X.L. asks from Sacramento, CA on January 20, 2010
Our School Is Closing, Dislike Our New School, Should I Homeschool?
We found out in Nov. last year that our Elementary School is closing at the end of term this year, I currently have a 1st grader in that school, next school year he will be starting second grade, and my 5 year old will be starting Kindergarten, the school that is now our new "home school" has a lower overall test score rating, and the schools they are offering for the FLES Spanish Language Magnet Program (my 1st grader is currently in this program) have even worse test score rankings, I am having a great internal struggle with where to send my boys, my original hope was to have them in Private school from the start, but we aren't in the financial place to fund that yet, so this school was my second although reluctant choice, I have thought about Homeschooling, I would love to Homeschool, but I don't have the support that I need, my girls demand a lot of my time, and I feel that my boys might be slighted if the girls need attention during school time,How do you Moms with multiple kids do it? What programs are avaiable to me? Should I just bite the bullet, quit fretting and send them to our new "home school"? And if I do decide to Homeschool does anyone know of a co-op in my area (Rancho Cordova) that would be willing to assist me? Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this and answer my questions
So What Happened?™
Okay you wonderful MAMA's THANK YOU SO MUCH! I took your advise and visited the school, there are a few things I like, its a little school, so it will be easy to learn the layout, its still within walking distance of my home, and they require uniforms, Thankfully my boys are about the same size so they will be able to share shirts (which will make it a little easier on my pocket come clothes buying time). The district still is up in the air about where they are going to send the FLES program, but I have resolved to follow it where ever it ends up, which will mean possibly visiting another school... Thank you again for your advise! Its so nice to to know that I am not the only Mom out there worried about what the future will hold for us!
B.R. answers from Sacramento on January 21, 2010
Have you visited the new school? You may want to try that before making a decision. I was trying to get our daughter to get an inter-district agreement for our granddaughter, because the school in their neighborhood is rated as lower in test scores than the school in our neighborhood. (we also live in Rancho Cordova). Since our granddaugther has started going to her school, I have found out that the staff is excellent, and she is doing well. Her school is a Title 1 school. Her mother also attended a Title 1 school, and I often was asked why I hadn't tried to get my kids into a "better" school. What I found was that even though considered a lesser school by many because of it's Title 1 status, the school my children attended was actually one of the best schools in town. The test scores showed lower there too, but that was because a number of ESL students attended and they were not able to meet the test score standards, so brought down the overall scores for the school. It didn't affect what our children were learning at all. This is the same situation in our granddaughter's school now. I highly recommend you visit the school and see if you can sit in on the classroom your daughter would be in for at least a part of a day, before making your decision for sure.
A.P. answers from Sacramento on January 25, 2010
Well, I wouldn't homeschool my kid. I'm not cut out for it, and that's why I didn't become a teacher. Brutal honesty: I don't think very many parents actually are cut out for it, but that certainly doesn't make them bad parents. On the other hand, I'm sometimes horrified by the egregious errors teachers make, but that's because I'm a perfectionist. Once I learn how to relax, I figure I'll be a good counterbalance to any teachers that don't quite meet my own particular standard of excellence. We also provide a lot of extracurricular activities and cultural/historical "field trips" for our kid that schools don't provide anymore anyway.
I've been looking at the greatschools.org rankings lately too,(kicking myself for not being on the ball enough to get my kid into Didion), and honestly, roughly comparing the API scores, it looks like they could easily be manipulated by a few low-performers depending on the size of the school or (like many have mentioned) the performance of the ESL kids. I was surprised to find the only "bilingual" K-8 school (the Language Academy of Sacramento) ranks only a 3, but all of the parents I know whose kids actually go here RAVE about it. Plus, all their kids are bilingual, even if the parents aren't.
I also agree with previous posters on the fact that a lower-performing school does not necessarily mean your kids will do poorly or that it's a bad school. Definitely check the school out yourself. Form your own impression. And don't do anything out of desperation. So sorry to hear about the school closing though!!
M.J. answers from Sacramento on January 23, 2010
Definitely visit the schools with the low test scores to form your own impression. I went to the school with the lowest test scores in our district growing up and did just fine. There were some excellent teachers, but they were dealing with a lot of ESL students, which brought down the test scores. I earned straight As and many awards through my time there. When we moved to an area with one of the top public high schools in the country, I had no trouble fitting in academically. Low test scores at a school do not equate to a poor education.
As far as homeschooling, you really need to be well prepared and 100 percent committed to it. I had to do it after our son was kicked out of preschool and it was not for me. I work in PR, so I don't have a teaching credential or any teaching background and found it challenging, to say the least, to develop engaging teaching strategies. If you do decide to homeschool, you can find a lot of resources online and there's a store in our area devoted to it (just look in the phone book).
M.G. answers from Sacramento on January 21, 2010
open enrollment is going on right now and you should find a school nearby that you like and open enroll for it. gold river has a great reputation and is near rancho cordova. get onto your school district's website, find some schools you do like and then start the open enrollment process pronto. my friends have already started doing this. good luck. i know how difficult finding the right school for your kids can be but when you do, then the relief is incredible.