Calm my fears about public school

Minnie - posted on 03/14/2011 ( 53 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have never seen eye-to-eye on our children's education. I am very do-it-yourself, self-sufficient, perfectionist...you get the picture. He has a very business-oriented mentality.



So we've waffled back and forth about whether we would homeschool or not, and now it's come down to it, our eldest will be five in May. Two weeks ago we had a looooooong talk and really hashed it out. And he came up with a lot of good points and helped me see his side of things.



We came to the conclusion that our girls will go to public school- with us being extremely involved with their education. Homeschooling is pretty much the only thing he's been very against, parenting choices-wise and he had agreed to let me homeschool, but then I thought- what if he had been totally against me nursing my 2 1/2 year old? Or hated that we bedshare? What if he had fought me tooth and nail about my homebirth? How would that make me feel? So I can see how horribly difficult it would be for him to force himself to step back and homeschool the girls.



But I am involved with some groups in which MANY families homeschool- and not for religious purposes. After hearing them talk I consistently end up being afraid once again of institutionalized education, forgetting the good points my husband brought up, forgetting how to make their education worthwhile....and feeling very left out when they ask me if I will be homeschooling, and hearing all of their exciting plans.



I fear the time children spend sitting in class rooms. Do they really only receive 2-3 hours total of education within the 6 hours the spend in school? Are schools actually beginning to take away recess? Are very young (5,6,7 year olds) being kept after school without notifying parents, for detention-like purposes? Are children being left burnt-out after school and homework, with no time for recreation (or a job in highschool)? Are we going to create brain-washed automatons who believe what everyone else believes? Will they keep a love for learning and knowledge rather than memorizing everything by rote and then doing a memory dump when the information isn't needed any longer?



I bet a lot of my fears stem from others' biases. When I go for a tour, is the school going to patronize me for my concerns?



So- refute all my worries! Tell me I'm crazy. But tell me WHY I'm crazy, lol.



Edited to add: It probably is important to note we live in New Hampshire, US.

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Go check out the school your daughter will go to. Meet the teacher. Observe her in action. Ask her specifically what you can do to make the classroom a better place. Don't hold back your concerns when talking with the principal and teacher.

There are amazing public schools out there. Hopefully the one you're districted for is one of them? Check out greatschools.org for a review of it.

I'm going to be honest though. No school is perfect. Your daughter will get a bad teacher (or a teacher that doesn't match up with her personality) at some point. It's all part of the learning process. Each teacher brings a new perspective and opportunity for growth to a child's life. Don't worry so much about influences. Yes, they will be there. But YOU are her first teacher. Ultimately, YOU (and your husband) are her greatest influences. And don't you want to provide her with the opportunity to experience differing opinions and hash through things for herself?

And the great thing is, if it doesn't work out, you can always pull her out and homeschool. Just because you start her in kindergarten in public schools doesn't mean you have to stick with it until graduation. It's okay to make a change if it benefits your child.

Take a deep breath, relax. I'm sure she'll LOVE school.

Lindsay - posted on 03/14/2011

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Well I don't think you are crazy. We all form opinions based on experiences and/or people we know and trust. That's normal.

I, personally, went to private schools for my entire educational life from daycare through high school. Private schools were what was familiar and comfortable to me. It was my norm. I had negative views of homeschooling based off a very close friend of mine's experience after being pulled from our school in 4th grade and homeschooled until she graduated high school. It doesn't mean that all homeschooling is bad, but her personal experiences stuck close to me because I was close to her. Public school always seemed sub-par to me because it was what people around me had said. Looking into different possibilities, I think whatever route you go, it is what you make of it.

My daughter is in Kindergarten at a public school currently. I have to say that this year has really put a lot of my doubts to rest. We also have the benefit of living in a very good school district. The school is a very warm environment with a lot of great teachers. There is a lot of open communication too which I feel is a must.

Do they really only receive 2-3 hours total of education within the 6 hours the spend in school? Are schools actually beginning to take away recess?My daughter is in school from 7:40am until 2:20pm, so just under 7 hours per day. Aside from 25 minutes for lunch, and 2 15 minute recesses each day, they are doing structured activities. This may include traditional teacher talking and at desk activities or a number of experiments, art class, music class, p.e. & health, computer time, library and reading time.

Are very young (5,6,7 year olds) being kept after school without notifying parents, for detention-like purposes? I have never heard of anyone being kept after school before middle school age. Even at middle school age, it's typically done after parents have been contacted either via phone or by having to sign and return a slip. They are then given a time frame (typically a week or so) to actually sit for the detention.

Are children being left burnt-out after school and homework, with no time for recreation (or a job in highschool)? We are still at Kindergarten level so I can't answer for higher grades. I know that at the beginning of the year, I was very taken back that my daughter would regularly have homework. Now, I am glad. She has just enough to reinforce what was taught in the classroom and to help parents be aware of what they are learning on a weekly basis. My daughter's homework consists of reading, now she is getting math problems, simple art projects, and a weekly skill book. The skill books are at the child's own pace. They are "tested" weekly on them and as they pass they move up. If they don't, the teacher will mark what needs to be worked on still and it's sent back. When they pass, they get a new one.

Are we going to create brain-washed automatons who believe what everyone else believes? I think this comes from home more so than from school. If mom and dad are more apt to believe everything they hear, that's what the child will see and likely follow.

Will they keep a love for learning and knowledge rather than memorizing everything by rote and then doing a memory dump when the information isn't needed any longer? I think this is one that can go either way. If learning is encouraged and made fun not only at school but at home as well, kids will be more likely to retain information. If the attitude at home is that it's rubbish, it will likely go in short-term memory and be discarded as soon as it's not needed anymore.

When I go for a tour, is the school going to patronize me for my concerns? I would hope not. I would hope that the school is focused on the children and giving them a good education. If that's the case, they should have no trouble listening to your concerns and answering your questions.

I'm sure this is a novel by now but I'll give my main point to education regardless of how it's come by or what type of schooling. Parental involvement plays such a huge role in the quality of education a child receives. If a parent is involved, encouraging, and providing a good example to their children of the importance of education, the child will most likely be more successful. If a parent wants to accept a public education as a freebie and gives nothing of themself, their children will suffer.

Jane - posted on 03/15/2011

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OK, I decided to NOT read anyone else's responses until after I post because I wanted to just say what I have to say without any influence from others.

My kids have been in the public education system since kindergarten. They are now almost 21 and she is in her junior year of college and my 17 year old is in 11th grade. Now, I KNOW that it really all depends on where you live on whether or not public schools are good or not so I have to caveat with I live in a wonderful area in Colorado. Our school district is always "Accredited with Distinction" and we are only 1 of 14 in the state with that honor. There are well over 100 districts in our state so it is not taken lightly. With that said, my kids have received an outstanding education in our public schools. I’m going to try to answer your questions from my point of view and experience:

Question: Do they really only receive 2-3 hours total of education within the 6 hours the spend in school?
Answer: Absolutely not. When my kids were in elementary school, I would drop them off and walk them in a lot instead of them always taking the school bus. When I would get to their classroom, there was a schedule posted on a board at the entrance to the class with the schedule and what they would be working on that day. They had instruction in all the basics along with art, music, recess and lunch. It was a jammed pack day of learning and fun at the same time.

Question: Are schools actually beginning to take away recess?
Answer: Not in our school district. I’ve actually never heard that this was happening although it wouldn’t surprise me. In our school district, recess is just as important as all the other things they do during the day because it is believed that fun and resting the brain is an important aspect of learning.

Question: Are very young (5,6,7 year olds) being kept after school without notifying parents, for detention-like purposes?
Answer: NEVER…as a matter of fact, in my district there is no such thing as after school detention in elementary school. It isn’t until middle school that they have after school detention and then, it’s always a call home to the parent to discuss first. As well, typically, detention is not for the first time infractions. We get parent handbooks that explain the whole process of discipline and detention so parents are well aware and informed when and if detention is warranted.

Question: Are children being left burnt-out after school and homework, with no time for recreation (or a job in high school)?
Answer: My kids did it all. They were/are both labeled as gifted so all classes were honors and once in high school, either honors or advanced placement. Both are in band…my daughter did both concert and jazz band and my son does concert band. My daughter played in a Youth Symphony outside of school AND she was a cheerleader all through high school. She took dance classes and/or gymnastics. My son plays football and rugby and is constantly in the gym after school working out with his buddies. They are exceptional students, always getting their homework done even though they run themselves ragged with extracurricular activities. No burn out for them…but for me, until they started driving, I was a taxi cab and I GOT BURNT OUT (lol).

Question: Are we going to create brain-washed automatons who believe what everyone else believes?
Answer: Nope and I’ll tell you why. I live in a very religious state. The area I live in is very religious. I’m not and I did not raise my kids to be. My kids have formed their own opinions on religion and believe me, where I live, that’s a testament to me, the schools and my kids because it’s not easy to not be religious in nature here. Don’t get me wrong, we are very spiritual but I do not believe in organized religion and I wanted my kids to learn about ALL religions. I believe if my kids (and there are others) can maintain individuality in this environment then it can happen anywhere. I’ve never known a situation…even when I was in school (I’m 51) where brain washing occurred creating kids who all believe the same thing. Believe me, your influence at home will truly shape your child!

Question: Will they keep a love for learning and knowledge rather than memorizing everything by rote and then doing a memory dump when the information isn't needed any longer?
Answer: Maybe…I believe we retain what we need, not all that we learn. My kids still love learning. My daughter is LOVING college and all that she is learning because we encouraged her to follow her dream and not where “the money” is. She is majoring in music education and loving life in college. My son comes home every day with something new he’s learned. He’s taking all the classes he enjoys and doing extremely well.

Statement with response: I bet a lot of my fears stem from others' biases. When I go for a tour, is the school going to patronize me for my concerns?
Response: Yes, I believe that to be true. If you are surrounded by mostly home schooler’s then what you’re hearing is how horrible the public school system is and you won’t ever hear anything different. If the school patronizes you for your concerns, then it’s not the school for your kids. I would hope that the school would welcome your questions and concerns and help you understand how your child will thrive in their environment.

Statement with response: So- refute all my worries! Tell me I'm crazy. But tell me WHY I'm crazy, lol.
Response: You’re not crazy at all for being concerned. If anything, you’re an amazing mom who wants the best for her kids. The public school system can be good depending on where you’re living. I would do research on your school district. Look at test scores, percentage of kids that go off to college, etc.

In closing, my daughter is on a FULL scholarship to college. I credit this to both us as parents AND our school district for educating her extremely well and encouraging her talents and working on her strengths and weaknesses throughout her K-12 education. My son wants to go into pre-med in college and I will bet he will also be awarded scholarships based on his GPA and ACT/SAT scores. My kids both loved and still love school and I couldn’t be happier with the public education they received.

JuLeah - posted on 03/15/2011

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Public school is okay if you are involved. Understand what they ought to be learning and work at home. Play games on the theme, practice. Volunteer in class so you can put a name with the kids they talk about.
If you read with them every day, color with them, do crafts, play math games .... this will complete their education for the first few years. At about grade 3, they will need more then public school can give them
Let the kids show you the way, follow their interests. So, they are excited about space, study space with them ... books, videos, trips to local whatever you have in NH .... create models of the planets, put start up in their room, go to the planitauriam ... you get the idea.
Your fears are valid and based on your own experiances with the educational system - you are not crazy to have the fears.
Yes, they receive a few hours of 'education' in the six hours they are there, but understand recess is education too, as is music class, art, PE, and even lunch. All the lessons they learn there are as important as reading and math.
They will come home with new ideas that you may or may not agre with ... you don't want to brainwash them into thinking exactly as you do any more then you want the school system to brainwash them, so talk, discuss, debate ... learn from one another. If you volunteer then you know the teacher and she/he knows you ... you can better understand what it was she/he was attempting to teach ....

Lady Heather - posted on 03/14/2011

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A child with engaged parents will most likely be fine. Public school has many great things to offer that are hard to get at home. Not knocking homeschooling because it definitely has its own benefits, but there is no way I could have had the experience I had with my high school music program at home. I was involved in several groups, learned how to put together my own band and make money, travelled throughout North America, played with other students from across the country, won scholarships that wouldn't be available to those not in public school. And to top it all off - I met my husband! My life would definitely not be what it is today if I'd gone a different route educationally. But my parents were very much involved in my schooling. We were never going to be those kids who don't learn to read and write properly because our parents knew what we were up to. I knew some kids like that. It wasn't just the school system that failed them.

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Minnie - posted on 03/16/2011

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That's what my husband said. I don't hold any expectations, but it's nice to know that he'll stay on top of them being challenged.

[deleted account]

Another thing to think about...how do you feel about gifted education? If your daughter tests as gifted, she will have to be provided with classes for that. At least that's how it is here. Sometimes a kid goes to a school out of district so they can be provided with those classes. That may be something to consider if you worry about her being ahead, or bored, or being held back by a teacher that teaches to the lowest level in a class.

Lindsay - posted on 03/16/2011

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Lisa, that could very well be the reason for the lower rating. They are based on the test scores. I looked at all of the schools in our district. The school my kids go to recieved a 10 and the other ones varied from 5-8. The ones with the lower scores were in lower income areas of our town. I checked a county over which has a much higher immigrant population and their scores were lower as well.

Minnie - posted on 03/16/2011

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I think the low test scores (that's what the rankings are based on, I guess) are because we have a high immigrant population...just guessing. There were only positive parent reviews.

Who knows- going for a tour tomorrow. Yes- I should look at it positively, I agree. Doesn't help my mood to go searching for negative things. :)

Rosie - posted on 03/16/2011

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i forgot to add that the school i yanked my kid out of because his teacher was a wanker (lmao) didn't have a rating available, but all the personal reviews were shitty for it-imagine that.

Rosie - posted on 03/16/2011

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yeah, that website was accurate IMO. my kids schools are all ranked 7 or above. the high school is ranked a 10. however 3 reviews from people on there were bad reviews. my husband went there and loved it. everybody has different experiences i guess. i do believe that looking at it positively from the get go can make all the difference though. if you go in thinking it's going to be hell, you can literally make it hell. did that makes sense? lol!

Cyndel - posted on 03/16/2011

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My husband and I plan to homeschool up to highschool then send them to public or private highschool...depending on where we are living, and our finances.
It is for non-religious reasons mostly. Though I know many families who have great children who are in public school, the parents are very active in the school, and read through their kids books during the early part of the school year so they know what is being taught and can bring up any issues they have with the curriculum at the beginning of the school year. Also they augment what the school is teaching at home. If you are very active and aware what is being taught, bring up any problems quickly, and have a good relationship with the teachers and staff then there should be no problems. Also keeping in touch with the teachers will quickly give you clues when your child is struggling with a certain subject and you can find fun ways at home to help them grasp the subject.
Any way I hope this helps. This is what I would be doing if my kids went to school.

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Lisa, I want to answer some questions you asked on the second page. I've been away from the computer all day, so I'm sorry it's a bit late, but I do want to address them.

1. 3/10 on greatschools.org? MOVE. =)
I don't know if that sight is perfectly accurate. But I've been in and out of many different schools during my teacher training, student teaching, and my one entire year of actually teaching (pregnant that September, baby that May, I quit!). Out of curiosity, I looked up all the schools that I've had experience with. The rankings pretty much matched my observations and opinions of the schools.

The school my daughter is districted for is ranked 9/10, plus I personally know the principal and many of the teachers. I'm very comfortable with that which is why I decided against homeschooling, even though I know I'd love it.

2. We spent a lot of time learning about different personalities and learning styles in college. The curriculum that I used during my one year of teaching catered to the different learning styles and abilities that may be present in a classroom (this curriculum was written by the teachers...us...that used it). The state curriculum that I used during teacher training and student teaching was much less considerate of differing needs. From my experience, most teachers do recognize that each student is unique in their needs, and will work around the curriculum if need be. But again, not every teacher is "good".

Jane - posted on 03/15/2011

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Let me add.....stay involved, very involved. I did throughout my kids K-12 experience. As a matter of fact, my son....11th grade has straight A's right now but I STILL go to the parent teacher conferences (went tonight) to stay in touch with the teachers. And, a lot of these teachers, my daughter had so they know me and know they can call or email any time. I work full time but I have always made time to chaperone trips, work in class rooms from time to time, etc. I think being involved is critical to the success of your childs education.

April - posted on 03/15/2011

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.4 away from being valedictorian! I would have been pissed, haha! Luckily, I was only in the top 100 in a senior class of about 800. Not even close to being valedictorian. Being #99 was just as bad is being 799! See people, that's what public school does to you. Being ambitious is one thing, but being competitive for the sake of being competitive is a whole 'nother ball game. I want my son to be focused on getting a quality education (not quantity) and to love learning so much that he doesn't even realize he is learning! That's what I love about some Charter schools, Montessori schools, and homeschooling. In the public school, it is very easy to forget that learning is supposed to be fun!

Christina - posted on 03/15/2011

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I have four children in school right now. Two of them have autism. The schools have been wonderful! My 8yr old autistic daughter is in a regular class and the school has done so well with therapy that she no longer requires it! My 5yr old autistic son is in a class for disabled children, but we are hoping (with the school being fully supportive and helpful!) to integrate him into a regular class next year!

Minnie - posted on 03/15/2011

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Hah, well I was perusing their handbook and it appears that there is only one class per grade, and kindergarten has 12 students :/. Wonder how that lottery will turn out.

Krista - posted on 03/15/2011

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A half-hour drive is not that bad, if it means that both you and your husband are comfortable with the level of education that your child is getting.

Minnie - posted on 03/15/2011

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Hehe see, this is what I mean. I look at my list of worries, and when someone explains them away rationally, like my husband did I go "aaaah, yes." And then I read a response from someone who has been homeschooling for a long time and I go "OH NOES!"



Your explanations are very very similar to my husband's, Marina.



I just applied to the charter school today- they do a lottery after March 31st if there are too many applicants. It's about a half-hour drive, but perhaps that's worth it. I have a tour with the elementary school here on Thursday.

Emily - posted on 03/15/2011

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I wish I could belay your fears... but I can't. I know many public school teachers, in various parts of the country, and by all accounts, schools are terrible these days. You already seem to know what goes on there. I could recount stories that would curl your hair. I won't even go into the sex (in the second grade!!!) and drug problems.

According to the federal government, 82% of the nations schools will "fail" by "No Child Left Behind" standards this year. Their answer, unfortunately, is to lower the standards, so less of them fail.

My question to you is, why does your husband feel so adamant about public school? My own husband was also dead set against it. He believed that our children would be awkward misfits lacking a decent education. I stood firm, unwilling to sacrifice my children's well-being on the alter of "I just don't like it". Fast forward several years (our boys are 7 and 9) and he now agrees that home education is by far the best option. His nephews are in public school - honors students with deeply involved parents. Those boys are the awkward misfits lacking a decent education. My 9 year old has a higher reading level than their 12 year old. (My little guy loves Shakespeare and Tennyson.) Both of my boys enjoy active hobbies that home-school allows extra time for, such as dirt bike riding and skating. They have many friends (too many) both involved in these hobbies and outside of them. They never learned to be shy or that they might be rejected for any reason, so they've never expected it. They have developed leadership qualities that draw other children to them. It's not unusual to see them playing with a large group of children that otherwise would not have played together. The nephews only play video games and have a couple of friends that they see during school.

Placing your child in a public school will by no means guarantee a "normal" social child. It's all in the parenting.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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LOL Lisa, I just saw your post...I must have been typing my previous one while you were finishing yours...



Ok, the whole part about sticking kids with their own age and not being realistic in the real world...that is a hard one...if you have 5 kids at home...one being a teen, pre-teen, 9 years,7 years, 4 and 3, they are not going to be all on the same level. You certainly are not going to teach the 4 year old about trigonometry...addition is enough...putting kids with the same age range is to keep them on the same learning level. I do not disagree with this...I think it is good. Advanced kids can go to higher leveled classes, and so on. The real world socializing is not about the age range per say...it is dealing with scheduales, punctuality, listening to a superior, learning from the the superior and your peers, and learning how to interact with both. Hell, you graduated high in your class, you must know that a certain level of competition is healthy..I feel the same way about gym class...but schools can offer a variety of after school sports, volunteer groups, school acedemics...I mean so much is offered. You learn how to be on a team...I am just all for going to school rather than home schooling. Hell, my own sister wants to home school. She knows this incredible home schooling group....but I know my sisters kids very well....it would not be the right choice for them to grow into butterflies.



The area that I currently live in has TERRIBLE public schools...it just so happens that a charter school is being opened up in the area. I applied, and they had so many applicants that they did a lottery to draw the names of those exepted. My son was one of them. If not, he would be going to a private kindergarten school. My son has FLOURISHED since he has been in school. I was trying to do some home schooling, and he learns SO much better from a different authority figure. He now loves learning.



I am not sure that I saw many fears in your list of worries...it actually sounded pretty good to me. You were goal oriented, you tested well, and you were close to being the validictorian...not sure where all the bad stuff is. If it is about gym class, well gym sux no matter what!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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Ok...I am gonna let it all hang out then Lisa. I have known MANY kids and teenagers that were home schooled....I find that an environment such as school offers more variety of every kind than homeschooling can offer. I like the idea of my kids going to school, coming home and talking about their day. Being a part of literally every single thing they do does not foster the independance that I would be looking for. Also, the variety of teachers is incredible...it can open so many doors for kids.

Minnie - posted on 03/15/2011

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Turn it into a debate, by all means! That's why I posted here.



Marina: my fears....specifics, hmm...



I worry about the time spent from teachers trying to gather the attention of 30 children with different personalities, learning abilities and styles and how that takes away from getting things done. I was deplorably bored when I was in school- it was so frustrating to get a concept, be done with my work, and wait for everyone else to get the concept. We live in the biggest city in NH...and the rating of the school district isn't that great.



I also am concerned about socialization from a different angle- is it 'real world' socialization (because that's what my husband wants) to stick children of the exact same age together all day long? That's not how the business world is.



I am looking into a local charter school- it's a bit of a drive, but it's the only one in the area. The class sizes run about 12 there. Which I much prefer! Similar to the sizes in my hickville highschool. Private school isn't within our means.



I worry about teaching to the test- I remember some classes back in highschool devoting days to taking the Regents exams over and over (I lived in NY) and how even PE was geared toward scoring as high on the NY physical fitness test at the end of the year. It didn't teach me to love my body or how to incorporate a holistic lifestyle or to have a goal of living healthy. Just like vying for that coveted Regents high honors diploma didn't give me a love for the knowledge- it only instilled in me severe competitiveness- and I nearly made it as Salutatorian of my class- lol imagine me, the perfectionist, .4 away from beating the valedictorian.



It seems like it was all competition for the highest grade, for special priviledges- the seniors were so roudy they lost their senior priviledges, but I kept mine, because I was in the National Honor Society. Imagine how hated we were ;).



Pshew! There you go, refute all of my fears!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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@ Tara: "So no, we don't worry about socialization and school, they are really two different things"

I disagree....but do respect your decision to homeschool. I truly think their is more to socializing than what you are stating....I know it was meant to be funny and sarcastic....but there is alot more to socializing kids than slapping a name brand on their asses, and sending them to school with the best new tech advances. It is awesome that your homeschooling involves outings. I truly applaud you and your fellow homeschoolers for that.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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I agree with Heather L. Sometimes their are very bad teachers...but...some teachers are incredible. I have had 6 teachers in my life that I will never forget, and I owe alot to them.

I can see how home schooling would have it's benefits, but I also see how public/charter/private schools would also be beneficial. One person teaching every single class, every single day can be boring. Some teachers are so creative with their teaching, and can open up a students eyes so widely...getting kids interested in things they never would have been in the first place. Like me for instance, I am crazy about anatomy and physiology, and astronomy.,..those are my strengths...this means I would be a better teacher in that than I would be in geometry, or history. Teachers that specialize iin subjects usually (not always) means it may be their passion. Especially in high school. I did not have an english teacher trying to teach me math...that was not their forte....

Anyhow, what I am trying to say, different teachers are going to bring different things to the table. Whether it be a tough teacher, maybe your kid will not JUST learn the subject, but learn to deal with different characters...I find this an important socializing factor.

Tara - posted on 03/15/2011

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At the risk of turning this in a hs'ing versus schooling thread, I will just say that the "socialization" issue is for most homeschoolers a non-issue as we do get together for group activities such as drumming circles, swim lessons, fun swim, skating, hockey, dancing, drama, music, arts and crafts etc.
In addition to hanging out with other homeschoolers, we also have our kids in figure skating lessons with schooled kids, after school enrichment programs in our neighbourhood, community events and committees (like our family membership in the local horticultural society) etc. and in addition to that, my children accompany me on all my errands, so they are learning to socialize not just with children in their age group but also with babies, right up the seniors in our town. They learn about disagreements and conflict resolution in a way that can later be applied in adult life. They know that their words are powerful tools and that they can be used for good or can be used to hurt people, they have never had to rely on self defense to feel safe. They have not had to be bullied or teased to build the excellent character traits that they all possess. There are many advantages to homeschooling, and a superior educational experience is only one of them.
I read a reply once from someone when asked about how their kids aren't getting proper socialization because they didn't attend school. The reply went something like this:
It's okay we have it covered, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays my wife tells our girls how they are too fat, too stupid or too tall or too short and then makes fun of their hair that day. I take those days to give my sons wedgies and steal their lunches. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we both take turns picking on our kids for not having the latest gadgets or the newest techno device as well as make note of the fact they aren't wearing anything visibly brand name and how that must imply they are uncool. So no, we don't worry about socialization and school, they are really two different things.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/15/2011

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Re: teachers - there are always crap ones but there are fantastic ones too. If you are concerned you should speak to the school when you register. They might have a good idea of what classroom would be the best fit for your kids. My mum always had to do that because I was painfully shy but also super clever and without the right teacher I would not get what I needed. Because of my mum's involvement I ended up with some fantastic teachers. I had the same one for grade 4 and 5 and she is probably in the top 10 of people who had the greatest impact on my life. The right teacher can completely change the confidence level of an introvert. Heck, when I started in her class I wouldn't even speak. By the end of the second year I was singing in front of the school on my own and running my own mini study groups to help my classmates.

That isn't to say I didn't have bad teachers. I had the odd one here and there. As you get older it's harder for parents to have much influence that way. High school is difficult. But the good thing about high school is you have lots of teachers so there's bound to be some good ones too. In any case my good teachers far outnumbered the bad.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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I would fear homeschooling more...no offense home schooling mommies....I would prefer someone who has a higher education to teach my child. I would not trust myself to home school...if my husband ever recommends it to me, I will just laugh.,,...not happening. I wil help with homework. That is about as far as it goes for me.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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Maybe I am missing it...what are your main fears about public school? If you don't think they will receive the education that you are vying for, what about a charter school? Or a private school?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/15/2011

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The public school that I went to, 5 people in my class attended MIT, and atleast 15 attended other Ivy league schools including Harvard. There are many pro's and con's to either side. My big issue with home schooling would be the lack of socializing. It would avoid all the negative social skills, but what about all the positives? Learning how to take part in a social setting is so important. They are not going to be working from home mostlikely....social graces go along way.

Erica - posted on 03/15/2011

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I agree with most of the responses on here, try it out first and see what you feel.

What is great, is my mom was feared by my school. We had H.A.P- which was basically an after school program if you didn't have homework completed or was being disciplined. My mom would never sign the slips, cause she was determined that we were never going to stay after school unless we wanted to stay after school. I can't quite remember what happened, it has been a long time- but I think they may have attempted to keep us after school, and when I called letting her know that we had to stay after, she left work to give the school crap. Basically what I've learned was, It's called kidnapping if the children is held after without permission from guardian/parent.

April - posted on 03/15/2011

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Does it HAVE to be public school? I understand your husband's concerns about homeschooling, but would he be okay with a charter school? I think you mentioned there were a few in your area?

Lacye - posted on 03/15/2011

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See if your local public school has a website. This is the local public school that I plan on sending my daughter to when she gets old enough to go.

http://www.gsd.k12.ms.us/ges.html

Just do as much research about it as you can! Your child is the most important thing right now. You know what's best and you will know if she would do well in a public school.

Krista - posted on 03/15/2011

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It IS nerve-wracking. We all want the best education possible for our kids. In the area where I live, I have one choice for elementary school for my son, and one choice for high school. That's it. I get what I get (unless I want to send him away to boarding school, which I don't.)

At every school, you're going to get some great teachers, and some who are just marking time until they retire.

I think that the key is to be involved. Be involved in their education, and fill in those gaps as best as you can, and make a pest of yourself to your government to ensure that they don't cut your school's funding, and talk with the principal and the board to ask how you can help them make sure that the school is providing the best education possible. We need to be advocates for our kids, and not just passively trust that the school will give them the tools they need to do well in life.

Lacye - posted on 03/15/2011

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I grew up in Mississippi and went to public school. When I first started Kindergarten (many years ago lol) We lived in Arkansas. I loved school. even after we moved back to MS, I loved school. We had recess everday, twice a day for 30 minutes. The education was well rounded. The teachers (well most of them) encouraged the students to learn. I had a great school experience.

I'm not going to tell you that you are crazy, because to be honest, not all schools are that great. Look into the local public school. Ask the principal if you can take a tour of the school. The school will not partonize you for your concerns. They will answer your questions about everything and will help put your mind at ease. Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 03/15/2011

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I guess because I'm in the UK, my response won't be a great deal of help, but I'll post anyway :)

I think that public schools are mostly good. I've had no problems with my eldest at all.
They get 2 15 minute breaks for playing and an hour for lunch, which includes some play time too.

I've never heard of young children being kept behind after school......ever. That only starts in Secondary School (11yrs+). They have things like the "thinking mat" when they're in Reception and then as they get older they lose minutes from their play time or "golden time" if they're misbehaving.

I think that being involved in your child's education is a really important thing. If you can get to volunteer and help out and stuff, then you can build up a really good relationship with the school, which will help if you have any concerns with anything.

I volunteer at a school at the moment as I'm doing a Teaching Assistants course. We're taught that children are definitely NOT all the same, you need to alter the way you teach to fit the child. You need to differentiate the work etc. I'm sure the teachers are taught a lot more of this in FAR more depth.

Also, when my eldest started, they just did mornings for a week and then afternoons for a week before they went full time (9:00am-3:20pm) so there was a settling in period.

As I said, it could all be totally different where you are. I think just arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, visit the schools, ask questions (they won't mind) and be open minded about the whole, you might be pleasantly surprised.......if not, then have a rethink! :)

Jenni - posted on 03/15/2011

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I think that would really depend on the teacher. Good teachers are more involved with their students. Others barely peer over their 25 year old bindered curriculum.

Minnie - posted on 03/15/2011

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Thanks everyone, keep the responses coming!



Right now, private school isn't within our reach. The least expensive around here is ten grand per year, the most, twenty-five. I would do that if we could. And the Montessori schools expect the child to have been in Montessori for preschool.



I looked on that greatschools website and our school district rates 3 out of 10 for test scores :(. I'm thinking that we'll have to be moving next town over.



We're going to be still talking about it, and I do take some comfort in the fact that we can pull her out at any time- and my husband fully supports that.



One other question- I'm not being condescending- I truly do not know- are teachers aware of different personalities in young children and how to work with that in a positive manner? Evelyn is a very intense child. She's an introvert, and becomes tired if she spends too much time around too many people and can lash out if her space is invaded when she gets tired like that. She's not a hitter or biter, or anything, but she will get very overwhelmed. Her 2 1/2 year old sister does just fine with crowds. I worry about a full day kindergarten. I had a half day when I was in school. Do teachers recognize differences like this in children? I'm sure that they get periodic breaks for alone time in kindergarten, right?

April - posted on 03/15/2011

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I, too, am having difficulty calming your fears because I share them. I believe that most public schools provide cookie cutter educations. We don't all learn the same way, but we're all taught pretty much the same way. As a resident of NYS, where we are notorious for teaching to the test, I feel sick to my stomach about sending my son to public school. I don't have an immediate plan for public school, but I am determined to get him to a Montessori School for preschool. Unfortunately, when he turns 5, he'd have to attend a Montessori school over an hour away. I am praying that by the time he is 5, the charter schools will be open! We don't have them around here, but they are in the process of being established.

Brandi - posted on 03/15/2011

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I don't think any of the things you think about public school is true.

My kids go to school from 7:45am to 2:15pm... then they go to after school (My husband and I both work) from 2:15 to 5:30pm. During school they DO get a recess outside and they do have a P.E. class. My kindergartener is also learning all kinds of things that I didn't start learning until I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. I have never heard of any school holding a child that young after school for detention. Usually they send notes home. We have an agenda with colors Orange-excellent green-good yellow-warning red-bad.. they always explain any yellows or reds. If something goes wrong, the school calls me like if my child is sick. My children get their recreational time with friends and playing during their after school program.

As for learning the material instead of just memorizing it, I quiz my kids. I go over everything with them that they have learned to keep it fresh in their mind. I haven't had any problems out of public school.

Rosie - posted on 03/15/2011

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In my experience so far, i've had crappy experiences (all involving my oldest child) and FANFUCKINGTASTIC experiences, with my middle boy, and my oldest.
my oldest has ADHD, and i think that's why his experiences so far have been less than optimal. his 3rd grade teacher was THE BEST. she worked with an area agency called Grantwood, to help with his problems. she worked and worked and worked to figure out ways to help him. to help keep him sitting (he'd always get up) she ASKED first, and then suggested a little lap weight to remind him he needs to be sitting. to help with him talking out of turn, she kept his mouth busy with gum. again, always asking me first. this woman had gone above and beyond trying to find POSITIVE ways to keep my child on track rather than just putting him in the corner so he wouldn't bother other kids. i would not have been able to figure these things out on my own.

my middle boy is in kindergarten. his teacher, is my hero. while vincent does not have signs of ADHD, so it is bound to be easier, this teacher goes above and beyond any teacher i've come across. my son cannot wait to go to school everyday. he literally gets his coat on a half hour beforehand and bugs my husband relentlessly- is it time to go dad? is it time to go?? vincent has become eager to learn, he (his teacher is a he) makes it sooo much fun for him. everyday when i go pick him up from school he comes up with ways to get the parents involved. one day he had me doing the sprinkler (yes the awesome dance) while he played the bongos. other days he made a cutout he placed in front of the door where we were to stick our face it it and tehn we could get our kid. (it was a monkey on the other side, so our face was the monkey's face, the kids thought it was hilarious!!)
during holiday time he MADE, yes made, a train engine out of cardboard, lined up the kids desks like they were train cars, and they rode the "polar express" to different countries. he made them passports with their school pics, and took them to australia, tanzania, canada, mexico, china, and a few other countries i can't remember right now. any way, the point was to learn about each place. vinnie would come home excited he went to china, and showed me his chinese numbers he painted.

yes my sons still have recess, yes they still have art, PE, and music ( my oldest is in band, he plays the trumpet). yes they grade on participation, but that isn't even a big part of their grade. it's just mentioned whether or not they need to participate more whether in gym class or science.

so far my experience with public school has been mostly great. i'd give it a couple years (at least 3) to see if it's right for you guys. you can always go to private, or home school after that if you don't think it's right for you guys.

Jenni - posted on 03/15/2011

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Since I'm not American and I just watched the docu "Waiting for Superman" (on the US public school system) I may be a bit bias.

But considering you are so involved with your children and are capable of educating them at home in addition to school, it sounds to me like it would be beneficial.

Why not consider incorporating both? A year at school, a year at home?

You could always try it and if you don't feel the public school is living up to your expectations, then decide.

There are quite a few options for you. It sounds to me like your family would benefit from a combination of both home schooling and public schooling.

Louise - posted on 03/15/2011

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All I can say is school is what you make of it. If your children want to learn and enjoy school then they will do well. If they do not then they will not. School is so much more than learning maths and english. It is also a place where they learn social skills and independance and tollerance of others. Home schooling may get the best academic scores but it does not prepare them for the real outside world of people that are not nice or honest. I think if your child is going to public school and you reinforce what they have learnt at home then you are getting the best of both worlds.

Mrs. - posted on 03/14/2011

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If you can afford it, private school sounds like it might be a healthy compromise.

ME - posted on 03/14/2011

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As someone who has spent a lot of time in public schools, I can't say that you're crazy either...I think, however, that if your children are in AP or Honors programs, public high schools still do alright. I am freaked out about sending my kids to public schools, and would do something else if I could stay home with them OR afford private schools. We are considering moving to the City, just to be closer to the Charter schools that have gained national acclaim in my state...We will see what happens with education funding, etc in the country over the next year or two before we make any decisions, but public schools (in most parts of the US) are crap!

Isobel - posted on 03/14/2011

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I haven't read any responses so here's my answer before being influenced by everybody else's opinions.

My kids have an hour outside every day. They take art and music. Eve is in the choir and I'm signing Q up for the science club next term. They have gym twice a week and swimming once a week.

They need extra help at home for sure, but it sounds like you've got that part covered...my kids learn a lot from my husband(type) and I...and it's different from the stuff they learn at school.

They are healthy and thriving and learning lots (from BOTH sources)...they learn a lot from school and from their teachers that I might never have thought of. I also think it's important for them to learn to respect other authority figures that are not their parents...that they are going to have to follow rules that are different from mine sometimes.

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I am fearful of gabby going to school. I wanted to home school. It my very well be out of my reach since its a possibility i will be raising her alone now. Single moms cant work full time and home school...

Kate CP - posted on 03/14/2011

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Sorry, I hate public schools. That's why my kids attend Montessori.

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Be involved in your children's education and lives and they will be FINE!! I can't speak for every school in the country. Heck, I can't even speak for every school on my island ;), but I really like the girls school. They've been there since K and are now in the 4th grade and we've never had a single serious problem.... and all minor problems have been resolved w/out much difficulty.

They have recess every day, twice a day at their school. I can't speak on discipline issues since my girls have never had any (in school, that is... home is a whole different ball game).

That's all I've got. :)

Cassie - posted on 03/14/2011

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I hate to do this BUT as a teacher in an inner-city elementary school, I can't tell you you're crazy.

Schools today are facing such criticism over test scores and our ranking world-wide that public school teachers, being underfunded and undersupported, are teaching to the test.

In our school district, all children, including preschoolers, receive only one 20 minute recess. Teachers are burnt out with class sizes ranging from 25-35 with students of all abilities present with no aides. Children in the young grades including kindergarten are pressured to be doing it all way before it is developmentally appropriate.

If your husband is really wanting your girls to receive their education outside of the home, I would seriously look into private schools in your area.

Volunteering in the school and in your children's classroom will make a huge difference though since it is very rare that parents actually do that. The teachers will really appreciate the help.

Sorry to not be of any help. :(

Jenn - posted on 03/14/2011

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I don't see how you could only be learning things for 2-3 hours out of a 6 hour day. It is continual learning, whether it's out of a book or about real life. BE involved in their education and you still have the final say on things. A teacher can be someone they admire or look up to, but you are the ultimate role model for you child no matter what. And my son goes to public school (in Canada) and they have 2 nutrition breaks during the day where they get to run and play for 25 minutes each time, plus he has about 20 minutes in the morning before classes start and then there's still gym class. With his school, almost all of the kids come in by bus so there would be no child held after school - if they had a detention it would be during one of the nutrition breaks that they would serve their time. In public school they could be involved in school activities as well and raise their social awareness. When I went to school we had Environmental Awareness clubs, music, drama, dance, etc. clubs, sports teams, debate clubs and on and on and on. Your children's education is really up to you, and when they go to school that is just a tool in the education of life that you are giving them.

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