This is a great program that allows our kids to be in an environment with all different kinds of people (ethnic, socioeconomic, religions, etc.) like the real world. We get to be heavily involved in their learning and sometimes it is a great deal of work but it is worth it. Unfortunately Common Core and state testing are being required at this school and it has hurt the program. It seemed that this year 2013-2014, the pace of learning slowed down considerably and I am afraid that Common Core is going to ruin what was the best option for our kids. The idea behind Common Core is good but it has been implemented in a way that is hurting rather than helping the children of our nation.
Wow. I am shocked at the negative reviews. We have 3 kids in the program and have been with the school 6 years. I think it's definitely not for everyone, but we are extremely pleased with the quality of the school, the curriculum, and the teachers. I think these dissatisfied parents have gone, because we have zero slots available to new kindergartners as all open slots go to siblings first. This shows significant commitment among existing parents, and is a hallmark of the learning community that we have developed.
If you are wiling to give up any social development with play with other children, free time, and sanity of not only the child, but also the parent. If your willing to, or have the time to devote and extra 20 hours a week to home work, then this would be the school for you.The curriculum is too far advanced, ie. five year old kindergarten children bringing home work that clearly is for fourth and fifth graders, and changes too often, for most of the kids, (even the above average intelligence children). My child attended there for a while, and we decided to go back to public school for a trial period where we learned that wasn't advanced enough. Ultimately we decided on homeschooling which seems to work better than both options. Our child gets a challenging education,equal to, I believe superior to the family school education, but still has time to be a kid, which DID NOT happen at the family school. I suppose the best word to describe the experience here is BURNOUT. Too much work, and too many ridiculous theories of what children should be taught. They need free time to develop. Parent participation is expected, but your time would be better spent homeschooling your own child.
I agree with majority of the negative posts here. My son spent the first two months of kinder here .. The curriculum is confusing, never published, and very age inappropriate. I mean place value in the thousands before they can count to 100,really? More homework is not always better. academically you will do just as well if not better with something like horizons curriculum. The bonus is your kid will have time to be a kid and enjoy other interests. I'm sorry but this school was a huge disappointment. I got my son out as he was surely shutting down. When we expressed our concerns we were told that it's just not for everyone and there was not room for any new ideas or challenges. Hey, that was enough-were out and far better off. my son is doing great but still misses the kid connect as we are homeschooling now. Still waiting for a school with like hours and a published curriculum to come along. That would be a real great school!
I really don't think that many of the negative reviews here are justified. This is our family's 5th year at Family School. We have some special circumstances that make the multi-age classrooms very attractive (a younger sib who is gifted, and older sib who has ADHD and until recently struggled to keep up with reading). It's definitely not the school for people who think the teachers should be doing all the hard work. The parents are co-teachers with all the responsibility that implies. Families must have the time to devote, and I think the school does as good a job at communicating that as possible. (It would be interesting to me to know which reviews were written by 80/20 vs 50/50 families.) Expectations are high, and our kids are developing great academic, study, and critical thinking skills.
The school now has a brand new and beautifully designed website that sounds like an infomercial, with a bunch of puffed up descriptions and testimonials from some folks who "graduated" from it 20 years ago when it was a different school altogether, but nothing really has changed the last 3 years. It is a load for any kid and any family to meet all the undefined requirements they ramble about at their 2-hour compulsory meetings, designed to reinforce the parent "commitment" component. 4 weeks of the year are completely taken up by testing. Retention is not very high. You can indeed try it for yourself as they invite, but chances are you will burn out sooner rather than later.
What worked at one time no longer works. The children are not learning what they did at one time because many of their brighter peers have moved on. The teacher turnover is high and the principal is not easy to talk to. Most importantly, the quality of education has really gone down over the years and the retention of famlies is not there.
It is sad that this school is gong down quite rapidly. The cliche you would hear (if you dare voice any sort of criticism) is the school is not for everyone so of course if you cannot stand it you vote with your feet, but now it seems like it really is becoming a school for no one. It has a beautiful building and a few wonderful teachers, though it's a toss-up what teacher you will be assigned to. It was a better school before the nice building. It definitely needs something to hold it together, now that its core model seems to have collapsed and is morphing into the unknown. That something seems to be evading the current leadership which is unfortunate.
The school's emphasis on quality is to be recognized but not at the expense of a child's enthusiasm and happiness. I saw too many spirits crushed and moved my child. The Principal has some great ideas - especially in the area of math; but due to teacher turn-over, not all even know the curriculum. Recess is nearly nonexistent as are other opportunities to enjoy being a child. Your child will learn and test well but at what cost?
It truly is sad to see so many negative reviews. This is our family's seventh year at Family School. It's not for everyone. Not every family has the time to devote to this model of education. Are expectations high? Yes. Are parents required to do far more than they are in a more conventional school? Yes. Do the children learn tremendous academic skills? Yes. Is it worth the time and effort? That depends on the individual child and family. Had I do it it all over again, I would not choose a different school for my three children.
It's sad to see all these negative reviews. Family School was a wonderful place 10-12 years ago. Now that my kids are in "real" school, I miss the dedicated teachers and the excellent academic environment. The tradeoff is they are much, much happier now and we all are much better off without the pressure of unrealistic expectations. I DO NOT miss the parent meetings! Thank goodness I don't have to sit through two hours of how to write a Sophie letter or Critical Reframers. I DO NOT miss the "mommy" homework. I DO NOT miss the Homework Logs where you had to detail your goals and time worked (rounded to a quarter hour) in every subject. I DO NOT miss the principal who regularly would lock the parking lot gate in the evening, locking in 25 parents who were watching their kids practice football on an adjoining field. Are my kids learning as much? No. Are we better off in the long run? Yes.
This school was considered good once. Now it's just a short (on average a few months long) stop for families who tolerate it till they can no longer endure the fluff the school enforces that kills the imagination of kids by sucking up all of their time. If they stuck with the basics and used their time in class wisely, moderating the homework to a realistic 2-3 hour daily amount, and tailoring it to the abilities of the students and not the parents, thus allowing families to breathe, they would retain more families. But they keep adding self-important fluff written up on loose sheets of the teachers' composition, with an average of 20 typos per page. All is defined very vaguely in the form of unclear projects and self-assessments. Kids will learn a fair amount (who wouldn't if they spend 11 hours a day on school), but they will feel miserable for the most part and they'd be lucky if they can brush their teeth in peace. If you homeschool, you'll impart to your kids the same amount of knowledge in less than half the time, and will have happy kids with varied interests.
The school is based on an idea that existed before so many moms started working to make ends meet, half-day school instruction with a couple hours homework. The school used to be good and stable, but is sinking fast. The test-driven ruler is ripping her own model apart, confusing families and putting even more unreasonable time demands than the ones existing before. At the same time, new rival schools and better homeschooling options are making the unreasonable parent time demands for that "eclectic" school sound inane. One has to drive to 2- hr meetings the gist of which could be put in a 5-minute email, etc. The school has no history and very little science on its curriculum, not to mention foreign languages. It uses quite mysterious language for things that have long-established names in order to sound very pompous and academic. For instance, a dictation is called a "Sophie dictation" and woe on you if you call it dictation. Attitude and commitment are two other ideas that mean nothing to the 5-year who has to assess himself on scales involving those. Teacher turn-over is substantial due to said parent meetings and unclear expectations, and recently family turnover is high.
"Family" school is an oxymoron. If you have an only child with 5 adults to cater to the school's compulsory requirements of constant parent meetings designed to teach you their "method", but in actuality killing family time, you might find it a good school. The previous reviewer sums it eloquently. Expect unclear expectations and massive homework that will suffocate and stunt your child and allow little free play if you do it all. Expect to be treated like a schoolchild yourself and take lessons in how to add, subtract and add fractions even if you hold a PhD in physics. Here, even the relatively good teachers are confused because things change at a drop of a hat. What used to be the norm in the morning will be completely reversed in the evening. Most children at this school are frustrated, at least in the younger grades. Most of the parents are ambitious and overzealous. Beware of burnout, choose your school wisely. Recently, the school has had no wait lists and is struggling to fill its spots. It's in a deep crisis, with lots of previously happy families running away from it in large numbers due to its volatility and high time demands with little to show in return.
This school is OK for many people. It is rather like a moving target as the staff changes requirements seemlingly on a whim with little or few explanations. Make no mistake, this is a writing charter school. Even science is about writing up journals etc. The homework is excessive and the expectations are seldom clear. The place is a revolving door as students and parents come and go. Communication is vague with many references to "committment". If you struggle, you are not committed is the logic here. Be careful because if you don't fit in you better have a back up plan. Overall, girls are happier here.
I love this school! There is a lot of homework, but it is a great education and it is very fun. We have great opportunities to do art and perform plays and make great friends, but we also have time to learn well. Family School is a very safe and fun place to go, and parents also get to be involved. We now have a science class and new clubs and something called art wheel that makes if even more great! I have loved every teacher I have ever had there, and so have all my friends. Family school is a great school.
There are some great qualities about this school and some not-so-great ones as well. We have chosen this school for our kids because of the parental involvement that it requires. The students really learn a great deal of information in Reading, Math, and some science. Other subjects, well this school is definitely lacking. They require 'homeschooling' but it's really just assignments in reading and math usually. I do not like that I don't have time to teach them other subjects at home. I wish this school would put more importance on a little bit of playtime, which is so important for younger kids, but they expect that to be at home. So they get 4 intense hours of schoolwork a day without really any breaks. Overall I am happy with this school, but it's not for everyone.
This school is not for everyone. There is an extreme amount of parent commitment. The learning techniques are excellent, the classrooms let children learn at their own level, and your child becomes responsible for their own learning. The teachers have high expectations for your children and sometimes it is too much stress. There are NO extracurricular activities and not much socializing in class. There is no social studies, world history, or music taught. We have seen benefits and also many negatives in this school.
This is a glorified APS school. It is in no way homeschooling, IMO. The prinicpal is sarcastic and unprofessional. Kids score well, but they act like childhood is a race to some finish line. The entire curriculum is created by the school. There is no room for flexibility. The school lacks the high levels of respect seen in homeschooling groups and montessori schools.
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