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DD having trouble adjusting to preschool (child death mentioned) - Page 2

post #21 of 36
The decision to homeschool in a foreign country with no local support for homeschooling is a decision to not integrate. It's not something to do lightly.

Different country's have different values. Unless the entire country one is living in seems emotionally damaged, it's a bit sweeping to say their way of raising kids is damaging. It's different than our way, but that doesn't make it wrong or damaging.

I'm not sure what would be best for the blue daisy's daughter. I don't know if this transition would be easier in another semester or year, or if it would be harder. Not all kids magically find this transition easier because the are older.

But I did make the choice to homeschool in a similar situation, and looking back, I regret it.
post #22 of 36

I'm sure that this situation is made much harder by the cultural differences and all of the transitions your child has been through lately.  However, we went through bouts of the same thing at preschool in our own neighborhood at a preschool where big brother had been so it was familiar.  Since bringing DD to work or not working was not an option for us, we had to work through it.  It was much easier since we had supportive teachers, but it was still a struggle.  Some things that helped:

 

* A really strong before school routine that included some one-one-one time with DD plus a reading session that always ended with "The Kissing Hand" -- a great book about a baby raccoon starting school.  So I sent her to school each day with a "kissing hand" as the last action.

 

*  Consistently attending school.  I suspect that the week break after the drowning probably made this much more drawn out.  I know we always had to go through a re-adjustment period after each vacation.

 

*  While probably not a common philosophy here at Mothering, I decided that leaving her and "forcing" her to adjust was the least cruel thing in the long run.  So, I would hand a screaming child to the teacher, peel her fingers off of me, say goodbye and leave.  And it was HARD.  I did hang-out and realize that always stopped crying within 3-5 minutes once she thought I was gone, and I know that the teacher would cuddle her until she was ready to go play with her friends.  It would have been harder to do that if I knew that teachers were un-supportive though.

 

* After school/weekend play dates with kids in the class so she always had a friend to greet her when she got to school in the morning.

 

*  Most of the time things would calm down within a couple of weeks.  And things would be great for a few months and then something would happen and we'd have to start all over again.

 

Are there children's sports or other non-school based programs that she would participate in without you?  My DD start gymnastics class about the same time and that gave her extra practice at being on her own in an environment that she loved and looked forward to.  Is there anything at all like that around you? 

post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

The decision to homeschool in a foreign country with no local support for homeschooling is a decision to not integrate. It's not something to do lightly.
Different country's have different values. Unless the entire country one is living in seems emotionally damaged, it's a bit sweeping to say their way of raising kids is damaging. It's different than our way, but that doesn't make it wrong or damaging.
I'm not sure what would be best for the blue daisy's daughter. I don't know if this transition would be easier in another semester or year, or if it would be harder. Not all kids magically find this transition easier because the are older.
But I did make the choice to homeschool in a similar situation, and looking back, I regret it.

 

We are doing this right now.  We tried to really make a go of the school situation but in the end it just did not work out for us.  The options are limited so now I am homeschooling.  Kids couldn't be happier.  I am relieved.  

 

What Linda is saying about total integration is true to a certain extent.  We have given up on getting our kids to become fluent in the local language.  Because everyone else is in school, they spend a lot of time alone in the day time.  But school lets out around 3 and they usually have playmates then and over the weekend, we try to get them together with other kiddos.  Homeschooling without all the resources a developed country provides is hard but we are in a middle income country so it is not as bad as it would have been had we chosen to homeschool in a place like Uganda that has even less resources.  So yeah, lots of implications to consider.  

 

Linda, can you expand why you regret homeschooling your kids at that time? (I know you mentioned your husband had to take a demotion, anything else you feel you missed out on?)  After trying to really push my kids in, in the end, I just felt like it was not worth it.  

post #24 of 36

At my DD's preschool what her teacher has parents do is stay for as long as their child needs but she also recommends that they bring a book or something else to do and totally do not interact with their child.  This means no eye contact, no talking to them, and no touching them.  If they talk to you you can respond and it's fine if they come up and touch you, but you shouldn't initiate anything and you shouldn't try and help them interact with the environment, just let them explore it on their on and be a physical presence of comfort if needed, but let the teachers do the interacting.  As she gets more comfortable with her environment you should eventually be able to move around, talk with other parents and eventually leave-supposedly this method has worked with countless children and I love the gentleness of it.  Hope that helps :)
 

post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

 

Linda, can you expand why you regret homeschooling your kids at that time? (I know you mentioned your husband had to take a demotion, anything else you feel you missed out on?)

 

 

We missed out on living in a foreign country because it ultimately lead to our decision to return to the US early. My kids missed out on learning a second language. My kids missed out on making friends. I missed out on making friends. I was isolated when I did meet people by the fact that I homeschooling. It was a bad move for my DH's career.  With hind sight, I can see that it took our family down a very different path, and that the path we missed out might have been pretty cool

 

It was a really big decision. A far bigger decision than someone deciding to homeschool in the US.

post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 

We missed out on living in a foreign country because it ultimately lead to our decision to return to the US early. My kids missed out on learning a second language. My kids missed out on making friends. I missed out on making friends. I was isolated when I did meet people by the fact that I homeschooling. It was a bad move for my DH's career.  With hind sight, I can see that it took our family down a very different path, and that the path we missed out might have been pretty cool

 

It was a really big decision. A far bigger decision than someone deciding to homeschool in the US.

 

Thanks for explaining further.  Just wanted to learn from your experience.  I can see why you feel the way you do.  

 

I do try very hard to take the kids to extra activities that involve being with kids from the local culture.  However, I already see that the language abilities they acquired during their time in school is becoming eroded and there is not much I could do about that while homeschooling.  Local schools here are way too harsh (and I am pretty tolerant of many things).  Real international schools are really expensive.  The Pseudo-international schools are in name only; in philosophy, they really handle things the way the other local schools do.  They charge higher prices because they have smaller class sizes and they have fancy toys but that is it; still very harsh in treating children.  So, trying to make the best of both worlds by homeschooling and having my kids in selected activities.  Hopefully it is enough.  

 

OP.  I hope things go better for you soon and she will adjust.  As a veteran expat, I can tell you that the whole living in a different country thing, while wonderful in many, many ways, is also more challenging than people think it is.  It requires a ton of flexibility.  It is def. an opportunity for your family.   

post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post
 As a veteran expat, I can tell you that the whole living in a different country thing, while wonderful in many, many ways, is also more challenging than people think it is.  It requires a ton of flexibility.  It is def. an opportunity for your family.   

 

 

It is. And raising small children in a different country is a very different ball of wax than just living in one as an adult or even with older children /teens.

 

If you guys can't make a go of school right now (and I do understand how badly things are going) my advice would be to try again later -- may be next fall. She's still really young and a lot has happened in short time. May be more time to settle into where you are and the whole situation just calming down would help. 

post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thank you all very much for your perspectives - Linda on the Move, it is helpful to hear from someone who has been in a similar situation.  One thing I struggle with is that when I lived in East Africa as a single woman, I felt like I was able to integrate well and really experience the culture.  Living in another culture with young children is a completely different ballgame!  Based on my ideals, I would want my daughter to attend a mid priced local school so that she can more fully experience the culture.  But I am finding that what my daughter is comfortable with at the moment is very different than what I would ideally like for her.

 

For the reasons I mentioned in my OP, I do not think we would do homeschooling in the long term (although I did just hear about a homeschool co-op that is mostly Ugandan families which I might check out for this interim if we pull her out of school so at least she can have some child interaction).  Instead, we would pull her out until she has had more of a chance to settle here, and try again with school maybe even as early as Jan, or maybe next fall.  Since she is only 3, I wouldn't feel the need to do any kind of formal homeschooling with her at this point.  She is a very bright child and picks up things like letters, numbers, and basic addition from our playtimes and everyday life. 
 

Emaye - thank you for your perspective as well - how long were your kids in the local schools?  What was the "tipping point" for you to pull them out?  How old were they?  Also, if you don't mind sharing, what country are you living in?  You are right that living in another country with young children is much more complicated than I had expected!

 

gypsymama - thanks for the insight - maybe I could try bringing my laptop along and doing some work outside, so I am "nearby" but not actually in the classroom with her.

 

Evan and Annas mom - thanks for the suggestions, we have that book so maybe I will start reading it to her in the mornings and see if it helps.  There aren't really children's activites here - most of those are done through the schools - preschool is half day and then there are "clubs" in the afternoons that the kids can stay for - music, art, swimming, etc.

 

I am going to have a meeting with the principal tomorrow so hopefully we can either come up with a plan or we will just try again in jan.

post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post

Emaye - thank you for your perspective as well - how long were your kids in the local schools?  What was the "tipping point" for you to pull them out?  How old were they?  Also, if you don't mind sharing, what country are you living in?  You are right that living in another country with young children is much more complicated than I had expecteder!

 

I pm'ed you. 

post #30 of 36

FWIW I don't know what I would do in that situation, but I have been in your daughter's situation before.  Sort of.  We moved to the US when I was 5 and I was dropped off at kindergarten not knowing a word of English.  I don't remember being scared or crying; I was excited.  I mean I might have had new-kid jittrs but I made friends, I drew, etc.  There was some culture clash - I thought the food smelled, I didn't get how dress-up worked, I didn't know the nursery rhymes, etc.  But I enjoyed going, and I quickly learned the language, etc.

 

However, right around that time I started there, my dad also decided we needed some more English lessons so he sent both my mom and me to this Berlitz place.  I was happy enough to go, but something didn't jive right when we got there.  They separated us and took me to a little room, windowless, and the lady was truly frightening for some reason.  I even remember she was called Debby.  I threw a holy fit - and I was NOT a kid who would normally do that.  I was always, always complimented on how polite and well-mannered I was from an early age.  I never spoke against adults, I sat quietly at a table at meals, I was shy, compliant, etc.  (And yes, I came from a pretty shame based culture too, which wasn't bad or good, it just was... but it got the results of me truly feeling bad if I did speak up against adults etc.)  Anyway Debby was trying to console me and offered me this little doll that I absolutely smashed on the floor to pieces, and just howled and screamed and that was that.  I had never done that before or since, especially not with an adult, esp. not with a stranger.  But I wanted my mother, and I wanted her NOW.  It didn't really have to do with the separation thing.  In hindsight I'm sure the lady there was very nice.  But luckily my mom didn't take me back to that place afterwards.

 

I guess my two cents is that the place might seem lovely to you but if something about it is rubbing your daughter wrong, it might just be the place after all, and she may or may not be able to pinpoint exactly WHAT it is that bothers her.  I don't know why the Berlitz place sucked so much for me.  It wasn't any better or worse than any other place we went to.  It wasn't a scary dump or anything, it was very nice.  I just don't know.

post #31 of 36
Thread Starter 

UPDATE - on Tuesday night, DD was awake for an hour in the middle of hte night saying her stomach "felt funny".  Wed morning she was crying about going to school even though it was the day for water play, which is her favorite.  So we decided to pull her out until Jan.

 

She turns 4 at the end of Nov, so we told her that we decided she could wait until she's a little bigger to go to school, and she will go back once she turns 4.  Her face broke into a huge smile and she turned around and gave me a big hug. 

 

The school is half day preschool and then they have "clubs" in the afternoon - music, dance, and sports.  So we decided we would take her for the clubs one or two days a week so she can stay familiar with the school and hopefully connect with the other kids and teachers, and I can stay with her during the clubs, 

 

I had a meeting with the principal today and she was VERY supportive.  She said she understands that it's a hard transition to a new country (she is originally from the UK and worked in an international school in Switzerland for over 20 years) and she thought it sounded like a great plan.  She encouraged me to stop in as much as I could, even if it's just for Natalie to say hello to her teachers.  They have "circle time" every morning where they sing songs outside and dance and she suggested I could stop by circle time on our way to the office sometimes too. 

 

I was hoping to check out the local homeschool co-op, but unfortunately they are turning families away because they have too many kids.  Most of these are Ugandan families, so apparently homeschooling is becoming a little more popular here.  It's good to know that might be an option in the future if DD continues to struggle with the school.
 

post #32 of 36

Your principal sounds like a real peach. It's wonderful that your DD will be able to stop by school even though she won't be attending. Hopefully, that will pave things for a smoother transition later.

 

Please keep us updated when you decide its time to give school another try.  We'll be cheering your little girl on!

post #33 of 36

That sounds like a wonderful compromise! I hope everything works out well!!
 

post #34 of 36

If it was my child, I would pull her out. I would not want her cared for by people who lie and threaten small children, even if it is the norm. And I have been through the crying, don't leave and have left her. She usually camled down as soon as I was gone. The few times she cried on and off throughout the day where when she had a lot of stress going on. I would trust you daughter's response and what she is telling you - she does not want to go to that school!

post #35 of 36

I am SO glad you decided to pull her out. Considering that she is 3 years old, I don't think homeschooling even should enter into the equation. She is far too young to "need" school. It sounds like you are able to get her some social exposure to other children in the meantime, which is great.

My heart was breaking for her hearing how upset she was...there is mild separation anxiety and then there is behavior that tells you "I am not ready, don't make me do this, something is wrong"

 

Good for you on following your heart.

post #36 of 36
nevermind
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