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PrairieAir, could you chime in re: students in traditional school and also at home?


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I notice, from your signature, that you have several children who have, or will, transition to public school for the high school years.

 

We are making arrangements to enroll our oldest dd at a local school for 8th grade; with the idea that if it is a "good fit", she will finish out her high school years there. This leaves me with just one student at home (4th/5th grader).

 

Doran started a thread regarding this the other day, if you posted a reply there and I missed it, please forgive me (I did try to keep up with that thread). But if not, I sure would appreciate some BTDT comments (and I think there are several other posters who would, as well).

 

What are some of the particular benefits, challenges, etc of having students in different school choices? And do you have any suggestions for making the transition as painless as possible?

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Public school has been a good experience so far for my oldest three.

 

It was absolutely a need for our oldest son. Our oldest daughter asked if she could give public school a try that same year and will graduate from the same school next year.

 

It was a difficult decision for our youngest son this past year. There were reasons he wanted to try public school, but he really enjoyed homeschool and our homeschool co-op and clubs. We left the choice up to him. Allowing him to make the choice and having him be away from me and more independent and responsible for keeping up with work on his own has been very good for him. We've seen him really come into his own this year.

 

When the oldest two switched to public school, I think it really gave me some good one on one (or one on two) time with the younger kids who had sometimes been overlooked while I was working with the older two. Youngest ds was still catching up on reading, writing, and spelling after some delays due to a vision problem for which he had to have therapy. When the older two went to public school, his progress really sped up. This past year, with all the other kids at p.s., dd has really enjoyed having my full attention. It has been a good year for all of us.

 

P.s. really helped ease the tensions between me and oldest ds. Homeschool was not happening as it should with him, no matter how hard I tried. He really needed to feel more independent of me. Our relationship has improved so much. It doesn't always work that way, but this was what we needed.

 

As far as adjustments go, it really was not too hard for my kids. The school they go to is a small rural school. There are about 60-75 kids per graduating class. It was very easy for them to fit in. The problems that exist in a large city school either do not exist or exist on a much smaller scale here. Kids come to school with pocket knives because they're used to carrying them around or have been out doing farm chores before school. It isn't a big deal because knives are tools rather than weapons here. If a teacher or other faculty spot them, they take them to the knives to the office until after school. There isn't a lot of violence, and what little there is is soon settled. There are kids who do drugs, but it isn't a huge presence.

 

The biggest adjustments have been learning to take full responsibility for all work without a lot of reminders from teachers. They learned that very quickly and it was a good lesson. Learning to write his name and the date at the top of every paper was a challenge for youngest ds:001_rolleyes: Learning to get to class on time has been a challenge for oldest ds.

 

The absolute worst thing that happened is that I found out after signing oldest ds up for Geometry that he had cheated all the way through Algebra I at home. He was two months into public school and struggling with Geometry when I found the photocopied answer manual in his desk drawer as I was cleaning and packing to move to our new house. I was furious. And I felt like an idiot for not listening to my instincts. I knew something was wrong there, but he was slick enough to get one or two problems wrong on each assignment to throw me off. I had to go in and tell the principal so that he could get dropped down to Algebra I for the remainder of the year. It was humiliating. I have never been more embarrassed in my life. BUT, we all lived through it. Ds learned an important lesson about cheating. (I've heard him tell his sibs to never ever cheat.) Most of the teachers and the principal and vice principal know we are good parents and that he is a good kid. It's all good.

 

Eek! I've got to go pick up dd. Maybe I'll add more later.

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A lot of what you are saying has me nodding my head, and feeling more confident that we need to at least try school. I understand what you mean about more rural schools not having nearly the extremes of some of the larger city schools. That is the reasoning behind our decision to use our local Christian school; philosophically, I prefer homeschooling, charter, and public school (in that order), but our local high school has been decimated by gang and drug related violence, and our state public schools are something like 48th in the nation to begin with (and we've tried three times to move to a better school district, which never happened). The Christian school is minutes from our home, has small classes, high standards in behavior and academics, and a dear friend of mine teaches high school math and science there. It was somewhat of a no-brainer, as far as which school to choose -- but choosing school and giving up my "idea" of homeschooling through high school has been a bitter pill to swallow.

 

My younger dd is almost a grade level behind in math, and yes, I do think some of that is because I have been so focused on my older dd. And my older dd has . . . enhanced her learning experience with the benefit of my teaching materials . . . yup, BTDT.

 

Your comments have been very encouraging; I do hope you have time to share more!

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I was just adding to the post above, but I'll put it here so you can see it easier.

 

I'd like to add a little about their performance in ps, especially after telling you about that horrible incident with ds.

 

Oldest ds could have easily pulled off straight A's except in math, but he has never cared about grades. He is not college bound (at least not yet) and prefers the fly by the seat of your pants approach. Last year he scored the among the highest in the state on the psychology test and aced his ASVAB which made the few faculty who were not so sure about him sit up and take notice. I don't think he has had a single teacher that did not like him. He constantly amazes his teachers with his writing. This week he had his senior exit interview. The vice principal called him in for a talk the next day. I couldn't get the details from him, but the gist of it was that the vice principal's wife was on the review board and spoke very highly of Caleb to her dh. He told Caleb that his responses and some of the things he'd written and included in his portfolio made her cry. (In a good way, I think.) Most of his teachers over the past four years have told me how impressed they are with him. They do wish he would just work a little harder in some areas.

 

Dd has been on the honor roll for most of the past 4 years. She has played basketball and run cross country and is one of the softball managers. Her determination to play basketball really surprised me since she'd never played more than shooting hoops in the driveway at my inlaws. Not knowing a thing about the actual game when everyone else had played in gym class and in middle school didn't stop her. She has never liked writing, and that concerned me when she started ps. Her writing is not great writing, but it is good enough to get the job done and she averages about a B+ on writing assignments.

 

Ds' grades are good, though not stellar. He wrestled with the club in town this year rather than the middle school and will wrestle on the high school team next year. He has adjusted very well. I really worried about sending him to ps because he was still behind in spelling in particular. His spelling is so bizarre at times--he spells things in the most difficult way imaginable, almost as if he's trying to spell in French. This is partly due to the vision problems he has had and the delays in reading, but I was embarrassed for him and for me. I explained all of this to the counselor, but she never passed the message along to his language and reading teachers. They were so relieved when I finally met with them at the parent teacher conference and explained it. Best of all his spelling has improved dramatically. Is it anything different that they've done? No, I think it is the peer pressure. He cares more about spelling because he doesn't want to be embarrassed and he has worked harder to catch up. It doesn't matter how much you push something if someone doesn't want it for themselves.

 

All that to say, my kids all had weak areas that concerned me when they entered ps, but they were able to adjust and do just fine. They are not super scholars or super athletes, but they are all happy and learning. I'm happy with the people they have become and so are they, and that's good enough for me.

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I was *just* on the phone with dh, we were discussing the fact that dd may very well go to school and pull only Bs and Cs. My initial reaction to that possibility is -- why am I going to pay $5k a year for mediocrity? I can do mediocre at home. ;) But, there is more to the dynamic than academics. And who knows -- as you said, the peer pressure could really inspire and motivate her.

 

So, I'm thinking I should probably mention to her teachers that she has an auditory processing problem, as well as a mild hearing loss in one ear? That is probably important. She struggles with writing and spelling like you would not believe (well, maybe you would!) and part of that is due to some delays caused by the hearing and processing problems.

 

Funny you should mention French . . . my younger dd had severe speech issues. I have had two different speech therapists ask if French was my first language (until they heard me actually speak; my mountain twang/southern drawl could hardly be mistaken for French). They said it was uncanny, they would have sworn that someone in the home was French-speaking. I'm adopted; who knows what little recessive genes are lurking around in my kids DNA.

 

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience.

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All that to say, my kids all had weak areas that concerned me when they entered ps, but they were able to adjust and do just fine. They are not super scholars or super athletes, but they are all happy and learning. I'm happy with the people they have become and so are they, and that's good enough for me.

 

I was *just* on the phone with dh, we were discussing the fact that dd may very well go to school and pull only Bs and Cs. My initial reaction to that possibility is -- why am I going to pay $5k a year for mediocrity? I can do mediocre at home. ;) But, there is more to the dynamic than academics. And who knows -- as you said, the peer pressure could really inspire and motivate her.

 

 

Wow, I most certainly did not mean to imply that you or your kids are in any way mediocre. I'm so sorry if it came across that way; I was doing a whole stream-of-consciousness between my conversation with dh and posting here.

 

Happy and learning is absolutely our goal for this dd. Her very best effort is probably not going to earn her an A; that's just the reality of the situation (and if she gets A's across the board; honestly, there is something wrong, because she is just not academically gifted).

 

Anyway, before my rambling takes another turn for the worse:

 

Thank you for sharing, and I am so happy that this is obviously working so well for your family. It gives me great encouragement in the midst of a difficult decision.

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