or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › If your young child is adamant about going to school,
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

If your young child is adamant about going to school,

post #1 of 206
Thread Starter 
would you let them?

My 7.5yo says he wants to go to school next school year. When I told him all the reasons I don't want him going to school he cried. He says he feels odd because all the other kids in the neighborhood go to school. He has a "friend" who brags about all the stuff he supposedly knows from school that my ds does not, like multiplication tables. I talked to my ds about that and demonstrated that he knows how to multiply, also. The difference is that he knows what it means and what it's for whereas this other kid only knows how to recite memorized facts. He doesn't understand how multiplication fits into the real world. I guess at 7 that's a hard concept for my ds to grasp.

Aside from all the educational issues I have with schools, my ds is not vaccinated. I will not get him vaccinated just so he can go to school. My state has only a medical and religious exemption and I am atheist. I know I can still file a generic religious exemption but I don't want to deal with all the hassle. If school admins decided to question it, who knows what could happen. I've already been investigated once by CPS after being reported by an OB for having a homebirth. Even though the case was closed without incident and the "allegations", whatever they were, were deemed unfounded, I now have a permanent record with CPS just for being reported. I've been told every time you are reported is a mark against you even if any allegations are unfounded every time. It's safer and easier for me to homeschool.

There's also the issue of whether or not my ds is prepared for 2nd grade. I had to give him a nationally standardized test this year (I have to administer one every year that we homeschool). I haven't gotten it evaluated yet but I know he did very well. However, he can't read books very well and doesn't write much. I don't think he's ever written a complete sentence on his own. Since we unschool I'm not worried about that but I am worried that he would be kept back in 1st grade if we enrolled him in school. Then there's also the issue of whether or not someone might construe that as educational neglect.

So, at 7 years old, would you let your child go to school if he really wanted to or would you tell him he could not no matter how upset he gets?
post #2 of 206

I think it would depend on why, but really 7 is still too young an age do decide things like this on their own, usually.  Peers, school in books, school everywhere, school buses can be hard to ignore.  Your son's friend is making it sound fun.  Our family is pretty on board with homeschooling, but I do like to point out preventatively that some of the things we are doing wouldn't be possible if they were in school. Of course, having playgrounds and children's museums all to themselves is a priority for my girls, not being in the midst of all the hubbub.  I also like to mention that if we want to study sharks for 10 months we can do that.

     I would probably let him know that you will be homeschooling.  Don't bother mentioning the vaccinations to him.  At school you have to learn times tables when you'd rather be doing reading, then when you get to do reading, you have to stop that to move on to the next thing.  You can learn a lot of stuff there, but homeschooling gives you the freedom to pick when and where and for how long.  

    Ask him if he wants to learn his times tables and whatever else he wants to know.  Find out what the kids are learning and show him.  Then help him do what he needs to do to learn it, if that's important for him.  Start being a homeschool cheerleader so that maybe he has a few good things to tell his friend when the subject comes up.  The fact is, the new shininess of school tends to start wearing off after 2nd or 3rd grade.  Stick with homeschooling, then when the middle grades near if he still wants to try school, let him.  7 is just too young, I think.

post #3 of 206

yeahthat.gif

 

DD (9) who does NOT want to go to school, still often comes home wide eyed, and tells me about the 'cool' things her friend learned in school. I'm not sure whether her 10 yo friend fibs quite a bit, or when she says she learned something in school, she means she learned it from other kids in school. Often those claims are quite outlandish. I usually google right away, and then DD gets to see for herself whether it was true, and if true, then she gets a chance to learn a bit more about the subject.

 

Recently she came to me with the story of a flying girl in Russia, because J learned about it in school, and it was all true! lol.gif There's a neat video on youtube too. thumb.gif

 

Schools will probably retain an aura of mystery for homeschooled children, especially if their friends go to school.

post #4 of 206
Thread Starter 
Thank you, both, for answering me. I was beginning to worry that no one would have any suggestions.

I do feel like he's too young and just doesn't understand. And, school is made to be more fun in the beginning grades so his friend hasn't really experienced it yet, imo. Every other parent of an older child, or the older children themselves that I talk to, say the children do not like school anymore.

We have been looking more at the things that his friend has to know for school and I've been trying to show my ds that he either already knows it, though maybe not quite in the same way, or he can easily learn it. DS complained that I don't teach him enough so I can certainly give him work if that's what he wants. I don't know what to do about him feeling left out for not going to school. I haven't had any luck meeting other homeschooling families with kids his age in our area.

I'm feeling a bit like a failure for not making homeschool more enjoyable or meaningful for him. Honestly, though, because he is so young I haven't been concerned about him learning a lot of academic stuff. I still consider him to be in the young, playful stage. His reading ability has taken off even more just recently. I find him suddenly reading signs and sentences and books that he couldn't read just a few months ago. He always astonishes me with the math that he knows without even really thinking about it.
post #5 of 206

Some kids really really enjoy table work or a structured curriculum.  If it's initiated by the kids and enjoyed by the kids, there is no reason to give up calling yourself an unschooling family.  You might ask around and look for a curriculum that can be picked up and set down as he wishes, and one that presents things as a fun puzzle instead of mindless rote.  But even that: my oldest daughter, 6.5, loves to memorize facts about animals, lengths and such.  Rote memorization is something she craves, so who knows?  But she doesn't like the pages in workbooks (I pick the ones the most like puzzlebooks and call them that) that want you to write down the answers just for the sake of writing them down.  She'll write the answers on the pages that have secret code or something.  Work for the sake of work she does not love, and the teachers' store is full of these.  But hidden amongst them are some gems!  DD really loves her "fact cards" that she cut out herself.  She also prefers this kind of work when she already knows or is close to understanding the answers.  Some how she has taught herself multiplication (same as your son, she doesn't know her tables but understands the concept.  Some days our house rings out with spontaneous bursts of "Mama! Three 8's make 24!")

    BTW, we are a young unschooling family as well.

post #6 of 206
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Some days our house rings out with spontaneous bursts of "Mama! Three 8's make 24!"

This happens in my home, too, and I am always amazed. I wonder how he knows it but I try not to say anything. Maybe I should point it out to him more.

I have always had workbooks and puzzle books around for all my kids to use whenever they want. Every once in a while in the past, my middle ds would say he wanted to do "school work" so he'd get them out. His attention for them never lasted very long. He's been doing more in them lately so maybe he's just hit a period where he's more into that. I'll have to look around and see if I can find more puzzle type workbooks.

I think some of this may have also come up from him having to take that standardized test. It was kind of funny because I got the test in May and showed it to him but kept procrastinating about doing it. He fussed at me about it enough that I finally gave in. I figured we'd do one test a day for a week but he breezed right through, doing at least each time. He was very worried that he wouldn't do well so I scored it for him once he was done. I can't tell him what percentile he falls into but I can tell him that he missed only a few. I still haven't mailed the darn thing in for scoring yet.
post #7 of 206

Is there a way to give him a more clear idea of what actually happens in school?  Maybe you could get some schooly curriculum and let him experience that, to see what he thinks?  Also, I'd get that test scored.  If the problem is that he thinks he's not learning, seeing a good score printed out on something official, might be all he needs.  

 

 

post #8 of 206

You might be able to contact the school and set up a day or two for him to visit so that he can learn what public school entails.

post #9 of 206
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by penguintattoo View Post

You might be able to contact the school and set up a day or two for him to visit so that he can learn what public school entails.


Are public school administrators and teachers really open to this? I would find it very surprising.
post #10 of 206
Not sure if my viewpoint will be welcome, but OP, it makes me sad that every parent of older children you know says their kids don't like school. I had a very, very unhappy schooling experience as a child (perhaps like some here). I was determined that my child would not go through what I did. Although I had never been drawn to homeschooling, I knew that should my kid be miserable in school, I would pull him out.

Happily, our local PS is a caring, nurturing place, full of art and gardens, where he has thrived for 6 years. At 11, I have never heard him say the words "I hate school" (words I used to say all the time). It's really been a revelation to me, that school can be a place of such happiness and learning. I don't make the blanket statements about it I used to make.

Now, I'm not here to say that the OP should put her kid in school, necessarily. But as the parent of an older kid, I do want to throw that perspective out there. If it's all about doing what works best for the child, maybe more schooly curriculum, like a pp suggested, would be something to try.
post #11 of 206

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by penguintattoo View Post

You might be able to contact the school and set up a day or two for him to visit so that he can learn what public school entails.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post



Are public school administrators and teachers really open to this? I would find it very surprising.


I'm sure that not every school would allow it, but I know people who have been able to arrange it without any difficulty.  There's no harm in asking. thumb.gif

 

post #12 of 206

It is called shadowing. Where I live public school do it all the time

post #13 of 206

I think in this case, you need to evaluate exactly what he is getting out of your current homeschooling situation. I understand the concept of unschooling and we follow it to a ceratain degree, but my daughter is 8 and can most certainly read, write and perform basic math problems and is even starting on times tables. And she wanted to do it all. I followed her cues. Your child is obviously distressed about how you're going about things, atm and in thinking about putting him in school or not, his needs should be addressed. If you're not comfortable putting him into school, perhaps you should look into a different way of teaching him. And I don't think that 7.5 is too young to ask to go to school. I could see it if maybe he was five. A child at 7.5 is beginning to understand more about the world around them and compare themselves to others (as he so obviously is).

post #14 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhoenixMommaToTwo View Post

I think in this case, you need to evaluate exactly what he is getting out of your current homeschooling situation. I understand the concept of unschooling and we follow it to a ceratain degree, but my daughter is 8 and can most certainly read, write and perform basic math problems and is even starting on times tables. And she wanted to do it all. I followed her cues. Your child is obviously distressed about how you're going about things, atm and in thinking about putting him in school or not, his needs should be addressed. If you're not comfortable putting him into school, perhaps you should look into a different way of teaching him. And I don't think that 7.5 is too young to ask to go to school. I could see it if maybe he was five. A child at 7.5 is beginning to understand more about the world around them and compare themselves to others (as he so obviously is).

 

I don't know.  It's clear that something is stressing him out, but it could be that he is FINE with the way he's learning, except that he's spending time with a kid who is very good at making him feel dumb.  OP, have you observed the way the two boys interact?  Maybe your son needs some help figuring out who is and is not a friend.  Does he have homeschooled friends?  

 

Anyhow PheonixMomma, what your daughter can do at age 8 doesn't really matter, because kids are ready to do things at different ages.  Letting kids learn on their own schedule is a key part of unschooling.
 

 

post #15 of 206


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post



 

I don't know.  It's clear that something is stressing him out, but it could be that he is FINE with the way he's learning, except that he's spending time with a kid who is very good at making him feel dumb.  OP, have you observed the way the two boys interact?  Maybe your son needs some help figuring out who is and is not a friend.  Does he have homeschooled friends?  

 

Anyhow PheonixMomma, what your daughter can do at age 8 doesn't really matter, because kids are ready to do things at different ages.  Letting kids learn on their own schedule is a key part of unschooling.
 

 

ITA.  Ds was lucky that the kids he hung out with were mostly not competitive.  That dynamic wasn't there of a kid bragging about what they know from school or anything else.  I've overheard schooled kids doing this to kids a grade lower, showing off their trivia in a way that seems to emphasize that they think they are superior to the younger kid.  We mostly hang out with homeschooled kids and these ones don't do that.

 

PhoenixMomma, the OP didn't say her child couldn't read, write, or do multiplication.  She said he can't read books well and doesn't write much.  He doesn't have his times tables memorized.  This isn't expected of kids who have just finished 1st grade regardless of how they are educated.

 

I might look into whether he can visit school for a day.  Is school still in session where you live?  It might help him realize what a grind school is.  He might not want to go after a visit.  If he does, you can remind him that that is his goal and give him a year to work towards getting on the same page as the school curriculum.  That keeps you out of the dynamic of enforcer and keeps you in a facilitator role.  (I have a strong willed child so that would be an issue for us).

 

Or maybe when you get the test score back, and you can show ds that he did better than 75% of the kids his age, including the ones in school, he will feel reassured and have something to quote at his "friend."  Not that I necessarily think emphasizing test scores is a good idea in general (I never told my ds his score because he didn't ask and didn't seem to care).  But it will be something concrete for him when his friend is showing off.  My ds does seem to think outside objective evaluations are worth more than me giving my opinion (this has come up with non academic achievements for us).
 

 

post #16 of 206

This is a hard one.  On the one hand, I think 7 is far too young to make that decision.  They just don't understand all the ramifications yet.  (How many people who send their 7yos to school would unschool or homeschool if their kid asked??  To most that would be unthinkable.)  And by ramifications, I don't mean I consider school a bad thing, just that it is something the entire family needs to weigh and decide on.

 

On the other hand, it's something he really wants and this sets up a "forbidden fruit" kind of thing, I think.

 

Are there any classes at the zoo, the children's museums, the other museums, the Y?  That might be a good compromise?  Our Y has weekly gym classes for homeschoolers, and the zoo has a regular class about animals for homeschoolers.   Also, there are homeschooling co-ops where he can learn things in a group setting.  he might like that!

 

As for wanting to learn multiplication - so teach him!  That's what unschooling is about.  If he likes worksheets and workbooks, make them available.  He might feel better using them.  My daughter is really into ancient Egypt, and all ancient civilizations.  She knows more about Mohenjo-Daro than anyone I know.  Is there a point to knowing this stuff at 7?  Maybe not, but that's not for me to decide - she asks to learn it so I make it available to her.  

 

My dd has an older cousin that brags about all the stuff she knows, too.  It's hard.  So far it doesn't bother dd because she knows she can learn whatever she wants, but it annoys the cuss out of me.  lol  

 

As for the debate about whether or not he "should" know multiplication now - not really.  It's like everything else - there comes a time when kids are ready for this kind fo thing.  Most scope and sequences on curricula don't teach it until 3rd grade, and 7 is definitely not 3rd grade.  Some kids might learn it earlier, some will learn it "on time" and some later.   He sounds like he's ready to start, though.

post #17 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post



 

I don't know.  It's clear that something is stressing him out, but it could be that he is FINE with the way he's learning, except that he's spending time with a kid who is very good at making him feel dumb.  OP, have you observed the way the two boys interact?  Maybe your son needs some help figuring out who is and is not a friend.  Does he have homeschooled friends?  

 

Anyhow PheonixMomma, what your daughter can do at age 8 doesn't really matter, because kids are ready to do things at different ages.  Letting kids learn on their own schedule is a key part of unschooling.
 

 



Right. I understand that and I wasn't throwing it out there to shame the op. I was using it as an example of how we've followed her cues. We had a point in our homeschooling career where we got really bogged down in the idea of what howeschooling "should be", instead of what worked for our daughter. At that point, we had to re-work what we were doing and find the right environment for our child, to make HER happy. I mean, isn't that what AP is about? Working with your kids to find what suits their needs? And if the situation called for it, I would have put her in school. Her education is just too important to mess around with. Am I advocating for the OP to put her son in school? Not necessarily, but it's clear that her child is looking for something different and is frustrated with the current situation.

 

post #18 of 206

My 8yo has a schooled friend who is a bit superior in her manner about all sorts of things including her fantastic schooling. She tells my dd all about what she is learning and how much she knows about this that or the other and 'quizzes' my dd on her ability to spell or add up etc. From time to time this has freaked dd out and made her think that she is missing all kinds of excitement and serious *learning* and this probably peaked at around 7 but is waning now that she is well into her eight year and feeling more confident about her skills and secure in our decisions.

 

Schooled kids want to feel that they aren't wasting their time at school and so they are more likely to talk about how wonderful it is and how much they are learning. That is just natural when you consider that they are looking at their unschooled neighbour who seems to be just having a ball. My older two children have always been schooled and I know from them that school isn't really all that and they don't get much done in a day. This helps to balance the messages  coming from the schooly friend and allows for plenty of discussion of pros and cons.

 

I feel your angst over this and I wouldn't say that there is an obvious deficit in your home experience that is causing this: it helps to remember that often this stuff isn't about us but more about them!

 

Here's a good read Joy and Jealousy

post #19 of 206

I unschooled my oldest for preschool and K but he wanted to go to school so I let him. My middle son never wanted to un/homeschool and went to preschool while his older brother was unschooling K. If you are unschooling so your child can direct his own learning, I think you should respect his wishes about this. If he doesn't like it you can always pull him out.

I don't know where you live, but in many places, many children are 7 at the beginning of 1st grade. It sounds like that would be the most appropriate placement, and if you don't make a big deal out of it, no one else will either. My middle child is going into 1st grade next month and several of his classmates from last year are already 7 or turning 7 this month. 

 

 

post #20 of 206
Thread Starter 
Where we live, he would have started 1st grade last year based on his age and already would have been a grade behind many of his friends because of when his birthday falls. So, this coming year, based on age, he would go into 2nd grade.

We've talked some more about it and 2 things came up. First, he said he wants time away from his little brother. Second, he said he wants to make new friends. I'm not sure how else I can accommodate him having time away from his little bro. I'm the only parent at home right now and I haven't had much luck finding reliable babysitters. Making new friends is interesting because he just made 2 new sets of friends when 2 new families moved into our neighborhood. Plus, he has other friends at his Tae Kwon Do school.

I can't afford to pay for any extra-curricular classes right now. Even if I could, I don't think there's anything like that around here. I've tried contacting a person who advertises a homeschool orchestra but have never gotten a response. I think I mentioned here before that all but one homeschool group that I know of in our area are religious. Since we are atheist, getting involved in co-ops with those groups wouldn't work. The one secular homeschool group only does activities early in the morning, before I can even get us ready to leave the house.

WRT this particular friend. I've had issues with him for a few years now. I don't really think he's much of a friend but my ds says he's his best friend. He lives right next door so they play together almost every day. He is very competitive, making a competition out of just about everything. It was so bad when they were younger that this boy would push and shove to be the first to get a drink of water from me even when it was just the two of them. I had to make him stand on the other side of the room and wait until I poured both drinks and then I'd hand them to each boy at the same time. I intervene a lot and tell them that whatever it is isn't a competition because I don't really want my boys getting caught up in who gets the first drink or whatever.

I have gotten to the point where I now talk to the friend about how we don't do things such-and-such a way in our home or family. The other day I told him that friends don't do and say things to make each other feel bad, like bragging about knowing more. I don't know if that was the right thing to do but I can't take it anymore.

I can't remember if I mentioned it here but my ds has been going through another reading explosion recently. He's been reading a lot more than I realized he could, even books. And he can do multiplication and division. He just doesn't know it as memorized times tables. OTOH, his friend may be able to recite his times tables but has no concept of what any of it means or how it works in the real world. I've been trying to point this out to my ds (how much he knows, not how much his friend doesn't).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › If your young child is adamant about going to school,