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Best place for my childrens' education
September 29, 2009 12:15 PM   Subscribe

What would be the best place and type of school to give my children a really great and meaningful education.

We've got two kids in public school in Canada, but I'm not really sure they're getting the best educational experience they could. They're often bored, large class sizes, etc.

Both my wife and I are freelancers, so we could work from anywhere in the world, and we would be willing to sacrifice our standard of living to help pay for a good educational experience for our kids. They're bilingual French/English right now, and they'd be willing to learn a new language if necessary. They love doing science experiments.

What would be some good places to go and raise your kids so they have a really meaningful education? I'd consider public schools, private schools, even tutors if it was a place where the cost of living was lower. I just want to hear ideas that I've never even thought of (and I love to travel).
posted by fcain to Education (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Toronto has a sort-of-thriving alternative school system. I went to Inglenook. Inglenook has tremendous potential. In the 12th grade I was learning calculus, the history of science, African-American literature, and theatre design. I loved it all.

But: The school doesn't enforce much. Attendance is expected, and your relationships with the teachers (which are informal and very friendly) suffer if you don't do the work, but you can skip a lot of class and smoke pot in the laneway behind the school and not suffer any official reprimand. This makes the environment really good for the people who want to learn, because everyone is self-motivated, but there are also a lot of people who are not self-motivated and don't do much. The ratio is maybe 50:50. Some of the smartest, most self-aware people I know come from Inglenook, and also some total clods.

Also a lack of funding means that the science classes aren't really equipped, and that there aren't that many of them, although those credits can be pursued at other high schools separately.

SEED
and the Student School are other popular Toronto alternative schools but I don't know as much about them.

MeMail me if you have any questions about it.
posted by voronoi at 12:38 PM on September 29, 2009


Had I known about the Sudbury School as a kid, I would have begged to go there.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:43 PM on September 29, 2009


I was looking into a similar idea for a friend. Many of the places that have low costs of living do have private schools (since public education is usually below Canadian standards in developing countries). The private schools we looked at were all over the map in terms of quality though. Many I immediately ruled out paid dismal wages to their staff, ensuring under-qualified, constantly rotating staff. The fees for the private schools were comparable to the Toronto area - 15,000-20,000 CDN/year because the students were the children of executives and diplomats that weren't paying out of pocket for the education so there was natural price inflation.

Personally, I always thought Salt Spring Centre School seemed cool but it may not be sciencey enough for your children.
posted by saucysault at 2:48 PM on September 29, 2009


School is what you make of it. My husband and I both went to public school and are perfectly functioning and educated adults both pursuing masters degrees. Private school is most likely as boring as public school and your child's education is what they make of it. However, it's up to you if you want to sacrifice your finances with no guarantee that your children will excel at a top-tier public school. I would question your kids if they're getting what they want from their current school, or if you think they're not getting a proper education at their current school.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 2:51 PM on September 29, 2009


I meant to say "top-tier private school".
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 2:52 PM on September 29, 2009


Homschooling in Canada is legal and relatively hassle free. Live where you want. I have a friend in Canada that has 2 kids in college and two still at home - none ever attended school. Spend six hours a week on the "college prep" or traditional academic type stuff, and the rest of the week is yours to do what you want. Could work out very well given the flexibility inherent in a 2 freelancer family.
posted by COD at 4:59 PM on September 29, 2009


Minus my desire to eventually get out of the northeast, when I finish grad school, teaching at Sudbury has been a career dream of mine since shortly after I decided I'd like to be a teacher. So yeah, I think it would be an awesome place to send my kids.

I dunno about Canada, but coming from a family of teachers and myself being very involved in the local schools, there is pretty much no way our future kids are going to US public school unless there is a drastic change in how they do things.
posted by teishu at 11:33 PM on September 29, 2009


Years ago I took my-then 4 year old to see the Sudbury Valley School. I was really excited about the whole philosophy until I saw the lake on campus. I asked what would happen if my daughter wanted to go in the lake; would anyone try to watch her or see if she could swim?

I was told that they would allow her to make her own decisions and learn from them; the 4 year olds were not supervised.

She didn't go there. But a friend of a friend's kid did, and she had to be rescued from said lake after trying to walk on it during winter and falling through the ice. She was 6.
posted by dzaz at 5:57 PM on October 2, 2009


Have you heard of the IBO?

I am a teacher in a PYP school and am constantly blown away by this thing. It's worldwide, available in lots of international schools all over the world. International schools are great because they understand that your kids may have gone to lots of other schools before and may go to lots of other schools in the future.

You can check out the schools running IBO curricula in Canada on the site.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:57 AM on October 11, 2009


Just to clarify - the thing I find most appealing about IBO programmes is the pedagogical approach, which is learning through inquiry. If your kids like doing experiments in science, they're going to love doing them in math and language.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 12:00 PM on October 11, 2009


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