You might say I am an expert in educational options for my children.
I have done it all: private school, public school, special education in public school, mainstreaming a special needs child in public school and yes, I have homeschooled all three children at some point or another.
There are pros and cons in all of these options.
I would not want to home school my children all the way through simply because I am a much happier Mama when I am not with my children 24/7. There, I admitted it. My children continue to be self taught at home, anyway, and I take them on all sorts of educational outings, it just isn’t “official”. Samuel learns so much by being curious and researching it is incredible.
Katherine, my eldest, went to private Christian school for kindergarten through second grade. I wouldn’t have elected to change this but our income went down, drastically, and I couldn’t afford it. We live in a school district that is very poor – even though we live in a nice neighborhood – and I swore I didn’t want my children in that district.
Now I work on several high profile committees in that same district I thought shouldn’t include my children.
My EuroAmerican children have been the minority for most of their schooling and I am glad it is that way. They appreciate diversity and value people of every ethnicity, culture and belief. They know discrimination because they have felt it, being in the minority.
All three children spent time at a particular Performing Arts Magnet School during elementary school. I was thrilled with Katherine there, slightly less thrilled for Emma and when Samuel was in kindergarten they broke education code… because they had administrators who were clueless and somehow have kindergarten teachers who don’t recognize the symptoms of autism.
I ended up withdrawing Samuel for a semester and homeschooling him until we got the IEP process complete for him and got him the Free, Appropriate, Public Education he was supposed to receive all this time and didn’t.
He was in a fulltime special ed placement for the first semester and then we started mainstreaming which has mostly been successful. He starts sixth grade in a week and it frightens me. Hormones and testiness… with special needs added, I am not sure how this will go.
He also attends an after school social program which has been excellent for him. I just wish hope pray he can generalize those social skills in “the outside of autism world.”
East Bakersfield was the high school for both girls. Emma is going to be a sophomore. Katherine is a Junior at prestigious (back to private) Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, after graduating fifth in her class. She is spending the Fall semester at University of Edinborough so we are adding international education to the mix.
Emma is doing very well at this (what my girls call “ghetto”) school. She is in the most advanced choir, drama and journalism. She is well liked and her social slip ups in middle school which lead me to home school her during middle school have faded.
At the start of last year she cried every day after school.
This year she couldn’t WAIT to get back to school for her choir camp. She is well loved by many.
With all this said, I would advise parents of all things: before you judge a particular mode of education, check it out thoroughly.
Don’t be dismissive “just because.”
If you choose public or private school, be a known entity on campus. Instead of immediately getting angry at the teacher or administrators, treat them with respect. This was tough for me because… not to brag… but I am an intelligent, well read Mommy. I am not a passive, “Oh, I don’t know anything” parent who can get pushed around.
On that note – don’t allow them to push you or your child around! NEVER EVER!
No child is a cog in a wheel. Each child is unique and is entitled by law to have a free, appropriate public education. If you elect to home school, look into online options which offer some instruction beyond what you are able to give yourself. That way you get at least time to drink coffee by yourself in the morning! Join home school support groups and involve your child (and yourself!) in the extracurricular activities.
Emma especially loved these opportunities.
Katherine, who I also homeschooled during Junior High, didn’t need them as much. Look at each of your children as unique individuals, too – because they ARE each unique individuals with unique strengths, weaknesses and needs.
I am passionate about education and educational needs of all children, unique and precious whether they are tiny little children or adult children. Can you tell?
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© 2012 by Julie Jordan Scott
Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield. She leads Writing Camp with JJS & this Summer will be traveling throughout the US to bring this unique, fun filled creative experience to the people wherever she finds the passion & the interest.
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