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planned, temporary unschooling, are these valid reasons?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
a little background...my older ds is 10. he has had arough road so far. he was a HN baby, and later labeled ADHD. he is being treated for clinical depression, though no meds for either. i decided tonight to have him eval'ed for SID and maybe APD (his 3yo bro was just dx w/SID). he is in 4th grade at a charter school. he has an IQ of 122, and is a straight A student. for the most part, he is popular and has many friends. he just kicked butt on the FCAT. however, he is a poor test taker, mostly due to his inattentiveness. his school is very academically driven. in prep for the FCAT, the whole 4th grade cut out all other subjects for close to a month. all they didi all day was write "spontaneous" essays. quite a bit of focus was placed on studying the writings of others, including FCAT writes winners from years past. ds would come home in tears, telling me about the non-stop pressure. then he would have to write an essay for HW! many nights, i would just write to the teacher and tell her i refused to force him to do the work.

i feel he needs an extended vacation. i want to give him a break next year and keep him home. but i have severe fibromyalgia, and bigtime cognitive dysfunction. i dont think i could maintain following a curiculum. and i dont think that making him do so would truly be a break. thats when US came to mind. what do you think of my idea to do it for next year, 5th grade, and then see how it goes for 6th? is my chronic illness a valid reason to forgo a curiculum? is wanting to give ds a break a valid reason? i'm going to read the sticky to see what others have thought, but i'd like to hear any fresh comments as well.btw, ds is totally onboard w/us'ing. he thinks its cool that i wont be telling him what to do all the time, and that there'd be no homework, tho i tried to tell him all he would have is "homework". :LOL
post #2 of 16
I think they are extremely valid reasons! Both from a hs-mama perpective, and also from someone who had HN babies and also happens to be ADD. (plus some of my kids may be AD but I don't care for the label, and we all have high IQs here)

It sounds like you really gave it some thought, and with an IQ that high i'm sure he can find plenty for himself to do. You just have to stay out of his way. You may want to hang on to some broken items so he can take stuff apart - who knows, he may even fix them!

(I say this because recently one of my daughters took apart my broken CD walkman that was next to the garbage -then she got it working!)
post #3 of 16
I agree. There really isn't much content to 5th grade. They mostly work at getting better at the exact same things they did in 4th. Any minor new material will be review in 6th. He won't miss a thing.

Rather than thinking about curriculum and schedules, I would think in terms of a weekly or biweekly trip to the library, good software, and finding him a hobby (model airplanes? woodworking?)
post #4 of 16
I just wanted to chime in with my experience here. We took my first grader out of school after spring break this year due to many issues including similar problems to what you are having (major pressure & repetition). We are temporarily homeschooling, although I can't say that I have any major curricula in place, either. She is a really bright girl (like your ds) who is not the fastest worker around and they were making her miserable constantly telling her that she was not working hard enough, fast enough, etc.

The other day my dd was watching a cartoon called "brace face" in which the main character got in trouble at school b/c she had been trying to talk the teachers into letting her do an alternative to frog dissection. She finally kidnapped the frogs & got caught & sent to the principal. The mom was really mad at the school when she found out b/c they hadn't listened to all of the alternative ideas that her dd had & just shut her ideas out.

Angelina (my dd) was shocked that the mom was upset with the school & wanted to know why the mom was going to talk to the principal. I told her that she was standing up for her daughter & supporting her. Angelina smiled & said, "just like you stood up for me & supported me!"

That "lesson" alone meant a lot to me. My dd knows that I am in her corner & that I will stand up for her - that she is more important to me than what she can accomplish at school. : I worry that these kids who get pushed so much to perform well on tests are learning that they are only worth the test scores that they can bring to the school. The school does not value them for who they are, only what they can do for the school's numbers. I want my dd to learn that she is what it important. I imagine that it would do your son an equal amount of good to hear that from you as well - and taking him out to temporarily homeschool/unschool sounds like a good way to send him that message.
post #5 of 16
Well... it sounds like you're thinking unschooling will be easier on you than using a curriculum. I'm not sure if that's true, really. Homeschooling with a curriculum can be as easy as just flipping the page to the next day's lesson, reading the script, assigning the work, and grading it later. Unschooling requires much more from you. You need to be doing interesting things, bringing interesting things and opportunities into your life, exploring ideas and experiences with your child, responding to him, and learning with him. Some people already live those kinds of lives, so unschooling happens naturally, but if you don't, then unschooling will take a good deal more effort.

Unschooling isn't "taking a break". Unschooling is another lifestyle, and often unschoolers are far busier than their schooled counterparts.

Deschooling, now, can be likened to "taking a break", and clearing out all the school-think from your brain. You still need to be doing the things I mentioned above, though. And it seemed sort of pointless to deschool a kid for a year and then plop him right back into the same environment.

Dar
post #6 of 16
Quote:
And it seemed sort of pointless to deschool a kid for a year and then plop him right back into the same environment.
Dar, you always say it better.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Well... it sounds like you're thinking unschooling will be easier on you than using a curriculum. I'm not sure if that's true, really. Homeschooling with a curriculum can be as easy as just flipping the page to the next day's lesson, reading the script, assigning the work, and grading it later. Unschooling requires much more from you. You need to be doing interesting things, bringing interesting things and opportunities into your life, exploring ideas and experiences with your child, responding to him, and learning with him. Some people already live those kinds of lives, so unschooling happens naturally, but if you don't, then unschooling will take a good deal more effort.
Thanks for stating this so clearly Dar! I almost typed up an identical response to a friend of mine who is thinking about unschooling her children.
And I too wonder what would be accomplished by removing him for one year, only to return him to the same toxic environment the next.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
"I worry that these kids who get pushed so much to perform well on tests are learning that they are only worth the test scores that they can bring to the school. The school does not value them for who they are, only what they can do for the school's numbers."
yes! this is how i feel the school pictures our kids. the school was #1 in the state for FCAT writes, the principal was on the front page of all the local papers, and the teachers were quoted as saying, "we only had to encourage the students to do their best, and the best is what they gave. we really supported them and made them feel good about themselves". BARF! lol you totally read my mind with these words here! ty!

dar: yes, i get you. i think i am ashamed to admit that i really dig the us'ing way of life. not sure why...i think i'm scared that my irl friends and family will really think i've gone over the edge after that. lol for me, a curiculum would be much harder b/c my fibromyalgia causes "cognitive dysfunction" aka brain fog. no way am i able to keep work organized. but i can wake up each day and do something simple, like take the kids to the library. we have a kids museum nearby thats free on thurs noons. we are on the beach. we have the space center. on my high energy days, i can do that stuff. but sitting down and doing bookwork...ha! no way, not for me, not even on a good day. on my low energy days, 10yo ds can do stuff on the computer alone, or just do nothing. i think i need to face myself and admit to myself that i really want us'ing for him and that i dont want to just do a year. i had pretty much decided already that 8th grade would be his last in ps, so whats 3 more years at home?

i think i may already be in an us'ing frame of mind. the other day, he was looking at the pic of his class in the paper and asked me how newspapers were made. i told him i didnt know, but he could go online and look for himself. i made an appt w/the local paper for a tour of their printery. we are going in 2 weeks. i wish i could have done it sooner, b4 his interest wanes, but they were really booked. so, is this us'ing mentality?

and a side pt: he related to me something that happened in school today. they read a story on the gerber family, and how they began making jarred baby food (yuck, but thats not the point lol). the kids got to ask ques of the teacher, and my darling son asked "how did a baby food company come to offer life insurance" the teacher said they didnt (shes 26, single, no kids, what does she know about jack anyway? ), so he proceeded to quote the entire "gerber growup plan" commercial, or whatever the thing is called. yk, $3 a month now turns into 10,000 at 21; 50,000 at 28...the stupid teacher told him he could only ask questions about the essay they had read. i asked him if she offered to let him look it up online, and he said no, and she acted really mad at him the rest of the day. i really hate what school is doing to him. :
post #9 of 16
Why don't you pull him out now? It sounds like such a waste of time.

One of my friends has MS and she is homeschooling. Her health, like yours, is inconsistant from day to day. On her good days she does cool things with her son, when she is not feeling well he has cool computer and hands on science things do to. He also works on math on his own, as he loves it and doesn't need much help.

You really can do this. Doing what is right for your child is more important than your family and friends thinking you are sane.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
why dont i pull him out now?...well, i did that in kindy, w/2 mos left. then he got into this charter school for 1st and went back. there are only 2.5 weeks left now, and he asked to finish. plus, they are going to a theme park next week, and my xh took off work to go, so i would screw everyone up if i did that. and one other thing too...2 weeks ago, i was chatting in the front office with another mom who is my personal friend, it was a private convo, she has a 1st grade dd and was asking me how it was in the higher grades. so i broke it down for her! lol the secretary was eavesdropping and got mad about me dissing the school (i never called out any of the faculty by name, that is just not cool, i was very objective in talking to my friend), so she...the secretary!...wrote me a very inarticulate letter telling me it was "in my best interest to place him elsewhere next year". the letter was so funny i thought of posting it here. she said the staff was disappointed by the "premeditated information i was contexting". wth does that mean??? so i got in touch w/the school board office that handles charter schools and got the director in trouble. she wrote me a pathetic excuse for an apology that was really not apologetic at all, and now i have to keep him there for the rest of the year so i dont feel stupid for making an issue out of it. my xh and i decided that he's not going back there next year,and although xh really is against hs (i would never tell him about us'ing! lol) i would do it anyway.
post #11 of 16
I see.

How about letting him take a day off and hang out at home? You could write him a sick note (being sick of school counts as being sick, right?)
post #12 of 16
Blessed,

Which charter school is he in?? I hope not Odessy, I had such hogh hopes for that school.

Anyway,
I pulled my kids out of their Montessori for the same reasons you are dscribing. We a de-schooling right now......... well we have been since January, I love it, the kids love it. And it is interesting that my 6 yo that the school said had learning problems and needed teasting is spontaneously reading on her own now that the pressure and flashcards and other BS is gone from her daily life.

Good for you momma. Willing to take this on with everything else you have going on in your life.

PS. Are you going to the Families for Natural Living meetings next week at the mall?
PM me.

-Michelle
:
post #13 of 16

Just wanted to share my experience...

I pulled dd out of 2nd grade this year with plans to return her to PS for 3rd grade. After deschooling for at least 6 months (it took her a long time to rediscover her natural love of learning, a lot of damage was done in school), then taking a quasi-child-led approach with homeschooling, I decided to let her decide if she wanted to return next year. Her answer was/is an emphatic "No way!". I'm so glad because she is thriving at home. It is not the kind of forced learning (until they loathe it) like school. It is natural, rewarding, meaningful, diverse, self-driven, life-long, FUN!

I hope your ds discovers his love of learning next year! It might work best for you to take it one day at a time and then, after a full year of HSing, then decide what you think is best.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda KS
Doing what is right for your child is more important than your family and friends thinking you are sane.
I just didn't tell anyone in my family that I had taken dd out since they were hugely against it when I mentioned the possibility . Since they all live in different states, it isn't too hard to just avoid the discussion of school.

Some of my local friends may think that I am wacko, but oh well. Some of them don't & those who do aren't my dd's parent. She's happier & that means a lot to me.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
linda...he's had tons of days off this year. lol its been so rough on him, that whenever he faked sick, i just let him stay home. now its just next week and 2 days of the one after, one of those is the trip , so he says he'll stick it out. he's become such a quitter after this horrible year, i was thrilled when he said he wanted to finish something.

michelle...got your pm, sorry i forgot to get back to ya. i wish i could try some stuff to feel better, but right now i'm so poor i cant even pay attention, yk? he's not in odyssey, but i did apply for him there. have you seen it? i only saw the bare bones a few months back, but its gonna be awesome. it should be done by august. we have so many friends that have kids there. we got a letter saying he was #5 on the list. i called back 2 wks later b/c they say they confirm b4 the end of the year so the waiting list kids know what they are doing. anyway, so many kids confirmed in other grades, we got pushed back to #12 due to all the sib's. (for those wondering...imagine concrete instead of carpet, skylights instead of flourescent, a nature trail on campus, organic garden, mozart played via PA, and the best is...drum roll..they are working to achieve a natural/organic/vegan lunch program, that for us would be covered by the free lunch program. and its a charter so its tuition free).

as for the meeting, no, i have wanted to go a couple of times, but i've never made it. i'm not planning on this one. it hasnt been a good couple of weeks, wah wah wah, i know. lol i bet i know which montessori your kids went to. i wasnt impressed with it either. if it is the one i'm thinking of, it was just too snooty for us. a doctors wife actually expressed surprise (disgust) that my kid went to school with her kids. (my oldest went briefly years ago b4 i was killer sick while i finished up a few classes.) i also cleaned one day a week, but she didnt know that. she went by the looks of my car.

had a neat experience today that made me cry and reinforced my desire to keep ds home. he was with my xh, but i was playing w/my 3yo. i had just gotten some mozart cd's from the library. i read the mozart effect recently and decided to rediscover my love of classical music so i could share it with the kids. anyway, i put on the figaro overture, and my 3yo actually began dancing and singing along. yk, da da da, but he kept the beat even though he had never heard it b4. he got so into it i broke down in tears. i dont know just what he learned from that music, but whatever it was, even if just a good feeling, is something he absorbed b/c he wanted to. he made it his own, and was completely enveloped by it. and hours later after it had been turned off, he asked for it again. ok, i know he's only 3, but this would never have happened in a classroom! lol
post #16 of 16
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