The real choice addiction: educating the kids in the Lion’s Den.

Private bilingual Montessori?  If so, which of French, Spanish, German?

Classical public schools? If so, Latin plus Greek or Latin plus Hebrew? And what about the optional extracurricular travel options?

Plain old Montessori? If so, public or private?

Waldorf? Lol, no.

Classical Christian, or just plain Christian?

Public gifted or private gifted?

Homeschool?  Co-op, public-partnership, or fly solo?  But if solo, what about all the tutoring services for homeschoolers offering flexible schedules and a wide range of curriculum?  And oh wait, they also serve some of the co-ops?

I don’t even have to drive to a lot of it.  But I also have no idea what on earth to do because I want the kids to thrive educationally, but I also want them to be adaptable and able to do basic housework and life planning.

We’re still trying to narrow the scope.

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25 thoughts on “The real choice addiction: educating the kids in the Lion’s Den.

  1. IME it depends on the kids and your family structure and what you value and what you personally stress over.

    If I had to do over FROM SCRATCH, I’d start with Classical Christian HS and burn every textbook offered to me post 1970. Especially the math texts. But if I had to do it over, ***from scratch*** would be my biggest change. I mean, I might use McGuffy’s readers and just add a few modern bits of literature and history. Maybe do private high-school, the social aspect is more of a desirable thing in high school. (Crazy, but desirable). Lots of work though.

    My worry has always been “did I do it right/enough/get the weird bits in” so Charter HS was great since I didn’t do “from scratch” and their foundations were more public school esque. It was a compromise, certainly. But it was okay.

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  2. Guess “regular” public school & “unschool” were too crazy to even consider :-)…
    Heh. We were exactly you 20 ya 1998. But choices were more limited.

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      • Yes, that is very true. It’s the same down here as well. Choices galore with lots of combinations of choices available.

        Our kids go to school two days a week, are technically and legally classified as homeschooled because we do the heavy lifting, but get the best of both worlds.

        Frankly, I believe that so long as the state demands that children be educated, it should be an enterprise where parents can exercise numerous options as their families require.

        We were just discussing at our school school today (over lunch) the somewhat tribal nature of our collective, based on the shared ideologies and educational philosophies. Homeschooling in tandem with supplemental options is more than just a way to relieve mom’s load.

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  3. If I had to do over FROM SCRATCH, I’d start with Classical Christian HS and burn every textbook offered to me post 1970. Especially the math texts.

    Yes to this.

    Basic housework and practical life skills take a huge hit in schools which emphasizes school as the child’s primary vocation.

    The accountability of outside teachers and homework has helped our kids thrive -not to mention saved my sanity- but thankfully the homework load is reasonable.

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  4. There are a lot of options here as well. We are doing Christian Montessori.

    As far as learning to do housework goes, my mother had me shadow her cleaning lady one summer. It was supposed to be a punishment, but it turned out to be a very useful life lesson. This past summer I asked my cleaning lady to teach my oldest to clean and he’s gotten much better at it and actually appreciates how much hard work goes in to having a clean and organized house. I was hoping to teach housework in a more organic way, but it wasn’t getting done.

    We are still working on cooking. I had him read “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” and then cook from scratch using what he learned. He’s still learning, but he’s not bad at all, and after reading that book he stopped having to google a recipe for every little thing. Our school schedule is such that these kinds of skills are mostly being taught in the summer, but I try to have him cook one meal a week.

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  5. That is a lot of choices.

    When we were first thinking about moving to TX, I was planning to put the kids in Catholic parochial school, but then I did a lunch where one of the ladies was selling me on their newish Protestantish classical school. She mentioned Singapore math and I was sold. (We have had very good math experiences with the school, aside from the one year where they were switching to the American version of Singapore, and my very mathy son was crying over his worksheets. Fortunately, they worked out the kinks.)

    It’s probably a good thing we didn’t do the parochial school, because we’d be living in the inner city right now in order to be close to school.

    There’s a lot to keep track of with regard to our school, but it’s been a very good social experience for the kids. It’s very family-like. Our tuition bills for three kids make my eyes water, but our costs should be trending down in a couple of years. Also, now that tuition is higher, the teachers stick around longer (early on there was so much turnover). The fact that it’s a largely Protestant school hasn’t been a problem–interestingly, the teachers get more and more high church (Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox) as you get into the upper grades. They are very serious about the Latin.

    There’s also a 3-day classical school/homeschool hybrid now at a different school, but it wasn’t available when we were looking for a school.

    We could also have done the public school, but then my husband would have had to commute, and we would have been suburbanites and would have to keep two cars. Not the worst thing in the world, but not our preferred lifestyle. We like to keep a tight home-work-school triangle and find life simpler with one car. But if we’d done public school, the kids would have more academic and extracurricular choices, it’s just that they wouldn’t have as coherent an academic program. (Like they have the lit courses synced up to the history courses, and my oldest is reading the Aeneid in English in literature while alternating reading bits of the Aeneid in Latin and Julius Caesar.) I do like the coherence.

    Of course a lot depends on the quality of the school, as distinct from philosophy.

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    • The fact that it’s a largely Protestant school hasn’t been a problem–interestingly, the teachers get more and more high church (Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox) as you get into the upper grades. They are very serious about the Latin.

      I think there may be a correlation between classical educators of the Christian variety and high church affiliation. We have a fair number of high church families at our school as well.

      The Latin makes my eyes water, LOL. I cannot get a handle on that stuff, but my kids seem to be following along so…

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      • Elspeth said, “The Latin makes my eyes water, LOL. I cannot get a handle on that stuff, but my kids seem to be following along so…”

        I hear you.

        The first year or two, I was kind of faking my way through helping Big Girl with her Latin. I eventually stopped faking it, and she and Middle Kid have done fine.

        Does your school do Junior Classical League? Our kids have had SO much fun.

        http://www.fjcl.org/join.html

        There was one year where the 6th graders participated, but it’s mostly been 7th-12th grade.

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    • I keep thinking about the money that I would save if we went with the public school gifted program. But it would be three different schools instead of one Preschool-12 school and I would spend all of my time in the carlines or waiting for the kids to be dropped off at the bus stop. The public schools here offer Latin and are rated 9 on great schools. We might reconsider in a few years when there would only be two schools instead of three.

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        • TPC said,

          “Latin is apparently practically standard in public schools, I wonder when that happened.”

          In TX, a lot of the powerhouse schools for Junior Classical League are private, but there are also a lot of public schools.

          What grade are your public schools doing Latin in? The number of years of Latin available makes a big difference.

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      • Nonya said,

        “I keep thinking about the money that I would save if we went with the public school gifted program. But it would be three different schools instead of one Preschool-12 school and I would spend all of my time in the carlines or waiting for the kids to be dropped off at the bus stop. The public schools here offer Latin and are rated 9 on great schools. We might reconsider in a few years when there would only be two schools instead of three.”

        That’s reasonable.

        Also, it occurs to me that aside from drop-off issues, you’d have three different sets of policies, schedules, etc. to keep track of, rather than a single master schedule.

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  6. One of us took Latin in RC school; never thought it added value for the time. Do HS Spanish & Chinese using Rosetta Stone; some kids fluent others meh. Latin songs, Greek bible stuff, & do Rummy Roots tho. Our thoughts: if parents aren’t doing it, why kids?

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      • Latin tutors weren’t tutoring the parents and it’s a weird modern notion that parents should do the tutoring Nada weird nor modern about not educating kids about things w/ so little value we won’t learn it ourselves…99.9% of knowledge, methinks.

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        • STMK said,

          “Nada weird nor modern about not educating kids about things w/ so little value we won’t learn it ourselves…99.9% of knowledge, methinks.”

          I’ve had this conversation with Big Girl about computer programming.

          She’s said, “Why do I have to learn computer programming? Mom didn’t learn computer programming and she’s just fine!”

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    • I was not specifically looking for Latin when we were choosing a school for the kids, but the big kids have taken to it and have done very well–one of our kids took three first places at state Junior Classical League last year.

      I’m more of a modern language gal and I shudder a bit at the prospect of any of the kids making a wrong turn and doing a doctorate in classics.

      Aside from enjoyment, we’re gotten the following out of the kids’ Latin:

      –doing our bit toward saving Western Civilization
      –the kids are more interested in the Latin Mass than would otherwise be true.
      –When Big Girl did her first year of French last year, she absolutely crushed it (especially with the help of Duolingo).
      –It’s another AP course.

      The kids also had Spanish K-3 (Latin has been from grade 4 on), but the Spanish was very disappointing–they had a strong start, but never seemed to make any progress with it. I’ve heard that modern languages in US elementary schools tend not to be very serious–so you really have to poke around before being impressed by the fact that a school does modern languages in elementary school. The existence of a program may mean very little.

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