Taking my child out of public school... - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-19-2014, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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At the end of the school year I'm taking my daughter out of public school. I am very into Waldorf education/philosophy, but there isn't a Waldorf school near us, so we will be homeschooling using a Waldorf-inspired curriculum. 

 

I've done quite a bit of reading, both books and blog online, but the one thing I don't think I've come across is how to approach reading with a child who was already in the midst of being "taught" at school. My daughter was in kindergarten this year and can already recognize some words, sound some out, and can write the alphabet. It is NOT something we pushed/encouraged at home (beyond congratulating her when she was proud of her accomplishments), but she's picked up at school. I'm torn as to whether or not I should sort of gently continue with what she's learned already at school (maybe investigate first or second grade Waldorf curriculum in regards to reading/writing) or if I should just stick with what's typical for her age at a Waldorf school (she turned six earlier this month). 

 

The rub to all this is the fact that while we'll be able to homeschool next year, we may not be able to the following year. I teach adult education classes part time in the evenings, but there's a possibility of full time positions and that may mean I'm working more during the day and we may have to put my daughter back into public school simply due to lack of other options. 

 

So, all that in mind (sorry there' so much!), what would be recommended? Go ahead and do the complete Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum and not worry about what's been learned already and what my daughter *might* need to know, should she have to return to public school OR jump ahead a bit in regards to reading and continue on with the knowledge she's already gained? 

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Old 04-19-2014, 07:14 AM
 
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Is there a compelling reason you are taking her out of school, given you are aware that she may need to return?  So muchof what goes on in school is beyond academics--the social bonding that occurs in a group as they travel through the grades, for example. I wonder what it will be like for her to leave and come back on a social/community level? Have there been big problems? 

 

When I started reading your post, I assumed it was removing her for good, but as a parent of older kids and seeing how things evolve for kids in school over many years, I just wanted to share the concerns I would have. (Full disclosure--I am not a Waldorf parent, just the mod, but I know a lot about Waldorf because I've been the mod here for 10+ years)


 
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not really one big reason, but lots of little ones that are adding up. We're not happy with the direction the school is moving academically, there are lots of little social problems that I'm afraid are going to build into something bigger - lots of mean girl stuff already - and I'm hoping removing my kiddo from it might help some, or at least allow me the chance to give her a more secure social world for another year or two (or longer, if things work out). 

 

It may be that my reasons aren't the strongest and I'm fully open to criticism/suggestions if that's the direction this post goes. 

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Old 04-19-2014, 08:31 AM
 
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If you expect her to return to school within a year or two, I think you might reconsider taking her out. First grade solidifies writing and reading and second grade is heavily dependent on it. LO is in first grade now at a public charter with a very strong reading and writing program. They write daily and have written book reports, and a variety of books using nonfiction resources. Only about 1/4 of his class of K wasn't reading and now everyone is reading and writing well although spelling and expression vary a lot. If she returns to school in 2nd grade and hasn't grown a lot in this area she will struggle a lot. (This has been great for LO because he loves to read and right.)

 

Would another school in your district work? Or perhaps Waldorf home life in addition to her school work? Or Waldorf for most things but a more academic reading program.

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Old 04-19-2014, 10:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaHuss View Post
 

It's not really one big reason, but lots of little ones that are adding up. We're not happy with the direction the school is moving academically, there are lots of little social problems that I'm afraid are going to build into something bigger - lots of mean girl stuff already - and I'm hoping removing my kiddo from it might help some, or at least allow me the chance to give her a more secure social world for another year or two (or longer, if things work out). 

 

It may be that my reasons aren't the strongest and I'm fully open to criticism/suggestions if that's the direction this post goes. 

 

My experience with kids, especially girls, is that it can be better to stick it out and learn ways of navigating it (with your supportive guidance), rather than take a break and 're-enter.'  Kids seem less tolerant of the kid who leaves or homeschools and only visits or has the option to come in and out while they feel they have only one option. 

 

If you're not happy with the direction the school  is heading, that is a bigger problem and won't be resolved by taking a break for one year, only to place her back in the same school you are not happy with. Some people would make different choices in this situation; move to a different district, take a different job, choose not to work and commit to homeschooling. In other words, the current plan seems to contradict itself if the school as a whole is not satisfactory to you. It seems your daughter would bear the brunt of it.


 
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:01 PM
 
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If I were in your shoes, I would continue on from where your daughter's schooling left off. It would be important to me that my child could re-integrate fairly easily in a public school setting. Waldorf curriculum teaches letters in 1st grade and most children are reading by the end of 2nd grade. So, perhaps a 2nd grade Waldorf reading curriculum would be appropriate. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can tailor the teaching to your daughter.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:33 AM
 
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Well, I'll be the lone voice that suggests keeping on with kindergarten at home.  If you are quiet concerned with beginning a Waldorf first grade program, check around on the Christopherus site and see if your daughter meets the qualifications for beginning first grade.  At our house, the preference is to wait just beyond the initial signs of readiness to be quite certain the child is truly ready and not just trying on a new skill, similar the role of braxton-hicks contractions in a pregnancy.  We are using Enki, presently, and it does offer some suggestions for the child who is showing interest in writing in kindergarten.  Perhaps you can find a Waldorf curriculum that will suit that need of yours.  If all else fails (like wading through the gobs of online reviews), just call up the folks who make the programs and ask them.  Best wishes!


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Old 04-27-2014, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your input and suggestions! Sorry I didn't say anything sooner. We're on April break right now (well, finishing up) and we've been busy playing :-). 

 

I'm really glad I posted this, because it gave me a chance to really pause and think about what I really want for my daughter. I sort of suspected that I wanted to homeschool almost more for me than for my daughter, though I do think, if we knew or at least strongly suspected, we could continue to homeschool throughout the elementary years or beyond, it would be the best path for our family. As it stands, I don't think that's possible, so maybe, in the long run, keeping on keeping on with public school might be the best choice. I like the idea of and have maintained to the best of my ability, a Waldorf-inspired home. It also helps that our UU church's religious education program has started to have a very Waldorf slant to it as well, so that makes me feel better in some ways. 

 

Anyway, thank you so much again for all the critical (the good kind) input. I grew up with a sibling who has special needs and I watched my parents, my mom in particular, advocate so well for him. I always thought to myself, "Wow, I can only hope if I ever have a child with special needs I can advocate for him as well as my parents have for my brother." I'm now realizing that all kids need a parent advocate as they go through school these days and it's okay for me to communicate constructively with my child's teacher and staff at her school. 

 

All right, off my little soap box. Thanks again!

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