I had an extremely difficult time in public school, for many reasons. I was identified as a gifted student early on, but my school was a small-town school and didn't offer much in the way of an interesting curriculum. I came perilously close to failing and dropping out. Ironically, although my grades were borderline, my examination average was at or near 100% in all of my classes. The reason for this was that my school counted "daily work," i.e., veritable mountains of tedious, mind-numbing knowledge regurgitation worksheets, as 75% of a student's grade. I just didn't do them; I thought that they were wastes of time and I didn't really believe, when I looked inside myself, that I would ever get to go to college, anyway. What was the point?
So, things went downhill until finally I just read library books during class. I read about a book per day. The teachers didn't stop me; they didn't really know what to do with me. The kids ostracized me to greater or lesser degrees, depending on their own levels of social acceptance, but almost universally they recruited me to help them with their homework.
Many well meaning adults through those years told me that my youth, particularly high school, would be the greatest time in my life—that I would look back on the era with nostalgia. I told them that they were wrong, but they dismissed it, I suppose, because they perceived me as a rebellious youth who knew no better. I'm now a successful young software developer. Looking back with whatever objectivity a person can muster when reviewing his own subjective experiences, I can safely conclude that high school was the worst period in my life. Things have only gotten better since then.
Privately, I've decided that I won't put anyone through what I went through in public school. If I can't afford to send my child or children to a good, private school or tutor them myself, then I simply will remain childless.