From Reggio to public school or hsing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 04-06-2007, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anybody done this transition?

My older son is in a Reggio-inspired preschool program and I LOVE it. The school is adding elementary grades (added a K this year, 1st next year, plan to go up to 8th). I would really, really like to keep him there until 8th but unfortunately, I don't think it's something we can afford for one child, let alone adding in his younger brother and any future children (I'm pg with #3, we might have more).

If his school is not something we can do, that leaves public school and homeschooling for us. I'm really worried about moving him to a public school for kindergarten. He is so used to this community environment that allows children to explore, that encourages collaboration, that basically TRUSTS and respects kids. Not to mention the fact that there's nary a worksheet or drill to be found (our more mainstream friends' children seem to do lots of those, their preschools are very academic/lesson-focused). Wouldn't public school be a shock to him?

On the other hand, how would he fare with homeschooling? I love the idea of it but I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge, socially. Yes, the S word. I know homeschoolers feel like socialization isn't as big a deal as people think, but watching my son become a part of this community has changed my way of thinking about that. He truly thrives off of having a group of adults and children who aren't his immediate family and whom he sees on a nearly daily basis. Even if I managed to get my butt into high gear and have all sorts of local homeschooling group activities planned, it wouldn't be the same. Would it?

I'm feeling frustrated because I feel like he's in the ideal setting for him, but we cannot continue to give it to him. Where do we go from here? Any Reggio grads want to weigh in?

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#2 of 2 Old 05-27-2007, 11:57 AM
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Hi. My kids both attended a Reggio preschool. DS is just finishing up his final year there. (sniff, sniff!) We homeschool, so dd has made the transition successfully, and ds will transition after this year.

Our preschool does not extend to higher grades, so everyone goes on to somewhere else. A number of families in our school choose homeschooling -- some as a direct result of the Reggio experience -- so we've maintained connections to some of those families in addition to our connections with other homeschoolers.

Is there an active homeschooling community in your area? If so, finding activites will be easy. (Narrowing down the choices may be the hard part! ) You do *not* have to go overboard and do something every day! The best way to create social connections is regularly attend one (or two) well attended, unstructured (or very lightly structured) activites a week and let your kids form friendships just like they would on the playground at school. Once friendships have formed, then visits to eachothers houses, outings together, etc. become more natural and easy to maintain. (You can even get some "alone" time when your kids are at a friend's house!)

You may need to be patient. My dd is nearly 7, and she just made her first "best friend" this winter. Her friend is not homeschooled, btw, but the girls get together some afternoons and weekends. Keep in mind that school does not guarantee a great social experience. It depends a lot on the school and the mix of kids. Some of dd's former Reggio classmates are doing fine in ps, with some even thriving. Others have had trouble adjusting to the more rigid expectations of ps and/or the "harsher" social environment they find there. Nearly all of the parents have had a hard time with the transition to school. You just can't beat that Reggio dynamic, and parents are sad to see their kids "forced" to conform to something less inspiring.

If your son is thriving off the group interaction, try to find some more structured homeschool group activities as well. I don't think it needs to be an everyday thing for it to be meaningful, especially as they get older. With 3 and 4 year olds, they loose the personal conection easily. However, in just another year or two, they can get together with kids they only see every few weeks and pick up right where they left off. (Just like you do with friends you don't see everyday.)

Don't underestimate the value of siblings! For me, this is one of the big perks of homeschooling. My ds and dd are best buddies, in spite of the 2 year age difference. I'm pretty sure that relationship would not be as strong if dd had spent 5 days a week at school for the past 2 years. Already, I see an effect from her having this new friend. The little brother becomes an outsider and a "pest" when the girls are together. I know this is normal (and ds certainly plays up to the roll ) but I'm glad it's not an everyday state of affairs around here.

Here is a link to some great kindergarten activities, many of which would be easy to do, even with a baby around:
I enjoyed having ds at the preschool while I got my bearings with homeschooling dd. (I didn't have a baby though. I'll be dealing with that challenge for the first time in September!) I do have to say that the pick-up/drop-off requirements for ds limited our abililty to participate in some hs activities, but it wasn't too big a deal.

Finally, if you decide you want to try homeschooling, remember that it's not a forever decision. You can hs for a year or two, then re-evaluate. If you decide to send ds to school, he'll transition to a ps environment just fine. (Probably better than as a kindergartener, since he'll be that much more mature.) Do give yourself at least a full school year, however, especially with a baby in the mix. It can take a year or two to work out the kinks and get confident. (It doesn't *have* to -- our transition was quite smooth -- but for some people it does, so plan for that.)

Good luck with your decision!

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