Patch: Which are you considering/have chosen for your child and why?
Christie Arias: We have chosen private school for preschool and once the kids enter kindergarten, they will be going to public school. We began making this decision long before we had kids — when we bought our home. One of the home-buying factors was what the school/school district does that we will be putting our kids in? It was important to us that we live in an area with good schools. That way we would not have to consider private school, unless we wanted to.
Carina Ibarra: At my son’s first birthday my best friend was terribly surprised that I hadn’t started looking at preschools for him. When he reached 18 months, I figured it was probably time to start looking. And I was appalled.
According to one school, my son would be able to speak three languages, know how to read and know addition and subtraction facts by the time he was 5. And the whole time I was wondering when do they play?!
After endless rounds of preschool interviews I sat down with my husband (who has been a part-time stay-at-home dad) and asked him how he would feel about putting off going back to work full time for another year or two. My husband said he wouldn’t mind it if I didn’t mind it, so I said "Great, you’re homeschooling Alex!"
Sara Raymond: My kids are young (infant and preschooler), so we haven't had a lot of experience with this stuff yet, but we are hoping that the public schools work out for us. They are the primary reason we moved to Castro Valley — but we'll see.
Stacy Blom: We chose public education! My husband and I both attended public schools and had wonderful experiences. We have always believed in our public education system and our daughters have been quite successful.
Patch: What factors do you consider most important when it comes to your child’s education?
Christie: I think finding a learning environment that caters to your child's learning style (visual, oral, etc.) is most important. It seems that many schools now have instructors that teach in a variety of ways. I think also equally important is making sure that your child is at the same pace as the class.
Often once it is identified that your child has a problem or is falling behind, they are often way behind. There are so many resources available to help, as long as it is identified that they need help.
Carina: The most important thing to me is that my son’s early education is enjoyable. I don’t need a 2 year old who can recite their ABC’s if it means sitting him down for 30 minutes every day and making him work at it.
I have a friend whose 3-year-old daughter asked her the other day, “How many more years of school do I have?” She is 3 years old and already “over” school.
I have a Masters in Reading Instruction and one of the reasons why boys tend to not like reading is because as young children, they are “forced” to read before they are ready. So boys connect reading to feelings of failure and humiliation and these connections stay with them.
Therefore, the most important thing for me when it comes to my son’s education is that he learns when he is ready.
Sara: It is really important to me that whatever schools we wind up using back me up in my efforts to teach my kids to think critically and explore and seek out activities and subjects to engage them.
Stacy: Their success and happiness! We have had nothing but wonderful experiences with the public education system and our girls have always been very happy at their schools.
Patch: What likes/dislikes do you have with your child's education? What like/dislikes have your children expressed in their own education?
Christie: My children like the "learn-by-doing" style. They like classes where they are able to get up and move and do things. I dislike that in order to find out what my child is doing at school, I feel like I need to be there all day or speak in length with the teachers.
When I ask my kids "what did you do at school today?" I get "I don't know" or "nothing" a lot. We had teacher who gave the weekly schedule at the beginning of the week. Then I knew what the kids would be doing each day and I could easily start a conversation about it.
Carina: My son still isn’t two years so my husband hasn’t started any teaching in earnest but he has started to set up some of the structures we will like to see.
They take hikes and my son collects things in his bucket that they bring home for arts and crafts. They read tons of books throughout the day and now my son will grab a book and go “read” by himself.
When he chooses a book over playing, it always gives me chills because I know even if he doesn’t learn to read soon, when he does start he will love it.
Sara: Socially, I worry about bullying and peer pressure cropping up, but we will cross those bridges when we come to them.
Stacy: We have many, many likes (too many to list) but it's because we are very actively involved in our children's education and are always right there when an issue arises.
You have to be an advocate for your children and be involved! All our teachers have been committed and dedicated to our children's needs and their education and we have no complaints.
I would say the only thing we dislike about Public Education is the lack of parent involvement and volunteering. It always seems as if the same parents end up doing everything. I believe with private education, it is mandatory for parents to volunteer their time or they get penalized. We are not allowed to penalize in the public education system!