Friday, February 19, 2010

Let's Talk About School

Alright, school is a huge decision. We put our girls in a private school this past year because our old home was not in a good school district. It was actually a failing district...which is why we moved. Did I ever mention that? I didn't? Let me clarify why we moved...

We didn't move for space, we wanted more space, but we didn't need more space. I loved that little house, and I am forever grateful that we lived in a small living space. It taught me to truly see that a home is a home because of the family inside it, not because of the space, newness, or decorating.

Our 1st priority was the area, and the schools. We searched for a home based on those 2 things. That is why it has taken us a little longer to find a house. We had to find a house we could afford, in an area where the homes weren't typically cheap. Eric and I were prepared to sacrifice the size and age of our home, for an established school district, and a nice area to raise the kids. Space was never our main concern. I always planned on the girls sharing rooms even if we would've moved into a 10 bedroom home. They will share, and they will like it. Ahem.

Sorry, am I rambling? Back to school.

Oh, and for the record since apparently I haven't been clear, we bought an existing home, we aren't waiting on a home to be built. Mercy, that's not where we are right now. I'll let you know when we break ground on our dream the year 2030.

So, we chose our school, prepared for the tuition, and moved forward. And to clarify, it is a Private School - not a Private Christian School. I will share why we made that a different post. If we would have lived in a thriving district, Ella would have started Kindergarten in a Public School. We recently found our new home, in the area we have been waiting for. Praise The Lord. The public schools are, and always have been, fantastic. I am so thankful for that.

The thing is, we have been so happy with this Academy that we sent the girls to this year. The classes were small, the teachers were amazing, the academics were incredible, and it just felt like a family. It will be hard to walk away. The problem? We aren't prepared to afford 5 (or more) children in a private school. With a growing family, the financial commitment every month once they are all in full day just doesn't seem practical.

How do I let it go? How do I accept that Ella will walk into a class of 25 instead of 15? Can I do it? Can I trust the Public schools like I trust our Private school? I know that many of you homeschool and are probably thinking, "just teach them at home, lady!!" But truly, I am unsure that I can do it. I really don't feel like I am cut out for it. It may sound foolish, and maybe it's me just doubting myself. I am however, open to suggestions :).

So can you tell me, how does your family do school? Public, Private, Homeschool? Do you love your school? I would love to hear about what you like, and what you don't like. What your fears were, and how did everything turn out. Did you start one and then end up switching?

Anyone want to share?


Katie@The Baby Factory said...

Obviously I don't have to think about this for awhile, but if I had a gun to my head right now, I'd WANT to send my boys to the Christian school here, with a back thought of possibly home educating, but probably giving the public school an opportunity with close & tight supervision...
*shudder* not looking forward to the day

Machelle said...

I do not have to think about this for a few more years but being a teacher it is always on my mind! (I stay at home with our twins now). I would LOVE to send our girls to a Christian private school but $10,000 a year is just not in our budget and we are trying to get out of debt and stay that way. We currently do not live in a great school district but we pray by the time the girls start we will be more financially ready to purchase a house in a great district in the town we live in. We have great public schools where I live we just need to get into that district. I do feel that schools are liberal and teach some things I do not agree with (once they are out of elementary school) so I do not know how I am going to tackle that yet. I have thought about homeschooling since I am a teacher but I do not think I would have the patience for it. Sounds stupid that a teacher can not teach her own kids but I really do not think I can. I can handle other kids ok when it comes to teaching but I do not think I would be a great one for our girls. Just a personal thing. I also think that the socialization is important thus sending kids to school helps with that. I know home schooled kids do great and have conferences to meet other home school kids but I am not 100% sure that is my cup of tea. I say, just pray about it and your answer will come in His time. School is a hard decision. It really is sad how our nations schools are not in a great position and fail at a good education. It is up to the parents to pick up on their slack and it should not be this way. I wish all public schools were A schools and had great teachers but this is not the case. You have to make yourself comfortable and do what you know is best for your girls. Ok, I wrote a book! So sorry!

Sarah said...

I'm not quite at the "school age" with my girls yet, but I was homeschooled all the way and I am totally thankful for it. I most definitely plan on homeschooling mine, but I KNOW it will be really hard sometimes. It will take a lot of patience and selflessness.

An important thing that I remind myself is that if God gave me these children to raise and to teach, then He will equip me to do it. It doesn't mean I'll be able to teach every thing well, but I love that in the homeschooling community one mom or dad may teach a science class or I can have a friend tutor my children in math should they need it.

I know it is a big decision, and it can be a really hard one to make. I will be praying for you and your husband as you make this decision.

Also, I highly recommend the book "When You Rise Up".

Jessica said...

Hey Kate -
We actually live in a district that is failing and we applied for the Ohio Ed Chioice grant. If the district you are living in is can apply for the grant...and if you are can chose any private school in the area to send your kids to. We have been sending Ty and Maddie to a Christian school and we LOVE it!! We also love that instead of $10,000 a year we are only paying about $35 a month per child. I am not sure where you are moving to...but if they even have one failing school in the district...I am pretty sure you can apply. I also know that the school we go to REALLY works with families for financial aid...especially if there are multiple children in the family. Let me know if you want any info.

Tina Michelle said...

My Chaz goes to a great public school. We moved just before he started school into a neighborhood we felt had a great school district. Now we are stuck again though. We want him to go to a particular middle and high school but our house is zoned for the other middle and high that we do not want. We just did not look at the high school when moving into this house so we have a year to get out of this house and find one so he can go to the middle/high we want.

I could not homeschool. I am not cut out for it. My husband would not be supportive of it at all and it would not be worth it to cause a rift between us. I also do not think I am smart enough to homeschool. I get lost in his homework sometimes and think wow I would never think to teach him that! I really appreciate those moms who can homeschool and do it well. It is amazing to learn from them I am just not one of them.

We considered private but we just could not afford that at all.

Laurel said...

"just teach them at home, lady."

:) :) :)

Laurel said...

Just have to tell you ...

my husband was a teacher for 21 years. Now he is a pastor. He taught at 3 different private Christian schools, before heading over to teach in the public school system.

As a former teacher at several different Christian schools ... he would NEVER send our children to a Christian school. No way. Wouldn't want our kids there.

In a nutshell ... the politics of it ... the wealthy (clique) attitudes of the kids ... the large amount of troubled kids that are sent there because they were causing trouble in the public schools ... NOT a place that we want our children to be.

Lots more to share, but wanted to throw this out there.

mama of 13

Miss said...

Well, now that I am an EXPERT ;) b.c I have done both homeschool and public school, I will share my opinions:

I LOVED homeschooling. In many ways
But it was HARD. In many ways
Not the actual teaching, but arranging my day round it so she really learned and I really taught.
Now that I have 2 in school it was obvious that it was going to b really hard to homeschool with the number of other small children we have....
I could tell it would be hard to stay focused on the school children b.c of the distractions of the other children (and no matter how hard I try, they just NEVER ALL nap at the same time)

So...this year they are in public school. Its a year round school (which I LOVE) and the class sizes are a BIT smaller (20 kids vs 30)

I have LOVED having my kids in school. I didn't expect that. I assumed I would spend this entire year feeling sad that I was no longer teaching them and that I had failed b.c I couldn't do it anymore

BUT, I am finding that I LOVE the time I get with my smaller kids...LOVE it!

Plus, my kids are really liking it...they love the kids the teachers the activities.

Even Tate, who claims he doesn't like school actually likes it (turns out he was having a hard time concentrating so he was frustrated...but he now works alone which he LOVES and has made a huge difference)

So, I have loved both...for many reasons.
Homeschooling IS NOT for everyone. You have to REALLY WANT To do it...and even then its hard. So, don't feel bad if you don't feel its for you. This is your kids' education after all. If you don't think you can physically, mentally or academically commit...then let the ones trained to teach do the teaching =)

Delena said...

We started at an awesome private school but couldn't afford to send (only) three, so we found ourselves homeschooling. At first it was b/c I was kinda afraid the "dreaded public schools" but I found that I really enjoyed having them home. Let me clarify ITS NOT EASY! I threaten all the time to send them to public school. And then they cry. ;) God will lead your steps and make them clear. Who knows where you'll end up, and just b/c you start somewhere doesn't mean you'll stay there. I know a fam who changes from year to year. You'll be okay. :) And I agree with Laurel's first comment. ;) But I only have three. And they REALLY drive me crazy sometimes so I can REALLY see why you'd consider something else.

Anonymous said...

We still have a year to go, but we still have not decided where to put them for kindergarten. We can leave them at their current school, or we can move them to one of three Christian Academies or a charter public school.

All have their good and bad points.

mandbrid said...

I love our public school! I think it's in part because the parents are REALLY involved. The teachers here welcome the parents to come as often as possible. Perhaps if you volunteer at least once a week in their classes (maybe choose one day and split it between the two or three classes) you would feel more at ease.
You know I totally "get" not feeling up to homeschooling. I don't think it's fair for anyone to judge those who do homeschool or those who choose public or private. I feel that as long as you are involved and present in your girls lives that everything will be ok.
Good luck to you as you make your tough decisions.

Jennifer said...

Time devoted to prayer!!

Each year we pray about school. We are a homeschooling family. Lately, Jonathan and I feel like we have been bombarded with reinforcement that this is where our family needs to be. God is using this time (and me) to instill a strong foundation for our kids, building their character and helping them to learn. We are amazed at what they are learning and how much time we have left in the day to just be kids!

It is a decision that Jonathan and I feel is right for OUR family. It's not for everyone. And if you really feel strongly about the school that the girls are already attending, maybe you should see about scholarships or other ideas for affording it. With God all things are possible, right!??!!!!

heather@it'stwinsanity said...

What do you feel God is calling you to do? For us, I have always felt (since before having children) that God was leading me to teach my children at home. And even now, with 6 little ones and no husband, I'm making it work. It's a challenge, for sure, but it's definitely worth it. If you think you may be headed toward homeschooling, don't doubt yourself. If I can do it, so can you. My life is insane right now but doing school together is sometimes the only peaceful family time we have together. (And no, it's not always peaceful!) But really, it's not as hard as you might think. Especially since you'll have 5 girls in only 3 different grades! (Trust me!) :)

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Kate, well you know I homeschool my four. I honestly enjoy it. I think what helps us is that we have a schedule and pretty much stick to it. My children KNOW what to expect each day and what work they will be doing each day. Even my daughter who is 3 has learned to get out her babies and play quietly when we are having lessons.
One big bonus is this...we start at 9:00 my younger boys are done with all work (except what I need to read with about 30-45min worth of science or history) by 11:00. My oldest (13) works about 3/4ths of his work independently. We have a one hour lunch break and then finish about 2:00-2:30 depending on the day.
A typical 1st grader could finish all school and then some in 2 hours when homeschooling. I find that liberating!
As for socializing, since that is a big debate, I will just say that I don't feel uncomfortable with the type of socializing that accompanies a PS system. We by no means are hermits, though. My children are able to communicate with all ages from babies to adults. Which I believe makes them more well rounded.
I guess I've rambled on enough! But, I would like to say whatever your choice is I know you will do what is best for your family.

Faith said...

SUCH a difficult decision. I homeschooled one year. Then we sent our two oldest children to the public school, this is their second year and while it hasn't been perfect, it has been without a doubt the best decision for our family. My children have done well academically and socially.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of three grown children, including a set of twins. I am also a teacher at a private, Catholic school. Although I am a staunch proponent of private education, please not agonize one more minute about sending your children to schools in a quality, public school system. They will be just fine and will thrive academically and socially in a quality system. Enjoy them when they are young; they will be grown before you know it.

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

Our older two spent their first couple of years in a very nice public school before I felt very called to bring them home for school. (We also toured the school at our church, but it just wasn't the right fit for us.)

It hasn't been easy to have them at home. There are definitely times where I wish I could still put them on the bus and be able to catch up on everything. But, I wouldn't do it if I really was deciding again. They have grown so much while at home. The more individualized instruction has really helped them to bloom.

My third grader was held back (at our request though) in kindergarten because his teacher the first year kept saying how much he was struggling, and he really seemed to be. According to the public school now, he would be in 2nd grade. Instead, we have him in 3rd grade. They just tested his reading (the school -- long story on that) and after a year and a half at home, he has gone from below average to reading at a fifth grade level! WooHoo!