When DS turned 3 I started looking into schooling. In the end I decided on unschooling, it just makes since to me. When my son turned 5 he started begging to go to school. I held him off by buying workbooks and having play dates. Now he is 7 and has started begging for work. I looked at homeschool curriculum's and they are SO overwhelming not to mention expensive with my husbands salary- I am a stay at home mom. Our state started the k12 thing. I wasn't thrilled but DS was begging for more work, school, something. So I figured I would enroll him in and and just see., If he hates it, I will pull him out and go back to how things were. So here is my trouble. I went to enroll him in school today so I could enroll him in the k12 program and they want proof of homeschooling, the grades he completed. I am at a loss here. What do I do? Give them a picture of him counting Cheerios, making muffins, building a club house? I dont have documentation... then there is the grade level.. umm, not sure there either. I am sure he is a head in some areas and behind in others. I am guessing that 1st grade would be best for him but could be wrong. This whole situation is making me nervous. I dont want to get in trouble but I want my son to be able to do this program as he wants- I dont see it as a bad thing. I have tried so hard to keep my life private so I dont have to explain things... A huge part of me is wanting to clam up and tell him he can't go and get him a curriculum but then there is the time, weeding through curriculum's, the cost, all the time it takes to prepare it... I have 2 other children and just the workbooks and sheets I would get ready for him would take up all of MY free time at night the night before. I like to think I am a good mother and deserve some time to myself... help. I really dont know what to do here, this sucks.
Maybe you all can help me?
If you really want to do the K-12 school I would suggest looking at the state standards for your state for kindergarten and just writing down examples of stuff you did that fit into each one. Put the word "Official" on the top of it and call it a day.
If you don't want to do k-12, I really don't see any reason why it needs to be expensive to homeschool first grade. Especially if you have access to a decent library it would be a breeze. We spent very little at that point. There are many inexpensive programs. Miquon or Singapore for math are both inexpensive. Five in Row - you can probably get most of the books from the library (more than the other things I listed there is prep time so you could skip that). Story of the World, Handwriting Without Tears, and supplement with online stuff and library books or stuff you get at the thrift store. I doubt that stuff I just listed would need to add up to more than $100 and that's only stuff I was suggesting because it is easier than putting together your own stuff. It certainly isn't required that you purchase any curriculum.
There is tons of free stuff on the web you could download and/or print off for your kid. Just start googling...there's really no need at all to spend money on packaged curricula.
And, maybe things work a bit differently here in Canada, but why would you have to prove anything to get your kid into a public school. Don't they, by law, have to accept him? And so what if he was behind - like the schooled kids never are! Weird.
What Piglet said. Don't they have to accept him? Why don't you just come clean with them, say you didn't keep records, and either suggest that you think grade one would be a good starting point or that they do some assessment tests to place him. Don't give up on the little one because you are anxious about not having the proper paperwork. Remember, they're not asking in order to judge you, they're asking to have an idea of where to place him. So, IMO, push through it. Your son is worth it. He sounds so eager to learn and you know? Maybe home/unschooling just isn't a fit for your family. It's a LOT of work, a very hard road. My LO is not yet school age, but I have taught both privately in and schools and even with that experience, and the fact that I only have one child to teach, I don't think I would choose home schooling. I can see how it would be fun, but wow, so intense, and so much work. I imagine it like being a full time teacher again PLUS having all the household and childcare responsibilities. Yikes! Good luck to your little boy! Hope he has a great year!
I agree with piglet and Annie Mac, it sounds like the anxiety over drawing up records might put you off enrolling him, so I'd just tell them you've been trying but it wasn't working well (which is why you need the structure), and you need him to be assessed. You should be able to make a reasonable guess at his math skills from looking at their curriculum standards, and you can do an on-line reading assessment at DORA for $20.
Maybe home/unschooling just isn't a fit for your family. It's a LOT of work, a very hard road. My LO is not yet school age, but I have taught both privately in and schools and even with that experience, and the fact that I only have one child to teach, I don't think I would choose home schooling. I can see how it would be fun, but wow, so intense, and so much work. I imagine it like being a full time teacher again PLUS having all the household and childcare responsibilities.
It's nothing like being a teacher! :-)
Honestly it is FAR less work than having a child in school. Our one year experience with a parent participation preschool was 10x the work (and PITA factor) than any year of unschooling has been.
I'm saying this not to criticize you, Annie Mac, I just want to make sure anyone reading this doesn't get the wrong impression. I get this comment from people all the time "Oh, you must work so hard! I could never do that". I'm not a teacher, I don't set lesson plans or make up projects or anything. I lead my life at home, cleaning, meal prepping, chores on our farm, etc and my kids do their thing and when they ask for help I give it, or if they are expressing an interest in a subject I keep it in mind and keep my eyes open for ideas related to that they might enjoy. I take them to the library, or classes (I let them know what is going on and they choose what they want to sign up for). I'm always keeping an ear open to see what they are interested in, what things they are enjoying, but really that's it.
Twice a year my daughter attends an Animation Workshop "camp" for five consecutive days. I have to get us up early, prep lunches and snacks, pack bags, drive her there, pick her up. She loves it and I'm glad to make it happen for her, but all I can think is "how the hell does anybody do this for an entire school year!" :-D
So do you live in a state where you don't have to keep any sort of records or complete any sort of paperwork in order to homeschool? If that is the case, I'd simply state that. If not, I'd produce the forms that you have been keeping as required by law, even if it is just attendance or whatever. (I don't suppose that you live in a place where you should have completed required papers but didn't, are you? Cuz that could make it stickier I guess...)
But ya, I wouldn't give them anything that state law doesn't expressly permit them to ask for. Can you share your state, so we can help look up homeschooling laws for you? My first instinct is that they are asking for stuff they have no right to ask for, and all you need to do is repeat that you want to enroll your kid in school. Are they refusing to enroll a child in public school?
I have to say though...you sound stressed (hey, who isn't ? :) ) What are you afraid might happen if he ...goes to school? If the thought of coming up with some forms for the school is too much, or the thought of spending time actually finding lessons or planning activities, etc is too much for you, too overwhelming...maybe it's best he does go to school? If he is *begging* for it, and it would help ease your current burden...?? I see threads like this a lot, and they sort of always confuse me. I thought a big part of unschooling was following the child, letting them decide and choose......but yet when a child chooses *school* , the parents freak out and prevent the child from going. If this has been going on for 2 years...it seems like it isn't a whim, right? In your post, you say that he begs for work to do, he begs to go to school, etc. I assume by now he understand it isn't all just riding a big yellow bus and playing on the playground? He understands school is about learning, and having work to do, etc?
If you are set on keeping him home, could you maybe reach out to other homeschooling moms with 3 or more kids, and try to get tips as to how they manage to do it all? Because I know there are a lot of them out there. I only have 2 kids, and no infants like you have, so I'm not really qualified to give advice in this area, but surely someone has ideas that would help you. I know in my local Catholic homeschool group, most of the moms have 4 or 5+ kids, and manage to HS them all, generally in a more classical tons o' curriculum style. (Although they might be robots, I don't know. I was definitely suspicious when one mom came to a HS activity and all 5 of her kids were...CLEAN :) )