Is it a sex blog? A mommy blog? A bitch & moan blog? Um, . . . yeah. This is my place to be totally honest. In my real life, I feel like I'm always lying to somebody about something. Here, I am totally honest. Brutally so. However, no matter what bad things I say about my kids, I adore them and would never ever really, say, sell them on Ebay. The husband, often referred to as Spousehole, is another story. Oh yeah - if you are under 18 (or if you are my husband), please leave now.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I am a proud product of the public education system. I attended 3 elementary schools, ome middle school, and one high-school, all public schools. I even attended a state universities for my BA and JD. My husband attended public schools for elementary and middle school, but attended a hoity-toity international private school for "upper school" (high school to us plebes). Overall, our experiences with public schools were good.

But we aren't so sure public schools will continue to be the right choice for our children. With Boy we almost have to send him to public school because of his autism. Private schools that take autistic children tend to be boarding schools and tend to be VERY expensive. Boy would not do well away from his family and there is no way we could afford that sort of private school. Girl is another story, however. We are in one of the best school districts in South Carolina, but that's kind of like what they say about Special Olympics winners: At the end of the day, you are still retarded. (No, I don't condone the use of the term retarded, but that's how the quote goes.) At the end of the day, it's still a South Carolina public school. South Carolina is rated at or near the bottom in most every ranking of state education systems. The motto is "Thank God for Mississippi."

Boy's school did not meet their "Adequate Yearly Progress" goals under No Child Left Behind. I don't think that necessarily makes it a bad school because I think how they determine failing schools vs. successful schools is extremely flawed. But I am still not terribly impressed with Boy's school for Boy or for the regular ed kids. We might be able to enroll Girl at another school in the district (because of the No Child Left Behind thing), but the highest ranked schools don't take transfers because they are packed to the gills already. Also by next year we may live in a different district as we are only renting here and hope to purchase a house next summer. Though the way the real estate market is going we may not clear enough from selling the Michigan house to have a decent down payment on another house.

So we've looked some into private schools for Girl. There's a fabulous one up the road from us, but it's not cheap. Elementary tuition runs $7200 t0 $8000 a year (depends on if you pay up front or use a payment plan). I didn't pay that much for tuition PLUS room and board my first couple years in college. Seriously. (Thank you in-state tuition!)

Parochial schools around here tend to be Catholic, which might not be bad, or Baptist or Assemblies of God, which are not our flavor of Christianity at all. It was the same with the big parochial school system where I grew up. The strong emphasis on a severe Calvinist brand of Christianity just didn't jibe with our beliefs and made it not an option for my family. We're not Catholic either, but their beliefs are similar enough that our kids wouldn't feel like they were getting different messages at school and at home. Catholic schools tend to also be pretty tolerant of non-Catholic students. judging by the non-Catholics I've known who attended Catholic schools.

Home-schooling is really not an option for us. I just don't have the temperament for it. I know people who home-school and it's fabulous for their families. I also have know home-schoolers where the schooling part was pretty much non-existent and it was an excuse to either let their kids run wild or put the kids to work on a family farm/in a family business. Relatives of my husband moved to Florida this summer so the wife could take a job as a teacher. Their 14-yr-old son has already been kicked out of two schools - since August!! If he doesn't feel like getting out of bed, his (no job, no prospects) father doesn't make him. So now they've registered him as a home-school student. Unlike Michigan, Florida apparently checks up on homeschoolers so the father is going to have to get off his butt and actually teach the kid something (i.e., make sure he does his online schoolwork, since the dad is dumber than a box of rocks and has no business teaching anybody anything besides how to marry a woman who will support your slacker ass for more than 20 years). Anyway, I suck at getting my kids to do what I want, so I wouldn't make a good home teacher. I figure I teach 'em to walk, talk, read, and write after that it's time to turn 'em over to a trained professional. And my daughter is an extremely social child who will thrive in an environment with lots of other kids. Couple times a week outings with other homeschoolers wouldn't provide her the interaction she needs. Also she is like me and will do better with competition. That is, the work itself might not interest her, but being the best in the class will interest her and give her incentive to do the work.

So that's where we stand . Still 100% in the public school system, but considering a change.

If you have kids, how have you chosen to educate them? Answer the poll to the right, but please also leave a comment explaining why you have chosen the option(s) you have. I ask only that everyone play nice - no insulting other people's choices. Disagree if you must, but be respectful, 'k?

To blog is a self-invasion of privacy


Freak At Heart said...

My kids go to public school. The area we are in has pretty good schools. In most cases, not all, I believe the school is as good as what the parent of each individual child put into it with them. For the most part if the parents care then the student will be fine no matter what school they are in!

Alfro said...

Public School.
Our oldest has Downs Syndrom, so that also pushes us to P/S. We moved a year ago, and also had the same transition challenges you are facing. For us, it did get better, so I am hopeing the same for you.
Oh, and when we moved several years ago, and our youngest was the same age as your daughter, she also did the hair thing. It does grow back, and now we laugh at the pics. But when it happened, I came home to find my wife sitting in the middle of the floor with 2 big handfulls of hair, and crying her eyes out.
Hope you are doing well.

Sailor said...

Public schools, for all four of our kids- with the exception of K-2, for our eldest. At the time, we were unhappy with the neighborhood elementary school, so sent him to the parochial (Catholic) school nearby.

He had no troubles there, and as you noted, they school was very tolerant of non-catholic students.

Since then, though, we've been in the fortunate position of choosing where to live, by choosing schools first, then finding the house.

Good luck with your decision making, and to both kids as the year goes on!

FTN said...

Our kids go to public school, although because of the NCLBA, we have them in a different school than the one they would normally be in. The one in our neighborhood is pretty lousy, and it didn't meet "Adequate Yearly Progress" the last few years. So we take them to a different one that's still a fairly short drive. They are doing well, and as I've mentioned, my daughter moved up to the second grade recently and seems to have a teacher that is genuinely interested in her development.

Growing up, I went to a tiny Christian school for nine years. Then a good-sized public high school. Then a massive state university. There are pros and cons of all of them.

Trail said...

HA! You quoted me. Okay, you've probably heard "Thank God for Mississippi" from others as well by now.

There are some good public schools in SC, particularly in the Upstate. Our kids attended public schools in Spartanburg and Rock Hill. A South Carolinian once said to me, "The Spartanburg schools are incredible!"

I said, "No,I think they're the ones which are credible."

We did not move to the Low Country until after both our kids had graduated high school.

Desmond Jones said...

Our kids have all gone to our parish grade/middle school thru 8th grade, then the public HS. Mostly because the Catholic HS is WAY out of our price range.

But there is also a salutary effect at the public HS, that the 'religious' kids get their faith challenged just a bit, and have to learn how to defend themselves. Whereas at the Catholic HS, you can go to daily Mass, but there can be this kind of 'cultural Catholic' thing that is pretty un-challenging and 'clubby'. So we haven't been unhappy with the public HS. And our experience has been that, the kids who want to get educated, can.

So, it's been nice for us, for our kids to get decently grounded in their religious education thru 8th grade, and then 'try it out' in a less 'insulated' environment in HS (while they're still living in our house), before they get turned loose on the world.

We have friends who have home-schooled; as you say, that takes a certain temperamental 'suited-ness' to it, especially on the part of the mother (or whichever parent is doing the primary 'teaching'), and a level of commitment to home-schooling that we haven't been able to muster up. Altho we did home-school 3M for six months, when he got himself ejected from the Catholic school in 7th grade. . .

Some friends of ours, including some Catholics, have preferred to send their kids to a tiny (graduating classes ~12 students) evangelical/charismatic school, and have been quite happy with it. But again, that runs costly. And Catholic parents are left with a fair bit of home-catechesis, and 'theological self-defense' instruction. . . Which, again, ain't all bad. . .

Myself, I went to public schools all the way up, and the same mega-state university you did, for BS/MS degrees. . .

Vixen said... can be a difficult thing.

We *chose* our house bc of the reputation of the school system. It's fantastic and I am VERY VERY pleased with it.

That said, both kiddos went to Montessori, private preschools that I was insanely happy with. Cost a fortune, but very well worth it.

I'm not a fan of home schooling. There are very few people who have it in them to properly educatel their children.....IMO. I love public schools, but that said, the system near us is crappy and if we ever were to live there we would most def scrape up the cash to send the kids to a private school. I don't always think Public school is the best way to go.

I think you have to do what feels best for you and your kiddos.

I am not a religious person, but I would consider a parochial school if that were my best option.

Good luck Bunny. *hugs*

TROLL said...

At Troll County Christian, we once locked a visiting Catholic School's Basketball Team in the Gym and "ministered" to them.

Oddly enough, none of them were moved by the Spirit and converted.

TROLL said...

P.S. Neither their parents nor the police were amused by our stunt.

Flyinfox_SATX said...

Good Luck with this...It is always a tough choice for me. My kids go to a good public school system here in TX.

Val said...

My kid's in parochial school (Grade 5 now, but they go thru 8). I would *LIKE* for him to attend the hoity-toity prep school up N when he gets to HS, but quien sabes if that will be in the cards? [He may actually wind up going to MY old Catholic HS which is right around the corner from his current school. It served me well anyway!]

Trueself said...

N attended parochial school for pre-K through first grade. We were paying lots of $$$ for it and not getting the quality education they promised. We moved N to public school in second grade, and he has thrived ever since. I'm not saying all parochial schools are bad just that N has done better in the public schools. Of course, I've made darned sure to live where the school districts are top notch which isn't always the easiest (or most affordable) thing to do.

Bob said...

I am a public school district superintendent. Public schools are being ruined or have been ruined by teacher tenure and collective bargaining. I have always said, regardless of the audience, that to improve the state of how our children are taught and by whom it would take elimination of tenure and the unions. Then and only then would the very best professionals teach in our classrooms and then and only then will no child be left behind. The rule of thumb in California is expect to pay well over 100k in administrative time and legal fees to dismiss one teacher.

I have a sign in my outer office that says, "We are here for the children" which reflects my approach to what I do. Unfortunately there are more than a few teachers in our profession who claim to be working for the children but really are there for the paycheck.

I would recommend you shop around for the very best public school and cross district lines to enroll one or both of your children in that school. Chances are good if you're questioning the quality of education your children are receiving then there's probably cause for concern.

Also bear in mind as you shop around that private or parochial based schooling doesn't always mean the best education for children as they generally pay their teachers less than what public school teachers receive. Teachers in these institutions usually jump ship in favor of a public school job when the opportunity is presented.

Do your homework. Volunteer to help in the classroom. Be active in school activities (PTA, advisory councils), become a school board member. You can make a difference by being involved.

Good luck.

Cocotte said...

Our kids all went (or still attend) public schools. Fortunately, we are in an excellent district and the high school just got the blue ribbon award. And with middle child's autism, public school was the right choice as I felt that putting her in a school with other autistic kids would certainly not help improve her social skills.

College daughter now attends a private Christian college, basically because she was guaranteed a spot in one of their programs, whereas that wouldn't have happened at a public university.

pzing said...

Bunny, I've enjoyed reading some of your postings (and some of the HNT's). A womans perspective is interesting in a not so perfect union. I'm in one as well and you shed some light thanks.

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