ds is 7 (just turned), in 1st grade, in our local public school. It's right across the street from our house, which is great. It's one of the most highly ranked public schools in the nation - also great. I still feel like he's being lead around by the nose most of the time - not so great. I also have a real issue with some of the behaviors that are allowed to go on there - also not so great.<br><br>
I was spoiled by his Reggio preschool, which was just amazing and really got his creative juices going. Still, he seems happy enough. He's learning well. I guess I just envisioned him having a more holistically satisfying experience in school. It's standard curriculum and he's a very artsy kid. He has art and music once a week each and that hardly feels sufficient.<br><br>
We have a few amazing private schools in the area. One in particular would be wonderful for him - art, music, and dance are all integrated into the daily curriculum. I also really like their approach to community building.<br><br>
The down side is that they are ridiculously expensive. I could probably qualify for some sort of financial assistance based on my income, but I don't know that they'd accept him at all if I can't pay full price as they focus on achieving a diverse community and he wouldn't really be at the top of their list.<br><br>
Anyway, I guess what I'm really wondering is: Is it important that he have a brilliant early school experience or is it enough that it's positive most of the time. Would it be worth taking a higher paying job which would require more time away from him (and more stress) if it meant he could go to this fantastic place? Part of me says, "no way." The other part feels like he deserves the best I can possibly give him.<br><br>
Opinions are welcome. Am I stressing about this too much?
 

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I know that feeling! I'm not in the same enviable position of having great public schools though. I *love* some of the private schools in our area... but at $17,000/yr per child, would be laughably outside of our abilities to pay. But here is are my thoughts...<br><br>
As for schools -- If you could line up all the schools that have ever existed in the past or present in any part of the world from worst to best, you are probably looking at schools in the 99th percentile. Even your public school sounds pretty great in the world of schools.<br><br>
As for children -- I think that children in general are more resilient than we give them credit for and most kids can be successful in almost any setting. But struggling kids (either because of learning difficulties or because of a lack of parent support) will struggle differently in different settings.
 

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Investigate these other schools, and their tuition scales. If it doesn't pan out, focus on the good qualities of the school. Even the best private schools won't be perfect, and if he's happy where he is, don't sweat the small stuff. You can get him into an art class, or instrument class after school, and he'll like that, I'm sure. What behaviors are going on that you dislike? I'd like to know only so maybe MDC can come up with strategies to help correct this problem.
 

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I totally understand what you are going through. We found a wonderful charter school for my son to go to, but I still wonder if there's something better out there- or what exactly better would be. His school meets a large percentage of what he (and I) need for it to be great, but there are some holes. It is very hands-on, they do long-term projects throughout the year, it is small and they get a lot of individualized attention, etc...BUT, the school itself isn't very organized (no pto), there is no formal music or art class, no after school clubs/activities, etc. That stuff would be nice, but he is challenged, learning, and having the time of his life. He absolutely loves school! I can't ask for much more. Then I wonder if he should be at a more rigorous, intensly academic type of school, which appeals to me, but I don't know if that is just my own problem or what. I mean, he's young, smart, and having a great time- he's learning so much, why make it more dry and intense? Odds are, he's learning much of the same stuff, but in a less pressure, more fun sort of way.<br><br>
Anyhow, I think it is worth taking a look at alternatives, but at the same time focusing on the good at his current school.
 

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I can relate to what you guys are saying. I have been stressing about where to send dd since she was really young. She ended up going to 3 different preschools because I would think I found some place better for her and then to find out that it had problems to. Her last preschool she went to I finally said, I just want a place where she can feel safe, loved and happy. I ended up finding a wonderful preschool for her. This year was Kindergarten and the stress of finding the perfect school started all over again. She ended up going to a school that dh and I though was going to be perfect for her. She is very artsy and loves music and drama. But that school turned out to not be good. She had a terrible time making friends and was unhappy all the time. We decided to pull her out and I went back to trying to find her a place where she feels loved, safe and happy. I ended up sending her to public school through an interdistict transfer to another school district that has good schools. It has been the best! No they dont have art and music all the time (only once a week), they are not learning as much, as fast but my dd feels safe and very happy.<br><br>
Anyways, sorry for the long story<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah">, what I am trying to say is I think at the end of the day if you child has friendships, is happy and feels safe to learn and be themselves at school then that is the best thing for them especially while they are young. I just try to do as much music, dance, art, cooking, science at home in a fun way. Also, having them take a class that they really enjoy afterschool is great too.<br><br>
I wouldn't worry too much about the academics but if you are, you can always talk to the teacher and express your concerns. Many teachers are willing to and want to make every childs school expereince good.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Rainbow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rainbow peace">Megan
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">: DD1 will be old enough for "public pre-school" next year, so I'm taking notes . . .
 

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NO school will offer it ALL. Even the most fabulous and expensive private school will lack something - I think that if children are attending a school which is basically good, it is up to the parents to identify the gaps and ensure that children have all of their educational needs met. School is only where they spend a portion of their time, ykwim? For instance, art is my sons favorite class and he only has it once a week so we go to lots of art museums, check books on art out of the library, ensure that we have lots of supplies on hand and have done a variety of art workshops...<br><br>
If however, it is the vibe and the atmosphere that leaves you uneasy I wouldn't hesitate to move him.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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I am in a situation similar to yours. We live across the street from a high performing Chicago public school. Great teachers, high test scores. My son is happy there - he is in third grade and has been there since kindergarten. There are things that I love about the school and things that I dislike. I could work more and we could send him to a private school, but the idea of that just doesn't sit right with me.<br><br>
I love the fact that we live across the street and can easily be involved. My son does an afterschool reading program and is in an afterschool lego club - it is so much less stressful for him to do afterschool programs. It also helps when we have alot of snow! I can wave to his teachers as they come and go from school. We see kids playing on the weekend and it's easy to stay connected. This is all good for us.<br><br>
However, I HATE the academic rigor of the school. I think it is too much. But I know that private or parochial schools have their own issues. And I don't want to work more and be away from my kids more hours than necessary. I want family time too.<br><br>
Lastly, I tend to question the notion that we should give our kids "the best". There are so many kids and families in the world who are struggling to get their most basic needs met. Do we really need "the best"? And who defines that, anyway? I will take a B+ over an A+ if it means less stress, less emotional angst and a soft heart.<br><br>
Honestly, I try to take it all less seriously. Sometimes I think our parents (with fewer choices) had it easier than us.<br><br>
Blessings.<br>
Kathleen
 

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Who determines what's "the best" anyway? Having high test scores isn't always the best for each individual child. In general, the way the child "clicks" with the teacher is the main thing that affects how well the year goes.<br><br>
Whenever you enroll a child in school, you're giving away a little control of them, and the only way to avoid that is to homeschool. If you're not entirely comfortable with what's going on in his school, I'd investigate all your other options: each of the private schools in the area (including tuition assistance), homeschooling, and also take a look at what the public school has to offer for this grade and above. You may decide that keeping him in this school is the best all around, or you may decide that another option is better.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wildmonkeys</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">O school will offer it ALL. Even the most fabulous and expensive private school will lack something - I think that if children are attending a school which is basically good, it is up to the parents to identify the gaps and ensure that children have all of their educational needs met. School is only where they spend a portion of their time, ykwim? For instance, art is my sons favorite class and he only has it once a week so we go to lots of art museums, check books on art out of the library, ensure that we have lots of supplies on hand and have done a variety of art workshops...<br><br>
If however, it is the vibe and the atmosphere that leaves you uneasy I wouldn't hesitate to move him.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
My dd loves school and learning is a continuous process for her. She also takes art classes at our local museum. I've always tried to supplement more into her life and expose her to different things all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm so sorry that I managed to abandon this thread. I appreciate all of the advice so much. You all are absolutely right - no school is perfect. The reality is that his school is very good, and that he feels happy and safe. So, I'm not going to mess with it unless that changes. We'll just take it year by year and, in the meantime, find enrichment opportunities that target his interests.<br><br>
Thanks. Sometimes it just really helps to get it out there and hear from other people. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Dragonfly, I would go with that. Your ds likes it. I always wanted to unschool. I was constantly questioning dd1's school: the curriculum, the teachers' attitudes towards children, things that were happening on the playground, etc. I went so far as to find a new school last year.<br><br>
But then my dd said, "Mama, my school is my special place."<br><br>
I'm totally at peace with her school since then. And she loves it there -- and thrives there.
 
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