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Home schoolers at heart, making public school work for us

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I would love, love, love to find a group of people like us!

I work part time as an environmental educator. Before dd was born, I decided not to go through teacher training. At the time, there were few jobs. However, my main reason was that I find the curriculum very restrictive, and I love to be able to have more control over what I teach and how I teach it. During elementary and high school I was a high achiever and pushed myself to exhaustion. I was also very introverted and generally picked on or ignored by most of the other kids. I am a very self-directed learner who is go, go, go.

Dh works full time as an elementary school teacher. He does really well within the system. He was a smart kid who didn't try very hard in school. He says that he needed school to make him learn things. He is a relaxed soul who loves to spend time reading or on the computer.

Enter dd. She is 2 1/2, born into a family of 1 teacher parent and 3 teacher grandparents. So far, she is fairly introverted, someone who gets "run over" a lot by other kids in large group situations. She is very much into independent play. Like dh, she would likely do very well in school because she conforms well to social norms (as much as any 2 1/2 year old!).

I would love to homeschool (well, unschool) dd. From what I see of her now, she would likely do well in that environment. And yes, I am heavily biased against her having a repeat of my school experience. With my own learning style, I would have done well having a few supportive social relationships and the freedom to pursue my own projects.

However, I am heavily outweighed by dh (and the three grandparents)...all of whom think that we should try public school. So I have agreed to discuss this.

What I'd like to know from others - if you're a homeschooler at heart, how do you make the best of your child's public school experience? By making the best, I mean that your child thrives socially (whatever that means to your child) and maintains their excitement about learning.

Many thanks for reading the treatise!
post #2 of 23
Maybe you can skip up through Kindergarten. Find a homeschool group and be as active as you can. You may change opinions before your "deadline."
post #3 of 23
Start late, for sure. Set up that unschooling mentality before driving her into the system.

I wanted to unschool. I still do. My reality, however, is that I live in a place where I would have no social/support outlets. Dd also deals with a native language that she would rarely be exposed to if she didn't go to school.

Dh wanted dd to attend school.

But, what really decided it was this: the kid asked to go to school for kindergarten and never looked back. She adores her school. She adores her teacher, whom she says makes school fun. And her report card this semester still says that she is interested in everything. As long as she continues to maintain her love of learning, I'm at peace with it. And we unschool in English at home (science, mythology, literature, writing, and soon Latin).
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes, I think that we will already skip preschool - at least the 3 year old classes. And then we'll decide about 4 and 5.

Dh is more of the opinion that we try school in K, and then if it doesn't work, we pull her out. I'm concerned that once we're in there, even if it doesn't work we're going to try to keep her in there because everyone else is doing it. I will continue to work p/t so that I can be in the school....

I would so love to do school part time. I think that this would satisfy everyone's interests, and I am hoping that this will become a reality in our school district at some point.

Yes, if dd is enthralled with school and her teacher and not becoming too peer-oriented, then there's just my problem with institutionalized learning to contend with.

Mamaoutthere, are you able to unschool in those things without feeling like there is too much to do in a day? Being self-directed, I doubt that would be the case. However, my other concern is that all of dd's non-school interests would be shoved into after school and weekends, leaving no time to just be. That's what I was like in school.
post #5 of 23
I know some kids are ready to go to K at 4-5,but if I had to do it over again I would wait till age 6 to have started ps.Our local K changed to all day this fall and is far less play based.Ds tells me it was a lot of worksheets.Repeating and writing letters. Even though K is less play based I would say that grade 1 would give a better indication of what school would be like for the child for a few years.

If it were a montessori school then I would start at 5 for K.

And I agree it was REALLY hard to pull the kids out once they were in school. I did it (alone) against everyones wishes. Hopefully your child will love school like so many others do .I wish mine had.
post #6 of 23
widemouthedfrog --

After school dd is still very much into learning. But it's not like we're doing worksheets or something. She is subscribed to a bunch of science and nature magazines. She reads like crazy all the time. Draws like crazy all the time. Honestly, sometimes I wonder how she gets so much in.

She has not had any structured learning in English. Yet her spelling progresses consistently. Books/magazines/comic books are an amazing tool!
post #7 of 23
I was a homeschooler with my oldest child (and thinking of going back next year ) but my other two are in elementary school and like it. They go to private school so it's a bit different in that the classes are much smaller and it's centered around God. But I am a homeschooler at heart. I have a tendency to have issues with how they are so rigid in their days and how the kids have to get so much done within a 7 hour period of time and then they come home grouchy and overstressed and have homework to do, dinner to eat, want to watch t.v. and just have down time. It's stressful because sometimes we end up having disagreements and arguments about things and that's not the kind of relationship I want with my kids. I hate it and wish I could H/S all of my children but that's just not possible right now.
post #8 of 23
Is the public school you're in really bad?

I guess you ought to concentrate on what is good about the school. Even if you homeschooled, there would be cons and drawbacks to that, too. So nothing is perfect. Concentrate on the good.
post #9 of 23
I do what I always did homeschooling before my eldest went into public school! We do homework together, and talk about the world and how it works, they all 3 read voraciously. I find they all are thriving in public school, even though at heart I am a homeschooler.
post #10 of 23
I am such a homeschooler at heart!

I kept ds out of school until the very last second! Because he was just before the cutoff, I held him back a year and I didn't put him in junior kindergarten, but waited for senior kindergarten.
I keep waiting for public school to break down in some way so that I can pull him out and homeschool him!

He knows about homeschooling, we have hung out with the hschooling group in our area (we support their fundraisers) and he has cousins who are homeschooled. But he loves loves loves school.
So I try to make sure that his life outside of school is his time to explore what he's interested in. His school lets out at 2:45 which I love, because it feels like we have some afternoon time to spend together before the business of dinner.

I had an awful time in school, and my dh very wisely pointed out, my experience will not be ds'. And its so true, the teachers are better than when I was there (he goes to my old school), I am involved in his classroom so I feel like I'm at least a part of his world at school.

But definately, I :
post #11 of 23
I have a hs heart and a 1st grader who is thriving in ps. I still struggle weekly about my feelings to have him in school. My main issue is the length of the day, if he could just go to school from 9-1 or 2, that would be just fabulous.
I've come to the conclusion that I"m having a really hard time letting my first baby grow up!! I'm not so sure that I want to educate him, I just want him around more.

Anyway, one thing that helps me a lot is being a part of a small charter school that I love as much as I could love a public institution, and I"m also a part of the Moms in touch prayer group. What I like about that is realizing that my son goes to school at a great school, with a lot of other great kids from great families. I know it could be a lot worse!

My son loves his school and has told me he doesn't want to be pulled out to HS until he's done with elementary school
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Cartersmom, yes, I would be so, so into dd going to school 1/2 days! Bring it on!

kmeyrick - actually, the local public school is supposed to be pretty good. I just have my own issues with institutions and the amount of time she'll be in school...and also she is a gentle soul as I was.... She isn't quite three, so this is still a going debate in our house.
post #13 of 23
I fear that I will spend the REST of my kids academic career lamenting the amount of time they are in school! I feel like such a baby, but I don't know what I can DO about it! After wrestling with this issue for years now, I really don't think that HSing is right for us, at least not right now. The separation we have has helped improve our relationship tremendously, its just a wee bit too long of a separation. I too have wished for a group of people who feel like I do. My group of best friends are ALL (diehard) HSers, and I also have made some new friends at the school, and they are mostly gung-ho about school, and not interested in hsing and not conflicted the way I am about it. My husband is really sick and tired of listening to me and has forbid me from discussing it anymore with my son. I feel like I have no outlet for my feelings. I still can be quickly reduced to tears if I think about it too much!

Today is my day at school though, there is required parental involvement of 1/2 day per week, per child enrolled. Which is a wonderful thing!! I ran into a gal last week who gave up their "spot" in the school because they thought they were moving, and then didn't move, and she said her experience in the "regular" school has been terrible--mostly due to the family situations the kids are coming from. Making me realize how thankful I need to be for our little school! Not that there aren't any problems or family situations, but for the most part, everyone is very involved and in tune with their kids. And each teacher has 3 parents in the class at all times, and I believe that it helps ease their stress load and also keeps them on their toes
post #14 of 23
If I were you, I'd talk to the people at your local public/charter schools and find out which schools welcome homeschooled kids to attend on a subject specific basis. Schools here let homeschoolers enroll their kids for just the music class or science lab class or whatever other class they want which they feel can't be done at home. That would allow you to homeschool and still be able to say to the family that you are sending your DC to school.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
mzlibbie, do you know if that is possible in Canada? Our local alternative/public school allows that, but the government is not so keen about it, I think. I believe that there are funding issues involved.

I will have to look into that. I know you can do this in high school here.
post #16 of 23
I am sooooo with you right now in this dilemna. I too am in Canada. My son is struggling in school. He is in grade 2 and really, has always hated school since JK and seemed to struggle all along.

Hubby is blatantly against HS. There is a battle brewing in our house right now over the issue. We recently had our son assessed by the resource teacher and he does not have a defined learning problem. My guess is he just doesn't like school and he is such a home body. I know he will learn when HE wants to.

Hubby also comes from a family of teachers.

My struggle is posted on the "Learning at Home and Beyond" forum under a post called "I am Nervous".

As for the public school system allowing part time attendance...it IS a funding issue. They do allow it in some schools but it is up to the sole discretion of the principal of that school. So, Good Luck with that one!
post #17 of 23
Ds tipped the balance for us, because he asked to attend school. He thrives there, academically and socially.

I am sad, though, that he leaves at 8:35 each morning and doesn't come home until 4:00 PM. It's full-day kindergarten, too, so dd will be gone that long next year, too.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
melissa, we started our battle two years ago. Now it's less of a battle and more of a discussion. Not always a totally agreeable and amicable discussion, but I've tried to use my very best of the best communication skills to make a discussion about homelearning happen. We'll see what the results are.

I know that dd will likely not be ready for preschool this fall. We go to church and she's the only kid who needs me to stay for the whole time. So I get to go to church for a little while and then I stay in the nursery. She is also a homebody sort and is very attached to a very few people.

Kermit, yeah, I will really miss her. That's why I hope to volunteer in the school.
post #19 of 23

I know how hard it can be when you and DP don't agree on this issue! It was pretty tense for us for awhile there. In my case I pushed for keeping DS home and eventually my DH has seen the advantages to it and is much more supportive now. Either way one of you is not going to be 100% happy with the decision (at first, anyway). The hard part is deciding if you want to push for it or not (I felt I really needed to and have no regrets). I wouldn't keep bringing it up before it gets closer to really having to decide, though, and I'd keep it more casual, like it's just for awhile to see how it goes, not necessarily for the next 12 years. Chances are if he's ever going to become convinced it's a good idea, it will be after you've been doing it for awhile.

Also, and I truly do not mean this disrespectfully, grandparents don't get a vote regardless of their profession
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Absolutely, I don't see us homelearning for 12 years necessarily. In fact, I think that a few high school courses might be a good thing...there are a lot of resources for woodwork and things at the local high schools, and dd also looks like she might be good at sports. Whether she'd been keen on them is another thing.

Yes, I know that the grandparents don't get a vote.
But ours are very good debaters.
I must admit to sometimes opening that debate myself, so I asked for it.
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