poopshovel UltimaDork
12/21/12 7:25 p.m.

Personal experiences? Opinions? With one of the worst government school systems in the country (Georgia,) which I've experienced first hand, I definetely want the kiddo in private school. The only other options locally are the uber Christian school (no thanks,) the not so Churchy "Christian" school (maybe,) and Montessori.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UltimaDork
12/21/12 7:28 p.m.

I went to a Catholic grade school, a Jesuit high school and community college. I think I ended up just fine. There were plenty of kids who weren't Catholic. I was. Not anymore.

I really don't have any more to add, just don't be scared of Christian schools before checking them out.

Duke PowerDork
12/21/12 7:34 p.m.

Montessori is awesome, though it takes some parental involvement. Not that that is really different from any other education.

There are different flavors and strengths of Montessori, with differing effectiveness. My sister has been a Montessori teacher for many years. I can put you in touch with her and she can offer advice.

poopshovel UltimaDork
12/21/12 7:52 p.m.

We're very hands-on with the parenting portion. I see it as the most important job I'll ever have. This is not a "dump the kid off at the expensive school and expect them to make her smart" affair. I'd love it if you'd put me in touch with your sis. Thanks man.

mazdeuce HalfDork
12/21/12 7:55 p.m.

This is totally not what you asked, but I sent all my kids to two years of Lutheran preschool before pitching them into the Texas public schools. I'm pretty sure the Lutherans are more liberal and open minded than the public school. As a parent you should be heavily involved no matter where your kids go to school.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
12/21/12 7:55 p.m.

It depends on the specific school and specific teachers. Check out the individual school to see if you think it would be a good fit.

Having worked at a Montessori school, I think the system is generally very good. Lots of individual attention and a shift of focus from assuming all students at the same grade will have the same level of proficiency in every subject towards identifying what level your child is at in each subject and giving them material that challenges but doesn't overwhelm them. Children get a fair amount of freedom (and responsibility) within a fairly controlled environment. Materials and methods are also very well designed to appeal to children's differently learning "styles" (e.g. physical objects that can be manipulated, with standard color coding, and number symbols above them).

The Montessori system is also not so different that if you decide to pull your kid out for whatever reason, they're going to be on such a different track they can't adapt to a new environment (e.g. Waldorf schools waiting a while to teach kids things like reading).

AngryCorvair PowerDork
12/21/12 8:24 p.m.

my kids did montessori pre-school and kindergarten, then charter school, and are now home-schooled. montessori (on top of our superior genetic blend) made them so friggin' smart that the charter school couldn't keep up with their big brains.

so yeah, montessori is a great way to start. it's also pretty spensive, at least around here.

Duke PowerDork
12/21/12 8:27 p.m.

PM me your email address and I will pass it on to her.

btp76 Reader
12/21/12 8:29 p.m.

We visited a local Montessori school a few years ago. I couldn't get my boys away from there fast enough. Neither of them are "precious little flowers that need special love to grow and blossom" or whatever drivel the Montessori woman was cooing to us. My older boy was in a small private school that really dropped the ball when he was in first grade. As a result, he spent several months visiting an educational psychologist to get caught up for 2nd. I really respect her opinions and she had nothing good to say about Montessori.

They spent one year in one of the best public schools in Dallas. which was good, but had no future as the middle school they would have fed into is unacceptable. I'm a hardcore, unapologetic, athiest, and my kids are in Catholic school. It's FAR better than any school they've been in. It's an extremely bitter pill for me to swallow, but I can, hopefully, undo any superstitious brainwashing they get in school. In the end, there wasn't a great option but I feel they're in the best place they can be.

poopshovel UltimaDork
12/21/12 9:29 p.m.

All very interesting. We're meeting with the Montessori school next month. It does seem a little "hippy" ish for my liking, but I'm trying to be open minded, and afaik, there is no hardcore libertarian indoctrination center outside of my house. I'll check out the not so churchy christian school too.

clownkiller Reader
12/21/12 10:36 p.m.

Sent my kids here till grade 2: http://www.countrybrookmontessori.com/ J.M. approved! Make sure the teachers are trained in the Montessori methods.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
12/21/12 10:52 p.m.
poopshovel wrote: All very interesting. We're meeting with the Montessori school next month. It does seem a little "hippy" ish for my liking,

I do not think Montessori is inherently hippy-ish. The one I worked at wasn't. That really is a product of the teachers and administrators at the specific school.

Gearheadotaku UltraDork
12/22/12 3:40 p.m.

whats Montessori ?

HappyAndy Dork
12/22/12 4:13 p.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote: whats Montessori ?

Montessori wiki

My son went to a montessori preschool for three years. I was very happy with the results, but it was expensive. If I could afford it, I would send him to the local Montessori elementary school too.

Montessori school teaching is a method, its not rigidly defined, and different schools can be very different in how they approach and apply it. Not all "Montessori" schools are the same at all.


poopshovel UltimaDork
12/22/12 5:41 p.m.
Beer Baron wrote:
poopshovel wrote: All very interesting. We're meeting with the Montessori school next month. It does seem a little "hippy" ish for my liking,
I do not think Montessori is inherently hippy-ish. The one I worked at wasn't. That really is a product of the teachers and administrators at the specific school.

Yeah, I'm talking about this particular school. And yeah, it's pricey, but we'll sacrifice wherever we have to to make sure she's not in government school.

oldtin UltraDork
12/22/12 6:27 p.m.

Went to private schools - grade school up to high school. Public high school that was supposed to be one of the best was just catching up to my ninth grade curriculum in the senior year. Nothing to add other than don't let the lowest common denominator be the determining factor of your kid''s education.

Adrian_Thompson SuperDork
12/22/12 8:42 p.m.

Rather than just look at Montessori you should also look at Waldorf schools. My kids (18&11) are attended/ing one through 8th grade as that's as far as the local school to us goes, although there are schools that go through 12th grade. Waldorf schools work in an interdiciplinary way, one of the motto's is 'heart, head, hands' They develop skills in many area's while studying others. Many of the local parents around where we live are horrified that we don't send our kids to the local schools which are the best in the state, and are more horrified at the apparent 'lack' of homework and emphasis on academics. Yet the children really learn critical and analytical thinking. We've had children come back to the school who have been through public high schools and university to talk about how Waldorf set them up for the future, we've also interviewed some of their teachers in public school. The most common thread we hear is that while the kids may have had a slightly different curriculum and not been subjected to the relentless 'teach to the tests' of their public school peers, they come into the school/class a little behind (due to the different curriculum), but they very very quickly move to the top of classes as they have the ability to interpret and understand rather than having to be fed information piecemeal. I've also heard many times that children are frustrated by the lack of interest and involvement of the public curriculum (this is true of my strate A 12th grader). It is a sacrifice, I could be living in a paid off house and driving a Porsche by now, but it is a sacrifice I'm happy to make. In fact we are even considering ways to get our 6th grader to the Ann Arbor school for high school. Waldorf (and other small private schools) are very much a community. We, and many other parents are very involved in the school. I was on the board of trustees for 4 years and it's president for 2 of those. My wife volenteers in the shop and has worked in the office. We are all involved in festivals, sales, treps etc etc. It becomes an enriching experience for the whole family.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
12/23/12 11:12 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson:

I'd say most of the positives you listed are applicable to both Waldorf and Montessori ("lack" of homework, critical thinking, etc.) The results of Waldorf seem to be pretty good. I would say that the ultimate results between Montessori and Waldorf are pretty comparable and it is what is about the best fit for the child and family.

That said, if Poopy is worried about Montessori being a little bit too hippy-ish for his tastes... Waldorf will probably be less to his preference.

The lack of homework and grades is something I liked about Montessori. Kids didn't do an assignment once, get a grade, and move on. They repeated the task until it was done right. They kept practicing a skill or concept until they had mastered it. Then if they hadn't gotten their work done by the time they were supposed to (generally because they'd been goofing off), it got sent home to be completed there. Kids who worked hard and attentively and got their work done early had free time they got to use to do things like reading, gardening, sewing, drawing, or things like that.

sachilles SuperDork
12/23/12 12:32 p.m.

Our house use to be a Montessori school. Circuit box was labled Math room, reading room etc. Lots of other weird stuff like that. It had the reputation of being a hippy dippy type of place. That's all I've got. Carry on.

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