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Old 12-17-2012, 01:35 PM
5 posts, read 38,428 times
Reputation: 20


These two seem fairly similar all things considered (I know price is slightly different). If living equidistant between the two, how to choose one over another for older grades?

Anyone willing to chime in on your positive or negative experiences at either school for older ages - upper el / middle / high schoolers?

Much Obliged!

Old 12-17-2012, 07:11 PM
Location: Houston, TX
64 posts, read 131,109 times
Reputation: 70
I don't have personal experience with these two schools, but the high school branch of Post Oak just opened this year (I think). School of the Woods has had their high school for about ten years.
I hope someone else can reply because I am also interested in learning more about these two high schools.
Old 12-19-2012, 06:55 AM
369 posts, read 826,416 times
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Have your child shadow for a day at each school to see which they prefer. The post oak high school has no sports program so if your child is looking for athletics that's a big issue.
Old 01-27-2013, 05:25 PM
28 posts, read 150,155 times
Reputation: 75
Avoid School of the Woods at all costs!!! We were there from elementary through high school and it was a horrible experience. In elementary school, conferences consisted of teachers reading off a piece of paper I could have read myself in 2 minutes. Nothing of substance. Teachers not receptive to any questions and want to hustle you out the door. 15 minutes per conference. Middle school even worse. No textbooks. Math was a series of photocopied pages. No examples. Lessons were often skipped. Zero grammar taught. Told us students wrote in journals every day and that was grammar (it was integrated). Yet when we viewed the journals, there was a teacher signature at the top of every page, but nothing was read or looked at. Tons of misspellings and grammar mistakes. We were told the kid's writings were often "private" and the teacher did not want to pry. But that was the grammar lesson! High school was the worst. The kids run the school. Kids give lessons, manage the events, decide on the rules. Zero adult supervision. School calls this the Montessori "way." But how good is the education going to be when a bunch of freshmen are designing the lesson plan!? It's a bad deal all the way around. Montessori should stop at 6 years old. Real world does not equal Montessori!
Old 01-29-2013, 10:05 PM
5 posts, read 38,428 times
Reputation: 20
BPRoman, am curious where you sent your child(ren) after you left Woods and if they were significantly deficient in various subjects? Did any finish the high school program there? If so, did they go on to college? How prepared did they feel for that experience?

Anyone else care to weigh in about School of the Woods?

Other than the Grammar issue mentioned and teachers not being receptive to questions - this is really the whole point of Montessori - a child led education (within parameters of course). If done well, it works. Giving lessons, managing events and making rules - to me, this DOES indeed sounds a lot like Real World - innovators, decision makers, mentors, etc. We certainly need more young (and old) people who can do those things well. That said, I have seen Montessori done well and done poorly, so would greatly appreciate some other specific experiences and outcomes.
Old 01-30-2013, 08:58 AM
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I find it curious that BPRoman claims to have had such a terrible experience at SOTW - yet stayed there from elementary all the way through high school?

Old 01-30-2013, 02:54 PM
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Excellent point fnh. We believe so strongly in Montessori that we willed it to be better. We started (at another school) at 12 months and had a fabulous experience in the 18 month and 3-6 program. It blew our minds. We would show up at 5 pm for pickup and be told to wait until students found a good stopping point to put up mats. It was a very intense program and I cannot recommend it highly enough. So what happened?

Elementary was still independent work. You worked at your own pace. Fantastic. Even SOTW has this approach. But there the teacher's were much less collaborative. It was almost like they had been beaten on by parents for so long, they just avoided us. And management does not have their backs. At the top rung are parents with money who support the school. So, teachers have to walk a fine line. I will repeat that conferences did suck! Ask any parent. And the teachers were very unapproachable. We saw this during the school tour.

But we figured middle school would be better. We double downed and went for it. All the extras were super attractive. Going to UN in NYC, working in the outdoors, ROPES courses, self-management... sweet stuff. But it came at the expense of actual learning. You can only do so much in a given day and between community meetings and all the other activities, my kid was lucky to get 2 hours of learning in a day and most of that was self-directed!

This is when we began to question the school, but not Montessori in general. We looked around, but very few options (maybe less than 5 other schools?). We didn't want to move our child out of this environment after so many years, because it would be too much of a shock. So, we did the best we could. We knew it was not heavy on academics, so we used tutors instead. And don't get me wrong, UN was really cool. I told friends about the school and they were green w/envy. But I left out the huge price we paid. Kids could barely read and write. Kids would correct others work (more of the self-directed stuff) and my kid said (peer reviewed) papers were unreadable. We barely made it through middle school and really thought hard about bailing. More than half the class took off and thought we were CRAZY for staying.

Turns out we were crazy! The high school is the nucleus for all that is broken. We always thought it strange why we never saw the principal while in middle school. Turns out she is a world traveler. She's at school less than 50% of the time. She's had two speaking engagements in the last two weeks alone. There is no one to manage the teachers or the students. The owner sits down the street. I thought there was little academics in the middle school. Here it's an afterthought. I could write a book on the high school!

Will stop there. Great catch fnh and I should have addressed it in the earlier post. If you have anymore questions or concerns, please post them. I will check back here and answer them. I just don't want other parents to make the same mistake we made. Very sad for the kids.
Old 01-30-2013, 03:13 PM
28 posts, read 150,155 times
Reputation: 75
Hi VonVan

We adore Montessori. Have read all the books and like I said before... the 3-6 program is nothing short of a miracle. Our child learned the phrase "step away" to tell a friend when they were getting on our child's mat. Our child used this same approach with us! This is why you hear Montessori is not for everybody. And school taught us to give our child choices for EVERYTHING. That worked like a charm too. So, Maria gets two thumbs way, way up! Even the materials (e.g. beads and pink tower) were inspired.

You are dead on about a child centered education. But I think (unfortunately) there is another part of the world that is teaching to the test. Aggressively going after SAT numbers. Getting into Ivy Leagues. It's when those kids "mix" with Montessori that all hell breaks lose. Top universities won't even look at SOTW. It's just too different and no one gets a C (the rubrix). But these straight A students are walking out of Woods with only 1500s on their SATs. If you are cool going a different route for college (like St Johns in New Mexico), sweet. Want to get into University of Texas? Try again. SOTW is a graduating class of <20!

My teen left the school and was deficient, but not in the ways that come to mind. First class... teacher says, get out your beakers. What's a beaker? Fire up your bunsen burner. What's that? Bell rings. What's that. Pep rally. What's that. It was like the Twilight Zone. Homework quadrupled+. Caught up, but it was touch and go for about 4 months. Happy to say, getting letters from colleges as I write this.

I get the "done well" piece. I have seen it. It was magical and this is why a lot of public elementary schools are introducing the movement into their schools. but my kid went from being way, way ahead to being way, way behind. And it was so gradual. I wish it had slapped us in the face and we would have moved much sooner.

The last thing I will add... could SOTW do it right? Right teachers, principle there 100% of the time... I actually don't think so. It all comes down to school size. SOTW cannot afford bunsen burners. I remember one experiment for biology on classifications and ontology. The teacher sent the class out to the parking lot to "classify" Toyotas! That's how far a high school of only 100 has to "bend" to act like a larger school. They just don't have the infrastructure. And the kids suffer mightily. And I am not even talking football games, after school programs, etc. I am talking about a bunsen burner!
Old 01-30-2013, 07:40 PM
2,885 posts, read 3,797,549 times
Reputation: 4207
Wow, thanks a bunch BPRoman for coming back and giving more backstory to your initial post! This is very helpful, indeed.

To the OP, I did tour SOTW when my oldest (now 9) was in pre-preschool but something about it just didn't feel right. I can't put my finger on anything specific, but we decided it wasn't for us. Not very helpful for helping you pick between the two (high) schools. BPRoman certainly has the insider's perspective, plus hindsight to boot.
Old 02-04-2013, 06:15 PM
12 posts, read 61,737 times
Reputation: 27
Cool school of the woods

Perused these comments and also looked at "great schools.com" reviews (highly recommend) link. Noticed that when it comes to the very cold, hard facts (statistics), School of the Woods proponents never address those issues. WHY? This is an expensive private school, yet very low ranking universities final acceptance of their high school graduates (according to School of the Woods OWN WEBSITE) is equal only to to the poorest public inner city schools. Also, why do their graduates who are accepted? by decent (AGAIN, according to their OWN website) universities, would constantly, year after year, pick to attend a MUCH LOWER RANKED university? Furthermore, why does this, so called school, omit publishing their high school students, either individually or as a class, the results of the PSAT, ACT, SAT... And, if you ask, good luck getting an answer. TRY IT. What is going on, School of the Woods?
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