Charter and Magnet and Homeschool, Oh My!

I grew up in a moderately affluent middle-class suburban area with good public schools.  I gradulated with a 3.8 GPA and a basic understanding of algebra and how to write a thesis statement.  The thought would have never crossed my mind that my kid wouldn’t go to public school. 

Because that’s just what you do.

Now I realize that my child is only 2 years old, but I’m nothing if not a planner.  And pre-school is a mere year away.  So I began exploring our options for schools.

But living in the city, the public schools aren’t so hot.  They lost their accredidation a few years back and the teachers don’t even have the funding for paper.

There are public magnet schools, which have a much better reputation, but due to high demand, students have to apply a year in advance and are chosen by a lottery system.  And there are always more applicants than open slots.

Then of course there is private school.  We’re not particularly perochial people, so that would leave charter schools.  However, we would prefer to not get a second mortgage on our house to pay for Allison’s education.

So what are we supposed to do?  Sell our house and move to the county?

Certainly not my first choice.  Or even my second choice.  I love living in the city.  So I feel like there has got to be another option.

That’s when I started thinking about homeschooling.

Many of the blogs I read are written by homeschooling moms.  And as I’ve followed their lives via the interwebs, I’ve gotten more familiar with the process of homeschooling.  And grown a strong interest in providing that type of education to my child.

But interestingly enough, what has actually opened my mind to the idea was reading the stories from moms that don’t homeschool.

Reading the stories of rushing around the house every morning, trying to get the kids out the door for school on time, kids getting on the wrong bus, and hours of KINDERGARTEN HOMEWORK have all made me a little crazy.  Because what are kids doing for 7 hours in school that require them to have 2+ hours of homework??  My guess is it isn’t recess.

Of course I want my daughter to get a good quality education, but I’m less and less convinced that this is possible in a school setting with 30 kids in a class all needing one teacher’s attention (which is focused on that one disruptive student all. day. long.)

Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I’m starting to believe that perhaps my child could learn more effectively (and efficiently) at home.

Is that crazy?

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14 Responses to Charter and Magnet and Homeschool, Oh My!

  1. susan says:

    I think it’s crazy – lol – but that’s me. I KNOW I could not homeschool (especially Sean it would be WAAAAY to frustrating) even though I have all the background for it. Will you be able to teach her how to do Chemistry and Trigonometry? I couldn’t. But it works for some people I guess.

    • Jen says:

      Between Matt and I, we could have all the subjects covered because I was strong in math and english and his strengths are science and history. He’s not really on board with the idea, though. I think there is a common misconception about homeschooling and I’m learning a lot as I see others pursue it. There are a lot more options for homeschooling these days, so it’s not really just sitting down with the kids and going over multiplication tables for an hour. Although, I’m sure there would be some of that. Obviously, we have awhile before we have to make any decisions, but we have decided to NOT send her to preschool next year. STL public schools only offer full-day programs and I think that is too much for kindergarten, let alone pre-k.

    • Jen says:

      And of course it would require a change in our schedules, because I don’t think we could do it both working full time.

  2. The Missus says:

    I don’t think you’re crazy at all!

    I don’t even have children yet, and my husband and I already know we’re homeschooling. We were both public schooled, and we both had pretty good experiences with it, but things have changed A LOT in the 20+ years since we were in kindergarten. After hearing some of the things that my nephew brought home from school (both homework-wise and situationally), it makes me think that homeschooling is the way to go for us!

    • Jen says:

      I’ve definitely got a lot of research yet to do, but I’m really hopeful. Now if I could just convince my husband who thinks public school is the way to go.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m happy with our local public school even though many would only categorize it as “okay.” (The district struggles financially–gym, art, health, computers, and gifted have all been cut over the last couple of years. But the teachers are great, and my kids are happy and successful there.)

    I’m not a fan of homeschooling (for my family–I don’t care what anyone does with theirs) for a lot of different reasons, a couple of which are…

    I want my kids to interact with children and adults that are different from themselves.
    I’m a much better mom when I’m not with my kids all day. They drive me nuts sometimes, and I’m sure I drive them crazy, too.

    Your child’s education is a very personal decision, so just do what feels right and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing what you choose. Good luck :)

    • Jen says:

      I agree that resources do not always guarantee a great education. We had lots of resources, but I skated by with cliff notes and a fortunate ability to test well. I’m not saying that I would homeschool indefinitely, but that might be the right decision for us while she is young. Because part of me still hates to deprive her of endless hours spent playing hearts in class. :) But by the time she is ready for middle/high school, she would be able to assist in the decision making process. However, I would definitely join a homeschool group or co-op. Because I know that I couldn’t be alone with her all day, every day. Thanks for the supportive words.

  4. Kelley says:

    I don’t think you are crazy at all! I freaked about the “long term” of homeschooling. Like what would I do much past 3rd grade. AS a city dweller , I “got in” one of our local free charter schools. Lottery system and all. It was one of the most stressful times in my life. But one thing I thought about, our biggest chance of getting in was at the Kindergarten level. If I skipped my chance then, what would I do to get him in as he got older. I am not 100% convinced it is the right thing to do to keep my children sheltered from the realities of the world until they go to collge. I am seeing some surprising benefits to having my little guy around children his own age..without me to watch over him like a hawk. There is soooo much to think about and I was right there were you are last year. I wish you the best in your process!

    • Cate says:

      Just wanted to clarify that most homeschooled kids are not sheltered from the outside world as they grow up! I actually spent a lot more time socializing with other kids and adults when I was homeschooled vs. when I was public schooled. So, it really just depends.

      • Jen says:

        I think that is a very common misconception. I don’t know anyone in real life that homeschools, but I know that there are lots of local groups and activities to join in order to provide outside socialization. (And keep you from going crazy being stuck in the house all day with your kids!)

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! And I agree, I would think that we will attempt the application process for maybe kindergarten or 1st grade. Just to see if we can get in and have the option available. The only sticking point for me is that they only offer full days. I went to half day kindergarten and I think that the full day is more for day care purposes than learning.

      I know it’s hard to let your children out into the world, I struggle with that too, but I guess it has to happen sometime!

  5. Kim Windle says:

    We are going to private school route, which is still hard for me to decide on. But our church school only goes til 8th grade so our kids will make them switch to public school then (unless we send them to the Lutheran high school 45 min away, which is also a boarding school…hmmmm….) We have a school in town where they go 3 days a week and send the homework for “homeschooling” on Tuesday and Thursday. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of homeschooling, as I have a lot of friends who homeschool and also post on FB about watching their Tivo’d shows all day…Plus as a kid/teen I loved the school experience and I would hate to have my kids miss out on that. With our private school they have small class sizes and mixed aged classes which works out perfect for us. I agree about not doing full day pre-K – we do 3 days a week for 2.5 hours (last year was 2 days for 2 hours). Jacob will however have to go for 3 years so his 3rd year we may do 5 half days or full day, since Natalie will already be in (gasp) second grade at that point. I’d take my chance in the lottery system and have a back-up plan. I have a few college friends that teach in those schools!

    • Jen says:

      That sounds like a great plan. There are a lot of catholic schools in south city, but we are just not interested in going that route. Especially at $4600/year for kindergarten! Ouch. I’m pretty sure my first semester at Mizzou cost less than that. But I think homeschooling looks different for everyone. To me, I see lots of hands on learning and field trips, but there does have to be some amount of independent work done by the kids, too. All of this is contingent on a change in our schedules, though. If I am still working, we would definitely try for magnet. I have heard glowing reviews about Kennard Academy, but it is also a gifted program, so Allison would have to meet certain criteria to get in. Which worries me a little as well because I don’t want her pushed too hard to keep up and we still don’t know if she is going to struggle with learning due to her prematurity. But so far, so good I think. She can count to 20 somewhat consistently, (12 in Spanish), she knows all her letters and colors, and has pretty good motor skills.

  6. Cate says:

    You are not crazy! I totally understand your position…and only you know what’s best for your family. We live in Louisville and are in a similar position re: school choices. The public schools have huge problems beyond our control (unless you manage to get your kid into one of the better schools, which is difficult), private schools are mostly religious and in any case WAY out of our financial reach, etc. My husband’s actually a teacher and states frequently that he would never send our children to this particular school system. So, homeschooling is right for us, though it may not be for every family. Trust your gut!

    What are your husband’s objections to homeschooling, by the way?