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Letting go of Homeschool Dream

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have a tough decision to make. I opted my daughter out of public school this year. She's 5 and where we live 5 year olds are required to enroll in school unless you exempt them. I put her in a daycare with a "kindergarten" room that has just a handful of kids in it, but it turned out to be a pre-K and they're doing work that's way way too easy for my child. She has iterated this to me and after seeing what they do I know it is true. We do homeschool stuff on our own that is more her level but she's not happy at this daycare place and has been begging to go to "regular school."

So what would you do? I worry that a regular kindergarten might not meet her academic needs either and the day would be much more rigorous and intense than the daycare, leaving little time and energy for the homeschool stuff we do. She's working well above her age level in some areas. And I'm more concerned with her social/emotional development than her academics. I worry that she'd be bored in public school and be frustrated there also. I've checked out our local elementary school and it is pretty bad. It's failed to meet adequate progress standards 2 of the last 3 years. The principal is anti-recess and feels 45 minute blocks of seat work are appropriate for kindergarten. Class size is about 30 kids. I'd look into seeing if I can pay a fee to have my child in a better school but that might not be an option since I have legally told the state my daughter is not emotionally ready for school.

I've always thought I would homeschool and honestly at this stage it might be easier to put her in school. I have major philosophical issues with public schools/compulsory education but I'd suck it up and deal for my daughter's sake.

Has anyone given up homeschooling not entirely willingly? How did you deal with it for yourself without letting it influence your child negatively?
post #2 of 22
I am confused...why can't you homeschool her?

Ok - I reread you post - is it because she is begging to go to school? If so here is what I would do:

I would HS her. She is 5 - she does not get to make educational decisions. I would state it in no uncertain terms. I might give her the option of staying in the preschool or not though - that is up to you. Here is what i would do:

Find out what she wants from school: backpack, bussing, friends, a teacher...then problem solve about how to meet those needs.

Research local HSing options and get involved

consider limiting TV exposure. Honestly my 7 year old watches too much TV and all of it is painted with a "School is fun! School is great!" POV - and I wish she had a little less of this very unbalanced POV.

Scheduel some out and out fun things - beach, parks, museums, movies, etc. I am not above pointing out many kids are sitting in a classroom while you are doing this fun thing. It might help her realise HSing can be fun.
post #3 of 22
I assume the reason why you can't pull her out of the daycare situation and homeschool her full-time is because of work commitments?

If so, what had your plan been for next year? Is there any way you could accelerate that plan and do it this year?

Maybe there is another homeschooling family who you could make a childcare arrangement with, instead of having her in this daycare situation?
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
I do work full time. I have semi-flexible hours but the hours that are not flexible are during the "school day."

We've joined a local homeschool group. Unfortunately, most of what they do falls during school hours, hence, my working hours. We are new in town and have a few options for child care after homeschool networking but not enough to cover all the time I need. Also, cost is a factor. After a big move, money is tight. And to make things worse it looks like this will be a one year only job so I have NO idea what would be happening next year. It depends on where we are.

TV used to be an issue in our home but since we moved I used it as an opportunity to not get cable. So now screen time is the occasional DVD.

We do lots of fun things when I'm not working but my daughter sees school as this big social networking thing where she'll make a lot of friends. This might be partly because before we moved I had her in a preschool (for daycare reasons not academic reasons, but it was an awesome place) that was very child-led and child centered. And honestly she'd have more fun with a bunch of kids than with me all the time -- a reason I'd really like to do more of the local homeschool activities but can't due to time issues.

How bad can kindergarten be? I don't mean that as a rhetorical question, either

Thanks for your input.
post #5 of 22
Is getting a nanny an option? Maybe look into a nanny share. When I was younger I nannied for two families at once and because they both paid me, each paid less... then for social stuff try dance, art, soccer etc. Working at below grade level would surely bore a kid who is ahead. And sitting for 45 minutes as a five year old sounds pretty miserable.
post #6 of 22
I'm confused....

Your options are a daycare where they're doing pre-K work that is WELL below her academic level.


A public kindergarten where they MAY be doing work that is below her level, where she MAY be bored, but at the same time, MAY be too rigorous?
post #7 of 22
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post

How bad can kindergarten be? I don't mean that as a rhetorical question, either

Thanks for your input.

Personally, K is my favourite year of all the schooling years. More moving around, playing etc, than other years. It doesn't sound like K is great at your local school though - have you been in to observe? Are there other K options?

I do think you need to work on a long term plan though - if you want to HS in the future how can you arrange your life to make it happen?
post #8 of 22
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post

How bad can kindergarten be? I don't mean that as a rhetorical question, either

Thanks for your input.
My kids both loved kindergarten. Well, the first LOVED Kindergarten and it was way below her academically. My second LOVED K until a class bully became an issue. I hs both of them now. I am actually deciding what to do with #3. I think she would LOVE kinder also. But, she is in prek this year and extremely bright. So, I know that it won't challenge her academically. I also know I won't leave her in the ps for the rest. But, our K is half day. Which, for us, is great. They get "social" time, they feel very smart because they already know most of it, and they are home in time for lunch.

If I were you, I would enroll her in K. Spend the year figuring out a long term plan for her academics. If she hates it, she will remember that school wasn't as fun as she hoped. But, she will be taken care of while your are at work.

post #9 of 22
I am very confused. It sounds like you are not homeschooling yet, she goes to a kinder/preK type thing. But, you are considering putting her in public school because the daycare is not working out?

Maybe I am just super confused here. But you can still just pull her out of daycare and homeschool her. Are you wanting to enroll her someplace and just do stuff with her afterschool?
post #10 of 22
Ok, I have reread through your posts. It sounds like you are not homeschooling. You figured if you left her in daycare an extra year, then you would not really be sending her to school and could still feel like homeschooling is in your future. Reality is, she is not homeschooling now and you cannot homeschool her, unless you have enough money to hire someone else to do it for you. So what your real question is, which of the two options, public school vs daycare would be better. For that, you need to just pick between the two. Doing work that is easy would be my pick over having my child in a militant, 45 minute seat work blocks type school. You say you are new in town and you will have these problems next year. Can you move before then? I would look to the schools and find what you like and move as soon as you can as this will continue to be an issue. It sounds like your homeschool dream was already gone. You just need help picking between the two school options.

Good luck!
post #11 of 22
I'd hire a nanny for the hours that you need care instead of sending her to an outside daycare and I'd homeschool.
post #12 of 22
Can you put her in a private school? If you're already paying for daycare, maybe a Montessori or Waldorf school would meet her need for socializing and your need for child care while providing her with an academic environment more to your liking?
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post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've confused some people I do that sometimes.

We are homeschooling in a way now and have been homeschooling for a while. My daughter has been doing math, reading, and writing workbooks with me for about a half a year now. We're up to the 2nd grade level in math. She can identify many cloud types, many rocks and minerals, and we learn about a different animal pretty regularly. She's learned about gravity. We do measuring of all kinds of things around the house, including when she helps me cook. Her job is measuring. This is just to name a few. A pre-K teacher friend of mine tells me she's way ahead of other kids her age. People have assumed she's a tiny 7 year old because of how she talks. You get the idea.

We had more time to do this homeschooling when I was off work this summer. We still do things -- in the evenings when we are home. But I need a place to put her while I work. She has a voracious appetite for knowledge. She is the kid who asks questions every minute during a movie. She is easily frustrated and gets annoyed when you ask her to learn what she already knows. She ripped up a book once because she couldn't read it easily. I do think K would be too easy for her; it's the 45 minute blocks of occasional sitting still I feel are developmentally inappropriate for a child who is just turning 5 (she's actually still 4 on the brink of 5 but I've been calling her 5) -- I don't think it would be too academically rigorous. She'd be the youngest in the K class.

There are Montessori schools and alternative schools around but they are financially out of reach. I've been informed by them my salary is too high for them to even consider financial aid.

I can't move early. I'm a college professor and I need to teach through May.

I guess in a way I've already let go of homeschooling because I've put her in places where learning theoretically happens while I work, but I've been just trying to put her where I think she'll do best, and that's where people understand where she's coming from. But at the same time we do so much formal and informal learning together I feel like we ARE homeschooling.

I hope this clears up some confusion but as you see, I too am confused. And I feel like I'm in a losing situation. Thanks for your ideas and support. Any/all are welcome.
post #14 of 22
If you have a homeschool group in your area, you should ask around the group if anyone else is having issues similar to yours. Sometimes another mom might be willing to 'homeschool'/babysit your daughter for a similar price to what you are paying at the daycare. Perhaps someone with a child doing similar grade work to your daughter?? You never know until you ask around. Seeing that you are single, I would imagine having time to homeschool during the day is going to be an issue for you for some time to come. Another idea I have read about on homeschool websites is for several families to hire 1 teacher/nanny who is responsible for the children during the work hours who also teaches them. When you divide the cost between several people, it's not as harsh. These ideas will require you to get out there and meet some people and make your situation known, but if it's what you really want to do, it could possibly work for you. I wish you the best of luck!
post #15 of 22
I know this is kind of off the wall; but are you involved in a church? My neighbor babysat a kid through the summer that is now homeschooling with a family from their church. So this might be an option for you as well?
post #16 of 22
When we were having a tough time financially last year, I was searching for someone in exactly your situation--a child I could integrate into our homescho activities (park days, play dates, field trips) while picking up a little extra cash. I'm willing to bet that if you find a homeschool group, someone will be more than willing to take care of your child while you're at work). Then you can still homeschool her when you're home and she can be part of the homeschool community.
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post #17 of 22
Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
I have a tough decision to make. I opted my daughter out of public school this year. She's 5 and where we live 5 year olds are required to enroll in school unless you exempt them.
I'm confused b/c your profile says you're in PA. Compulsory age is 8, unless you're in the Philly school district, where it's 6.

FWIW, my oldest spent 5 years in public school, where they couldn't (or wouldn't, but with a sprinkle of couldn't) meet his asynchronous needs. I wish I had pulled him out earlier. K was especially boring for him!
post #18 of 22
Originally Posted by MyFullHouse View Post
I'm confused b/c your profile says you're in PA
OP is actually in Virginia.
post #19 of 22
I also think that a nanny or joining another homeschool family for the day may be good options. Or just keep her in daycare and make the most of the time you guys have together. Yeah, she wants to "go to school" so did my son. Until I told him what he'd be sitting in a chair for hours, get in trouble for getting up or talking, have to sit while everyone else learned their ABCs and numbers, etc. "But that is baby work mama!" LOL I also told him upfront that if he was at school at home, it would just be the two of us (and maybe some friends to share experiments and field trips) and that WE could decide what he learned every day. That he could still go to playdates, still go to the park, still do his swim and tumble classes if he learned at home. I also told him that he would have one teacher to 25 kids. "No way?! really!? That is a lot!!" Yeah it sure is a lot of kids! Talking up homeschooling and telling him the realities of regular school - he decided he didn't want to go after all. The sitting all day in one chair and having to learn "baby stuff" was a deal breaker for him. But he did make me promise to give him homework LOL Apparently that was one of the things he was looking forward to about school!
Find out what your DD is excited about regarding school and bring it into your homeschooling life. And if you truly don't want her in a second rate public school - don't put her there! Trust your gut.

It is very possible to work Full time out of the house and still homeschool - especially in early elem. I am doing just that right now. I work evenings 3-11 (more like 3-1am) and get up early every morning to have school time (we are also doing an advanced Kindy) and run him to various activities, doc appts, etc. It is a LOT of work and it is quite tiring. But it is definitely something that is feasible. The 8.5 hour days aren't bad, but the 10-11 hour days are getting a bit much. He does homework with his daddy at night, goes to the park, playdates, dance classes, etc. All stuff you can count on daycare or a nanny to do as well - socialize, exercise, have fun.
post #20 of 22
My first suggestion was going to be Montessori, but boy howdy do I understand that it can be financially out of reach.

In your shoes, with a change of some kind coming up at the end of this school year, I'd stick her in public kindy and see if it was an improvement over the 4K program that she's currently dissatisfied with. You really CAN pull her out midyear if things are terrible. And it makes no sense to toss money at a private 4K when every little bit you can put away might be needed next year to finance a plan to homeschool while working.
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