If you recall, we made the decision to switch schools this past year for Alex and her sister Jordan. Jordan had spent the previous year "pre-schooling" with grandma and Alex had attended a well established and highly regarded private montessori school. We ran into issues with her teacher not differentiating or following the lead of the child (Alex) and requested a class change. The school was unable to meet our request, so took her out.
A new farm based Montessori school opened up, seemed absolutely perfect and we had high hopes. We met with the administration and teachers to discuss exactly what our needs were ( individualized/small group lessons on a daily basis, supplementing her passion areas with opportunities/direct instruction, & and nurturing her spirit which was a little bruised from the previous teacher). All things the school & I felt were easily accomplishable. So much so, that we enrolled Jordan as well.
Needless to say, the school was experiencing significant growing pains and we felt Alex's needs weren't being met, academically. Individual/small group lessons were given to her at a rate of 1x biweekly. (Yes, I began keeping check). I would ask Alex daily as well as her teachers. It truly has been a year of what I would call "unschooling"....which we are not in favor of. Alex could easily spend an entire day digging for worms, doing arts/crafts, chasing chickens, etc. Now to be fair, she also spent many days writing up scientific research & biography reports. However there wasn't any instruction on the writing process and the skills she entered in with (although her research is now more indepth) have not changed
It is important for me to say that her skills are still advanced, which I think is the problem we have faced with schools in general. She does well, is advanced, has no behavioral issues, and so the focus tends to be on others who need more assistance, with Alex often left with busy work. This would be easier to swallow in a public school, but we are spending A LOT of money on their education. Jordan on the other hand, has had a wonderful experience. Even today I would recommend this schools preschool program for those who want a pure montessori experience. We hate to pull her away from such an ideal preschool community (only 7 kids total and then down to 4 in the afternoons), but we're not willing to sacrifice the education of one for the other.
So in the fall, Alex will be returning to her former Montessori school, with younger sis in tow. They were able to give us a class change and we've already had lots of conversations about our expectations. I plan to be more involved in communicating directly and immediately with the teacher should I start to see patterns that resemble more whole class/grade level vs. individual/small group lessons. Hopefully this time we'll get it right. If not, I'll be homeschooling.
So, that's where we are. I have already pulled Alex from school (it's year round). We are summer homeschooling in all 4 content areas. Jordan (age 4) will continue to go since we have to pay regardless. Her last day will be in mid August. Both will start their new school together in late August. Wish us luck!