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Homeschool or charter school?


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#1 JessyC

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:17 PM

Hello,

I'd love to get a little input from folks with kids at school, for whatever reason. I've been homeschooling for two years, have a daughter in second and a son in K. I put them in a lottery for a very well-regarded music/arts charter school on a kind of whim a few months ago, and it turns out their names were drawn and they can enroll next year.

This throws me for a loop because homeschooling is going pretty well and we all enjoy it. My kids do not want to go to school. They are academically very strong and our local ps would not be a good fit, but this school reportedly does a great job with gifted students. We cannot afford many extracurriculars, including music, and I do feel stretched thin between homeschooling and working at home part-time in all my spare time, so I'm wondering if this might be a good move for my family.

If you moved from homeschooling to a public or charter, how did it go?

Thanks!

#2 Nart

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 04:47 PM

I entered my son into a lottery for a magnet school last year and he got in. I was torn between our neighborhood school and the magnet school. I realized that I could always enroll him in our neighborhood school if things didn't go well but I couldn't decide mid-year to go to the magnet school. So in your case since you children were accepted, you can try it and then if it doesn't work out you can go back to homeschooling whenever you want. I would also call and ask how hard it is to enter as a 1st and 3rd grader. When I asked at my magnet school, it is really hard to get in for first grade. You might not get them both in the following years. If it does work out at the charter school, there are at least 180 days the kids are not in school to afterschool.

#3 trying my best

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:02 AM

you can have best of both worlds - they can go to an excelent school and you can afterschool. Do they come home on weekends or every night?

#4 JessyC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:14 AM

They would be home by 4pm every day. Don't know if I would afterschool, other than maybe with some books on CD (it will be a 30+minute drive to the school!) and general parenting things like reading at night. It's sad for me because I do love planning the academics of homeschool and being with my children during the day, but this does seem like a great opportunity for them and would really help free up some time during the day for me to work. I've pulled dd out of ps before, so I don't want to do this unless I know we will stick to it. Thanks for your input! I'd love to hear more opinions/experiences!

#5 Nart

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 10:08 AM

Is it 30 minutes to school and 30 minutes back home? Then another 30 minutes to pick up and 30 minutes back? So for you two hours of driving every day? Will you have your one year old in the car with you? Does your kinder student get out at the same time as the second grader? I might do that drive for a great high school, I wouldn't do it for elementary school.

#6 cathmom

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:31 AM

My dc went to school this year and it was a great move for us. I also work pt (teaching) and I was totally overwhelmed trying to do everything. We are all happier. But their schools are not a half hour away! However, it sounds like that school might be worth it.

#7 trying my best

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:09 PM

- you said you cannon afford extracurriculars, and yet 2 hours of driving eash day (10 hours driving a week) just for school... sounds also expencive. Will you pay for lunches there? School is expencive as well.
- you said kids dont want to go to school.... but they will make great friends (not from your neghborhood though, but new friends)

its a tough call, I would say try (give it a month or 2) and see where your heart is. Trust your heart. Will kids be happy with CharterSchool? Can you afford it (driving and lunches), will the kids get all they need or still be not enough chalanged... You can almost go back to homescholing.

#8 FairProspects

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:18 PM

Wow, do most people just live really close to schools or not have a lot of traffic? It is probably 20 minutes just to our zoned high school, the better private elementary school in the area is at least 45 min. away and several of my neighbors have been driving it for years. By the time you get to high school, a drive of 1 hr. each way to the private high schools is not uncommon. 30 min. to a good elementary school would be nothing around here.

#9 shellbelle

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:44 PM

We made the switch from homeschool to traditional school in December. The kids attend a public school that is only 5-10 minutes away. I was just commenting to my husband about how expensive school is...even though it is technically free! Lunches, fundraisers, classmates birthday parties, snacks for the K class, holiday parties, additional clothing, etc. It all really adds up.

My daughters absolutely love it, but my son is less than impressed. He will return to homeschool in the fall. I blog about it. If you are interested, the link is in my signature. Best wishes to you. I know just how difficult it is to make such a big decision.

#10 JessyC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:49 PM

Is it 30 minutes to school and 30 minutes back home? Then another 30 minutes to pick up and 30 minutes back? So for you two hours of driving every day? Will you have your one year old in the car with you? Does your kinder student get out at the same time as the second grader? I might do that drive for a great high school, I wouldn't do it for elementary school.


Yes, for me it is at least two hours in the car, unless I find people to carpool with. The one-year-old would be with me or perhaps with grandparents during this time. They would get out at the same time. Thanks for your thoughts--the drive is a big "con" in my opinion.

#11 JessyC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:52 PM

- you said you cannon afford extracurriculars, and yet 2 hours of driving eash day (10 hours driving a week) just for school... sounds also expencive. Will you pay for lunches there? School is expencive as well.
- you said kids dont want to go to school.... but they will make great friends (not from your neghborhood though, but new friends)

its a tough call, I would say try (give it a month or 2) and see where your heart is. Trust your heart. Will kids be happy with CharterSchool? Can you afford it (driving and lunches), will the kids get all they need or still be not enough chalanged... You can almost go back to homescholing.


We do some homeschool activities that cost money, it's just music lessons are so expensive that I couldn't add those in right now. The gas would cost money for sure--it would probably cost roughly what we pay for homeschool activities every month, but we'd have music lessons too and I would have more time to work, so would be able to make more. I would pack lunches. I do worry that their friends from school will not live close by--that is a great point.

#12 JessyC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:55 PM

We made the switch from homeschool to traditional school in December. The kids attend a public school that is only 5-10 minutes away. I was just commenting to my husband about how expensive school is...even though it is technically free! Lunches, fundraisers, classmates birthday parties, snacks for the K class, holiday parties, additional clothing, etc. It all really adds up.

My daughters absolutely love it, but my son is less than impressed. He will return to homeschool in the fall. I blog about it. If you are interested, the link is in my signature. Best wishes to you. I know just how difficult it is to make such a big decision.


Thank you--I will check out your blog!

#13 JessyC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:57 PM

My dc went to school this year and it was a great move for us. I also work pt (teaching) and I was totally overwhelmed trying to do everything. We are all happier. But their schools are not a half hour away! However, it sounds like that school might be worth it.


Thanks--it is great to hear a success story. I really do think this school would be worth the drive, from what I've heard.

#14 kiwik

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:09 PM

Our school is 5 mins by car - I would walk if I didn't go straight from there to work. I think petrol is more expensive here because it would probably cost 100 to 140 a week to do that here. I did it for a while 7 or 8 years ago and it cost $73 then and petrol has gone from $1.20 a litre to $2.30 since then (it does go up and down a bit I think it was $2.18 recently). I'm pretty sure I could I manage music for that.

Eta. That is not at all helpful. You could get a lot of afterschooling done in the car (see teachingmybabytoread. If the older child can read she could do the verbal math lesson (I got a kindle version a few days ago) with the younger in the car.

Will they get homework? And if so how much?

And most importantly are the reasons you home school still there in the charter?

#15 SKL

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:10 PM

You wouldn't have to give up the fun of curriculum planning, etc. Trust me, there are challenges in afterschooling of figuring out not just what works best for your child, but what fits best with his school's curriculum and his teacher's style. Personally I would find the access to arts/music extremely tempting and if they have a good track record with gifted kids, I'd probably go for it. The 30-minute drive would cut into other things for sure, but it might be worth it. I drive my kids 15 minutes each way. We spend the morning "to" trip going over spelling/memory and re-reading their AR books (we could often use more time for that), and the afternoon "from" trip downloading how the day went, doing some more review, and listening to music. The mom-only half of the commute is my "me" time to chill out, drink coffee, and listen to loud music, LOL. I also plan evening activities so the overall commute is not additive IYKWIM.

#16 MistyMountain

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:19 PM

I was strongly considering homeschooling dd and did a trial run of kindergarten when she was 5. I also applied for some charters I liked but wasn't even sure if we would stay in the state or if we would get in. My husband ended up getting a local job and dd got into my top choice charter a classical like charter that had good curriculum and is ahead of the school system. I enrolled her in the charter because if homeschooling didn't work out I couldn't do the charter but I could do vise versa. It has been pretty good. There are pluses and minuses. I miss the one on one time where she could pick up on things faster, picking out her curriculum, how little time was needed for each subject and how everything was at dd's exact level. I enjoy not being responsible for everything, not having to figure out new curriculum, and dd being with other kids with involved parents. I also like the structure and routine of her school which I struggled with. I do some afterschooling and will do more this summer. The charter she goes to is 1 mile from our house. I worry a little that it isn't a good fit for ds but if that ends up being the case I will pull him and homeschool him. If at any point it stops working for dd I will do the same.

#17 Garga

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:20 PM

You have to ask yourself why you homeschooled in the first place and then assess whether sending them to the charter school makes sense with your educational philosophies, etc. Consider academics and extra curriculars and social pressures and loss of together time and 2 hours in the car with a baby...

For me, I would think back to my philosophies about education and family and go from there.

#18 AlaskaGrownFamily

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

I homeschooled my oldest k-2, then put he and my middle in a highly regarded charter school for the last two years. We're bringing them back home this fall.

It is an excellent school, but the drive (20 min each way), the fundraisers, the demands on my time, volunteer requirements, costs (activity fees, gas, lumches, supplies, bake sales...) the having to follow an unnatural (for us) schedule, and the fact that both of my kids have lost their fire and zest for learning despite being accelerated... Besides all of that, we really miss each other.

The benefits of our time in school are reassurance that I was doing a good job as their teacher, and now we know what school (a high achieving, very good school!) is like, and we still prefer homeschool.

You could give it a whirl, and always reserve the right to bring them back home if it isn't a great fit!

#19 Uff Da!

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:59 PM

We drive 20-30 minutes to school/20-30 minutes back again and listen to audio books or music that we are studying in the car (this includes fun language CDs). I feel like its worth it. The school does great covering what I struggle to teach and my teaching strengths are the school's weaknesses. My preschooler often naps in the car and having a chance to be still during the day and listen to a CD is nice. I feel that I've trade "quantity" for "quality" in regards to time with my eldest by putting her in school. We enjoy each other more when we have sometime apart.

#20 kiwikate

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:58 PM

I can't comment on the charter vs homeschool (although the charter school sounds pretty amazing), but I can tell you about the driving! Some days, the 30 mins each way is the only time I get with my girls and I rely on it to have discussions, set goals with them, we also review work, and always have an audiobook to listen to. IN fact, we have just decided to keep my oldest daughter at her current school an extra two years (there is an overlap for the middle school years and she could stay at her primary or move to secondary, both great options). The secondary is 5 mins from home, but I will still be driving my younger two to school, and I really felt sad that she would be missing out on that time with us and that learning time. As a previous poster said, the return trip is "me" time, usually I listen to an audiobook of my own, or the radio, etc. It is great thinking and planning time for me too. So, I see the drive time as a huge bonus, not a negative, especially as my girls get older and busier after school. Hope that is helpful in some way.

#21 JessyC

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:29 AM

I can't comment on the charter vs homeschool (although the charter school sounds pretty amazing), but I can tell you about the driving! Some days, the 30 mins each way is the only time I get with my girls and I rely on it to have discussions, set goals with them, we also review work, and always have an audiobook to listen to. IN fact, we have just decided to keep my oldest daughter at her current school an extra two years (there is an overlap for the middle school years and she could stay at her primary or move to secondary, both great options). The secondary is 5 mins from home, but I will still be driving my younger two to school, and I really felt sad that she would be missing out on that time with us and that learning time. As a previous poster said, the return trip is "me" time, usually I listen to an audiobook of my own, or the radio, etc. It is great thinking and planning time for me too. So, I see the drive time as a huge bonus, not a negative, especially as my girls get older and busier after school. Hope that is helpful in some way.


That is very helpful--thank you! That's a new way for me to look at the potential drive--that it could be a good thing and a special time.

As a homeschooling parent I'm often driving the kids around to different things anyway, so I'm actually not sure it would even be that much more time in the car than we have now.

#22 kiwik

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 05:26 AM

Ok I just saw the price of petrol over there on another thread. I would give it a go you can always pull them out. Just don't go making any other major changes until you are sure it will work.

#23 kiwik

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:36 PM

Have you decided?

#24 JessyC

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:06 AM

Have you decided?


No, not yet. One day I think one thing, the next day another!

Update: My 8yo told me today she really, really wants to go the charter school. This surprised me and made me lean more toward trying the school. Of course she could tell me she really, really wants to homeschool forever tomorrow, so I shouldn't put too much stock into her words!


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