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2018 Forester ∞
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I would appreciate any information/suggestions you may have on the following:

My oldest daughter will be attending kindergarten this year. My wife and I started the school-choosing process last December and have been touring some of the local schools my daughter is able to choose from, here in San Diego, California.

The questions I have are:

What did you take into consideration when choosing schools for your children?
What were the important things that a school had to have in order for you to send your kids there?
What were the things to be aware of?
Have you sent your kid to a school that you felt was the best for your child and later be disappointed by it?
What are the things a parent usually overlooks when choosing a school?

If there is anything you can add, please do so. For the record, I thought the choice would be so much easier than it's turned out to be.

Thank you much.
 

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Premium Member
2007 Forester XT Sport
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3,082 Posts
I went to private school and some of my friends kids go to private. Some of the reasons were: religious background (not sure if this is an issue for you), class size, funding/money for educational supplies, neighborhood of the schools, etc.

My friend in CA just moved her son because they were doing combo grade levels. i.e. 1st and 2nd combined and 2nd and 3rd combined. He was in the 1st/2nd and she wanted him to be with his peers. She volunteered in the class room a number of times and said this system was not working for him or challenging him.
 

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Premium Member
2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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13,239 Posts
In many places public (government) schools are like holding cells. I think you have to investigate the merits of the choices.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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13,100 Posts
I'm getting near to doing the same thing. What is tough is we are Atheist, and it is impossible to find a private school that in not faith based. I think public school is fine up until 6th grade though. Then it becomes a joke.

I plan on taking to a lot of parents in the area and talking to teachers in person. My wife also joined the local "moms ground" to help find out more information.
 

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2018 Forester ∞
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies.

Yes, we're having a parent meeting this Sunday to share our thoughts about the schools we and the other parents have visited. It's funny in a way because we have known some of these parents for at least a couple of years and we have common concerns, such as school safety and testing scores, but in other regards we are 180 degrees apart, such as school focus (academic or personal growth).

I just learned about combo classes. I thought this could be challenging but after visiting two classrooms at two different schools, one a magnet school and the other a neighborhood school, the kids seem to be doing fine and the classes appeared to have a good learning environment - this was not the case in other classrooms I have visited, where chaos is the best description of the classroom.

sea-scuby, can you please elaborate on your statement regarding public education after the 6th grade? I'm not familiar with the environment at those grades, since I wasn't born in the U.S. and received my early education elsewhere.

This is a really interesting experience for me. It's surprising to see how stressed some parents get about this process too. I just want to be as informed as possible, knowing that there's no perfect school but hoping we get close to it when we finally get our daughter into one.

Thank you.
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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10,409 Posts
I'm getting near to doing the same thing. What is tough is we are Atheist, and it is impossible to find a private school that in not faith based. I think public school is fine up until 6th grade though. Then it becomes a joke.

I plan on taking to a lot of parents in the area and talking to teachers in person. My wife also joined the local "moms ground" to help find out more information.
I went to an Episcopalian private school from 3rd to 8th grade. Religion played a very minor role in the education I received. We had a mass every friday morning, and I took a religion class in like 7th grade (which was actually a comparative religions class, and was actually interesting from what I remember). But that was really it. There was no propaganda throughout my studies, and we studied evolution and natural selection just like everyone else.

That school prepared me for high school (and even college) on a level I would never have gotten anywhere else. From study skills, to random factoids that have been invaluable throughout the course of my educational career.

I wouldn't rule out faith-based schools, but DEFINITELY do your homework on them! There were a few around my area that were far more close-minded, and many people I encountered from schools like that in high school who DIDN'T study things like Freud and Darwin.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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13,100 Posts
Just from my personal experience I found that the school system K-6 (elementary school up here) did an excellent job of teaching and the schools were safe and friendly learning environments. Once you get to middle school (junior high in some areas) it goes down hill fast. You got a bunch of hormone driven teens in large classrooms with overwhelmed teachers. There is always one or two disruptive students who take a lot of the teachers time and learning becames 2nd to just keeping kids in line. In High school it gets even worses, and with a lot of areas having budget issue, one of the first things they seem to cut is school funding. That eliminates a lot of the extra ciricular activites a lot of colleges like to see on students transcripts, and instead of keep students busy after school doing somethign constructive you end up with people just hanging out and that leads to no good a lot of times.

For High School I think private is the way to go. They have the money to provide the programs kids really need.
 

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1999 Forester
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As a student in school, I'd like to point out that kindergarten is pretty useless, but make sure to teach your child the importance of getting good grades.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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I wouldn't rule out faith-based schools, but DEFINITELY do your homework on them! There were a few around my area that were far more close-minded, and many people I encountered from schools like that in high school who DIDN'T study things like Freud and Darwin.

When I was a kid my parents wanted to enroll me in the top private school in the area, but I wasn't allowed to attend since my parents were not married when I was born. Even though I had test scores that blew away 99% of their students, I was punished for something I had no control over. That school still has the same policies and there is NO WAY I'd let one of my children attend an establishment that is closed minded and openly bias like that. It is a great school as far as learning, but I don't agree with a lot of their social positions.
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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When I was a kid my parents wanted to enroll me in the top private school in the area, but I wasn't allowed to attend since my parents were not married when I was born. Even though I had test scores that blew away 99% of their students, I was punished for something I had no control over. That school still has the same policies and there is NO WAY I'd let one of my children attend an establishment that is closed minded and openly bias like that. It is a great school as far as learning, but I don't agree with a lot of their social positions.
That is ridiculous. I can't believe they wouldn't allow you in for THAT.

I wouldn't rule out more open-minded religious-based schools though. There are a few non-religious private schools here, but the options might be limited where you are.

About Kindergarten not being important, I disagree wholeheartedly. I remember more from Kindergarten than I do from first grade.
 

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2005 Forester 2.5X LEV II
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My Wife and I got tired of fighting with our local School District. They didn't care a thing about teaching the children, so We pulled our Grand-Daughter out and now we Homeschool. We've been doing that for 2 Years now. The Grand-Daughter is in 4th grade and doing 5th-6th grade work. She excells in Math, Science, English, and Geography. We take her on field trips to DC and Baltimore. She has learned more in 2 years than any children in the area School District does in 4-5 years.

I say take charge of your childs Education and Homeschool them.
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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How does the home school curriculum work?

Do you get teaching materials, teach what you already know, or just go straight from text books. What about interaction with other children their age? How do they learn social and communication skills? Things you can't teach from a book?

With the exception of one, everyone I've encountered in college that was homeschooled was at a significant disadvantage when it came to higher level engineering and mathematics.

Plus, it seems awfully difficult to home school when both parents work.

Just my $0.02
 

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2007 Forester XT Sport
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Home schooling rules and practices vary so widely from state to state, its crazy. But there are curriculums you purchase that are effective. I know a LOT of homeschooled kids and they are brilliant. Also, a lot of homeschool parents get together a few times a month to allow the kids to interact.
 

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2014 CVT
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826 Posts
i was given the chance to go to private school but turned it down for all the reasons that they are good. unlike most ppl i think its better to learn the hard way, i liked that fact that public schools can be crazy at times. now that being said i had my problems with public schools, your forced to take class's that you many not want to, sooooooo i would say send them off to public school for now and let them pick im thankfull my parents let me do that
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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706 Posts
Our daughter missed the age cut-off by 2 weeks for acceptance in our town's public kindergarten. Her pre-school teachers and we agreed she was more than ready for kindergarten, so...we enrolled her in the neighboring city's (Worcester, MA) public school system and she took kindergarten there. MA has a "school choice" rule, your kid can go to school in a different town and your town's school system pays the freight. The downside of sending her to a city public K: she learned a couple of words we wish she hadn't. She saw a couple of fights between kids (in the schoolyard). The upside: she LOVED going to kindergarten, her reading skills exploded (ahem...we take a bit of credit for that), and her shyness in group settings was much abated. She did have a great teacher. And because she did well in K, our town's school system accepted her for 1st grade even tho her birthday is of course still 2 wks shy of the cut-off (cut off date is Sept 1). We moved here from Worcester partly for the school system, we expect she will stay in it thru grade 12.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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sea-scooby... Our little one will be going into kindergarten next year. Let me know if you guys find any good leads on decent places in the area.

I am 100% in support of public schools (I am from 4 generations of teachers), but I do acknowledge that each school has it's pluses and minuses and they need to be researched before placing your child in them. I prefer public schools over home schooling simply due to the social teachings and think that parents of public schooled children just need to supplement their teachings by spending quality time with them academically. Ive seen far too many teachers blamed for a failing child.
 

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2009 Forester XT Limited
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239 Posts
Our oldest son asked us to put him into a Jesuit High School after 8th grade, public schools in WNY just don't do a great job after 7th or 8th grade. The difference is incredible, he's always been an A student but now he excels in multiple AP courses. The biggest difference is the respect that each student (this is an all boys school) has for each other. They act like gentlemen, the guys that open doors for others, and do service work for the community because they actually believe in doing it. It gives me hope for the next generation, schools like this is where the future leaders will come from. It's expensive, but totally worthwhile...the public system is broken in many states. I'm sure there are exceptions of course. Between the drugs and the looser factor in the local high school, it simply wasn't a reasonable option. If we had a do-over, we would have started both kids in private schools starting day one - and worked an extra job to do it if needed.

my 2 cents. Go private on or before middle school if you can... k-5 might be ok if it's a decent school system...get involved and know everything about your kids school, teachers and PTO/PTA. Doing so will pay big dividends.
 
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