My daughter is 5 and about to start kindergarten. Her case is really complicated and I see her getting lost in the mix with the large size class when she starts kindergarten. I am considering private school because I don't think I can properly home school. Can anyone who has had their child in public then private school please give me some insight?
It is a very tough decision. We did public for Kindergarten, private for 1st and 2nd, and then public 3-8th. Public schools have large class sizes, but DEFINITELY more resources (unless you are considering a special needs private school) and access to personal aids. Private schools definitely provide more personal attention because you are a client, but they are usually not as knowlegeable on special needs due to the fewer amount of kids they happen to get as well as lack of special ed teachers. When my son was in private school, he would constantly wander away and there were not enough adults to pay enough attention to him to get him back to class. I got calls multiple times per week having to pick him up because he couldn't make it through the day, but everyone was very nice to him, which helped his confidence. Homeschool is very difficult for special needs children and it is good for them to get out of their comfort zone. There is no easy solution. If I could do it all over again, I would have sent my son to a private school for children with learning differences. He has always been so intelligent, typical of many ASDs, so that was the reason I never sent him- I thought he would be too bored in the academic areas. However, we paid the price one he got to middle school (struggles in writing, critical thinking, oral presentation projects, working on group projects, homework, planning, etc.- all outweighed his superior memory, math and science skills). In hindsight, special needs schools are the only schools that teach in a multisensory way with progressive teaching styles and give enough attention to your child's needs. If your child is smart, they will be smart no matter what and teach themselves at home on areas that interest them. I found that in public schools, particulary in middle school, many teachers do not follow the IEP and you have to deal with 6 or 7 different teachers at a time and it is impossible for them to teach in a different style to your kid when they have 20 other mainstream kids. The elementary years are much better in this regard because the child is pretty much with one teacher most of the day who can really get to know your child and follow through on special teaching methods. So, if there are no private schools in your area that focus on ASD, and if finances are an issue, I would try public school with an IEP ready before the start of the first day. I would have the child study team prepare over the summer and have a plan in place, preferably a class with a co-teacher, teacher aid or personal aid for your child. It is far better to start with more assistance than to try to get help and add on accomodations during the school year. Good luck- whatever choice you make, Kindergarten is usually a year with a loving and nurturing environment. Also, if things get difficult and confusing or if you must switch schools, there is nothing wrong with repeating the Kindergarten year- many kids of all types do.
Then again in my state the public school standards are pretty low. Combine that with crowded conditions and the public school teachers spend their time just trying to get the kids to sit down and shut up. I say it would depend on the private school and how much they are willing to work with you. It is nearly impossible to get an appropriate amount of services in my public school system so I plan to take my chances with the private school with the help of our trusted team members. Either place you have to advocate for your kid.
I agree unless you are talking about an ASD private school the staff generally is not as well trained. The other thing is that private schools are not held to the same standards as public so often do not provide as much.
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