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Looking into homeschooling

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
I have three kids ages 7, 6 and almost 5 (January 3rd and my baby turns FIVE!!) All three do very well in school for math and reading and even my 4 year old reads a little. Of course, she's always been ahead for her age....I'm sure that's due to learning from her big brothers!!

Anyway, even though they do well academically, they are getting in trouble behavior-wise. All three of my kids are off the chart extroverts, very high energy, (been diagnosed with ADHD) learn easily but are bored. They aren't the types that learn by sitting down and shutting up. They are very curious kids and love to explore and do hands on tasks.

During the summer months, we move up to our beach house. This is where they truely thrive. All day long, they are outside in the woods, finding different bugs, worms, frogs, etc. They flip over rocks in the nearby river and catch all sorts of interesting things and we keep them in a bucket to observe them for a couple days before letting them go. We look up the creatures in a book, identify their body parts and what they might eat....and what may eat them! They love to work with legos, building blocks, do puzzles, LOVE dinosaur facts, going to the zoo and learn about life through experiences, not books.

We moved to this area because of the exemplary "blue ribbon" schools yet I'm having a hard time with how they are learning and what effect the school is having on them. I'm concerned with the constant punishments at school effecting Dakota's (my oldest) self esteem. He kicked a block of ice on the playground and the teacher put him on the "timeout wall" for the rest of recess, his music teacher calls me and tells me that he got a "consequence" for not raising his hand before speaking and his reading teacher told me that he had to miss out on a group activity because he hugged another student.

I know that certain behaviors are expected and that he does need to keep his hands to himself and listen to the people trying to teach him however I don't think isolating him and punishing him for his lack of impulse control is the answer. I'm not trying to make excuses for him but honestly, being quiet, being calm, sitting down, reading instead of doing just doesn't come natural to him. He works very hard and is often upset with himself for disappointing his teacher. A few times he has smacked his head and said, "My brain just won't listen to me mom....I hate it!" That makes me so sad and just breaks my heart to hear that.

Anyway, I wondered if you ladies think homeschooling would be the answer. I have so many ideas about where to take them, how to show them experiences, letting them run around and DO things and having their "massive amounts of energy" utilized instead of supressed.

I have a few questions regarding Michigan homeschooling laws, different curriculums, co-ops, unschooling, etc. I have been reading the posts here and they are really full of information! It might take me a few days to look at all the websites posted but if anyone in metro Detroit homeschools, I'd appreciate your input!


Any advice is welcomed! Thanks for reading all of this.





Jen
post #2 of 53
I would read the naturalchild.org under the learning articles

Good luck, my opinion, I think your children would do great being HS
post #3 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
his reading teacher told me that he had to miss out on a group activity because he hugged another student.
What??! That seems a little over the top! Did the other kid not want a hug?
post #4 of 53
Thread Starter 
MsBirdie: Thanks for the link! I will definitely check it out! I'm already intrigued just by the name of the site!

alaskaberry: I think it had to do with "giving personal space" and "keeping your hands to yourself" more than anything. Regardless if the child wanted a hug or not, the kids really aren't allowed to that kind of stuff in school. Of course, this is also the teacher who has a problem with Dakota blurting out answers (again, this is the impulsive control issue) or not raising his hand when he has a question.

I was going to send his teacher a note but after I wrote it, I decided to just keep it to myself as more of a personal journal note than to send it and cause waves. It said:

Dakota is more of the "hunter" in terms of the hunter/gatherer world. Thousands of years ago, his "issues" would have been an asset. For instance, the hunters of the world would scan their environment for prey and for danger. Today we call this "distractibility." He would have had to make quick decisions. Today we call this "impulsiveness." He is seen in the institutionalized learning world as "a problem child" and made to think that he has a learning disability. Society has changed. Our instincts and genes have remained the same.


post #5 of 53
I think it should work very well for them in view of the ways you're thinking about it.

Here's a post from another thread with links to some simple "getting started" resources that I think are particularly helpful in keeping things simple. And this one has links to three good web pages for finding out about the laws.

To find someone here from Detroit or Michigan, you might want to start a thread with that in the caption, because not everyone reads all these "looking into information" threads.

And there's no need to wait till the end of the school term. That's something that comes up a lot online, and I've yet to see anyone say they wish they had waited - most regret that they didn't just bring them home as soon as they'd decided to homeschool. I certainly wished I'd just pulled my son out of a lousy 1st grade experience in the spring instead of waiting - that could have been a delightful spring season in the outdoors playing.

Have fun! - Lillian
post #6 of 53
Lillian J - I agree with not waiting, take the rest of the year to deschool and then be able to begin curriculum (if that is what you choose) after they have had a break.


And those assets were not just viable thousands of years ago, they will be assets when the become adults. They are go getters and that is a plus in adult life.
post #7 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the support.....It actually made me choke up. :

Ugh, do you ever get that feeling of just wanting to pack the kids up, move to Alaska, live in the woods or the mountains and just get away from a crazy society? lol

Yes, they are very self-motivated and do well with positive reinforcement and an even amount of structure and free time. For an example, when they get home from school at 4:00, they are allowed to do whatever they want until 5:00, then do homework for a 1/2 hour (15 minutes math, 15 minutes reading a book of their choice) then we get ready for dinner. The structure times seem to work well when there are free times in between.

Thanks again! I'll post a Detroit area thread after I read a little more on the info I've been given. I'm so glad I posted this.....I feel better already!

:
post #8 of 53
Dear Mama, you are already homeschooling! Your summer learning experiences are wonderful! Imagine getting to do that year-round! Just think how much your children would enjoy themselves ... and enjoy learning! We have always unschooled. My 8yo son has such a depth of real-life experiences already. He has been hands-on in car maintenance, woodworking, cooking, painting, astronomy, building, creating...the list goes on. Our coffee table is overflowing with books from the library - tracking books (we live in an area where we have lots of wildlife), bird books, animal books, guitar books, and more (we read some stories too)! To me, two of the best things about homeschooling are spending time with my child and nurturing his love of learning.
post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by callmemama View Post
Dear Mama, you are already homeschooling! Your summer learning experiences are wonderful! Imagine getting to do that year-round! Just think how much your children would enjoy themselves ... and enjoy learning!


I just went back to the first post to take a look at their ages again. Perfect! Your 7 year old is even younger than my son was when I brought him home - because I waited for the stupid term to end - but he barely remembers his 1st grade experiences now. Y'know, we don't usually nudge people so much around here, but you do sound perfect for homeschooling. - Lillian
post #10 of 53
Pm'ing you about Metro Detroit.

But right off the bat, home school laws in Michigan are great. No reporting or notifying at all.

Good Luck in your journey!
post #11 of 53
Alaska is a great state for homeschooling...
post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
alaskaberry: I think it had to do with "giving personal space" and "keeping your hands to yourself" more than anything. Regardless if the child wanted a hug or not, the kids really aren't allowed to that kind of stuff in school.
Yes, because human contact is the root of all evil. : I remember that, now. It was a dumb rule.

Sounds like homeschool would be great for your kids. Good luck!
post #13 of 53
I think you kids would really thrive with homeschool. They will have fun learning with each other because their ages are so close.
And I live in Alaska...believe me we have just as much crazy society up here. If not more on a certain level.
I want to move to Michigan, so go figure!
post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 
Well, I have a ton of ideas and enough to definitely get started. I was wondering what everyone thoughts are for college? Do you start public school in 9th grade? Do you have to test to see where you are in comparison? For college, if they don't have grades, how do they apply?

What about things you might not be so proficiant in? I mean, I do pretty well in English but what about some kind of advanced writing or how to write a good essay? Do you get tutors?


Thanks again for all the encouragement! I hope to be all set by the time they get out of school for "winter break." 2008 will definitely be a new year!



post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
I was wondering what everyone thoughts are for college? Do you start public school in 9th grade? Do you have to test to see where you are in comparison? For college, if they don't have grades, how do they apply?

What about things you might not be so proficient in? I mean, I do pretty well in English but what about some kind of advanced writing or how to write a good essay? Do you get tutors?
There have been whole threads on some of those things, so I'll paste in links to some of them and try to be brief. No, it's not customary to put children back into public school for high school. No, you don't generally need to test to see where you are in comparison. There are lots of ways to apply for colleges - they like to see some grades given from outside the home, but that can easily be accomplished in the teen years. As for them learning things you're not proficient it, there are lots and lots of wonderful materials they can learn through on their own. And you could get tutors, but most people don't. My son got one for math when he was studying briefly for his SAT, but it was only to have someone to go over some algebra concepts with him after he found his weaknesses through a sample test. Here are some links to a lot more input on all this:

A middle school question for unschoolers and other relaxed homeschoolers

Homeschooling in high school

? about homeschooling and college

Question for homeschoolers

Here's an article I wrote about my own family's homeschool journey - it addresses a lot of your questions: Homeschooling - It's a Wonderful Life!

And don't forget to follow some links in this post, because you'll find a lot of these things addressed in those too. Lillian
post #16 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I wish someone had told me that it is better to jump in, get started, and learn from your mistakes than to sit worrying and trying to decide what to do, and how to do it perfectly.
Wow, this applies to me! See, I feel like jumping in TOMORROW but have this reserved feeling that I should be more prepared or something....or I should wait until after Christmas and all the parties at school. Or after my daughter has her birthday party at school....lol I know I'm just procrastinating though and sticking my toe in the water instead of jumping in!


This really isn't a concern to *ME* but I feel like I need to share it anyway. A lot of people think that homeschooling moms are just lazy. Like they just sit around the house all day in their pajamas and watch TV because they don't want to get up in the morning and get their kids ready for regular school. Some people say that if you don't get them in the habit of getting up early and going to bed at a resonable time that they won't be prepared for a regular work schedule when they are done with school.

Of course, these are also the same people who told me that having a homebirth was a terrible idea and gave me so many what-if scenarios that I reluctantly had Sydney in a hospital. I regret that. I guess some people will never be supportive and or have heard of that "one mom" who abused the name homeschooling for her own advantages.

I have a notebook and I've been jotting ideas down all day. I've actually cataloged them into seasons.....LOL Like, for spring, I want to grow a garden. That would be a great learning opportunity to show the kids. They can pick out the seeds, they can plant the seeds. They can learn about the lifecycle of a plant, we can talk about what the plant needs in order to grow, we can identify parts of the plant (roots, stem, leaves, flower, fruit/veggie) and I want them to come up with different recepies so that in the fall, when we harvest from my modest garden, we can do some cooking which can teach them math and measurments. Somehow I just know they'll learn from one experience to the other without even trying....it just flows! Well, that's my goal anyway.....LOL

We have a zoo that is very close to us, a children's museum, art museum, huge science center with a planetarium, tons of nature trails....I can't wait to take them out of the classroom now....

We can go on mini vacations and not be restricted or have to call the kids in to the school and do make up homework. It just seems so liberating!


post #17 of 53
School to homeschooling:

My kids were in ps, Michigan blue ribbon school, through 2nd and 4th grades. My youngest had a hard year, with a teacher who was both too hands-off (bullying) and quick to label (many-mostly boys) "problem" kids. Bad, bad experience.

I worked and worked with the principal to improve the situation. Despite lots of lip service (on her part) and patience (too much, on my part and the part of the other parents), nothing improved, in hindsight.

It was a disaster. If I had known then what I do now (it's our fourth year), I would have pulled him in November, and not done all the things all the experts say about communicating with the school, working as a team, etc.

He recently had a very, very hard week remembering and processing through that year. Four years later.

Michigan homeschooling:

We are in Michigan, too, although on the west side. As you've probably learned by now, Michigan law is extremely favorable to homeschoolers.

I am jealous that you are in the Detroit area. As I recall, there are many hsing groups in your area--more diverse and open than here. (Until this year, there were no eclectic, open-to-anyone groups here). Ann Arbor also has a good group, I believe. So, you should be able to find people in real life, too.

Homeschooling generally and through high school:

When we started, I thought it would be for one year, to recover. We've kept on, year by year, because it has gone so well. They are happier and learning much more than in school, because they can work at their own levels.

My oldest is approaching high school age, and I always thought that he would go to high school--especially because ds is a high school physics teacher (BTW, hsing was his idea). But . . . we are going to continue on because it is still working so well for us and because, from friendships IRL and from reading posts on-line, I know it can be done. We are structured (led by the kids’ interests and need) and we are planning high school now. We anticipate that our kids will be prepared for four-year college at the end of high school.

You have oceans of time to figure everything out. Here's what I would do--take them home and do what you love. You've already been doing an exploration-based curriculum in the summers, so go with it. Take the time to explore different approaches. You may stick with unschooling or become very structured or something in between . . . you'll find what works for you.

Finally, I know what you mean about the laziness image. I used to be really self-conscious about hsing, as we are the ONLY family in our suburb who does (people move here for the schools). As we went on and got more confident, that faded away. Also, my kids do better with consistency and predictability. We get up and dress, and then start at the same time every day.
post #18 of 53
Thread Starter 
HilMama, thanks for the reply! That answered a lot of my questions!

I know there is a homeschooling mom close to me because I met her and her kids in the park in our sub. It was Sydney's off-day from preschool and I asked her if her kids' school was out. She said, "No, we homeschool and we live in the sub across the street." Her kids were just about the exact ages mine were and I'm kicking myself for not talking to her more about it and trying to connect with a study/playdate/field trip day.

I just KNOW that there will be soooooooo much less stress around here. I won't be yelling at the kids to get dressed, hurry up and eat, hurry up and get to the bus stop. When they get home I won't have to argue with them about homework, there will be less frustration about understanding the assignment. Waking up and bedtime will be awesome instead of crazy.

......I'm sorry....I just can't think of a reason to keep them in school right now.....LOL I'm not sure if I'm just talking myself into this or if I just love all your ideas!!


post #19 of 53
You're welcome. I know it's a tough decision. If you do decide to bring them home, I agree with Lillian that there's no need to wait for a certain point in the year. I noticed that Lillian and I both commented that we wish we'd just pulled them rather than finishing the year.

As you are deciding, you may want to take the kids out of school for a day and go to a homeschool outing. Or, you could find a group and go to the parent night out or invite someone to have coffee. Our local IRL eclectic group is also a Yahoo group, so you could search there. Perhaps others will have leads for you. Good luck!!

Here are some links to get you started:

http://groups.yahoo.com/

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/...l/Michigan.htm

http://homeschoolingmichigan.com/smf...b7b7&board=5.0
post #20 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HilMama View Post
I noticed that Lillian and I both commented that we wish we'd just pulled them rather than finishing the year.
LOL How's this for a bonus.....I called the preschool and asked if I could get reimbursed for Sydney's schooling. We paid for it all up front at the end of summer. She asked me why...I guess it depends on my answer if they will reimburse me or not. I told her that I can't stand the principal, don't like the the imposed rules that have nothing to do with the curriculum and the people in the office are rude. I told her that I believe that my daughter could benefit from getting schooling elsewhere. (haha) She laughed and said that she completely understands and that normally if someone takes their child out of school for a reason other than moving, she isn't supposed to give back any money. However, since she mostly agrees with me (wow!), she's cutting me a check back for $850.00!!!


I'm still doing a ton of reading on this. I plan on the kids' last day of school being the day they get off for winter break. 2008 will be a new year in sooo many ways!


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