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Tomorrow we visit the local Boys HighSchool...

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Ds#2 will be highschool age next year & has expressed a desire to go to PS. We aren't convinced that this will be the best choice for him, but are willing to look at the option. Tomorrow is the info. afternoon for all year 8 students to visit & see the school, etc. All the local highschools are running info. sessions this month. We've told ds#2 if he wants to go it will be to the local Boys High School, for which we are zoned. We will not apply out of zone for him. Ds#2 went to kindy for 18 months ( ages 3&4), but we brought him home to school at age 5 when he would have gone on to PS as we were bringing dd home as well to join ds#1. It was much easier on me to have all 3dc in the same style of schooling. Neither dd nor ds#1 went to highschool. Both began polytech at age 16 & that has worked for us. Surprisingly dh isn't very supportive of ds#2 going to PS next year. He was reluctant for us to begin HS/ing 9 years ago, but is quietly supportive now. Here's the pros & cons as I see them...


Pros of PS:

chance to play field hockey for the school

chance to be on the sailing team

chance to study a foreign language

better science labs

may listen to a teacher, better than me

bigger social circle of contacts

I would be free to work


Cons of PS:

must take required courses such as drama, health, etc.

as a family we'll be tied to the PS calendar

social studies taught in a PC way, no true history taught

school is "streamed" & students are placed according to entrance exams ( in the level by the lowest score, no option of high maths, low English, etc.)

ds#2 would be exposed to unacceptable attitudes for hours daily from his peers

cost of uniforms, school fees, extra class fees, sport fees, field trip fees, fund-raising, etc.

If I do go to work we would be in the 30-33% tax bracket instead of the 17% tax bracket we are in now & dd would no longer qualify for the student allowance she gets now (~$200/week during the school year for living expenses)


Pros of HS/ing:

ability to work at own level & speed

ability to work around extra curricular activities

ability to tailor program to ds#2's interests & goals

possibility of regular work experience in his chosen field

possibility of short "taster" courses at polytech (PS has this as well but when he's 1:500+ the chance to go is slight)

can still play hockey for his club in the same competition as the PS teams

can still sail at the yacht club, & can go to away regattas as desired

ds#2 can deliver his paper run before his afternoon activities

we can work "school" around our scouting & sport commitments


Cons of HS/ing:

I am unable to get work as dh's time off isn't regular

foreign languages are harder to master at home

ds#2 is the only dc left at home as dd & ds#1 are now in polytech

ds#2 doesn't have to get up early, so tends to sleep in.


Ds#2 isn't completely set on going to school next year. I've told him a lot would depend on his entrance exam results. Even though ds#2 is aiming for a trade, I would not be happy to have him placed in a low level class as he would not have the educational opportunities I could give him here at home. And by the school "streaming" accross the board, not by subject the students are not challenged in some areas, while getting help in other areas. Dh's relunctance makes me think that another couple years of HS/ing may be in order. I told ds#2 that if he decides to stay home next year, doesn't mean that he'll never get the chance to go to school. We'll relook at the decision each year.


Looking at the pros & cons of each, what are your thoughts. I'd personally like him home, but don't want to make the decision based on my desires. I want what's best for him. The school does have a good rep., especially with its success catering to the educational needs of teenage boys.



Edited by Deb in NZ
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Our son attends a boys high school which does a fabulous job of meeting the needs of young men (the term they use) while setting high expectations for behavior and academics.


His school however does "track" (or "stream" in your case) according to individual subjects, so one can be in the highest level English but the lowest math. Freshman year placement for history is determined by the English entrance score and placement for science is determined by the math entrance score, but that changes in subsequent years. I've also known some boys to switch between tracks mid-semester freshman year, so that isn't set in stone.

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It looks like you have really looked at all the pros and cons carefully. I think that is always the first thing to do.


This is one of those decisions that I don't believe anyone can make for you as it is such a personal decision.


I have told my kids that if they really want to go to school in high school we will consider it, esp. if they can get something there that I can't offer them and can't find an offering outside of a school setting.


I don't know a whole lot about NZ's school system other than what a close friend who lives there has told me. She wasn't thrilled to send her son to the local PS for high school and was looking at other options. She seemed to imply that it was a nationwide way they did something or other, but I can't fully remember the conversation now.


Best wishes,



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I am really torn on this decision. We are meeting dh in town in a couple hours to tour the school & hear the head master's talk. I'll know more when we get back. I'm kinda hoping that ds#2 decides that with all his sport / scout commitments that HS/ing is the way to go. We'll see.



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I don't know anything about the NZ high school system either, but the pros list looks a bit short since he is able to compete for sailing and hockey outside of the school system. And if foreign language classes are anything like they are here, he won't learn a foreign language. He will sit in a foreign language class not learning one. My sister was top of her class for 6 years in German and still couldn't speak it.


Contacts can be useful, but only if he is the type of boy to use them. My dh has got absolutely nothing from his old boy network, because he just isn't the type. A LARP buddy got him his current job though.


After reading through your lists twice, homeschooling until he's old enough for the polytech seems best over all, to my way of thinking.



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The school visit went well. Ds#2 saw many boys there he knew through sports, scouts, etc. He was able to speak to a few of the teachers & ask about workload, expectations, etc. He even knew 4 of the teachers already. Ds#2 was surprised to see that the level of work expected of year 9 students was about what he is doing now. Dh & I were shocked to see many l-o-w level reading books on the shelves in the library (i.e DK readers level 4, picture books, etc.) & a whole section devoted to graphic novels, the biggest collection in the province according to the librarian.


Classes would be similar to what I could offer at home. They even offer Latin & Classsical Studies! He would be required to take English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Phys. Ed., Core Technology, & Fine Arts (a term each of Art, Drama, Music, & Health). He would choose 2 options (Adv. Music, Economics, Graphics, Japanese, Te Reo Maori, Classical Studies, Latin, French, or Horticulture.) I spoke to the Headmaster about the streaming & was told if a student scored high in one area & low in another they tried to place them in a mid-range stream. Some of the options were only for high streams, but exceptions could be made. Of the options listed Te Reo Maori is the only subject I would not be able to teach at home, but ds#2 isn't interested in learning Te Reo anyway.


Ds#2 said last night that he was pleasantly surprised at the level, amount, & variety of work in year 9. He was pleased to see many of his friends looking at Boys High as well. (In the area we have about 10 highschools that students can choose.) He said he was about 51% towards going to school & 49% towards continuing HS/ing. So the decision is far from made. We'll put in a (preliminary) enrollment form with a note attached stating that the final decision will depend on his entrance exam results & whether he can get into his first choice of electives. Interviews & entrance exams are held in November for students not in the 2 main intermediate schools. School begins 2 February 2011.


Please "lift us up" as we make this decision.



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We are right there with you Deb. We have already applied to a selective entry boys school for J and are now looking at the other options, sailing and hockey are high on our list of desires too. Not many schools here have sailing teams though, so we are going to have to apply out of zone and if he gets in, J will have to travel to school by train.

I too have long pro and con lists, and I totally understand the multitude of conflicting thoughts on the matter.

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