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Looking into homeschooling - Page 2

post #21 of 53
Thread Starter 
Oh oh....I meant to ask.....

How did you approach the change with the kids. Did you say something like, "Hey, how would you never like to go to school again?" Or maybe, "I'm not happy with how the school is teaching you so we'll be doing it at home now."



Thanks ladies!
post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
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!


That's awesome! The money and the brand new year! Yay you!
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
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!!!
Fantastic! Well, that seems to be a sign, huh? And here I'd been reading your post all prepared to say, "Never mind a refund - just try to think of it as money you're paying for something you'd rather be doing."

You have great ideas for how you're going to spend time, but do, do, do make sure you allow for decompression/deschooling time.

As for how to approach the subject with you children, I was out on a walk in the country with my son one afternoon when I said to him, "I just found out that you don't actually need to go to school - we can do it at home." His whole face lit up - "You mean you could be my teacher?" He was thrilled. And that's what I intended at the time - to be his teacher - but it turned out that he really turned out to be his own best teacher. Sounds like yours have probably had it with school - they'll probably be thrilled too, as long as you can assure them that there will be other homeschoolers to get together with, lots of fun things to see and do, and that they can still get together with school friends when school is not in session. Lillian
post #24 of 53
I absolutely agree with Lillian's approach. We had a similar conversation and kept it very simple and positive.

Both my boys were thrilled to come home and neither wants to go to school. If they wanted to go, we'd reevaluate, of course.
post #25 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


You have great ideas for how you're going to spend time, but do, do, do make sure you allow for decompression/deschooling time.
Yes, I was just reading about that. I think it's a great idea, and it will be especially good timing too! Their last day will be the day before everyone gets out for winter break, my sister is due with her first on Jan 2nd, Sydney's birthday is Jan 3rd.... and we'll just be hanging out, maybe going to a teacher's store and getting some supplies for the room I want to set up....we'll be busy but still decompressing.


Quote:
As for how to approach the subject with you children, I was out on a walk in the country with my son one afternoon when I said to him, "I just found out that you don't actually need to go to school - we can do it at home." His whole face lit up - "You mean you could be my teacher?" He was thrilled. And that's what I intended at the time - to be his teacher - but it turned out that he really turned out to be his own best teacher. Sounds like yours have probably had it with school - they'll probably be thrilled too, as long as you can assure them that there will be other homeschoolers to get together with, lots of fun things to see and do, and that they can still get together with school friends when school is not in session. Lillian

OMGosh....I have to tell you this.

So I cleared off the dinner stuff from the kitchen table and had them all sit down. I said, "So what if I told you guys that you didn't have to go to school anymore?" Their eyes lit up and they screamed at the top of their lungs....LOL I said, "What if you didn't have to get up at 7am and hear me yell at you guys to get your shoes and socks on, get your jackets on, get your glove and hat on, get your teeth brushed and what if we could relax in the morning and eat our breakfast without having to worry about missing the school bus." Dakota, my oldest, burst out and said, "FINALLY!!!!!!!" I swear I thought the kid was going to cry! They were all very excited and relieved. I was relieved. Everything just felt more calm. They hugged me more times tonight than they have in a week....lol

Dakota also confided in me tonight that the school has been having weekly assemblies. The teacher picks out 5 kids per week that have been "kind." Each kid gets a free bagel slip (bagel day is Fridays). Dakota says, "Mom, I was very kind but maybe I'm just a bad kid because the teacher hasn't called my name yet. I don't think she likes me." I soooooo felt sad for him and reassured him that he's the KINDEST kid I know and that the teacher can only call 5 kids per week and she just hasn't called him yet....but that she would! I mean...what do you say to a 7 year old when he's upset that he doesn't think he's special?

Anyway, I told the kids that they would still be required to learn things but that we would take our time and not stress about it. They were so happy! Sydney mentioned that she would miss her friends. She's very social and has many friends at school. I told her that since her birthday is coming up that she could invite them all to a party. I'll get the numbers of her "bestest friends" and get together with the moms to arrange playdates. I don't thnk the boys care much...lol

Thanks again ladies. I really would still be on the fence here if it weren't for your excellent advice!

Hilmama....yes, my kids are definitely thrilled too!
post #26 of 53
Congratulations on your decision!!! Have a fantastic time living and learning with your kids!

PS You need to change your siggie now
post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
So I cleared off the dinner stuff from the kitchen table and had them all sit down. I said, "So what if I told you guys that you didn't have to go to school anymore?" Their eyes lit up and they screamed at the top of their lungs....LOL I said, "What if you didn't have to get up at 7am and hear me yell at you guys to get your shoes and socks on, get your jackets on, get your glove and hat on, get your teeth brushed and what if we could relax in the morning and eat our breakfast without having to worry about missing the school bus." Dakota, my oldest, burst out and said, "FINALLY!!!!!!!" I swear I thought the kid was going to cry! They were all very excited and relieved. I was relieved. Everything just felt more calm. They hugged me more times tonight than they have in a week....lol
OK, maybe I'm pms'ing, but this just brought tears to my eyes!

Congratulations on your new adventure, it sounds like you will all have a lot of fun learning together.
post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABand3 View Post
OK, maybe I'm pms'ing, but this just brought tears to my eyes!

Congratulations on your new adventure, it sounds like you will all have a lot of fun learning together.
ok, now I know I am not the only one.
post #29 of 53
post #30 of 53
Quote:
OK, maybe I'm pms'ing, but this just brought tears to my eyes!
Tear here, too! I'm so happy for you all!!

post #31 of 53
Ah! What a sweet story, Jen.

I wish I could homeschool. You know, my son was attending a Blue Ribbon school in MI and he was pretty happy there. Then we had to move back to NYC.: It's the schools here making me want to homeschool but being a single mama and all (and I've been speaking with lots of single mamas who are homeschooling but none have given me a viable option, yet), I just can't seem to do it.

You children are very lucky to have you and be in the place they are in.

I'm so very happy for all of you!
post #32 of 53
Thread Starter 
Hi ladies! Yes, it brought tears to my eyes too! Mostly because I truely saw how unhappy he was for the first time. Ebony, I really hope you can get something going with the other homeschooling moms around you!

You know, it's not that the curriculum at the school is poor. It's an excellent one that provides a wide variety of oportunities...."IF" you're the kind of kid who learns from lectures and books.


I was pretty bummed today when I left the kids' Dr's office today. I made an appointment with their psychologist (the one that sees them every week for their ADHD) at noon and told him all the things I've mentioned here. He thought it would be best to first approach the teachers and try to come up with a reward system for good behaviors. Well, I tried that for about 3 weeks last month. At first, the teachers seem enthusiastic but then taper off after a while. They don't look for the "good behavior" as often which results in less stickers which results in a kid who thinks he's a terrible person. He also said, "Kids have to grow up knowing that they aren't always going to like what they are doing. Just as adults don't always want to go to work or just like at work, there may be someone very annoying that we *have* to deal with." I said, "I don't want my kids living in a fairy tale, pink fluffy cloud world. I don't want them to have a life without disappointment or have a fear of failure but they are only 5, 6 and 7. Why should they have to *prepare* for the disappointing adult work life? Maybe my kids will work for themselves...looks like it worked for you." He agreed and kind of laughed. He also said, "Kids in regular school don't always like what they are learning but they need to." To which I said, "I plan on letting the kids go at their own pace, learn from experiences but maybe about 10% of it will be things I will need to teach them...proper grammar and sentence structure, more advanced math skills, etc." At the end of the conversation, he said that he still recommended working with the teachers but also said that he understands that my kids might not be in the best system to learn.

It felt like he was doubting my ability to do homeschooling. I really went there because I thought he'd be very supportive. I told him that the only reason the kids were on Ritalin was to conform to the standards that schools place on them. It calms them down and helps them focus so that they can be successful in a SCHOOL setting according to the SCHOOL rules.


Sorry...ugh, this is getting long again. My appologies!



post #33 of 53
Jen, I'm sorry the psychologist wasn't more supportive.

People are so wrapped up in the physical school thing. How do they think we ever evolved (although that's debatable to some) without buildings called schools? Geez.

You know, CT became the first state protecting a parent's right to refuse to administer ADD/ADHD medications to children. It's a pity we even need laws like this.

I have so many gripes about school and one is that- and I think this is especially true for boys- the sitting down all the time isn't helpful. Children need to be mobile. My son is so active. I think if you do 30 minutes of learning and then 15 mins of running to get rid of that energy we would see a marked, positive change in our children.
post #34 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebony View Post
Children need to be mobile. My son is so active. I think if you do 30 minutes of learning and then 15 mins of running to get rid of that energy we would see a marked, positive change in our children.
Ebony, I totally agree. I myself have ADHD and take meds. Of course, if I didn't, this house would look like a bomb went off, my computer desk would be full of papers, books, etc and my life would be chaos at best! I honestly benefit from Ritalin because it keeps my head clear. I do see it benefitting my kids as well but I want to use it for the right reasons. I don't want my kid to *have* to take it because the teacher wants him more quiet or because his mind was wandering and he didn't turn in his test and got a bad grade.

The biggest reason I am deciding to go with homeschooling is that I don't want my kids to have a bad opinion about themselves. My kids ROCK and have awesome personallities!! They are very kind, loving, empethetic, fun, energetic, enthusiastic, inquisitive, special and full of life. Public school just seems to step on all that. It's not GOOD when your kid is the shiney stone in public school.


post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
He also said, "Kids have to grow up knowing that they aren't always going to like what they are doing. Just as adults don't always want to go to work or just like at work, there may be someone very annoying that we *have* to deal with."
Ah! Wow. So he's not just an M.D.? He's also a Dr. of both Philosophy and Psychology, huh?

Once upon a time, I met a woman online who told similar stories about her son, only he was having severe problems in the school setting and having stomach aches when he had to go to school each day. We all talked to her for days about how much better we thought he would be able to function outside of school. She did bring him home in the face of the teacher's serious concerns about what a serious mistake she was making, and she reported to us that he was much happier and doing well. Well, long after that, I was invited to a homeschooling information meeting that a support group was holding at a library (in a meeting room). As I sat in the circle waiting to speak, I noticed a little boy who was basically bouncing off walls with energy and restlessness - pretty hyperactive. But it was nice that he had lots of space to do it in, and was in an atmosphere where it as okay. At the end of the meeting, the mom next to me turned and introduced herself - she was the mom we'd been talking to online about her son, and she said it was all she could do not reach over and hug me when she recognized my name during the meeting. She said she and her son were so happy to be homeschooling, and they no longer thought in terms of an ADD label at all,. As we walked to our cars, she introduced me to him, and he was such a happy child as he bounced along beside us. Makes me misty just thinking about it... : - Lillian
post #36 of 53
It sounds like the psychologist doesn't have much experience with homeschooling. Consider the source: his job consists of helping kids fit into a framework (school). He may have never thought outside that particular box.

He brings up a common criticism--that hsed kids are sheltered and won't learn about the real world. Here's a different take: nurturing kids makes them strong. There's no need to put them into a negative environment to "toughen them up." I've been looking and looking for an essay I read a few years ago by a teacher in charge of a gifted program. She facilitated a very small and nurturing child-led class, but people said it was too utopian and wouldn't prepare kids for the real world. She used this analogy: we don't break kids' fingers to prepare them for a broken arm in adulthood. Gross, but to the point.

Believe me, life itself, even homeschooling, has enough natural lessons in disappointment and frustration! The difference is that there is a caring adult available to help the child through, to learn and grow.

Doctors are as diverse as the rest of the population. Here are several I respect--I read their books for ideas on various educational issues, and was happy to discover they support homeschooling:

Eide and Eide, The Mislabeled Child
http://mislabeledchild.com/

Levine, A Mind at a Time
http://www.allkindsofminds.org/index.aspx

In this country, kids are expected to sit still before they are ready. Recent research indicates that many kids diagnosed with ADHD are merely at a different point in their development than other kids their age; they have normal brains, not a defect. Homeschooling gives kids the room to grow at their own pace.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/he...ar&oref=slogin
post #37 of 53
Thread Starter 
It just doesn't seem like anyone around me is supportive. Here's what my friend wrote me in an email:

Ahhh...it all sounds so easy, but take heed my friend. If you homeschool, your kids still have to pass state exams and meet certain legal requirements.
There are many materials available and computer classrooms available to you as well...don't neglect these. There are also established extracurricular activity study groups that consist of those who are home-schooled, in order to give them opportunities to interact with other kids in a learning environment.

The free schedule sounds inviting, but you are better to stick with a routine. Kids need it - they really do. It gives them parameters and helps them to feel safe. Plus, it will keep the lines between home and school from blurring, which can be a release when they have a tough learning day. They have established school times and then it is over... like every other kids gets. It will also give you a steady schedule, which can be golden.



That doesn't sound at ALL like what I want to do. I guess I'm not really into the homeschooling but more into the unschooling. I don't want the classroom environment where they have to sit and do work according to a schedule. If that were the case, I'd still leave them in PS. I want a more relaxed atmosphere with lots of field trips and road trips!! I want them to learn about geology from diggin in a diamond field or learn about Native American History by visiting South Dakota's Crazy Horse Monument. We'll pan for gold in Deadwood then go over to the San Juan Islands of Washington State to go whale watching! Well, that's my plan anyway....lol Of course, there are always times at home where we can learn too with Discovery Channel stuff or our Leapstart World games....or the art museum, science center, planetarium, Zoo, Aquarium, etc.



post #38 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HilMama View Post

Believe me, life itself, even homeschooling, has enough natural lessons in disappointment and frustration! The difference is that there is a caring adult available to help the child through, to learn and grow.

In this country, kids are expected to sit still before they are ready. Homeschooling gives kids the room to grow at their own pace.
Hilmama, thanks for the references and support. I just worry that the "thought" of homeschooling is appealing yet the reality might be disappointing for ME. Like, what if my kids don't learn anything or want to do any of my lessons through exploring the world. What IF they get to a point where they surpass my intelligence (yes, hard to believe...lol) and I can't carry the ball.

I emailed a local Yahoo Homeschooling Group a week ago to get membership aproval but haven't heard back yet. I just wish I had more support from people IRL around me.


ETA: Does anyone ever feel like they are being WATCHED by others? Like they are waiting for you to complain or fail just so they can do the "I told you so" speech? It feels like everyone is giving me warnings instead of encouragement...and then waiting around to see if I prove them wrong.

:
post #39 of 53
jen636, hugs to you mama. i'm sure your friend's email was more for herself than for you. her email validates what SHE believes is best and she's entitled to her opinion i suppose. i would take it only with a grain of salt. it stinks that she can't find the words to say YOU can do this, as it's not about her at all, ykwim? homeschooling is really wonderful, but it does have its own set of challenges (like all things). any decision you make regarding the interests of your kids involves weighing out the pros and cons. i've always wanted to homeschool and i went through all of the same concerns and emotions that you have mentioned. i think most HS mamas do go through a phase of questioning their decision, as it's an important decision we make. for my family, we really love homeschooling so much. i'd be a liar though if i said i never get overwhelmed when i think about it long-term..... so i don't think about it like that at all. i just take it year by year, week by week, and day by day. also, one of the advantages with homeschooling imo is for every problem you encounter there usually is a readily available solution. whether it be socialization or a bad curriculum choice....those things can all be changed easily, ykwim??

just follow your heart. hugs to you.
post #40 of 53
EDIT: I wrote:
"I really don't think you don't need to bother thinking about whether what you're wanting to do is called unschooling - it doesn't matter what it's called."

Too many "don'ts" - that should read I really don't thnk you need to bother...

Oh no! I just accidentally deleted the whole post - this was meant to be a separate one... Oh, well - some days are just like that... - Lillian
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