Like other reviewers have mentioned, this school is not for everyone. For my family it is perfect. I have an 8th grader, a 5th grader, and a 2nd grader. They all love school. They don't feel like robots that do nothing but school work - they are extremely proud of themselves and their achievements. They are learning personal responsibility and to recognize the growth that they have made. They are never bored. I love that I am involved in their learning - the homeschool component is basically that I help them with their homework, which I want to do anyway. The commitment level for parents is definitely high, but I have no desire to drop my kids off at a school and let them do all the teaching - I want to know what my kids are learning and how it is taught. The school focuses on academics without a lot of extras, BUT there are no classes on Mondays, so that's when many families do music lessons and other supplementary programs. If your children need a challenge academically, you won't do better than this school. (And - if you read the negative reviews, don't they kind of read the same? I wonder if some of them are from the same reviewer?)
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?