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He wants to attend school?!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have two boys, 4 and 6, and always have planned on homeschooling them. I love to be with them, and feel that they will have a much better education if they learn at home--not to mention no schedule imposed on us!

Lately, my 6yo says he wants to attend school. I know where the interest comes from. He has a fixation on Calvin and Hobbes (comic strip, but he has them in book form), and strives to be like Calvin. For those of you familiar with the strip, can you just imagine?! He dresses like Calvin, makes the same faces, tries to be like him in so many ways. And one of the ways is by attending school.

I always said I would respect the wishes of the children when it comes to homeschool/school, but it's hard when I know this is the reasoning behind it! I am dreading the loss of our (okay, my) homeschooling dreams...

Anybody have any experience with "trying out" public school? Any words of wisdom from all you brilliant ladies? What would you do?
post #2 of 13
my 5yo dd has also expressed interest in school - primarily because she is a social butterfly and knows that there are lOTS of kids in school. I have worked extra hard to provide interesting social opportunities for her. I also pointed out to her that if she went to school, she would have to go every day, not just some days, and if something fun were happening she wouldn't be able to stay home or leave school early to do it. she hasn't mentioned school since, and seems pretty happy with our arrangement. i have mixed feelings, too, but I think if she seemed really determined I would consider sending her - though maybe we'd wait another year.

maybe you could help your son get hooked on another cartoon?
post #3 of 13

here goes...

Ladies, as the moderator of this board for almost 2 years now, I have seen this problem crop up many times. My gentle response to the wonderful, concerned mother is always the same - remember that YOU are the parent! Children want many things, but that doesn't mean that it is good for them or that they should have their way. They don't understand the reasons that we understand why homeschooling is better. As gently as you can, veer your son's thoughts elsewhwere; find him some homeschool playmates; get him interested in other reading. It sounds like he going through a normal stage. You wouldn't indulge him in every stage, would you? This too shall pass.

Gently, Leslie in MD
post #4 of 13
It is important to address the reasons why he wants to go to school and how chances are what he wants isn't reality. When I explained to my dd that she wouldn't be allowed to talk to her friend and the teacher would say mean things to her iof she did and that she couldn't eat if she was hungry or go to the bathroom if she had to pee and that lots of kids wet thier pants and other kids laugh at them because of it she began to see school in a new light. I know some of you think that was probably a mean thing to say but that is how I see group school. I have issues with not being able to control things like when you eat, drink, and pee. soory. I also took her to observe recess one day. I pointed out the kid who went from group to group being rejected and then retreated to the teachers who also sent him away. I pointed out how many kids were being hit, pushed and excluded. She got the picture. School is not a very fun place (just for the record I was the kid who got picked on and rejected. I also feel strongly about this. I have no good memories from school )

I also let her ride the city bus for fun (she really wanted to ride the school bus) and she gets to go to school once a year with her grandma who is a teacher. She loves it because she is the class queen. She gets her fix but I have to remind her that real school is notlike that . I think he will get over it.
post #5 of 13
my dd has been saying she wants to go to kindergarten next year. She's been watching a lot of Magic school bus, and reads the books constantly too. She thinks this is what school is like: Magical, science experiments all day, field trips galore, fun fun fun!

So our compromise was to "play school". Starting Monday she wants me to pack her a lunch, and set up a "classroom". She also wants "homework". We've also been doing a lot of "experiments".

I would never send her to school over her asking me to bc she has no idea what she would be getting into.

Maybe a hs grp would feel enuf like school. I've been suggesting to dd that we get into one, but she already has so many activities like ballet, gymnastics ect where she has friends that she isn't that interested.

I think everyone gave great advice, this will pass I'm sure, but I dop cringe when I hear dd say it, esp. in public.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your replies. You have expressed my feelings exactly! I don't want him to like school, so I have informed him of some of the negative aspects of school, like having to ask to go to the bathroom, not being able to whistle (he does it constantly), having to sit still, etc. I have stopped short of telling him about anybody being "mean", except to say that not all kids are gentle like he is. Because if he is so set on this, I don't want to spoil his attitude toward the teacher or students.

That said, I also believe strongly in "following the child's lead". Isn't that what homeschooling (or at least unschooling--what we were doing) is about? So how can I deny this burning desire of his? I have tried suggesting that we play school or sign him up for a class, but none of that will do. He has this curiousity nothing else will satisfy!

So we've made an appointment on Monday to go check out our neighborhood school. We can wander the halls, get a tour, meet with the principal. I will want to set up a time we can meet with the teacher and see the classroom as well. Ds and I can come up with a list of questions for the teacher. I am soooo hoping something will happen that will change his mind! But I don't think it will.

If he really wants to do this, I will send him off to school and hope he does well. And hope he changes his mind after a few weeks!

It's just so hard for me, watching him grow up, knowing he will be with somebody else for so many hours a day... I remember when he wouldn't even let anybody else hold him, or let me put him down! I will be a blubbering mess on that first day...

Well, I've gotta go make breakfast. More later!
post #7 of 13
My daughter is 6 and has told me she would like to go to school. I asked her why and it had to do with playing with other kids so I told her about the time school would take each day and that often she would not be able to play with friends after school because of the long bus ride and homework requirements. Later I talked to my husband about it and he said if she asks again to do a full day school just as it would be if she went, with recess and lunch and much more structured than we do. So far my response to her was enough and she has not asked about it since. I think she has fantasies about what school is like because she has never gone. We are involved weekly with a small group from our church and there are two families whose children ask on a regular basis if their mothers can homeschool them. I try to remind her of that as well. That there are other kids who think she is pretty lucky to spend every day with Mama.
post #8 of 13
I have to agree with Leslie and say~
remember that YOU are the parent! Children want many things, but that doesn't mean that it is good for them or that they should have their way.

IMHO I would cancel that tour of the public school, it is like showing candy that you don't want them to eat and looks good, but is unhealthy. I would take a hard look at where your son is getting the ideas about school. Maybe it is time to clear away some of those comics and turn off the TV. Calvin hates school & girls BTW, my oldest is a huge calvin and hobbes fan.

"That said, I also believe strongly in "following the child's lead". Isn't that what homeschooling (or at least unschooling--what we were doing) is about? So how can I deny this burning desire of his? I "

For our family, no that is not what homeschooling is about.
I am in charge of deciding what would meet my children's needs emotionally and intellectually best. Obviously, we take our kids wishes/desires into consideration, but ultimately I would not put the burden of making such an important choice on a child. I wish you the best of luck sorting this out.
mom of 4 wonderful kids 13, 7, 4, & 2
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
It's not a TV show. The only TV he watches is Reading Rainbow and Cyberchase on PBS. Even that rarely, although more often these days because I've been sick. They are comics, popular about 10-15 years ago. We have them in book form, and now they belong to ds. They are funny (IMO) and have enriched his vocabulary considerably. These books have stimulated conversations about many subjects between ds and myself, and although he wants to be like Calvin, he has not adopted his "attitude".

Thank you all for your opinions. It's obvious I'm not the only one who feels so strongly about homeschooling. But I just feel like I wouldn't be true to my son's spirit if I were to force it on him.

What I would really like to know is this: Has anyone's child tried school and gone back to homeschooling? This is what I'm really holding out for!
post #10 of 13
My dd originally wanted to attend K this year. I really wanted to keep her home but I do believe in child-led learning and would have let her go if she had really wanted to. We decided to take a private tour of the school and then we did the K orientation last spring where they do a condensed version of a typical day with the actual K teachers and the other kids who would be in the next class. She enjoyed it and told me afterwards she would really need to think about whether she wanted to go or not. One of her good friends from next door would have been in her class and that was certainly an added point for going to school in her book. However, after giving her plenty of time to mull it over and answering any questions she had about school over the next few weeks and months, she finally decided she wanted to stay home. Of course, I told her that we could re-assess her decision at the end of the school year if she decided she really wanted to go to first grade but I let her know that I thought staying home was a good idea and why. I'm so glad that she decided to stay home and she has already said that she doesn't want to go to first grade. When her ps friends tell her that homeschooling is "bad" and other terrible things they have said to her about it (which I know are coming from their parents) she simply tells them that she thinks homeschooling is great. She no longer questions her decision and I am very proud of her. She still does ask about the school bus, though : ) Happily I can honestly tell her that I never took a school bus to school and only rode them for rare field trips (I always lived too close to school).

Good luck in making your decision.
post #11 of 13
We wanted from the beging to homeschool but because of my other 2 childrens needs (another story) I mentally could not do K. And I could not put it off. Going to K at public school was at the time a necessary thing.

After K we decided to do 1st grade. That lasted a little less than a month. LOL

We pulled him out and he on occassitions have wanted to go back. But a simple remind of what he can not do if he is in school keeps him home. I will respect his needs/wants if he wants to go back to school later (which at this point I doubt).

Yes you can put down your foot. You can give a tradition school a chance. But you can always pull out later. You know your rights that will help.

He might find he does not like the hurry up, get up, eat, and get out routine. My son mention this since I have been babysitting a friends kids before and after school. He mentions they have no time to do what they want or be with there mom.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've actually got another thread going about him changing his mind after checking out the school! But thanks so much!!
post #13 of 13
I think you're getting a lot of great advice here, and I def. agree with the comments about how, since you're the parent, you need to decide what you think is best for him and go with that....

Last summer, our daughter went for three weeks to a day camp at the private (religious) school she would be attending if we didn't HS. It was an interesting experience for all of us! I felt like we were much more accepted in "the community" while we were there, and for the short-term after that (I couldn't believe how many more people said 'hello' to me at religious services!). A serendipitously positive effect was that dd got very fed up with all the ridiculous rules that were required to keep a class of 12 "in line" that we don't have to deal with in hs'ing. Like how, during playground time, she wasn't allowed to bring a book out to read. And how they dealt with lunchtime and bathroom issues. While we didn't send her to camp so that she could see these issues, it did have a positive effect on our hs'ing b/c she was much more appreciative of all the flexibilty we have. So, maybe summer camp would help you?!

Also, I don't know if you mean you would send your son to school now or in the fall. If you do decide to send him to public school, I would def. think it best to wait til Fall, since coming into a class now could be very difficult socially.....Also, it buys you more time!

Good luck,
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