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Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

Posted by motherlisa (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 1, 09 at 12:18

My step son is 11 and has speech problems and is behind in school. He has been behind since he started kindergarten, school keeps telling us how close he is to being caught up and not to worry. However, we had him evaluated at Sylvan Learning Center and they don't seem to think he is so caught up. He will be going into middle school next year and we are afraid he will just get horribly lost and fall even further behind. Sylvan is very expensive($50 an hour) and I am afraid if I try to home school for a year I may only make matters worse. Anyone home schooled or sent their kid to Sylvan? Is Sylvan worth the money? Any recommendations?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

I was home-schooled and I worked about 3 hours a day on my schoolwork. I always tested with my class (once a year at the public school).

I would ask the school exactly what he needs to be caught up and what steps they are taking to ensure he is caught up, and then I'd follow up at home with extra work. I'd try that before paying a tutor to teach him the same stuff I could teach him. Unless you have a hard time teaching/he has a hard time learning from you (in which case homeschooling wouldn't be a good idea anyway).

My dd wasn't doing so well in math so I looked at her homework and then downloaded worksheets off the internet that were similar and sat with her and did them, over and over. She's improved remarkably.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

Home *coaching* might be a good idea, and in theory home schooling CAN be wonderful, but you have to be good at it, very dedicated, and doing it for the right reason.

My wife is a teacher, and agrees in theory kids might learn more without the distractions of a school - in an ideal world, but in her experience, many of the people she knows are home schooling are doing so because they don't like what their kid's school is saying...

She had one kid whose work was way below the expectations for his age and could not organise himself to save his life. He had been home schooled before and he really did need assistance from the school - an 'IEP - individual education plan' but the mum would have none of it, but insisted the teacher should check that he had every single detail of what he needed to do in his diary. Clearly not a teachers job, the kid was more than old enough to take responsibility.

Try as they might to convince the parent the kid needed some assistance and perhaps assessment for a learning disability (I could easily pick out his work from the other kids work, and I'd never met him) the mum would not buy into it, and took him out to home school him again.

Clearly she was propping him up in certain areas - like organising everything for him - which is not going to allow him to be independent in the future, so if nothing is done I guess he's doomed to flip burgers for the clown or work in the family business. He had some abilities in other areas but these issues were holding him back.

I agree the Sylvan price sounds expensive but I guess is around what you'd expect, however, consider Sylvan has a vested interest in your child having a problem and needing assistance.

I agree that some teachers may be optimistic as to whether a kid is 'fine' and in an ideal world they may be, but when they move out into a world full of time limits, assessments and examinations, they may not cope.

Discuss your concerns with the teacher, and ask how you can help at home. Most teachers are so thrilled that parents take a real interest in their kids education, they will be happy to work with you. Some one on one help at home may be all he needs.

My wife has taught all her working life, and if there's one factor in common with kids who do well, and are well-adjusted, it's interested parents who read with and read to their child, and work with them and take an interest in their schoolwork. Makes a big difference.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

there should be free tutoring in school. Our district offers free tutoring after school.

I am not a big supporter of homeschooling. We had students at a high school who were homeschooled at elementary and middle school and they were so behind they could never catch up.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

I am not a big fan of Sylvan. My sons went there last year and it did nothing for them. They practiced things that were below where they were at in school and spent more time picking out rewards than actually learning anything imo. We are about to homeschool our oldest. He has been consistantly behind in school and year after year the school does little to nothing. He has an IEP so they will not fail him and will only continue to pass him along. He has major issues with keeping up with assignments with only two teachers without constant communication with the teachers. Next year with 6 teachers and all the drama that comes along with middle school in general he will surely fail miserably. On top of that every single school I have visited I have heard the same basic speech. "I cant do my job because I have to many kids. I cant do my job because I have so much to do. I cant do my job because teachers wont cooperate with me... blah blah blah" Combine that with the major cuts that we are dealing with in FL... ESE is the first thing that schools are cutting which kills any extra assistance that might have been available (which seems to be little to none) and we are certain traditional public school is not for him next year. There are a huge amount of options for homeschooling if you are serious about it. There are groups and such that your child can go to to learn different subjects. There are also computer programs. We will be using switched on school house combined with a lot of extra teaching... a whole getting back to basics approach with him to keep him on level with his grade but to boost his skills so hopefully he can catch up. My mom worked with switched on school house for my brother... which is why we chose it. It is the entire curriculum on the computer basically. She combined that with practical skills that she felt schools leave out like... how to balance a check book, how to fill out a job application, and how to handle certain finances. The good thing about homeschool is there is a huge amount of flexibility if you are willing to put in the time... for example a trip to the bank to talk to a financial advisor. For my son that is perfect... instead of sitting in a classroom staring at a chalk board learning about photosynthesis we can go out in the garden and experiance it... instead of talking about gettysburg with pictures in a book again experiance it.... it is perfect for a kid with ADD. It does take ALOT of work and you have to be commited. You cant half a@@ so to speak or he might as well be at school. But, if you work at it... it can be fantastic. There should be a homeschool network or group in your area if you look hard enough. Ask a ton of questions... those that have been doing it for a while have a lot of tricks of the trade so to speak and can help you along the way. Plus they can hook you up with organizations that support homeschoolers and things like, in our area, an annual book sale where you can find things super cheap.

It is really up to what you feel you can do and what you feel would fit for your son. Only you can know that. Plus, in case you dont know there are in a lot of areas scholarships for private schools that are funded through the county. In ours it is the McKay scholarship... my only problem with that is that the private schools that accept it in our area are not much better than the public... but things could always be better in your area.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

Some private schools may help in such a situation, but some may be worse. My kids went to a Catholic High school that was very progressive with modest fees, the youngest who does well at school did well, and the eldest who is very bright but had difficulties with some subjects got the help they needed. At different times they both got scholarships too which helped a lot.

The govt school that would have been where they went would probably have worked for the youngest, who is self-motivated, but the eldest would have fallen through the cracks.

Some private schools might be great for kids with learning difficulties, assuming they have the resources and deploy them, but other private schools will cherry pick students and are going for academic achievement. If the school you pick is the latter, it will be worse, not better, for a kid with learning difficulties. Think carefully before choosing and don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. A good school will want an entry interview anyway where both sides' expectations should be made clear.

Home schooling certainly can be wonderful, but as Mom of 4 said it is a *lot* of work to do well, and if you can do it well your child will have a wonderful educational experience but it's also important to make sure there is socialisation, usually there's some sort of local homeschool resource organisation through which you can probably organise some activities, as well as some tie-ins with the local school. You have to be careful to do this otherwise you risk your child becoming isolated which can have its own issues.

To do it well involves much more than the three or four hours of actual typical face to face instruction, plus quite a lot of expense if you want to provide a really holistic education. If you do and you think you drive the kids around a lot now, you're in for a surprise.

I guess the other question is whether you live in a rural area or an urban area. If the former you will be able to study the nature side of things but will lack resources such as museums etc, if you are in an urban area and have the time and money and transport then you will have many choices, providing you research and plan well.

To be honest, I'm not sure how well one would fit in housework/cooking/caring for under schoolage kids as well. I guess with the cooking from an early age, you'd want to have your kids participating in that, at the least. You can incorporate lots of learning into that, whenever our young niece is here with us, we try to cook/bake something together and it's an opportunity to work on reading, math (measuring etc) motor skills and science's always fun.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

In my experience I have seen public schools fail kids with an IEP. My sd for example. Had an IEP and was somehow meeting her goals in each area at 80% all the time. Funny how I saw her failing in these areas at home...but according to the teachers she was doing just fine in them at school. I kept telling my dh (who was my bf at the time) that I smelled a rat. He kept saying what a great school it was, etc. etc. etc. I stopped hounding him.

When we bought a home together and moved to a different district he was in for a rude awakening. They told him how behind she really was and all the extra help she did need.

As for homeschooling you really need to be dedicated to it. As someone else said you can not half a** it. As a teacher I saw a few kids who had been homeschooled for a while and returned to public schools far behind. That was because the parents really got overwhelmed or some really did not stick to it. I had one kid who was pulled out of school to be homeschooled and we later found out that mom was really just sleeping all day because she worked nights. She handed the kid a few workbooks and let him do stuff on his own. He retuned to our district the following year so far behind!

And for private schools, well many of them use the public school for assistance when it comes to IEP's and such, so it may not help to move to a private school in your area if they are going to have the same people from the public school come in to help your child.

For the rest of this year I would try getting an extra set of your childs textbooks to keep at home. Many times the school will lend you them for the year. Then just find out what they are working on in class and go over it again at home. Also there are a million websites ( and such) that will give you skill sheets and different activities for your child's grade level. You can print them and practice at home.

Read a lot with your child. Books on tape are great for kids who hate to read. They follow along in the book as the tape reads to them. It is great for them to be read to.

I would test run the homeschooling thing over the summer and decide if it is something you can do. If so then start next year.

Good luck to you!

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

I'm sorry in our district they will fail a child with and IEP once and only once. After that they refuse to do so. For my son, who failed kindergarten, he has no options of repeating... they will continue to pass him to the next grade wether he understands what is going on or not. It is beyond frustrating.

For homeschooling... you can expect to spend about 500.00 a year on school costs. More or less depending on what you plan on doing and how you do it. Also, at least in our area homeschoolers can participate in whatever your childs area schools extra curricular activities are.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

I homeschool both of my children. I pulled them out of public school because they were getting further behind and bored all the time. The school where I live defiantly leaves something to be desired. Doing true homeschooling takes a lot of time to find the right cirriculm for your kids. There is a free online school that uses K12 stuff and its great. We couldn't enroll in the middle of the year anyways every state has it. They will loan you a computer send you all the stuff for school even the lesson plans for your child. The cirriculm is one of the best and to buy it without the virtual school is super expensive. If you go to the website and look at there schools for your state they should have it. Good luck!

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

Homeschooling is certainly not for everyone but many turn to it when they find that they spend all their evenings teaching their child what should have been taught in the school. I have never used Sylvan but I have homeschooled for the last 18 years. My oldest is currently working on her masters in education and my youngest is starting first grade. All of the above people are right when they say that it takes dedication. It actually becomes my "JOB". However, when you go into it with that attitude then chances are high that you will be successful. I know some who homeschool for the wrong reasons but I resent being lumped in with them. All most people who have anything to do with government schools know about homeschooling is what we call the "rejects". They didn't go into it with an attitude of a "JOB". Those of us that have are many. You never, or very seldom, see them going into the government system.

Do I get tired? YES. I am right now. Their are several schools that teach via online, dvd, or hard drive. These are excellent choices for those who don't really want to teach but be more of a supervisor/support help. They are costly but so is their lack of education. Their education or lack of is something that they will carry with them for a lifetime. What better gift can you give them.

RE: Sylvan vs. Home Schooling

I don’t know sylvan. I’ve been homeschooling my DD. We enjoy it. Here are some of my feelings. Hope it helps. I think the most important thing of homeschooling is that you should make plan adequately and then persevere in it. Besides, you should find some assistant tool helping you to find out where you have been and weather you are teaching the right thing. About this I recommend beestar. My DD has been using it. It looks great. Anyway, good luck!

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