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How do you decide to put a child in school after homeschooling?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

My dd is 6 and will be starting first grade in the fall.  We have homeschooled so far (no preschool or kindergarten), but things are not going according to plan...this last year was a really tough one.  There was a very tragic death in the family, plus the kids' dad and I split up and we moved.  At this point, if we homeschool, I am probably going to use an online charter school because I worry I can't keep up with the lesson planning. 

 

I am concerned about being able to put enough time and effort into her homeschooling to make it "worth it." When I planned to homeschool, I imagined a lot more creative activities and opportunities than I have thus far been able to provide with any regularity. 

 

We started out really great last fall for Kindergarten, so I know I have it in me, but life quickly intervened.  I work from home, and have of course had to increase my hours now that I am single and needing to pay rent, plus food and crazy stuff like that :)  It has led to a lot of frustration for all of us and I think she is bored. 

 

I am concerned that she is going to struggle in public school a bit at first academically-she is not reading on her own yet and doesn't want to do it (not can't, I don't think, just doesn't want to).  She does do well with math and loves anything sciency though...she fights me about "doing school," but I realize this would probably be totally different for a teacher versus mom. 

 

I also hate hate hate the thought of losing even more time together with her to school now that she'll be leaving to go to her dad's at times. 

 

I feel like maybe I need to do some soul searching and decide what is really best for dd at this point, versus what is my ideal vision of what life *should* be like.  We still live in a very good district, with the local elementary school less than a mile away, so it's not like putting her in school is an terrible choice.  She goes back and forth about wanting to go to school and not, so no definite answer there either.

 

Any thoughts either way?

post #2 of 26

I'll tell you what we're doing with our son.  DS is 8, and will be starting 3rd grade this fall.  For the first time in his life, he'll be enrolled in public school.  I'm expecting it to be a huge transition, so our deal is that he has to try it for 2 weeks (to give him a chance to get used to the new routine and following all the new rules).  If he completely hates it, I'll pull him out and we'll happily continue to homeschool.  However, if he likes it/loves it, he can stay in public school.

 

I didn't consider public school to be an option until now b/c of his lack of maturity/independence.  However, he's recently blossomed and become quite motivated to do more things on his own.  And he's been very curious about school (DH and I have told him a lot about it, but at this point we think it's best for him to experience it himself directly).  He's also an introvert, but has expressed a desire to make more friends, and his primary friend/playmate will be moving far away this summer.  It just feels like a good time for us.

 

Academically, my main concern is his handwriting.  He hates to do any writing, and typically takes a long time to get it done.  The time constraints they have during the school day might be a problem for him (right now if he doesn't feel like doing his work, he can get away with lying on the floor for half an hour, whining about how much he doesn't want to do it, or take a doodling break; he knows that won't be allowed in public school, though).

 

It wasn't easy for me to accept that DS would be entering public school, but over the past few weeks I've gotten used to the idea. I'd be happy to continue homeschooling indefinitely--for a lot of reasons--but mainly for the freedom from a set schedule.  I think I'll probably end up having a harder time adjusting to all the new time constraints than DS will.

 

For you, I'd say give it a try.  Enroll your DD and see what happens.  You can always pull her out if she hates it.  Maybe having the school provide her daily instruction will free up enough energy/creativity in you so that when you are together, you get to do more of the fun stuff.  Good luck!

post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritz View Post

For you, I'd say give it a try.  Enroll your DD and see what happens.  You can always pull her out if she hates it.  Maybe having the school provide her daily instruction will free up enough energy/creativity in you so that when you are together, you get to do more of the fun stuff.  Good luck!

I agree with this.  However, unless something major is going on, I would give it until Christmas break before jumping back into homeschooling.  The reason is that it will be a big change and it takes a while to 'get in the groove', heck it takes kid who always attend public school a couple weeks before the routine settles in. Also, at many schools, the first couple weeks are about getting to know the rules, students, and for doing assessments.  It isn't uncommon in our area for a child entering first to not know how to read.  However, by the end of first, they should be making great progress in that area.  However, there will also be a few kids who read everything and anything at the beginning of first grade.  Sometimes this will bother students who don't read as well, but in my experience this is only the case if the student really wants to read.  

 

Also, regarding the time together.  I can only suggest to make the most of the time she is at school to get other things done.  That way, when she is at home, you aren't needing to pay bills, do laundry, or grab groceries.  You can just spend time with her.  

 

Good luck.  

 

Amy

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 

If ex agrees to let her start public school, I seriously doubt he will agree to pulling her out again unless there is a huuuuuge problem. So let's assume "trying it out" is not on the table as a viable option.

 

We're going to check out the cyber charter tomorrow.  I haven't even broached the subject of public school with ex at this point-I'm not sure how he will react.  I've always been the one really pushing homeschooling and I think he will be upset just because he feels like he gave in before to let me do it and tends to react with anger when feeling out of sorts.  Ugh. 

 

Thanks for the advice and stories...I wish it was as easy as just trying it out to see how it goes, but unfortunately I think I have to make a solid decision at this point.  I could try out homeschooling and then try to put her in school later, but I'd rather put her in in the beginning of the year if given the choice so she has time to get used the teacher, make friends, etc., along with the other kids.

post #5 of 26

If you really want to homeschool you can make it work. There are so many different ways to work around issues such as the parent working full time, etc. However, with that said you've got a lot on your plate and if YOU really aren't into it then it probably isn't going to work and you need to do what is best for your family. If you want some ideas on how you can make it work I'm sure you'd get some great suggestions from people here on this forum. 

 

Some kids do well in school, others don't. And there are pros and cons with everything. While sending her to school may seem time-conserving to you, you will also be spending a lot of time advocating for your child, being involved in school politics, PTA, etc. I'm always amazed at how busy my friends with school kids are just making sure their kid is doing okay, resolving issues and conflicts, etc. 

 

Also, realize that for most schools these days homework assignments are a daily occurance. Even with kids in elementary schools. I know more than one working mum who resents how homework robs them of what precious little time they get with their children at the end of the day as it is. 

post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post

If you really want to homeschool you can make it work. There are so many different ways to work around issues such as the parent working full time, etc. However, with that said you've got a lot on your plate and if YOU really aren't into it then it probably isn't going to work and you need to do what is best for your family. If you want some ideas on how you can make it work I'm sure you'd get some great suggestions from people here on this forum. 

 

Some kids do well in school, others don't. And there are pros and cons with everything. While sending her to school may seem time-conserving to you, you will also be spending a lot of time advocating for your child, being involved in school politics, PTA, etc. I'm always amazed at how busy my friends with school kids are just making sure their kid is doing okay, resolving issues and conflicts, etc. 

 

Also, realize that for most schools these days homework assignments are a daily occurance. Even with kids in elementary schools. I know more than one working mum who resents how homework robs them of what precious little time they get with their children at the end of the day as it is. 

Yes-these are a lot of my thoughts/concerns.  I will still have my (very extremely active and busy) 3-year-old home with me either way, so it's not like I'll have the whole day to work or accomplish lots of stuff really.

 

And I do still really really really want to homeschool-I just worry that my "vision" of homeschooling is not going to be the reality, and I don't want to shortchange my daughter because I'm not willing to let go of something that isn't really going to happen.  I could make time to do the lessons with her everyday for sure.  I mostly work at night while the kids are sleeping, but some of my work has been leaking into the days and it makes life stressful-I don't want to try to take on too much and not have time left over for the *fun* part of homeschooling-i.e. the cool trips, projects, co-op activities that make homeschooling (to me) special.  Money is also an issue, a lot of those fun activities do cost something (not all of them, I know, and we take full advantage of the free stuff!) If all we are doing is essentially basic school lessons at home with the rest of our time trying to cram in regular life...what is the point?

 

My stepdaughter went to public school, so I know firsthand how little time is left over in the evenings..it felt like it was get home, snack, homework, shower, bed, that was it-which I hated.  And would definitely hate now that she wouldn't even be here everyday :(   I think she would do well in school-at least in dance classes, etc., teachers always tell me what a great listener she is and how pleasant she is to be around, and she interacts well with other kids.  I also can't quite let go of thinking that if I just hit on the perfect combination of time, curriculum, schedule, etc., I can make it all work somehow homeschooling! :)

post #7 of 26

I personally, think that putting a child in public brick and mortar for the first time in first grade, in the situation you explain re the fact that child is not really reading, could be extremely detrimental.  I would take a year off of school before I would want to do that.  This is because first  grade, at least where I live, is so obsessive about the child reading at a particular level.  I think it is absolutely ridiculous, and gives late bloomers the message that they are "behind" i.e. not "as smart" as the earlier readers.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geemom View Post

I personally, think that putting a child in public brick and mortar for the first time in first grade, in the situation you explain re the fact that child is not really reading, could be extremely detrimental.  I would take a year off of school before I would want to do that.  This is because first  grade, at least where I live, is so obsessive about the child reading at a particular level.  I think it is absolutely ridiculous, and gives late bloomers the message that they are "behind" i.e. not "as smart" as the earlier readers.

yes, that scares me! One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the ability to learn things in a child's own time-I know that she is receiving the building blocks of reading instruction, so to say, so I'm not particularly worried-I know it will all come together for her soon and I can tell she is "getting it" enough that I don't think there is any learning disability etc. going on. 

 

But, a teacher with a class of 30 students who has to meet certain goals etc. will not necessarily feel the same way, and I don't want my dd to feel upset or less than smart because she isn't reading like some of her classmates will be. 

 

Lots to consider...thanks for all the input!

post #9 of 26
How about something like www.allinonehomeschool.com? It is free, thorough and would help keep you and your kiddo on task with essentially no planning. I worry too that you may not be able to pull her out because of your ex if PS doesn't end up working out well. Also, I had a child who struggled to read in PS and they did very little to help him. What he needed was one on one and the PS really couldn't give him that.
post #10 of 26

I don't think it's unusual for children not to be reading at 6 and in first grade.  In my experience with my children and their first grade classes, about half of the children could read on their own, and probably half couldn't.  When my older daughter started school and she had to read for 20 minutes a night, I remember parents expressing concern at this, but the teacher explained that the parents could read to them. But there were some children who could read on their own.  Eventually it evened out.

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post

I don't think it's unusual for children not to be reading at 6 and in first grade.  In my experience with my children and their first grade classes, about half of the children could read on their own, and probably half couldn't.  When my older daughter started school and she had to read for 20 minutes a night, I remember parents expressing concern at this, but the teacher explained that the parents could read to them. But there were some children who could read on their own.  Eventually it evened out.

Yes-from what I understand, if a kid is not reading on their own by the end of first grade (in public school), it can be cause for "alarm." My former stepdaughter learned to read fluently only at the end of first grade and now is a total bookworm.

 

I'm not worried about her reading skills per se, so much as on any negative effect it may have on her if she entered first grade in public school, particularly as I fear teachers will hear "homeschooled" and immediately assume she must be dramatically behind on everything, KWIM?

post #12 of 26

We have used public virtual schools before.  We have also used "parent partnership" or Alternative Learning Experiences within our district--they have the children attend 1 or 2 days per week.  We aren't doing any of these options now, but I wanted to give a shout out to the many other types of enrollment there can be.  

 

Amy

post #13 of 26

If you do use an online charter, please be aware that there may be required online session hours, when your dd has to log on and join a virtual classroom. Different charters require a different number of hours per week or month. Would your custody sharing keep her in your home for school, or would she sometimes be at her father's?

 

We use an online school, and my kids occasionally log in for online classes, but we're in a private school so we don't have required classes. The only courses the kids find not to be a waste of time are foreign languages and science (middle school). So we rarely log in for that.

 

Also, be prepared for her to have many of the same kinds of skills assessments as she would in a B&M school. My dd meets every other week with her teacher and is assessed in math or reading. Nothing high-stakes, but her learning is being tracked.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post

If you do use an online charter, please be aware that there may be required online session hours, when your dd has to log on and join a virtual classroom. Different charters require a different number of hours per week or month. Would your custody sharing keep her in your home for school, or would she sometimes be at her father's?

 

We use an online school, and my kids occasionally log in for online classes, but we're in a private school so we don't have required classes. The only courses the kids find not to be a waste of time are foreign languages and science (middle school). So we rarely log in for that.

 

Also, be prepared for her to have many of the same kinds of skills assessments as she would in a B&M school. My dd meets every other week with her teacher and is assessed in math or reading. Nothing high-stakes, but her learning is being tracked.

Thanks! I've look at 3 charters so far, and only one of them had required classes weekly at a certain time.  The one I spoke to today said they do weekly online classes sometimes, but they are not required unless the child is behind in something. 

 

Regardless, at this point dd will be with me during all school hours anyway.  That could perhaps change, since we don't have a custody agreement yet and he is probably going to fight about it. 

 

The one I spoke to today did say they would do the DIEBELS (sp?) assessment before she started to get her in the right level...which I am nervous for, but will hopefully be fine.  Other than that, it sounded like I would have to scan in some of her assignments (writing and so forth I assume) a few times a month for the teachers to assess, but they didn't mention any other frequent assessments.  They did say the teachers were local and I *could* meet with them face to face, but that it would mostly be online otherwise.

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

We have used public virtual schools before.  We have also used "parent partnership" or Alternative Learning Experiences within our district--they have the children attend 1 or 2 days per week.  We aren't doing any of these options now, but I wanted to give a shout out to the many other types of enrollment there can be.  

 

Amy

How did your kids do with only attending a couple days a week? I know the high school allows kids to just attend a few classes, but I wasn't sure if the elementary school does as well..or even if that would be desirable.  I think my dd would rather do one or the other, and would rather just be in school all the time if she's going to be there some of the time, KWIM? I'll have to call the district office and see what they offer though...thanks!

post #16 of 26

This may depend on the teacher, but it is pretty well known/accepted that homeschool kids are actually ahead of the others.  If not, you could enroll the child in kindergarten instead, perhaps.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

The one I spoke to today did say they would do the DIEBELS (sp?) assessment before she started to get her in the right level...which I am nervous for, but will hopefully be fine.

 

 

The Dibels reading assessment is a quick, casual, low stress assessment that shows what children know about decoding words and reading . It only takes a few minutes, and kids do it working with the teacher. It allows the teacher to quickly steer the child toward books that are neither too easy or too hard, and helps the teacher target other language instruction to what the child knows. There really isn't anything to be nervous about. To your DD, it will just feel like working one on one with the teacher for a few minutes. No big deal. It isn't a pass/fail thing. It's a "off all the books in this classroom, which one's would be best to help develop your reading at this point" thing.

 

Kids are retested periodically to see how they are progressing and which books are best for them now. The nice thing about a classroom using dibels is there is usually the understanding that kids learn at different rates. You can have 3 kids that test at the same place this month, but next month they might all be different places. Because dibels is quick and painless, it allows for instruction to be tailored to the specific child where they are right now. That's a good thing.

 

no worries.

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 

The Dibels reading assessment is a quick, casual, low stress assessment that shows what children know about decoding words and reading . It only takes a few minutes, and kids do it working with the teacher. It allows the teacher to quickly steer the child toward books that are neither too easy or too hard, and helps the teacher target other language instruction to what the child knows. There really isn't anything to be nervous about. To your DD, it will just feel like working one on one with the teacher for a few minutes. No big deal. It isn't a pass/fail thing. It's a "off all the books in this classroom, which one's would be best to help develop your reading at this point" thing.

 

Kids are retested periodically to see how they are progressing and which books are best for them now. The nice thing about a classroom using dibels is there is usually the understanding that kids learn at different rates. You can have 3 kids that test at the same place this month, but next month they might all be different places. Because dibels is quick and painless, it allows for instruction to be tailored to the specific child where they are right now. That's a good thing.

 

no worries.

And these are exactly the kind of periodic assessment dd does online via Blackboard with her teacher. It's really no pressure, and is just a progress check. Unless something is off, like vision or other factors, generally kids will continue to progress, and the teacher just wants to make sure she'd moving forward instead of slipping backward. As long as the teacher says, "making good progress," I don't even pay attention to numbers/time/level reporting.

post #19 of 26

greenemami, I may be too late on this thread and you might have already decided what to do but I am throwing in my 2cents.gif I think the beginning of first grade would be a good time to transition from home to school, if that's what you decide to do. I also wouldn't worry about her reading at the beginning of first grade either. I have public schooled, home schooled and private schooled. With 5 kids they all needed something different. One of my kids has been in public, home and private school. Private ended up the best fit for him (he has special needs-learning disabilities, ADHD). Most of my kids preferred to go to school because of wanting to be with friends (the autistic one doesn't care much about friends). I just couldn't offer them outings with friends everyday and they got to see friends at school everyday. Academically our public schools have been fine. Note I said fine, not great, not stellar, just fine. I choose to supplement what they learn at school by doing special 'field trips' on the weekends so I can enhance and add to the school curriculum. I might just be lucky but I have found that during the early grades homework can be negotiated with the teacher. Research shows that a first grader should not have more than ten minutes of homework a night. If it is taking longer than 10 minutes I schedule a conference with the teacher and get a modified work load. My kids are 2-16yrs old, so elementary through high school. My 9yr old is bored and keeps asking when public school is suppose to start again. Each kid is different.

 

If you decide to continue homeschooling don't beat yourself up for it not being as ideal as you fantasized it to be hug2.gif

 

Oh and I guess if for some reason your ex gets 50 percent time visitation, can you two work together to make homeschool viable at his house? Really the custody thing makes things a lot more complex. Do you think it could get nasty and he might accuse you of educational neglect because you homeschool? I don't know how bad it could get but if he really wants to be a jerk he could get court orders to have your daughter assessed academically and if she was 'behind' he could use that against you. I'm just throwing out worst case scenarios but I have been involved in some NASTY custody disputes myself so my mind just goes there.
 

post #20 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

 

I am concerned that she is going to struggle in public school a bit at first academically-she is not reading on her own yet and doesn't want to do it (not can't, I don't think, just doesn't want to).  er way?

 

 

For her, the dibels will show which letter sounds she knows and how well she can blend them into nonsense words. A first grade classroom generally has some VERY easy readers, books were you don't really have to be able to read at all because the pictures tell you what the words are, and she will most likely have "read to self" time when she'll be looking at books.

 

She may be more motivated to learn to read and move up to more challenging books when she sees what the other kids can do. Peer pressure can actually be a good thing. She might really take off with reading (one of mine did when switching from homeschooling to school because she wanted to be in the top of her class).

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