H&O no longer attend public school. They now attend a small private school.
They attended kindergarten through 3rd grade at the nearby Peace Dale Elementary public school. Kindergarten was great. H&O had a dedicated and effective teacher and teaching assistant. For 1st grade they attend the Kaleidoscope program -- a small school within the larger public school. Kaleidoscope looped 1st and 2nd grade and 3rd and 4th grade so that there were fewer transitions, greater student and teacher understanding, and generally a longer time for teaching and learning the core subjects. First grade was great; they had dedicated and effective teachers. Then the school abruptly canceled the program. Second grade was not great for O; a bad teacher and then a change in teachers. O hated school. Third grade was not great for H; four teacher changes in one year. H hated school.
What Chris and I also saw during this time was teachers losing teaching time to administrative tasks, more and more testing, more and more busy-work homework, and, frankly, a chaotic syllabus, advanced beyond the capabilities of most children, and with prescribed instruction. When the best that you can do is instruct and not teach how long would you stick around? Great teachers retired rather than face this. And finally, any attempt to attend to the character and the spirit of the children was gone.
So H&O are now at a school where teachers teach. They also are the administration. And they do attend to the character and spirit of the children. We are all much happier.
I had told myself when H&O were of school age that they would attend public school. I believed in local public schools and the public school system in general. We live in a town with highly regarded public schools. Unfortunately, we also live in a time where teaching has become instruction -- automated, measured, homogenized.