or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:


post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

OK so I part-time home-school my boys (ages 4.5 yrs, 2.5 yrs and 10 months - 10 months old "education" is party tricks lol ;-))


We've had a rough situation in the past with my 4.5 yo with op-positional behaviors. They are really improving as we have dealt with a yeast/bacterial overgrowth and gluten sensitivity. At any rate, DS is VERY bright. We brought him to some developmental pediatrics to help with some of the harder behaviors and shyness (he's got a fear of failure etc). They were doing a pediatric school readiness exam with him. He did very very well except with writing and counting. Why does he need to be writing well at this age? Is he really considered "behind" as a preschool age kid who likes to add too many lines to his "E" because it looks cool?


They also suggested that we work with either a family psychotherapist or behavioral aide to help with his "shyness" and to make sure he doesn't "fall behind or get overlooked at school and withdraw."


I really think his shyness is fine. It is what it is. Oftentimes really bright kids are very very shy. I feel like if we push him to be more open it will backfire. I think also saying that a kid who did exceptionally well on the exam except for one area and is being labeled as "behind" in the area is a little extreme.


Has anyone been there done that? I obviously don't want my kid to be "behind" others kids capabilities. But, he is a boy and writing is not interesting for him. He's been beginning to read already, so maybe his "writing" his "behind" because he's attempting to read?


Any insights would be helpful....TIA

post #2 of 19

I'm not sure how you can "part-time homeschool" a child who isn't even school-age. From what you wrote, it sounds like you're planning to send him to school when the time comes, is that correct? The concerns you raise aren't really those a homeschooling parent would have. You can't be "behind" if, as in homeschooling, the curriculum doesn't progress without you. You can't be "behind" the other kids because there aren't other kids. You don't need to write, because there's no teacher trying to separately evaluate the learning mastery of 20 or more children she hardly knows. And shyness isn't generally a problem at home, nor does it cause a homeschooled child to be overlooked. 


I think you would find more help with your concerns in the Learning at School forum. 


Having said that, I highly doubt a 4-year-old who puts extra strokes on his letter Es would be considered behind. Did they actually tell you that? Or just that he doesn't have all the pre-K skills they evaluate for? I think generally those checklists are "many kids this age have some of these skills, and the more of them a child has, the easier he'll likely adapt to KG." You could call and clarify with whoever did the testing, but I would encourage you to relax. Especially if he doesn't start school until next fall ... 9 months is a developmental eon for a 4-year-old. 



post #3 of 19

Weird.  I've never heard before that 4.5 yo's are supposed to be writing.  Are you in NYC by any chance?  I've heard that NYC has some very competitive preschools and kindergartens, but I wouldn't think that anywhere else a 4.5 yo is behind because he's not writing or writing well.  Same thing with shyness...huh?  So a kid that's not a social butterfly needs a psychologist?  You mentioned you're partly homeschooling...are you planning on homeschooling?  If so, I wouldn't worry about any of this.  If you have a specific school in mind, then I guess you need to jump through whatever hoops for that school...I suppose if they look only for kids that start their academics super early and are model students, that's just the one kind of personality they want.  But otherwise, it doesn't sound like your kid is behind at all based on the rest of the world.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
We live in nj. In terms of part time homeschooling that is definitely an option. I work outside and from the home part time.
That's what I was meaning.
The pediatrician actually told me "he was behind his peers with the writing." I thought she was nuts. Are drs now much more intense about getting therapies etc when they aren't necessarily completely warranted?
post #5 of 19

So, this was a pediatrician who was doing a well check or something?  I have never heard of pediatricians doing any kind of school readiness exam involving writing skills.  I have a 6 yo, and basically they checked vaccinations and asked if they can jump with both feet, do buttons, things like that at his 5 year well check.  I have a hard time believing that a Dr. would be qualified to assess reading/writing skills.  I'm a bit confused when the child is supposed to learn writing if they haven't even yet been to Kindergarten?!  Actually, I do remember them checking ds' vision when he was 4 and 5 and they were surprised that he could use the eye chart with the letters (rather than shapes) and stated that was unusual at that age.  At his last checkup at age 6, they assumed he'd be using the letter eyechart...so definitely they didn't expect him to even know his letters before K, much less be able to write them.  

Btw, I know lots of people in NJ, and I can guarantee their kids didn't read/write at 4.5 or before K.  So, not sure what to say about your Dr.  You can google "what are kids supposed to learn by the end of Kindergarten" to ease your mind.  

I've had a pediatrician want to send my ds1 for evaluation when he wasn't talking by 18months (hard to believe now that I was even worried about it!).

A different Dr. (who thought my ds1 was fine in every way at age 5 checkup) warned me that I had to make sure ds had plenty of social opportunities, and especially classes where I wasn't the teacher.  I told him that I took ds to plenty of art classes, martial arts, soccer, piano, etc...(where I wasn't the teacher, and where I left him in the class), and the Dr's reply was that a 1 hour class isn't the same as 3 hours.  Um, ok, and 3 hours isn't the same as boarding school, so what is the point?  I think some pediatricians just don't feel comfortable with homeschooling and come up with weird things to say, just like other people, even though early education isn't part of their expertise.  Maybe your Dr. just thought all kids should go to pre-school?  I do think more things are getting diagnosed now to make the kids convenient to teach in school, but have never heard of "poor writing skills prior to K" as an issue!  

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

It was a developmental pediatrician doing a "neurological/behavioral evaluation." Yea I was completely flabbergasted by this Dr. How can they make such broad statements about stuff like that? He's 4.5 and he's already reading some words so he's way ahead of his peers in that department. Makes total sense that he's not going to want to write. 

This just furthers my concerns for where this country is going educationally speaking! ugh

post #7 of 19
Originally Posted by organicviolin View Post

It was a developmental pediatrician doing a "neurological/behavioral evaluation." 


Is this the same child whom you wrote about a couple of months ago saying his teachers at school were pushing for an evaluation for giftedness? Is the 4.5-year-old already going to preschool? Are they encouraging writing there? What do they say about his writing skills and his shyness? Did he ever have that evaluation, or is this consultation part of that?



post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yes that is the child. He's going to pre-k part time for the social aspect because I've been coming up short in terms of home school co-ops where we live. We have many but the current members aren't great at communicating back. They do encourage writing at his school and he's doing very well with it there. They have nothing but positive things to say about him at school. He's doing well etc.

This evaluation was part of the overall eval for some of the things we've been dealing with over the past 2 years. Some of the extreme behaviors are so much improved due to dealing with yeast/bacterial overgrowth and gluten sensitivity. 

He's not particularly shy at school because he's comfortable there. It's usually with new people and being "put on the spot"

post #9 of 19

I don't really understand why you're concerned then. In real life he's doing fine. According to some out-of-context testing someone pointed out what they felt was a lag, but your experience with your child, and his teachers' experience, tells you differently. You should never let 'expert' opinions trump your reality. 


I've never heard of homeschool co-ops for pre-school-aged kids. Maybe try looking again at age 6 or so? My kids are quite introverted and were all a bit shy at age 4, so they didn't really get comfortable with group experiences until they were older. We never wanted a "homeschool group" experience per se. When we did introduce them to group stuff is was gradually, starting with small-group, low-key, hour-a-week activities in the after-school hours, based on their interests. The interests allowed them to connect more easily with the other kids and give their participation a purpose. That drew them in and built their comfort and confidence. By age 8 or so they were able to cope well with large-group activities in a greater assortment of formats. The later gentler introduction to peer socialization was plenty: they're all confident young people with truly excellent social skills now. To me a child's shyness is saying "I'm not ready for too much of this," not "I need you to push me into more of this." 



post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks Miranda,

That was my hunch as well. Man I hate it when I let the "experts" tell me that my approach is wrong when it's not. I happen to be a concert violinist and educator myself, so one would think that I would know better! geez...

post #11 of 19

well, my kids are all pretty outgoing but all three were shy at age 4.5. No way could I have left them at a co op or anything. But now <shrug>. They will stay pretty much anywhere with anyone as long as they know what's going on. By that i mean, they are sensible and safe, but they will do a class, or Scouts, or be dropped off at a party or playdate without any problems. I couldn't do that before age 5, but my oldest now is rising 6 and absolutely no problems at all. We do have a very good, close knit, social group and while we also socialise outside that, I think that gives the kids a lot of strength.


I do think it might be worth cross posting to the School board, since from what I understand, your child is in school? I can't imagine posting to the School board if I had an educational problem with my HS'd kids. Not trying to be unfriendly, you are really welcome to post here, its just that I think assessments, teacher input etc-for a 4 year old-its just not something that I think most HSers would have experience of, unless their kid had been in school.

Edited by Fillyjonk - 11/20/13 at 12:07pm
post #12 of 19

I have some experience with this since two of my children were in school. 


It sound like he is in a public PreK program, correct?  Did the evaluation come about because the school requested it?  In my experience, public preK is not developmentally appropriate. It has become kindergarten and kindergarten has become first grade.  If your child is falling behind in prek it doesn't mean that he is developmentally behind just that he doesn't meet the unrealistic expectations of public preK.  And many private preschools have these same expectations.


From what I have experienced, preK is not good at building social skills.  Ok, yes, it works on building social skills for surviving in a public school.  But it does not build social skills in the sense of how to get along with friends, or learn self regulation, or how to understand your feelings and be empathatic to the feelings of others.  Free play is the best way for kids to learn that and they just don't get that much free play in public preK.  


There has to be more behind why they said he was behind in writing.  My four year olds have real fine motor skills needs and they can barely form a few letters and their letters are all over the page.  It's not just adding extra lines to things. They mostly still do mark making, but they also have disability that impairs their visual spatial skills.  And they get occupational therapy for that.  A preK classroom wouldn't help them building their writing skills at the level they are right now.  They would just get more practice at scribbling on worksheets.  Yes, our kids' preK program uses a lot of worksheets.  


And shy is really relative and I think an unusual word for a specialist to use.  Again I don't think school is necessarily the best place for a "shy" child to be brought out of his shell.  


I am sorry if I am being blunt about my feelings about public preK but you are in the homechooling forums.  I understand how it is trying to get diagnoses for our kids' to help them progress.  

post #13 of 19
He sounds fine to me. I mean my daughter at four would pretend to "write" and it would basically be scribbles. Eventually on her own she would ask to spell real words after she turned 5. There is too much pressure on little ones these days. As another poster mentioned IMO developmentally inappropriate.
post #14 of 19

my 5.5 yo just started taking some lines out of his "E"s, uh, yesterday.  I kind of miss them - they were like combs!  Writing is super boring and stressful for lots of little kids.  Sounds like yours is doing great. 

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

He's not in a public pre-k. You only qualify for that if you already have an IEP due to sensory processing disorder, autism, aspergers or physical disabilities. I agree with you all about schooling. We do home school, and have him in a private, very very part time pre-k. Mostly so that he can continue making friends and seeing them etc. He is also learning how to play the violin etc. There are so many different activities and learning things that we do at home and while we are out and about. We do so much of the same things as full time home schooling families. I work both inside and outside of the home, so time is limited for me to devote 120% to just home schooling. That's why we do all of the above. Home school and private part time. 


I love the combs! They are so great! I completely agree that pushing all of these academic things so early is detrimental. My response to the Dr telling me he was "behind in his writing" was to stare at her like she was insane. Which, she is. Hello job security?


Thank you all for your input. It has helped me to breath deeply and reflect on everything that has been happening for our little one. It is so reassuring to know that he's doing really well, especially for his age and being a boy :wink  

post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by organicviolin View Post

We do so much of the same things as full time home schooling families. 


With all due respect, and I don't want to be unfriendly here, but I don't think that makes you a homeschooler. I have two teens in high school now and they've changed little of what they do outside of school. They're still busy with violin, and composition, and choir, and running, and reading, and programming, and learning about politics, and learning digital media skills, and family travel, and orchestra, and volunteerism, and part-time work, and website design and publishing, and baking, and yoga, and teaching themselves foreign language vocabulary and pronunciation, and reading environmental and tech blogs and news sites, and travelling to music workshops, and doing dance and theatre workshops. But they attend school, and are bound by the academic and social expectations they encounter there, which in my book makes them school students, not homeschoolers. (Incidentally, they did *nothing* academic at age 4, since we didn't feel a need to prepare them for attending school the following year.) I understand that your ds is only in preschool a few hours a week, but it sounds like he you intend to send him to school when he is, and your concerns stem primarily from the messages you're getting about his readiness for school expectations. I still think what you're describing are school-related issues, and you'd probably get more experienced responses on the Learning at School board.




post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input moominmamma. We aren't "set" on doing anything. We are taking it one step at a time and one year at a time. Some times he may be in school full time, other times not. The reality for us is that most of his real learning is done at home in a play atmosphere and some "formal" pre-k but not a lot just to "test the water" and see how he does so that we feel confident that he can succeed in that atmosphere if that's what we choose down the road.

post #18 of 19

I do know where you are coming from about having a child in school but really feeling like homeschoolers. All mine went to a local Waldorf kindergarten a few hours a week to age 7. At the same time, I spent the other two/three mornings and all afternoons doing other home/unschooling stuff, attending groups, etc. Our local kindergarten used to be a very cool, chilled place where kids pretty much dropped in and out as they wanted, it was very cheap and there was no academic focus at all. At least half the HSing families I know have used that kindergarten. Now, its very different, its become attached to a school and smartened up, making it a bit irrelevant to HSers and way too expensive as well. But back in the day, it was a good resource, it meant I could work/study around my kids and also that I could get 1-1 time with each, by juggling days/times. Something like a half to a third of their "graduates" were then HS'd, at least for a while, so it was a good place for the kids to make friends. OTOH there was NO academic pressure, there was a live and let live approach to reading etc. Some kids read at 4 and that was as cool as the kids who were not reading til 8. Actually the point at which I  pulled my youngest out, aged 5, was when I heard her and her friend in my car after a sleepover or something saying "we need to read lots of books now-because when we get to kindergarten we're not allowed to read.". That represented a real change in philosophy for them and was the turning point for me.


So I know what its like to have a kid technically in school and feel like a HSer. I think when they are this young, and all they are doing is playing, the distinction really is a lot less. I didn't feel much changed after my kids left, HS wise, I went to the same groups and did the same things. It probably functioned more like a co op for us actually.


Another thing. Your younger kids are too young to HS really, am I right? I'd personally put 5/6 as the youngest age a kid could really be said to be HS'd really but I think its different for the oldest in some ways, maybe, I dunno.


 still think I'd consider cross posting this to the Schools board. I think they might have some insights for you. Your OP does suggest that you are fairly academic and structured in your approach, possibly more interested in early academic work than some of us. I just can't imagine a situation where I would voluntarily have my child assessed for anything at age 4-"brightness", shyness, any of these things, unless there was a very serious issue. Saying that because this IS the HS forum and I think the general approach here is against pushing academic stuff early. I think all these things can change so radically, so fast, and a lot of this stuff evens out or sorts itself out in the next few years. 


We're a nice community here, and we're not tribal. Post to the Schools Board, the Additional Needs board if that's relevant, the HSing board, the USing board. As long as you are respectful and don't advise unless you follow the relevant philosophy/live the life, I doubt anyone will mind. Do bear in mind too that HSing is a low volume list. Actually, I wonder if the best place for your question might be the Early Years forum? 


As a complete aside, and given you HAVE posted in the HSing forum, I don't think, IME, pre-k /k was that helpful for my kids when they were in a shy phase. I think if I had a shy child the first thing I'd do is pull them out of school and give them lots of chance to interact with others 1-1 and as part of a family group. I'm only saying that in the context of this forum though.

Edited by Fillyjonk - 11/26/13 at 3:36am
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am a fairly structured person but don't push a ton of academics. We learn what we want when we want type of thing. If he wants to practice his letters, cool. If not, no biggie. smile.gif
There are 3 of them actually. The middle is 2.5 yrs and the baby is 10 months.
The only reason I have been concerned about "brightness" is because we have been dealing with a ton of behavioral issues. They are much less now bc of dietary changes etc
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond