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Freya

Sending my child to public-ish school = struggling!

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My daughter is tired of homeschooling and last year was a disaster, academically. She was very unhappy and unmotivated. The last two years were actually very unpleasant. The homeschooling community where we live is very disconnected and it seems that no amount of effort will get anything going. She's lonely and she wants to spends more time with other kids, which I get. There are a few kids in the neighborhood that she plays with, but that's it.

She's actually pretty excited about starting public school -- it's me who's having the problems. I think I'm going to hate my new job description. I've already spent so much time filling out forms, shopping for school supplies that we would never need for homeschooling, trying to sort out where we are supposed to be on which days, shopping for uniforms (searching for that elusive pair of pants that will both fit my daughter properly and meet the school's requirements) and gym shoes, e-mailing the school with questions.

We have to pay a small fortune for uniforms -- (some pieces you have to order from their supplier and some, like the pants, you can get elsewhere). Who buys $85 skirts for their kids?! I mean, really. And they are supposed to be hand washed, dry cleaned, or machine washed on gentle cycle without any other garments. Obviously the people who made these things have never met a kid. Then, there's also the fact that everything looks like a sack when you put it on and makes my daughter cry.

And we have to pay a small fortune for the school itself. The free public school in our area is full of drugs and doesn't seem like a good option. None of the public schools here are good academically. I've looked at some of the curriculum and understand why people come out of school not being able to write a proper sentence. The curriculum at this school is the same as everywhere else, but the kids seem an awful lot nicer, so it seemed to be the only feasible option. 

Also, in order to be accepted into the school, we had to sign a document saying that we would not question anything the school does academically. I signed it because she needed to get into the school, but I am perfectly prepared to disregard the fact that I signed it if I have something to say. Do they think we live in North Korea? I pay their wages. I think they forgot that.

I'm so frustrated and discouraged. I don't want to spend time making lunches and driving there and back for an hour or more each day and putting time into compulsory volunteering at the school. Homeschooling is so much easier, really. I enjoy preparing for school and planning curriculum. I enjoy teaching my daughter. All of this stuff I now have to put my time into, I hate doing. My daughter's social needs are important and, emotionally, she is done homeschooling so I can't force her to stay homeschooled (I guess I could, but it wouldn't produce any positive results). I don't want to give up control of her education to a system that I believe is doing a terrible job educating kids. We all have to make sacrifices for our kids, but the ones I'm having to make now are not sitting well with me.

I just want to cry! Anyone been through this?

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Gently, suck it up buttercup. You are clearly unhappy about this (or mourning the change) but thousands of parents have gone before us and survived. Your dd wants this and you’ve agreed to it, so support her (& your own decision).

3/4 of mine are in public school this year. (Last year 1 was.) 

 

 

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I'm so sorry. I haven't been in your shoes, but it does sound like you are selecting the best option from what you have available. I have been in places where it is difficult to get homeschoolers together for any sort of regular thing though - and that stinks. 

(((hugs)))

I hope the school experience turns out better than you expect. 

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That's such a rough place to be in. (((hugs))) Here's hoping that once you both get into the school year, that you'll start experiencing all of the "silver lining" and advantages of this different educational option.

Also, what about looking into something that uses the skills and strengths that YOU have developed over the years of homeschooling -- can you volunteer in the classroom, or be a volunteer tutor at the school? Or what about signing up to be a parent advisor or assistant for an after-school club or community group that your DD might enjoy being a part of -- examples: 4-H, Youth & Gov't, speech & debate club, book club, etc. Esp. something that allows you to use you interests and strengths in researching and planning, or teaching a "curriculum" -- some of the 4-H projects do that, for example.

Hoping the school year quickly turns around from being a sad and frustrating experience, to one where you can both find joy and meaningful work in the new school environment. Wishing you all the BEST! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.

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Focus on the positive, and I think you will find a lot of positive if you are open to it.

Good luck.

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,You certainly are dealing with more difficult issues than most PS parents deal with. $85 on a non machine wash skirt would anger me. That's not publicly accessible.

That said... No advice other than, like many families, you could move to an area where people support public neighborhood schools without dress codes, without so many forms. Like in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. I don't know if such areas exist everywhere in the US but we can't be in the only one.

Also, the forms are usually one-time only. We updated ours when they moved to a new system but other than that we usually only fill one medical form per year. 

Re: the not questioning: if it is truly public they can't kick you out for questioning them. Is this charter with public funds or what? How do they get away with charging so many fees?

We pay through property taxes. But it goes to the community and they can't kick us out.

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Thanks for all your thoughts. I really appreciate it. This is just a trying time ... I don't mean to sound so negative, but I am so frustrated and discouraged that I needed to vent. 

I wish we could move -- I've thought of that -- but we are a blended family, which means that we are pretty well stuck where we are until the kids are grown up. It would be nice to get all parties to agree on moving to the same place and to be able to find work for everyone who needs it, but, sadly, that is pretty well impossible. Therefore, we will have to make do with what we have here.

The school my daughter is going to doesn't really fit neatly into any category. It's sort of like a charter school. The education part is funded by the government, but the building and grounds are not. Hence, the fees. It's a school that didn't find support from the local school board, in spite of the fact that they follow the public curriculum, and joined another board that is outside of our area. It's complicated. 

I do hope that it will turn out well. I expect that my daughter will settle in faster than I will, because (ahem) it's me who is having attitude problems. I guess it's better me than her, because at least she's more likely to be happy with the changes.

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17 hours ago, Freya said:

And we have to pay a small fortune for the school itself. The free public school in our area is full of drugs and doesn't seem like a good option. None of the public schools here are good academically. I've looked at some of the curriculum and understand why people come out of school not being able to write a proper sentence.

 

That sounds like the public schools here.  Ours are drugs + overcrowded + the kids can't read/write/spell.

Maybe you can keep working on the possibility of moving to another school district?  If you don't like the ps, your extended family probably doesn't, either.

Sorry you're having a hard time.  I would be frustrated, too. (You had me on your side at "$85 uniform skirt")

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Can you focus on the positives? Will you have time in the day to start a hobby or exercise? I love the series of Yoga with Adriene. When faced with a tough situation that you don't like, give yourself to adjust. Get audio books to listen to in the car that really helps the commute better for me. 

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I get the blended family thing. We are very lucky to be stuck where we are.

Maybe you can put in time in the name of public good to get them to tone down the mandatory uniform requirements. I don't see anything wrong with an $85 skirt for those who can afford it but asking that there be a generic department store option for all families to ensure accessibility seems reasonable and doable. Often in private schools you get ultra rich people who have no experience with management, public services, education or anything at all actually, running committees for free. Because it is time intensive to run a school so they rely on volunteers.

It can be easier than you think to get them to accept alternatives for good publicity. That said sometimes you just end up so sorry you got involved because people can also be incredibly controlling and ungrateful.

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Well hopefully when she gets settled in she'll be very happy! It could happen. Enrolling in school at some point is on the table with my ds, and I've thought that even with my own qualms or concerns, if he were HAPPY there I'd probably chill out and be fine. So I hope that happens for you and all is well! :)

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I so get where you are coming from.   My situation is a little different than yours in that I've always had my two oldest in public school (and we have good schools in my area where they have been thriving)...but for the last four years I have homeschooled my youngest, and this year we decided to send him back to school.   I loved homeschooling him, but for various reasons this was I think the best choice.

But this is so different than sending my other kids to school was.   The anxiety over how he'll do is so much higher (thankfully, seems to be going well so far).   There's a pile of stuff I had bought "to do later" that is still in my house and I'm wondering how much I can do in summer with him.   I'm still in a bunch of homeschool groups (like this one) and have not been able yet to make myself opt out of any (even though when local homeschool events pop up on my feed it only makes me sad that we can't participate anymore...unlike your situation we have a vibrant homeschool community here).  

Already, long before this decision, I found that homeschooling my youngest made me much more critical and "meddlesome" about things my other kids were asked to do.   I challenged how much homework my middle schooler had when we moved to a new school,  I have already this year offered my oldest an alternative text for history after groaning over how boring his textbook was compared to some of the material I was covering on the same era with my youngest.   So, yeah, I get it.   No advice yet, but...

I noticed they have "clubs" here, and I was really thinking of starting one for homeschoolers who are now public or private schooling their children...just to chat about this part of the journey.     I feel like I need to talk to people going through this same transition.   Would you like to join if I started that here?

 

Edited by goldenecho

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On 9/2/2018 at 6:24 AM, Evanthe said:

Maybe you can keep working on the possibility of moving to another school district?  If you don't like the ps, your extended family probably doesn't, either.

I wish that was true. One of the decision-making parties doesn't value education at all and wouldn't be interested in moving somewhere with better schools. Blended families complicate things so much.

23 hours ago, Tsuga said:

Maybe you can put in time in the name of public good to get them to tone down the mandatory uniform requirements. I don't see anything wrong with an $85 skirt for those who can afford it but asking that there be a generic department store option for all families to ensure accessibility seems reasonable and doable. Often in private schools you get ultra rich people who have no experience with management, public services, education or anything at all actually, running committees for free. Because it is time intensive to run a school so they rely on volunteers.

It can be easier than you think to get them to accept alternatives for good publicity. That said sometimes you just end up so sorry you got involved because people can also be incredibly controlling and ungrateful.

I agree. If someone wants to spend $85 on a skirt for their child, my blessings to them. I, however, am not one of those people. I just can't afford that.

I've thought about challenging the uniform policy but am afraid that I will just be seen as the new troublemaker. As much as she hates the uniforms, my daughter has begged me to not say anything because she doesn't want everyone at her new school to dislike us, and I get that because being the new kid in a relatively small school is a precarious position to be in. I'm usually not one to just sit and take things as they come; rather, I'm usually pretty happy to rock the boat as needed but I also don't want to make my daughter's experience miserable by turning the staff against our family. I've carefully put a brief thought or two out there to one of the people in charge just to test the waters and have been either ignored or shut down quite quickly. While I have no idea how the families feel about the uniforms, I'm getting the sense that the administrators are quite attached to the status quo. That said, it might be worth persisting because affordable options do seem like they would be for the common good. And they would certainly be good for my bank account. 

My husband has visited a few times at a local charter school, which also has uniforms, and he noticed that a lot of the kids were wearing clothes that looked 2 sizes too big for them and that they were quite dirty by the end of the week. Now he understands why. If you don't want to do laundry constantly and you can't afford to spend $1000 on a full week's worth of uniform pieces, I guess that's the next best alternative.

3 hours ago, goldenecho said:

Already, long before this decision, I found that homeschooling my youngest made me much more critical and "meddlesome" about things my other kids were asked to do.   I challenged how much homework my middle schooler had when we moved to a new school,  I have already this year offered my oldest an alternative text for history after groaning over how boring his textbook was compared to some of the material I was covering on the same era with my youngest.   So, yeah, I get it.   No advice yet, but...

I noticed they have "clubs" here, and I was really thinking of starting one for homeschoolers who are now public or private schooling their children...just to chat about this part of the journey.     I feel like I need to talk to people going through this same transition.   Would you like to join if I started that here?

.I can totally see how homeschooling would make you more meddlesome about what your kids were being asked to do in school. I can see that in my future. I don't want to be the parent who drives all the teachers nuts, but, at the same time, I care deeply about my daughter's education and if I see things I don't like it will be really, really hard to be quiet about it.

Sure, I'd be game to join a club for the transitioning people. It sounds like it might be a really valuable thing.

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With the uniform thing you might find once you make connections to people in the school that there is a thriving hand me down or resale movement going on so it won’t always cost that much.  If they are good quality they should last through several kids.

other than that just sympathy.  I think being a homeschool mum becomes an identity and it’s pretty hard when it’s over whether because the school years are over or because of a change of plan.  

Hopefully it all works out for the best.

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With the uniform thing you might find once you make connections to people in the school that there is a thriving hand me down or resale movement going on so it won’t always cost that much.  If they are good quality they should last through several kids.

other than that just sympathy.  I think being a homeschool mum becomes an identity and it’s pretty hard when it’s over whether because the school years are over or because of a change of plan.  

Hopefully it all works out for the best.

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7 hours ago, Freya said:

I wish that was true. One of the decision-making parties doesn't value education at all and wouldn't be interested in moving somewhere with better schools. Blended families complicate things so much.

I agree. If someone wants to spend $85 on a skirt for their child, my blessings to them. I, however, am not one of those people. I just can't afford that.

I've thought about challenging the uniform policy but am afraid that I will just be seen as the new troublemaker. As much as she hates the uniforms, my daughter has begged me to not say anything because she doesn't want everyone at her new school to dislike us, and I get that because being the new kid in a relatively small school is a precarious position to be in. I'm usually not one to just sit and take things as they come; rather, I'm usually pretty happy to rock the boat as needed but I also don't want to make my daughter's experience miserable by turning the staff against our family. I've carefully put a brief thought or two out there to one of the people in charge just to test the waters and have been either ignored or shut down quite quickly. While I have no idea how the families feel about the uniforms, I'm getting the sense that the administrators are quite attached to the status quo. That said, it might be worth persisting because affordable options do seem like they would be for the common good. And they would certainly be good for my bank account. 

My husband has visited a few times at a local charter school, which also has uniforms, and he noticed that a lot of the kids were wearing clothes that looked 2 sizes too big for them and that they were quite dirty by the end of the week. Now he understands why. If you don't want to do laundry constantly and you can't afford to spend $1000 on a full week's worth of uniform pieces, I guess that's the next best alternative.

.I can totally see how homeschooling would make you more meddlesome about what your kids were being asked to do in school. I can see that in my future. I don't want to be the parent who drives all the teachers nuts, but, at the same time, I care deeply about my daughter's education and if I see things I don't like it will be really, really hard to be quiet about it.

Sure, I'd be game to join a club for the transitioning people. It sounds like it might be a really valuable thing.

You're being a good sport. I accept a lot but I also have a line a draw and then I will fight for everyone. The ultra expensive uniform would be over the line if public funds are being spent. I think I own one piece of clothing that cost more than $85 and that is my one suit, which I use for job interviews.

However if I were you I too would respect my daughter's wishes.

Maybe after a year or two, suggesting an additional option would not be seen as combative?

I live in Seattle so it must be different but I think a lot of people here would flip out at $150 for a school outfit--maybe for competitive select sports? Even the whole lacrosse kit AND stick were around $90 together. You could spend more but that was optional.

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DD attended K the first year of a new uniform at a parochial school, and the uniform jumper was about that. It was probably at least $100 per outfit, and for a kinder, they’re probably going to spill something on it daily.  There had been a resale market the year before (when she didn’t have to wear the uniform) and I suspect the year after,  but that first year, ouch-and that ended up being our first and last year in PS. 

 

 

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Ds11 attends a NZ public school.  The new principal has just changed the sweatshirt from a $24 one to a $98 one and the shirt from $22 to $38.  A lot of people object not only to the cost but the one year  changeover and the removal of second hand options but  honestly it is not worth fighting as it wouldn't help and may rebound on your kid.

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I’m floored by those uniform prices. Kids here mostly wear uniforms, but it’s khaki pants or skirt (any) with a polo shirt with the school logo. I know they’re super cheap. There is a cute skirt/jumper thing for the girls in plaid but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere near that much - a friend’s dd had it and said the uniforms made clothes cheaper, actually. There are also hoodies/sweatshirts and sweatpants. Also inexpensive. What you’re describing is bonkers.

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A couple of my kids are in charter schools with uniforms. For my high schooler, total cost of all uniform items was about $250. My 5th grader was less--generic slacks and polos from Wal-Mart for under $10 each.

Edited by maize

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Can you check ebay for uniform pieces?  Maybe search your local craigslist for "school uniform" too.

Have to say, I love uniforms and would be more open minded toward our local schools if they used uniforms.  I can't believe what the kids wear to school, from very racy little girl's clothes to pajamas... so distracting.

I actually had my homeschooled kids wear uniforms for a couple years.  My daughter was going through a stage of trying on like 5 outfits in the morning and taking forever, so I just bought polos, pants and jumpers from Old Navy, so they knew what to put on every day.  Also, I felt it put them in school mode and got them into a routine.

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I agree with trying to find used on ebay or similar.  You might get lucky.

Otherwise I would just buy 1 skirt and make kid wear it all year.

When I was a kid, all the Catholic schools required wool uniform skirts / jumpers for the girls.  It was expensive, but people viewed it as part of the cost of going to a better school.

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HI ~ I'm new to the boards and just seeing this - how is she liking the school? How are you doing?

We have the opposite situation - my kids were at a private school for 7 years! We are now homeschooling and it is the best for us.  However, I think there are many excellent private schools. Elementary was great but at middle school the drama, drama, drama just got too much for us.  

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On 9/23/2018 at 6:05 PM, Rachel428 said:

HI ~ I'm new to the boards and just seeing this - how is she liking the school? How are you doing?

We have the opposite situation - my kids were at a private school for 7 years! We are now homeschooling and it is the best for us.  However, I think there are many excellent private schools. Elementary was great but at middle school the drama, drama, drama just got too much for us.  

Well, the adjustment hasn't been very smooth so far. My daughter thinks it's okay, but she is also thinking that she'd like to return to homeschooling next year. The kids are nice enough, she says, but she doesn't really connect with anyone there. I'ts been a bit disappointing. It's a small school with little turn over, so that is unlikely to change. If nothing else, this year will help us to see what we love about homeschooling. We'll see how it works out as the year goes on. Plus, having to do 186 math questions when she gets it after 5 is a bit tedious.

As for me, I'm finding it exhausting. Between the driving, washing uniforms, making lunches and filling out forms, I'm spending close to the same amount of time on getting my daughter to school as I did on educating her at home. I have some flexibility in my time during the day, which means that even though I have a lot to do, I can take a day off and relax without the world collapsing. I guess that's good, because I'm tired. In a lot of ways, I find homeschooling way easier.

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14 hours ago, Freya said:

Well, the adjustment hasn't been very smooth so far. My daughter thinks it's okay, but she is also thinking that she'd like to return to homeschooling next year. The kids are nice enough, she says, but she doesn't really connect with anyone there. I'ts been a bit disappointing. It's a small school with little turn over, so that is unlikely to change. If nothing else, this year will help us to see what we love about homeschooling. We'll see how it works out as the year goes on. Plus, having to do 186 math questions when she gets it after 5 is a bit tedious.

 As for me, I'm finding it exhausting. Between the driving, washing uniforms, making lunches and filling out forms, I'm spending close to the same amount of time on getting my daughter to school as I did on educating her at home. I have some flexibility in my time during the day, which means that even though I have a lot to do, I can take a day off and relax without the world collapsing. I guess that's good, because I'm tired. In a lot of ways, I find homeschooling way easier.

 

Thanks for the response!  I votes if she wants to do homeschooling then year, then definitely do it.   Truthfully maybe in January  

Also about not really "connecting" with anyone there..... I'm not sure her age, but to be honest,in my situation, it took us planning playdates, etc.  You might have her her pick a couple of friends and meet at a paitn your own pottery place (if you can afford it) or go to a trampoline park, or better yet, invite them over for manicures, play board games whatever.  However, I have boys - and I know that the drama is worse with the girls than the boys of course..........

Two things I didn't like about private school; 1) Fundraising, fundraising, and just when you think you're done, there's another fundraiser on the way.  Remember you can always so no to fundraising, which we didn't plenty of times. 2) They will ask parents to volunteer for things like lunch/playground duty - feel free to say no, however, that does help you meet the other kids.

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