Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back to Local Public Elementary?

So we went to talk to the principal of Local Public Elementary about the possibility of sending Younger Daughter there.  I told her up front that Younger Daughter has behavior issues that were causing problems at Natural Friends, and that Natural Friends wanted us to have her tested and possibly get a 1:1 aide to "shadow" her during the school day.

The public school principal was very welcoming, and laid out all kinds of possibilities for evaluating our Younger Daughter and providing the support she might need.  It is amazing how many people and resources they have for these issues.  As my sainted husband remarked, "special ed is what they do."  I think they were happy to see us because we can keep a bunch of their people employed for another year.

Would Local Public Elementary be good for Younger Daughter next year?  I honestly don't know.  They think they can handle her issues, but that doesn't mean I would like their proposed solutions.

Would Natural Friends be good for Younger Daughter next year?  I don't know the answer to that either.

Here's the bottom line: if Natural Friends is about as good as the public school, then the public school is the better choice.   If Natural Friends is somewhat better than the public school, then the public school is the better choice.  The only way Natural Friends can be the better choice is if it is so much better than the public school that it's worth the tuition.

I used to think we were shelling out the big bucks for Younger Daughter to attend Natural Friends because she's happy there.  Recently, though, she's become extremely anxious and phobic about attending school, so that argument is starting to fall apart. 

I know we're not sending Younger Daughter to Natural Friends for the academics, which are frankly terrible.  The math program is embarrassing, and the reading program isn't so hot either.  I keep coming back to an offhand remark that the first-grade teacher made during our last meeting; she said that Younger Daughter was not up to grade level for reading, and that she would need tutoring, but that was true for several kids in the first grade.  What the ...?  They've only got eleven kids!  If several of them will need extra tutoring, that's a quarter of the class!  Gee ... maybe it's time to re-evaluate your teaching methods? 

Increasingly, I feel that all our school options for Younger Daughter are crummy, so we might as well go with the one that doesn't drain our bank account.  That would be the public school.

The only good news is that we don't have to make a decision for several months yet.


  1. I never thought where my kids went to school would be such a hard decisions and I often wonder if my mother even had such thoughts about where we went to school. We have run into the opposite problem with our DD who not super gifted is definitely bored with what's going on in the classroom. Along with the horrible Everyday Math our local public school was using we also got the pleasure of Fundations being part of the regular curriculum. Yes, every student, even those reading grade levels above, get to spend time every day tapping/sounding out word after word.....I would be bored to death too. We have been lucky enough to find a great charter school not to far away that we got into and although not perfect, DD hasn't complained about being bored. I'm thankful we have the option of a charter and while they are not all successful we happen to have a great one that is a small community that values the kids. We haven't experienced anything like the KIPP stories. Just a real community of parents and teachers that want something better for the kids. Hope you can find a place that works for your DD.

  2. Does she have to go all day? Can she do part day somewhere else/home, or is that too much? Wondering with her anxiety if starting out with a little and building UP might work.

    Elf will be in sixth grade next year. I have homeschooled him for nearly five years. My husband says it is time to give the school another try. We will see. We might wind up pulling him after a week, or it might work out great. It realllly depends on the staff and what they're willing to do. Let's not fool ourselves that it really depends on the IEP, you know???

    Anyway. In sort of the same boat here, but if it doesn't work I can always pull him. Will continue hs-ing Emperor (age 9) next year.

  3. Wow, I've never considered home-schooling Younger Daughter. She's very high-energy.

    Younger Daughter only has a few more weeks at Natural Friends in any case. We're taking the kids out of school early to travel. We'll be doing some home-schooling in May and June, so we can see how that goes.

  4. Oh, and @Wendy, thank you for your kind thoughts.

    Where we live, it's either standard-issue public or private -- no charter schools. On the other hand, once your kid is labeled "special ed" there's a whole range of people and programs that might apply.

  5. I feel your pain, FedUpMom. We have very few private options here in Iowa City. Most of them don't strike me as much more appealing than the publics, and none of them seems appealing enough to justify the tuition (times three!) -- especially when we should be putting more aside for college as it is.

    I'd love to homeschool/unschool, but I'm not sure I could convince my wife, and there are all kinds of logistical challenges, and there's not much point thinking about it since neither of us is willing to give up a career to do it. I see homeschooling as the most expensive form of education -- you don't pay tuition, but you give up an income. On the other hand, I think you may get what you pay for.