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U.S. Elementary education - what parents need to be aware of

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by Rihana, May 12, 2015.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thread to gather advice and observations about U.S. elementary education from experienced parents.

    What are the things you now know and wish had known earlier. What are some of the things missing or lacking in U.S. elementary schools that parents can fill in at home.

    Anything you wish to share about: language arts, math, science, parent-teacher conference, art, music, gifted and talented, standardized testing, bullying, child making friends, reading, writing ...
     
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My list is long - both the positives and what parents can/should do to complement public school in grades k-5. For now, one:

    Handwriting - teachers often do not correct how child holds the pencil. Most believe that child will hold it in what is most comfortable for him/her and that is fine. So we see children holding pencil in the oddest of ways, and that becomes habit. No need to force child to one way of holding it, but some guidance is surely required.

    While writing is happening less and less due to computers, how to hold a pencil is still a good habit to give early attention to.
     
  3. ramyav_cse

    ramyav_cse Gold IL'ite

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    A much needed topic...As a mother of a 4 yr old and being new to the system here, I might be one of the beneficiaries of this thread.

    Types of schools: I see that there are public magnet/charter schools in some places while other places have only public schools. Also the magnet/charter schools have a lottery system. Is it advisable that parents to move to areas with the magnet/charter schools.

    School District: How do we choose a school district? Are the ratings on greatschools a good guideline? Would children going to non-magnet, non-charter schools have lesser exposure?

    Extra enrichment: Should I take him to private classes(kumon etc)? If so, at what age? My son does not go to any sports/instrument/music classes for now. At what age should parents start exploring those?
     
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  4. dimhere

    dimhere Gold IL'ite

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    I would love to hear from experienced parents here. I have just moved here from India, and have two kids in the (public) elementary school system.

    The differences between their style of education in India and here are many.
     
  5. PavithraS

    PavithraS Platinum IL'ite

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    Definitely a much needed topic..:goodidea::clap I am a mother of 3 year old. Have put him in a preschool/daycare for 3 hrs. all five days. I know nothing about VPK or school admission procedures, magnet, lottery , public , everything is Latin to me.. Will also google it but it would be very helpful if experienced people share their knowledge and guide new comers like me..:thankyou2:

    Regards,

    Pavithra
     
  6. ramyav_cse

    ramyav_cse Gold IL'ite

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    We will learn these things together @PavithraS. I used google to know about magnet/charter schools.

    Basically, magnet/charter schools are run by a private management and have some additional state funding. They use a lottery system to admit the students and there is a broader boundary(eg: You would be eligible if u lived in x,y,z school districts).

    The rest of public schools have a feeder pattern(every residential address feeds into a certain set of schools). You can look up in your school districts website.

    Charter schools are specialized in certain things(like math/science or leadership or montessori etc). They also follow a lottery system and are run by a private management using state funding.

    Only some school districts have the magnet/charter schools and mostly public school buses are limited for such schools. Im not sure how much of a difference these schools make at the elementary level but may be experienced parents might be able to tell us.

    BTW, what is VPK?
     
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  7. rmpriya

    rmpriya IL Hall of Fame

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    Excellent thread . Moved to US 7 months back . My kid will be getting into first grade this Sept in a public school . She is doing her kindergarten in a private school now . She is a Nov born kid , because of the age cut off , she did not get in public school last year . Good for us , she cleared the screening test and got enrolled in first grade for this Sept .Else should have repeated kindergarten again in public school .

    I will be learning a lot from this thread . Thank you @Rihana.
     
  8. PavithraS

    PavithraS Platinum IL'ite

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    @ramyav_cse,

    Thank you for the heads up !! As you said we will both learn together..friendssmiley It needs someone to make us google and gather information. I have been thinking about doing this for quiet some time but for some reasons that I do wonder, kept postponing the most important QUEST of them all, educating our kids !!:) Maybe indecisiveness about continuing here in US for longer term might be a reason.

    I wish and hope to go back to India before my son starts serious (?!!) education. Nevertheless it does not hurt to gain some knowledge on this important matter, does it ?:goodidea:

    Do you by any chance know when this lottery system opens , where to apply, how to apply and what is the age of the child, for us to enter the same ?

    I mean , if you want to put your child in the magnet type of schools ,run on India like academic oriented method, should we enter the lottery system for VPK itself? What will be the eligibility criteria for us to enter the lottery like it is a must staying in that school district or you can enter a lottery for any of the magnet schools in the county of your residence ?
    I know my list of questions might be long and even dumb doh1 but still are valid , right?

    I shall also share my acquired knowledge on this.. Give me some time..
     
  9. ramyav_cse

    ramyav_cse Gold IL'ite

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    The criterion for admission into Magnet schools differ for every school district. I know some that says u cud be living in a certain set of surrounding cities and some that mention a set of school districts. In LA, u need to be living in address that qualify for LA Unified School district. However, not all magnet schools are great. Im told that a nearby school district performs better than the magnet schools in LA. By living, you might have to provide a proof of address(lease/utility bills) to apply to a school. The timelines varies for every school district. The school districts website is a good place to begin with.

    Again, what is VPK?
     
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  10. PavithraS

    PavithraS Platinum IL'ite

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    VPK is for voluntary pre kinder garden. After your child completes 4 years of age you can opt to send him to this class before taking him straight to public or magnet school after 5 years of age. It is similar to our own KG classes in India.

    In JAX, FL, where we live, free VPK classes are available even in those private preschools/day care centers.. Again I am not sure about how to enroll for this class. As I said earlier, give me some time then I could share some information I gather.

    Mean time let me tag some senior IL ites who have experience here. @VanithaSudhir, @butterflyice, @jskls, Please refer to this thread and throw us some light on this matter.

    Thank you all,

    Regards,
    Pavithra
     

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