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Small, private school vs. continuing home schooling?


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We've been hs'ing for a year and a half now, ever since we pulled ds from ps due to health-related reasons. But, even though we've enjoyed this time, we have always felt that ds needs to eventually go back to school, for a host of reasons, including exposure to other different students, and increased socialization.

 

Well, we recently started kicking around the idea of putting ds in a nearby private RCC school. We're not RCC, we're Episcopalian, but my impression of RCC schools has been that they tend to be open to other students from different traditions or faiths. So, I'm not really worried about ds feeling accepted there.

 

What draws me to it is is a number of things. The curriculum there seems to be a good balance between rigor and age-appropriate. It is a very small school, with only about 195 students grades K-8. Private schools in this state are not subject to standardized tests, or the same attendance rules, though this school happens to abide by a 180-day/90% attendance policy. The cost is about $5,700 a year for non-parishioners, which I think is very reasonable.

 

We are going to visit it tomorrow, and therefore have a better idea of whether it's a good fit or not. If we don't like it, no harm done, we will probably hs for 4th grade next year. However, at some point, we know he will matriculate back into a B&M school (preferably private).

 

The big unknown is ds' health. He has asthma, and his trigger happens to be viral infections, whether it's the flu or something as innocuous as a cold. :glare: He's been extraordinarily healthy since he's been hs'ed, and we've been able to keep him on the lowest dosage of medication, rather than bumping him up like we've had to do before during winter months.

 

I really don't want to put him in school, and have to yank him back out due to his asthma. But at the same time, I do feel that he benefits from going to school. He misses all his friends from his old ps.

 

What would others here do? Continue hs'ing indefinitely? Take a chance and go with the private school?

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I have no advice, but I can commiserate when it comes to dealing with an asthmatic child. DS2 has bad asthma - colds/viruses really set it off. He has silent asthma so often he's suffering and we don't realize how badly he's suffering until he starts showing side effects (excessive sleepiness, crankiness, etc) Anyhow, his last day of preschool is today and we have plans to HS him indefinitely. It was an easy decision for us because we had already made the decision to HS my oldest son.

 

If school is where you think he belongs I would check out the catholic schools since they are smaller scale. The ones in my area are great and I wouldn't hesitate to send my kids there... we just happened to prefer the local public school.

 

Does he have other issues where socialization is a big concern for you? There are places other than school where he can socialize with his peers.

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I would seriously consider it. I do think that there can be real advantages to a school with a clear teaching philosophy, small size, and warm atmosphere, especially for kids in say, grade 3 or above. It can give kids a great change to make close friendships with other kids, have access to other adults as mentors, and also to provide real expertise and enthusiasm in more subjects. Because while a parent can often teach most subjects better than a poor school, there is a real advantage in all subjects to having a teacher who really is an expert and loves the subject. It is hard for one person to do that for all subjects as kids get older.

 

So those are the kinds of things I'd be thinking of and looking for. I'm not sure about the health issue - does you son have thoughts about that?

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Well, you know, this is a homeschooling forum. Most of us are going to think that homeschooling is better than private schooling. :)

 

As do I. I'd really encourage you to do more research into the whole socialization thing, because unless there are issues that you haven't mentioned, I could not recommend sending a child to school because he needed more time with other children his own age. And there are many opportunties for children to get to know other children under more controlled, positive conditions than spending all day, every day, in a classroom with other children. I'm not referring to homeschool co-ops or sports or anything, either. (I'm not a big fan of those.) I'm thinking more of community-based activities such as 4-H, theater groups, dance or sports, and so on.

 

On a side note, my dd also had what we thought was asthma, also triggered by respiratory infections. I'm thinking now that it could be reactive airway disease (RAD). It isn't apparently a clearly defined condition, but it might still be something to talk to your ds's doctor about.

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We homeschool our asthmatic children.....inevitably if my children get sick, they do so on a Wednesday after a Sunday exposure at church. We do all of the right things--handwashing, changing clothes, etc. but any time you are dealing with groups of people, you're dealing with increased germ exposure.

 

If you know at some point that he's going to go back to a b&m, I'd give it a try.....but I'd be prepared to pay the price. I assume you're checking peak flows every day?

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Re: questions about socialization:

 

 

1. Our son is an only child. No siblings to interact with. He gets to be around his cousins maybe once every other week.

 

2. Secular religious hs'ing groups are hard to come around here. There is on in Carrollton, which is about a 40 minute drive from us, without traffic. Too far. We'd be find with a religious one, but the ones I've checked into around here all require a signed faith statement, something I won't do (lie, basically).

 

3. The odd individuals we know here who home school either have kids at significant age differences, or there are problems of distance, and coordinating meeting times.

 

4. We live in an apartment community that is mostly professionals, or families with very young kids. Few opportunities here for him to hang out with other kids.

 

The problem isn't socialization, per se. Our son gets along quite well with kids from his hockey team. He is friendly and outgoing.

 

What the problem is is a lack of opportunities for socializing. It seems to me that many hs'ing advocates mix the two concepts up. Is our son less socialized as a hs'er? No. Has he had as many opportunities to meet and befriend other children, from a wide range of backgrounds? The answer is also no.

 

That's one reason we expect to put him back in a B&M school. It's not the only reason. But it is important to us.

 

What we're trying to determine is the timing, weighing the chances that he may have become asymptomatic long enough that he can tolerate more public contact.

 

The school is very small, less than 200 students total. In fact, the 3rd and 4th grade class is grouped together, and the teacher-to-student ratio is 1-15. So, while it is going to have all the usual germy culprits present, (what school doesn't?) it's on a smaller scale than his local (huge) public school would be. And honestly, I won't put him in this ps. Too big, too test-driven, huge classes of 26 kids or more, etc.

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What the problem is is a lack of opportunities for socializing. It seems to me that many hs'ing advocates mix the two concepts up.

We understand the difference. :-)

 

Is our son less socialized as a hs'er? No. Has he had as many opportunities to meet and befriend other children, from a wide range of backgrounds? The answer is also no.

And sometimes a classroom situation satisfies that need...but not always, and not completely. In a classroom situation, children spend time with the same children, every day, and they're not always from a wide range of backgrounds, and even if they were, the children don't actually know anything about those wide ranges of backgrounds.

 

With the school you mention, my guess is that the children who come from non-Catholic families will not have anything much in common with the ones who are Catholic, who see each other every Sunday at Mass, and who are in Religious Education classes together, and probably other parish-related activities.

 

Perhaps people who grew up in one place and attended one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school have long-lasting friendships. For the rest of us, those 12 years of school were just time spent in school, and our real friendships and interactions happened after that...for the rest of our lives.

 

As I said before, you asked your question on a homeschooling forum; of course most of us will think that homeschooling is better. :) But if you want your ds to try the school and see what happens, it couldn't hurt. Many of us have done that and lived to tell about it. :D

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Re: questions about socialization:

 

 

1. Our son is an only child. No siblings to interact with. He gets to be around his cousins maybe once every other week.

 

2. Secular religious hs'ing groups are hard to come around here. There is on in Carrollton, which is about a 40 minute drive from us, without traffic. Too far. We'd be find with a religious one, but the ones I've checked into around here all require a signed faith statement, something I won't do (lie, basically).

 

3. The odd individuals we know here who home school either have kids at significant age differences, or there are problems of distance, and coordinating meeting times.

 

4. We live in an apartment community that is mostly professionals, or families with very young kids. Few opportunities here for him to hang out with other kids.

 

The problem isn't socialization, per se. Our son gets along quite well with kids from his hockey team. He is friendly and outgoing.

 

What the problem is is a lack of opportunities for socializing. It seems to me that many hs'ing advocates mix the two concepts up. Is our son less socialized as a hs'er? No. Has he had as many opportunities to meet and befriend other children, from a wide range of backgrounds? The answer is also no.

 

That's one reason we expect to put him back in a B&M school. It's not the only reason. But it is important to us.

 

What we're trying to determine is the timing, weighing the chances that he may have become asymptomatic long enough that he can tolerate more public contact.

 

The school is very small, less than 200 students total. In fact, the 3rd and 4th grade class is grouped together, and the teacher-to-student ratio is 1-15. So, while it is going to have all the usual germy culprits present, (what school doesn't?) it's on a smaller scale than his local (huge) public school would be. And honestly, I won't put him in this ps. Too big, too test-driven, huge classes of 26 kids or more, etc.

You need to find him a friend or two. Maybe make that your goal instead of putting his health at risk by having him return to school.

 

Dd is an only. We had about 2.5 years where there was very little socialization outside of dh and I. The place we lived was just horrible when it came to having kids play. Dd found a friend about 9 months into our stay there but the friend moved after about a year. So things were tough. It is a hard situation to be in. And the thing was it wasn't just dd who had no socialization. It was a weird little town :glare:

 

So maybe get your ds to invite a buddy or two from hockey. What about the boy scouts? Any family men where dh works? Host a couple families for dinner and make friends. It will take work on your part to provide those opportunities. One of the advantages often cited about homeschooling is having relationships with people of all ages. Not just classmates. You have to make the effort.

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As long as his health holds out, I think school sounds your best option.

 

This may be a homeschooling forum, but there are many here who agree that it's important to do what's right for each individual child at any given moment, whether that's homeschool, a B&M school, or a combination of the two.

 

My eldest has never been homeschooled, he'd hate it, as he has an intense need to be with other people, with lots going on around him. DS10 (almost 11) will also go to a B&M school in September, and the plan is that DS7 and DS4 will also move on to the same school when they're 11. Things may change, I believe in always trying to be as flexible as possible when considering what's best for my children.

 

Best of luck

 

Cassy

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I'm in your general area - also homeschooling an only child with asthma/breathing issues.

What led us to homeschooling was comparing the costs of private school vs. homeschooling. We realized we could do a lot of outside classes for the cost of private school. There are so many options in this area - art classes, science classes, homeschool days at various museums/zoos, park days, etc., that we can get out and do a lot for the cost of private school tuition.

We are in several homeschool groups (none have required a statement of faith), but we are very active in our community - volunteer work, library book club, sports - and have not felt the need for a b&m building for socialization. I know every family is so different and the ultimate decision is within your own family.

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Re: questions about socialization:

 

 

1. Our son is an only child. No siblings to interact with. He gets to be around his cousins maybe once every other week.

 

2. Secular religious hs'ing groups are hard to come around here. There is on in Carrollton, which is about a 40 minute drive from us, without traffic. Too far. We'd be find with a religious one, but the ones I've checked into around here all require a signed faith statement, something I won't do (lie, basically).

 

3. The odd individuals we know here who home school either have kids at significant age differences, or there are problems of distance, and coordinating meeting times.

 

4. We live in an apartment community that is mostly professionals, or families with very young kids. Few opportunities here for him to hang out with other kids.

 

The problem isn't socialization, per se. Our son gets along quite well with kids from his hockey team. He is friendly and outgoing.

 

What the problem is is a lack of opportunities for socializing. It seems to me that many hs'ing advocates mix the two concepts up. Is our son less socialized as a hs'er? No. Has he had as many opportunities to meet and befriend other children, from a wide range of backgrounds? The answer is also no.

 

That's one reason we expect to put him back in a B&M school. It's not the only reason. But it is important to us.

 

.

 

 

Have you thought about starting your own homeschool group then? That's what I did and it has been fabulous. When I realized none of the groups around me had what I wanted I started my own. I advertised it to the other groups, made a yahoo group, and soon we had many members. My son went from miserable last year to happy to homeschool this year because he has some great friends. Just a thought. I bet there are other moms thinking the same thing about there being no groups, and they would love to come to yours.

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We made the switch to a private school for our oldest. We like it enough that we are sending my youngest next year.

 

Ironically, my one in school has been the least sick. I think her immune system is made of iron, because youngest and I caught strep throat and a nasty respiratory virus.

 

Pros to school--

dd absolutely loves the social atmosphere. With it being a private Christian school (I don't expect perfect kids!), they can take steps on things. The counselor got her entire grade of girls together at lunch for a Bible study on friendship that lasted 4 weeks. I assume something precipitated it, but they took steps to take care of it.

 

I love her teacher. She is very structured, which I am not. I did fine homeschooling. Her reading and math were enough ahead that she is easily keeping up. But, I let some areas slide (grammar and spelling:tongue_smilie:) that she has filled in gaps this year.

 

I am really enjoying taking a step back. I help with homework nightly, but I'm the helper and not the main assignee.

 

Regular Spanish, music, art, and PE that I'm not constantly trying to find avenues to outsource.

 

Cons to school--

They they don't do every subject the way I would. I have seen HUGE improvements in her writing and spelling, but I'm summer schooling SOTW, science, and Singapore-light. I get to keep my strengths and rely on her school for the structure. They actually do dictation and read real literature, so I've been pleased about that.

 

Being on their schedule. Seriously. It stinks. Daily and school calendar, I miss the flexibility we had. But that ties in to me not being so good with structure. But, it is what it is.

 

We've had to pare down her activities. We no longer have time for a little of this and a little of that. She does art, soccer, and seasonal cheerleading at school. We just dropped piano two weeks ago and it killed me. But she likes art better and something had to go. She actually hasn't complained. She's tried enough stuff that she's been fine picking soccer over basketball and art over piano.

Edited by snickelfritz
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My daughter went into private school this year for socialization reasons. She was extremely lonely and increasingly unhappy at home, in spite of the many outside activities she was enrolled in. She wanted a reliable group of friends -- not random kids from this or that activity who might live far away and whose parents might or might not allow them to develop a friendship. She found most of the local homeschool girls to be unfriendly and uninterested in even holding a conversation.

 

We enrolled her in our local country day school. We had her repeat her eighth grade year because she'd just had Lyme Disease and was still very weak. Plus, we didn't have a clue where to put her for high school -- there just aren't any private high school around here.

 

Fast forward...The school year is almost 2/3 over, and our whole family can attest that going to school was absolutely the right thing for her. She is extremely happy every day. She loves her classmates, most of whom have known each other since pre-K and are like brothers and sisters. She loves her classmates' parents, who have been warm and welcoming to her. She loves her teachers and the school administrators. The schoolwork is interesting, and there is a never-ending variety of fun activities that liven up the school atmosphere. She has applied and will probably be accepted to a fabulous boarding high school not far away (meaning, she can come home almost every weekend) that will *definitely* increase both her academic and socialization opportunities.

 

Not all peer socialization is bad, and not all schools are boring horror chambers. I would love to have homeschooled my only daughter all the way through, but it would have been selfish of me to force her to stay home when she was suffering -- to the point of depression -- from severe loneliness. In this case, school was the right choice.

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We understand the difference. :-)

 

You speak for all hs'ing advocates? (Including myself?) I said "many hs'ing advcoates." I was addressing a specific subset, who often conflate the two concepts. Just like a huge portion of the ps'ing groups do. You get the difference. Others, as I stated, may not. I want to be clear about what I am concerned with. I did not want to have the thread turned into a "HS socialization vs. PS socialization," because that's not what it's about, at least not in my son's case. He's socialized quite well; he just doesn't have many social opportunities right now.

 

 

And sometimes a classroom situation satisfies that need...but not always, and not completely. In a classroom situation, children spend time with the same children, every day, and they're not always from a wide range of backgrounds, and even if they were, the children don't actually know anything about those wide ranges of backgrounds.
The charter ps he went to before had children from various backgrounds and creeds, including christian, muslim, buddhist, catholic, and had white, black, hispanic, Indian, and Asian children. At least two of his classmates had two moms.

 

These kids were quite aware, even at a young age, of their differences. Especially the kids of the same-sex pairs. I once sat at lunch with my son's first grade class, while about 4 of his peers talked about if they had a step-parent, or step-sibling, and explaining these thing to the kids there who did not have a blended family.

 

I'm not looking for my son go to school with kids who know their genealogical background to the 6th generation. He has gone to school with kids who are quite different from him, have different names, different ways of speaking, dressing, eating, etc., and I want for him to have that experience again.

 

The school we are looking at is 70% minority. It has significant numbers of Hispanic, Latino, Brazilian, Vietnamese, African, and some Asian students. It is in a working-class neighborhood, that is has many nationals. The parish is heavily family-oriented.

 

With the school you mention, my guess is that the children who come from non-Catholic families will not have anything much in common with the ones who are Catholic, who see each other every Sunday at Mass, and who are in Religious Education classes together, and probably other parish-related activities.
It's probably true that most of the kids there go to the parish. However, I think it is a premature conclusion that non-Catholic kids would have nothing in common with the Catholic families. Are Catholic communities really that insular? IME, they're not. One of my very good friends is Catholic. In fact, we met when our kids attended the ps charter together. She grew up in the sister parish to this church, and she has nothing but good things to say about it to us. I would be really surprised if she sent us somewhere knowing we would not be accepted there.

 

Perhaps people who grew up in one place and attended one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school have long-lasting friendships. For the rest of us, those 12 years of school were just time spent in school, and our real friendships and interactions happened after that...for the rest of our lives.
I don't have contact with many of the friends I had as a kid. I don't regret them at all. I met my best friend when I was in 7th grade. She was my maid of honor at my wedding. She's several states away, and we're still the best of friends. In fact, she became a Christian when I invited her to a church function in the 8th grade. If I hadn't gone to the same school, we'd have never met. I cherish those memories, and fun times.

 

I don't think it's an either/or thing. My parents moved frequently when I was growing up. I had friends in school, and I am building new friendships, as an adult.

 

I want the same for my son. I've always believed that it's a positive thing to have built friendships in many different areas, even if you never get to see those people again.

 

As I said before, you asked your question on a homeschooling forum; of course most of us will think that homeschooling is better. :) But if you want your ds to try the school and see what happens, it couldn't hurt. Many of us have done that and lived to tell about it. :D
Just because this is a hs'ing forum, does not mean all its members universally hold hs'ing to be the best option, all of the time, for everybody. Furthermore, it's a classical hs'ing board--which suggests a penchant for thoughtful analysis, and for considering all the evidence, when discussing different forms of education.

 

I asked the question here because many members here have several kids, with many having some kids hs'd, and others in B&M school. Also, many here have kids with similar health issues to mine. I thought it would be helpful in my own weighing of the balance, to hear different perspectives here. I'm very appreciative of the comments I've received. I'm not looking for a "W00t! Private school all the way, baby!!" or "HS'ing rocks!!" response. The question isn't posed in terms of one educational paradigm versus another; it is asked with a specific child, and a specific family's needs in mind. So, an general pronouncement that most families here are going to say, "HS'ing is best," wouldn't be especially applicable to our situation.

 

It seems to me you're implying I shouldn't have bothered to ask the question, because it's a foregone conclusion that most everyone will agree that we should hs. If that's the case, I don't think that's true, and neither do I think many families here who have different kids being educated in different models would agree.

Edited by Aelwydd
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You need to find him a friend or two. Maybe make that your goal instead of putting his health at risk by having him return to school.

 

Dd is an only. We had about 2.5 years where there was very little socialization outside of dh and I. The place we lived was just horrible when it came to having kids play. Dd found a friend about 9 months into our stay there but the friend moved after about a year. So things were tough. It is a hard situation to be in. And the thing was it wasn't just dd who had no socialization. It was a weird little town :glare:

I sympathize!!

 

So maybe get your ds to invite a buddy or two from hockey. What about the boy scouts? Any family men where dh works? Host a couple families for dinner and make friends. It will take work on your part to provide those opportunities. One of the advantages often cited about homeschooling is having relationships with people of all ages. Not just classmates. You have to make the effort.
DH doesn't work, I'm the working party in this relationship. :D DH does most of the hs'ing now. This is probably part of the problem. You know how weird it is to some hs'ing groups to be a SAHD hs'er?

 

There's one kid on ds' hockey team who is hs'ed. We're trying to get something arranged. His parents seem to have a busy schedule though!

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I have no advice, but I can commiserate when it comes to dealing with an asthmatic child. DS2 has bad asthma - colds/viruses really set it off. He has silent asthma so often he's suffering and we don't realize how badly he's suffering until he starts showing side effects (excessive sleepiness, crankiness, etc) Anyhow, his last day of preschool is today and we have plans to HS him indefinitely. It was an easy decision for us because we had already made the decision to HS my oldest son.

 

If school is where you think he belongs I would check out the catholic schools since they are smaller scale. The ones in my area are great and I wouldn't hesitate to send my kids there... we just happened to prefer the local public school.

 

Does he have other issues where socialization is a big concern for you? There are places other than school where he can socialize with his peers.

 

Thank you! There are other concerns, yes. Very insightful of you. ;)

 

There's a big part of me that's attracted to the private school because of...regimen. Not necessarily academic. We're using k12, it's pretty demanding, let me tell you (he's working on an expository paper this week--in third grade).

 

It's just that, when he's done with his lessons, he's...alone. We can play with him, and do ride bikes, etc. But, he really misses having friends his age he can see and talk to most days. So, he spends a lot of time, either on his computer, or reading, or playing video games. All very singular activities, KWIM?

 

I like the idea of him having to be on a set schedule, wearing a school uniform, having to follow discipline according to someone else's expectations, instead of just ours all the time. Practicing respect and teamwork with his peers and teachers. And even though we're not Catholic, the religious education is nice. Even if we were atheist, it would still be important to understanding 90% of Western culture and history.

 

However, all that said, the benefits to hs'ing:

 

1. Unmatched versatility

2. A more rigorous education, with a humanist bent, according to our own values

3. Health benefits (less exposure to germs)

4. Way less expensive

5. More time spent with our ds.

 

An aside here: today, after logging off this morning, and after my ds' school lessons, ds came down with a fever and aches and pains. First time in literally a year since he's had a fever. No asthmatic symptoms so far, but it's a sobering reminder of what we face when he eventually goes back to a B&M school.

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What would I do in the same situation? My kids are Episcopalian, and I'm Roman Catholic. There's no way I'd put my kids into a school for $5700/year. I don't think that any grade school private education, especially a RC one these days, is worth that kind of money v. what I can provide. I couldn't go above maybe $1,900. But, that's me. I'm very price sensitive! ;)

 

I'm not going to try to sway you one way or the other, though. Almost everyone in my family has homeschooled either K-8 or 9-12 (couple of Olympic level athletes). No one has done it the whole way through yet. Everyone has come out the other end appreciative of both sides of their education. :)

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I'm also in an area where all the HS groups are Christian with a statement of faith, and we're an atheist two-mom family. For that reason, the local Catholic and Christian schools (we have one of each, both K-8) are also out of the question. The nearest secular HS group is 80minutes away. We are "in town" but in a very small city, so there's not a lot here.

 

However, I'm starting my own secular homeschooling group. We're still starting up, but of the 5 families starting out, we have Atheists, Christians, Orthodox Jews, a more mainline Jewish family, and a couple of ethnicities represented, along with our two-mom family. Given the relative diversity (or lack thereof) in my town, this represents WAY more cultural diversity than either a parochial or public school would. Would your husband be interested in organizing a group? It may be a way to get your son around other kids more without dealing with the health issues of sending him to school.

 

That said, I do understand the need for socializing time. Some kids really do need more than their specific environments can provide. However, drawing on my own PS experience, I did not feel that I got much socializing time in PS after about 2nd or 3rd grade. After that it's mostly sit at the desk next to the other kids and listen to teacher time.

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I sympathize!!

 

DH doesn't work, I'm the working party in this relationship. :D DH does most of the hs'ing now. This is probably part of the problem. You know how weird it is to some hs'ing groups to be a SAHD hs'er?

 

There's one kid on ds' hockey team who is hs'ed. We're trying to get something arranged. His parents seem to have a busy schedule though!

Well, then you have the advantage there. You know who has kids and can make the connections yourself. I, on the other hand, have to practically pin dh to the floor to find out info about new people - do they have kids, do they homeschool, etc. :D

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Well my ds got in trouble in prek and K for attempting to socialize. Talking in class was not permitted. :glare:

 

But I understand the dilemma. Where we used to live the Catholic school was the second option after homeschooling, and we're not Catholic.

 

You son is still young enough that you can initiate some of the contact between peers. Can he get involved in any activities in the school without being enrolled?

 

The health issue would override the social issue, imo. What are their attendance policies? If he does have issues, will you jeopardize his enrollment by being out of school?

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We just put our son in a small private school primarily due to lack of social opportunities. When I say lack, I mean *total* lack. So I completely get what you're saying. In my son's case, the private school was good enough and the social issues were bad enough that my concerns about academics were not the primary consideration.

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:iagree: Have you discussed this with ds's doctor?

 

Well, it sounds like you already have decided school is preferable for the most part,and are just concerned about the medical issues. In that case I would suggest you discuss it with your doctor. We can't give advice on that aspect.
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We pulled our kids out of just such a school right before middle school. From what the other moms are telling me, I'm glad we're missing the drama of those years. In our case their socialization is not suffering -- they see their friends at playdates, parties, team sports, etc. (If anything MY socialization is suffering...:lol: )

 

our school DID have standardized testing though -- not sure why they wouldn't do that. Anyway, we're going to keep homeschooling through middle school and then revisit the issue at the high school stage.

 

But oh, the drama!

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I lived in Dallas for 8 years and am familiar with several Catholic schools in the N. Dallas area (and a couple Episcopal ones--Dh was chaplain at St. John's near White Rock Lake :001_smile:). I don't know where exactly you are looking, but IME the RC schools were really pretty good, as far as academics, and also were good about catching any social problems quickly. It was funny to compare $--the Episcopal schools are so darned expensive, and the Catholic schools much cheaper! But still, almost 6K is a lot. That's at least 54K (if every year's tuition stayed the same, up to 18yo) that could go toward college...

 

I think only you can really know what is best. My dd is in school now (ps); she has two older brothers who are out of the home, so she's like an only, so I totally hear you about the socializing. She's loving her class, and next year will be challenging for me, as I will really need to make it a priority to find a good co-op or other group. We are planning on AHG (would do scouts, but I don't like it around here), a lacrosse league (community, not school), time at the local barn (earning riding lessons), Cotillion, and perhaps a class or two. She'll be in 7th grade, but she did go to ps for 3rd grade, so I do understand the age you have.

 

I think you can fill up his time with social outlets, but I'd look for something truly social, like an interactive class (book club, drama, etc.) or a volunteer opportunity you can do as a family where he can meet other kids, or Scouts or a scouting-type activity. Just taking lessons or doing a math class or something like that doesn't set up the socializing aspect as well.

 

One little thing, something that would bug me, but may not bother you or your ds at all--if he's not Catholic, he will be excluded from the Eucharist every time they serve it. He'll probably still be able to go up for a blessing, but I'd just be aware of how he might feel different.

 

Oh, and I'd definitely be tracking peak flows and have a plan if they dip, so you can catch it right away--do you have a great asthma dr and plan of action? (My ds20 has asthma, so I know the protocol. :001_smile:)

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Well, it sounds like you already have decided school is preferable for the most part,and are just concerned about the medical issues. In that case I would suggest you discuss it with your doctor. We can't give advice on that aspect.

 

It's preferable for some reasons, but it's not a foregone conclusion at all. I'm still very much undecided. But I appreciate all the suggestions and advice here. It's giving me food for thought. We can keep trying to find a group to join. I'm going to discuss it again with dh. We've already agreed that if either one of has any reservations about sending him to the school, that we each have veto power.

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I lived in Dallas for 8 years and am familiar with several Catholic schools in the N. Dallas area (and a couple Episcopal ones--Dh was chaplain at St. John's near White Rock Lake :001_smile:). I don't know where exactly you are looking, but IME the RC schools were really pretty good, as far as academics, and also were good about catching any social problems quickly. It was funny to compare $--the Episcopal schools are so darned expensive, and the Catholic schools much cheaper! But still, almost 6K is a lot. That's at least 54K (if every year's tuition stayed the same, up to 18yo) that could go toward college...

 

Yes, the Episcopal ones are freakin' expensive! :tongue_smilie:

 

I think you can fill up his time with social outlets, but I'd look for something truly social, like an interactive class (book club, drama, etc.)
This sounds ideal. However, as someone else noted in this thread, the problems we've had have been getting everyone on a synchronized schedule. Very frustrating.

 

One little thing, something that would bug me, but may not bother you or your ds at all--if he's not Catholic, he will be excluded from the Eucharist every time they serve it. He'll probably still be able to go up for a blessing, but I'd just be aware of how he might feel different.

 

We're aware of that and discussed it. It's not a deal breaker at this point. He does get to receive at our parish with us.

 

Oh, and I'd definitely be tracking peak flows and have a plan if they dip, so you can catch it right away--do you have a great asthma dr and plan of action? (My ds20 has asthma, so I know the protocol. :001_smile:)

 

We have a good ped and a good allergist. We do the peak flows and update the plan every 3 or 4 months at our regular asthma check ups. I'm really hoping he'll "outgrow" his asthma as he gets older. One of the big reasons we put him in hockey and swim and bike a lot--we're trying to grow some strong lungs on him!

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But still, almost 6K is a lot.

 

Oh, and I forgot to say to this: yes, it is a lot of money. It's at least 2 Disney World trips to us.

 

For a follow up thread: How wrong is it of me to measure the value of my son's educational choices in terms of Disney World trips? :lurk5:

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Sounds like you have a difficult decision to make. I have read the other responses and I'm honestly in the send him to the RCC school camp. I have homeschooled for 11 years and am very pro-homeschooling but from the situation you are in I would seriously consider the school. It sounds wonderful with all the diversity and the size.

 

The fact that your husband is the one who homeschools would be a big factor in sending him to school. I imagine it is quite difficult to make good connections since he is the one taking your son to activities. At my children's activities the moms talk and find opportunities for play dates, etc. but the dads (if they come) are off to themselves. I guess it would depend on your husband's personality and if he is comfortable making those connections with the other parents. I know my husband wouldn't be.

 

I understand having a child with a chronic condition. My oldest son has epilepsy and I don't know how well he would do in a B&M school. If he isn't seizing he has lots of energy and focus. When he is seizing a lot the energy, focus, and patience are out the window. I think that is about the only negative you are facing with your son.

 

I hope you get some clarity at the school meeting today. Give us an update when you can :001_smile:

 

God Bless,

Elise in NC

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So, while it is going to have all the usual germy culprits present, (what school doesn't?) it's on a smaller scale than his local (huge) public school would be.

 

Germs are germs. It doesn't matter if there is one person or 100. All you need is that one germ, and going to a "smaller" school isn't, honestly, going to reduce exposure to germs.

 

Tara

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This is one of those questions that's impossible for the Hive to answer. None of us is psychic. ;) You've got to make the best decision you can and go for it.

 

I understand the wavering. My oldest (homeschooled since K) starts high school this fall. Even though he has a younger sib at home, he's really lonely. The 2-day-per-week umbrella he's in does not provide much in the way of friends. We live in a small town and haven't had any luck connecting with people.

 

I've considered sending him to the local p.s. or even chucking down the money for the relatively inexpensive private school a mile down the road. But I just can't decide.

 

One thing I've heard from the Hive that I know is true in my experience is that just because you are around a lot of people every day (at school) doesn't mean that you will have a lot of friends. It could be more opportunities for people to snub you.

 

I agree with all of this (full disclosure--I haven't read past this point; Shari just happened to say everything I was thinking!). I think this is something you can only decide for yourself, based on actual experience with the school and its community of teachers and kids.

 

I understand the wavering as well. I'm not a convicted HSer. If I had $50K a year to spare, my kids would probably be in private school as well (though not RCC, I'm an atheist, so that would be too much for me). And while my DD9 is just about the ideal homeschooled kid (right now, anyway), my DD6 blossoms in a school-type situation in ways that I simply don't see her do at home and with small groups of peers. She is far more willing to work for and learn from outside teachers as well *sigh*

 

But I also understand the need to protect his health, because that same DD6 is in the same boat, healthwise, as your son. Any respiratory illness brings on croup and trouble breathing for at least a week afterward, and we're already sick so often, I can't imagine how much worse it would be if she was in a school situation! I truly believe that if you do put him in school, yes, he will be sick often. That's a definite con :(

 

I also agree that not every small school situation is a warm, inviting one. Many small schools are the kid equivalent of small towns: End up in the wrong one, and you're pretty much on your own anyway, WITH the addition of childhood nastiness. But again, this is something you will only find out by enrolling him.

 

I'm prepared to homeschool through high school if necessary, so I don't foresee expecting to put the girls back in school. But I also don't have the social challenges you seem to. I will also agree with the poster who said that if you decide to keep your son home, your DH may want to start a small group of his own. Yes, it's unusual, but with that info upfront, you'll be attracting HSers who like it or don't think anything of it. My DH was often around for our old playgroup meetings, and he fit right in (sometimes better than I did, actually :lol:). I did start a small group of my own to meet our needs, and most of our social experiences have followed from that. We do travel at least 35 minutes for our co-op and more for many activities, but so do almost all the members (most travel longer to be there, actually). I've just had to accept the fact that for HSers, that's pretty normal in order to stay with the group that fits with what you need. Which was hard, because I HATE to drive and to be away from home for long stretches!

 

Anyway, ultimately, I'm in the "enroll if you feel you need to and see what happens" camp, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it doesn't work for you for a few reasons. I don't think the cost is too much or that it's the wrong option; I do think that it may not meet the needs you hope it will. I hope you find a situation that works for you guys though!

 

Also, off-topic, but has your ped suggested Singulair to you? The frequency with which my DD6 has been sick has decreased dramatically in the few months she's been on it. Previously, it was something like "sick for a week, healthy for two weeks, sick for a week, healthy for two weeks" and so on. Since she started Singulair, she hasn't been the first to get sick once, and she's weathered two family respiratory illnesses (DH works in sales) with barely a symptom--including right this minute! I don't want her to be on it forever, but the ped says that kids often outgrow this, and I'm going to see if going dairy-free can help us as well (I've heard reports to that effect). Just wanted to throw that out there in case it hadn't been mentioned to you!

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When we were at the Catholic school, there were a number of non-RC families there. Although people are aware of that (sometimes) there was really no sense of exclusion at all. It was really a great community (that is the one aspect I miss somewhat). It isn't like the Mass-goers bond better.A nd truth to be told, a lot of the Catholic families DON'T go to Mass regularly, anyway!

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I just wanted to update everybody and let you know again that dh and I appreciate the comments. DH and I discussed the pros and cons of both choices yesterday. He said, "There was one point made by someone on the thread that all the money spent on a private school could be used for home school activities." So, that made an impression on him.

 

We didn't get to visit the school yesterday, since ds came down with a fever the night before, and we had to reschedule for next week. It's the first time he's had a fever since almost exactly one year ago--when he had the flu. He's been that healthy all this time.

 

Given our concerns about ds' health, I'm wondering if the fever is some sort of sign or omen. :tongue_smilie:

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  • 2 months later...
Well, you know, this is a homeschooling forum. Most of us are going to think that homeschooling is better than private schooling. :)

 

As do I. I'd really encourage you to do more research into the whole socialization thing, because unless there are issues that you haven't mentioned, I could not recommend sending a child to school because he needed more time with other children his own age. And there are many opportunties for children to get to know other children under more controlled, positive conditions than spending all day, every day, in a classroom with other children. I'm not referring to homeschool co-ops or sports or anything, either. (I'm not a big fan of those.) I'm thinking more of community-based activities such as 4-H, theater groups, dance or sports, and so on.

 

On a side note, my dd also had what we thought was asthma, also triggered by respiratory infections. I'm thinking now that it could be reactive airway disease (RAD). It isn't apparently a clearly defined condition, but it might still be something to talk to your ds's doctor about.

 

This. I think being w same-aged peers all day and sitting in a desk so many hrs being told to be still and quiet is actually socially harmful.

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We've had a very positive experience sending dd11 to a small private school - I think there are under 180 students, 3yrs to school-leavers. Academically the school seems very similar to what we were achieving at home, and I am very happy with the social values. For me it is just so much easier not having to worry about meeting that particular aspect of education - I struggles to balance the social needs of two children with a wide age gap. There are many unusual aspects to this school though (such as children cleaning the school buildings, being free to arrange educational outings for themselves if it relates to their work, multi-age classrooms), so it meets many of my expectations for life education which a traditional school wouldn't. My advice is to trust your gut. I knew immediately that the school would be a good fit for dd. I am less sure that it will suit ds. The school required parents to sit in on a class before being offered a place - I sat in on each of the classes at dd's level for an hour each, and this was very helpful. Once we were verbally offered a place dd was also required to spend two days as a student as a sort of final confirmation. Again, this was helpful in making our final decision.

Edited by nd293
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I'm in the camp of I will homeschool dd all the way through unless something major would happen that we just couldn't, but that is for us. What others do is up to them.

 

If you are looking for social outlets, you can look for things other than just age appropriate things. There are lots of things out there that have a wide range of ages as in kids to adults that might be opportunities for you. Some of the things I can think of that even your dh might enjoy are ham radio clubs, rc clubs, gun clubs, or what about some of the meetups. When dd gets a little older, I will try to do some of the kayak meetups.

 

I am 6 years older than my brother, so not an only, but there was a huge age difference. I had a few friends in school, but did very little in the way of school related activities growing up. I so enjoyed square dancing that I did it all the way through high school. My parents started doing that when I was pretty young and I got into it because they were. I was about the age of your son when I started. This is also how I met dh. I was also active in church, and in a particular volunteer program. All of my life most of my friends have been a good deal older or a good deal younger then me and that has been fine.

 

I am not saying whether you should put your son into private school or not, i am giving you some ideas for socializing him that he and you dh might both enjoy.

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I would not put my kids in a Catholic school. I'm not Catholic. There is nothing more important to me than my kid's spiritual upbringing, and I wouldn't compromise that by sending them to a school that espouses a religion I don't practice because it was a better financial fit for my family.

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I would not put my kids in a Catholic school. I'm not Catholic. There is nothing more important to me than my kid's spiritual upbringing, and I wouldn't compromise that by sending them to a school that espouses a religion I don't practice because it was a better financial fit for my family.

 

In this case, Catholic and Episcopal are close enough on major doctrine that I doubt it would be a problem. Differences are mainly on hierarchy/church structure, not faith issues.

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What does your son think? I understand it may not be his choice, but does he have a preference?

 

Also - for class ideas - check out the parks and recreation catalogs. We were in Dallas for many years and almost all of our extras came from those catalogs. I know Carrollton and Plano have many, many offerings.

 

Another idea - have your husband jump the gun and invite a fellow hsing family over for dinner when you can all be there. My kids would meet tons of nice people at classes, but if I didn't make the effort in a very determined way to get together outside of class it would never happen. If we meet someone my kids really seem to like I either invite them over for lunch or the whole family for dinner. That might be better if dh is doing the inviting. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes we can't wait for them to leave, but without that effort we end up just passing at classes each week.

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