I hate "education"- rant! - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-12-2007, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering if there are any other moms round here who feel as I do...

I work half time, and I need to for $$. So I need some kind of care for my kids. My older dd is "school age" and started kindy this year. However I really dislike sending her to school- kindy nowadays is totally not age appropriate for a summer b-day kid. The stuff they are doing is over her head, and she's forgetting the "school" stuff she kew before she went.

Then the school sends home piles of papers every day trying to get me "involved." I don't even beleive the kindy should be full day, I certainly think it's crazy that I should spend a lot of time outside school dealing with school stuff. And yesterday dd fot her first HOMEWORK!!!!!!!??????????

The thing is, there are a few developmentally appropraite private kindys around, if I want to send her- but they all seem to expect- no DEMAND a serious committment to "education/school"- on the part of parent. And it only gets worse as kids get older.

The thing is I think it's absurd that every thing in my kids life (and my life) should be about school. I don't even understand really what the point of school is- other than that's where all kids in our society go during the day.

I feel like school is this inquenchable monster trying to take over my kid's mind. She wants to read less now that she goes there.

I loved school, myself, but it took me a long time to get out of the institutional mindset once I was done with it. I just think there's a lot of life beyond school, and I'm not sure that school prepares a person for it.

There's no debating, really, that life is easier if you go to college, but does it make sense spending the better part of 15 years jumoing through hoops to get to college?

If kids are going to have to "work" all day, shouldn't they be doing something useful or learning about real life in some way? And shouldn't they be exploring their world and following their interests?

Sorry for the rant- if I was a much more radical person, this issue would be easier in a way. It's hard to homeschool or join a very alternative school when your kid carries a Bratz lunchbox. I'm not a super alternative person- I just have a serious fear of institutions (even ones that claim to be alternative.)

Anyone else ever have these thoughts?
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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Anyone else ever have these thoughts?
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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dd's preschool has potlucks, fundraising (low key I will admit), parent teacher conferences, parent bookclub, board meetings and home visits by the teacher. I get overwhelmed by it sometimes. But I do realize that a school that wants me involved actually views education as a parent/teacher team. That we're meant to work together as my child grows up. I couldn't just send dd off to school and not be involved. However, I'm also an introvert so it's really hard for me personally. I have to push myself.

It does help for me that my dh is a teacher so I get a lot of teacher perspective on things as well and know that most schools aren't out to institutionalize your child and they do want to work with you not take you over or work against you.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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dd's preschool has potlucks, fundraising (low key I will admit), parent teacher conferences, parent bookclub, board meetings and home visits by the teacher.
That would drive me up a wall.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing is that plenty of parents are too busy to go to all the activities or can't afford to, or don't have a car. My dh works 100 hrs a week and travels a lot, so I have to pay for a babysitter if I want to go to some of this stuff. And there are a lot of families who have a lot less resources than I do.

Only the people who show up for all the school activities get "heard" and everyone else who is busy working, caring for family members, travelling, etc, don't get heard.

I may sound lazy or selfish, but I have a babysitter watch the kids at night so I can do something with dh abut 3 times per year. Hiring once several times a month so I can go to some meeting or other.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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I am a micromanager of my childs PreK experience and happy to do so. The school I am pulling him out of doesnt have anything, no newsletter, no activity board, no parental involvment, NOTHING. Its such a yucky place, it feels like the parents just dont care, and neither does anyone else.

I like to see other moms involved BUT I do not belive that you should feel obligated, I can understand being a busy working mom who feels pressure to be "supermom" and you dont have to be.

I like that preschools are kind of a "democracy."
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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Everything's got to be one big competition nowadays. Children are trained from day one to be preparing for a perfect SAT score so they can get into a competitive college and get a high paying job. Everyone has to feel like their kid is a "genius in training" - hence the development of Baby Einstein, et. al.
I watched a local news segment yesterday that showed grade school kids learning yoga. 10 bucks says that they know yoga, but don't get recess; they know the staple crop of some obscure indigenous people, but don't know how to spell.
We're educating more and more and learning less and less. Why? Because we're exhausting kids with our expectations and destroying their natural desire to learn.
That and television/video games/computers. They also play a big role in this.
I didn't have homework until I was in the 8th grade. Before that, I came home from school and played outside until it was dark, then I came inside and read a book because I wanted to. Not because I had a 2nd grade history project due (which are just done by the parents anyway).
And where does the competition come from? The parents. This is one of the reasons why I can't stand most parenting forums nowadays. Everyone is so competitive with how they raise their kids. I nursed my kid longer than you nursed yours, I started solids later, mine crawled before yours...
And all this competition gets us nowhere. Maybe it drives us to purchase a little more useless stuff (yay consumerism), but that's about it.
Sorry so bitter. In a nutshell, I agree with you, OP.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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Everything's got to be one big competition nowadays. Children are trained from day one to be preparing for a perfect SAT score so they can get into a competitive college and get a high paying job. Everyone has to feel like their kid is a "genius in training" - hence the development of Baby Einstein, et. al.
I watched a local news segment yesterday that showed grade school kids learning yoga. 10 bucks says that they know yoga, but don't get recess; they know the staple crop of some obscure indigenous people, but don't know how to spell.
We're educating more and more and learning less and less. Why? Because we're exhausting kids with our expectations and destroying their natural desire to learn.
That and television/video games/computers. They also play a big role in this.
I didn't have homework until I was in the 8th grade. Before that, I came home from school and played outside until it was dark, then I came inside and read a book because I wanted to. Not because I had a 2nd grade history project due (which are just done by the parents anyway).
And where does the competition come from? The parents. This is one of the reasons why I can't stand most parenting forums nowadays. Everyone is so competitive with how they raise their kids. I nursed my kid longer than you nursed yours, I started solids later, mine crawled before yours...
And all this competition gets us nowhere. Maybe it drives us to purchase a little more useless stuff (yay consumerism), but that's about it.
Sorry so bitter. In a nutshell, I agree with you, OP.
: Have you read gatto?

OP-dont do it if you havent, not this week anyways.
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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Then the school sends home piles of papers every day trying to get me "involved." I don't even beleive the kindy should be full day, I certainly think it's crazy that I should spend a lot of time outside school dealing with school stuff.
The thing is, there are a few developmentally appropraite private kindys around, if I want to send her- but they all seem to expect- no DEMAND a serious committment to "education/school"- on the part of parent. And it only gets worse as kids get older.

The thing is I think it's absurd that every thing in my kids life (and my life) should be about school. I don't even understand really what the point of school is- other than that's where all kids in our society go during the day.

I feel like school is this inquenchable monster trying to take over my kid's mind.

WOW

It seems that what you need is really a babysitter and not a school
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:20 PM
 
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My cousins are 9 and 6 and the 9 yr old has 3 hours of home work some nights. She gets on the bus at 8:00 and gets home at 4:00. And now they're trying to take away recess at her school. I'm really worried about the future of our children if things keep going this way.

Going to school and being overly academic, I believe, doesnt set children up better for going to college. DH's whole family was homeschooled and they all went to colleges, one of them Yale so I wish that the "system" would realize all this pressure isnt only not necessary but detrimental in a lot of cases.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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Harvard and Stanford (as well as most other colleges) do totally understand that homeschooling is just as valid (perhaps even more so?) than institutionalized schooling.

And yes, OP, I have thought all of those things...that it's ridiculous that it can't all be done in school, IF school is really necessary at all. And that is entirely why we homeschool and even more particularly, why we unschool. It's by far, I believe, the BEST way to get a fantastic education.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:04 PM
 
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Yes, I do feel as you do. My son is 3.5 and I feel sick at the prospect of his induction into the "school system". Yuck.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:48 PM
 
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I'd hire a babysitter for the hours you work and homeschool when you get home. Kindy is really that crazy nowadays? Yikes. :
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:50 AM
 
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A friend of mine just started a public school kindergarten and he had homework on the 1st day. You guessed it, by the 3rd day he was saying "I hate school."

I find this IDIOTIC. To put it mildly. There is no reason on earth a freaking 5-year-old should have homework!! I mean, the full day is bad enough.

Judith Warner had an essay in the NYT recently about this--the demand for parental involvement in schools being so incredibly high now. (and that mothers with jobs get penalized because no, they can't come to the afternoon tea, etc etc on Wednesdays because they're at work!!) It all makes me want to run screaming for the hills.
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Old 10-13-2007, 02:22 AM
 
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I thought I was going to hate it, but my DD actually is having more fun in K than she did at preschool.

It helps that the enrollment for half day K is so low that there's 15 kids total in her class, she got the laid-back and very individual oriented veteran teacher (though I suppose it's easier for her to be focused on the each individual when you've only got 15 kids in the class). There's not much in the way of parent activities during the day for K. And the PTA offers free babysitting through the Y on their PTA meeting nights (which I was extremely surprised by, pleasantly, though the meetings happen in the evening during my kids' bedtime, so they stay home with daddy).

My DD likes the "homework" (once a week, normally a writing exercise or a signoff sheet on what books she read/was read at home, though one time it was for her to sing the song they'd been working on that week ), and her class was pestering the teacher for two weeks to get it started.

I do still think that the PS system is mainly set up to prepare people for cubicle/corporate jobs vs. entrepreneurial, ect. I guess I'll evaluate things as they come.

I have heard about schools increasing their outreach and expectation of parental involvement, but I've always heard it pitched as their idea of "helping" parents realize that school is not just a glorified babysitter. I think the guilt trip approach is a little much though. It's only going to stress out the people who naturally would have been involved, irritate those on the fence, and the people who wouldn't have been involved at all won't care anyway. I would like to see more activities geared towards working parents as well as SAHP though. I think our school (which is very small) does a pretty good job of this, but I can see how in other schools it would take awhile for the bureaucratic mind to catch up.
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Old 10-13-2007, 02:28 AM
 
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I don't quiiiiite agree with you that kindy should not be full day, my dd went to full day kindy, and was a summer birthday, too, and she was fine. Everybody in her class was. Most kids can handle a lot more than you'd think.: If your dd is having troubles, though, is there a different school around? Or even preschool? Are you the type of person who thinks it's best to be oldest or youngest?
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Old 10-13-2007, 02:58 AM
 
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I think it depends on your kids school. I love my kids school and they do not over whelm you but I don't mind getting involved.I actually paid for my DD to go to all day kindy last year and it was worth it to me. Perhaps you can research different districts and try to find one that better suits you so you don't have to shell out the money for private. Charter schools are often more "parent run".
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:04 AM
 
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WOW

It seems that what you need is really a babysitter and not a school
Ditto. I don't go to all of those things myself. The ones that we think are valuable are split up between dp and I. You don't have to go to all the meetings. Probably the two most important ones are school board meetings and parent/teacher meetings. You can probably get the minutes sent to you for school board meetings to at least keep up and you can call the teacher to try to schedule a parent teacher meeting that's convenient for you. I know my dh has even done ones just over the phone.

As for everything else it really depends on what you want your child involved in. And how much you wanted your social life to revolve around the parents of the kids you child hangs around with.

Learning how to say no doesn't mean saying no to everything. I do know if my dp worked 100 hours a week and was traveling all of the time, I would be going crazy and it would have nothing to do with dd's school.

Unfortunately due to NCLB testing in 3rd grade kindergarten for many school districts has become the new 1st grade. My dd is right after the cut off and I was originally going to campaign to get her put in school right before she turned 5. After reading up on it I'm no longer going to campaign for it. We haven't been drilling her everyday on letters and numbers. We've been letting her come to it on her own and her preschool does the same thing. Red shirting or purposely holding back a child from kindergarten is a big thing where my sil lives for various reasons. You might consider doing this for your child if you really are that opposed to what's being done for your child.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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I find this IDIOTIC. To put it mildly. There is no reason on earth a freaking 5-year-old should have homework!! I mean, the full day is bad enough.


Kindergarten has gone from being an easy transition into school life, in which young children spent half a day among other children, playing with clay and paint or running around outside, to a totally age-inappropriate academic pressure-cooker. They are doing things in kindergarten now that they used to save for second or third grade! Children should be taught things as they are mentally ready to receive them, not the minute we can get our hands on them.
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:52 AM
 
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Agreeing with those who say it depends on the school. My dd did 1/2 day kindergarten and loved it. Had homework 1-2X a week that involved reading a really short, simple story.

The parent involvement stuff is important, I believe studies have shown that the more parents are involved in the school the better it is all around. Of course, if you are too busy because of your life circumstances, that just is what it is and you shouldn't feel guilty about it or be condemned for it. You are certainly not at fault! On the other hand, I don't think you should be disparaging parent involvement because a lot of parents do have time and it is a positive thing for the school.

Some perspective: I've had my dd in the Vietnamese school system for the last 2 years and it makes the US school system look like HEAVEN. We can't wait to get back and get her into a somewhat saner school system!
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:03 PM
 
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The parent involvement stuff is important, I believe studies have shown that the more parents are involved in the school the better it is all around.
The studies show that kids who have involved parents do better. Of course this might be 'cause the parents who are involved, have other things going for them.

They don't show that when the school tries to force the parents to get involved, all the kids do better.

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Old 10-14-2007, 11:44 PM
 
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Right, I guess I'm not seeing any coercion. So the school sent home some materials. If the OP doesn't want her child doing schoolwork outside of school hours, she can write a nice note to the teacher letting them know where she stands.

It's kindergarten, you know? I can't imagine it would be a big deal. 'Course, I don't know the school. If they try to guilt-trip the parent, if the school is that high-pressure, then it's probably not a good place for the OP's child.

The schools here in Vietnam are super high pressure. First graders doing 2 hours of homework a night . We put our daughter in a local school because we want her to learn Vietnamese. But I also went and talked to the teacher and told her what our limits were in terms of homework. She was happy to accomodate us, and it wasn't a problem.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:54 AM
 
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Right, I guess I'm not seeing any coercion. So the school sent home some materials. If the OP doesn't want her child doing schoolwork outside of school hours, she can write a nice note to the teacher letting them know where she stands.
I have heard of some children being kept in from morning recess, to complete the homework they didn't do the night before.

You're probably right that this wouldn't happen in kindergarten. There are, however, some parents who feel just as strongly about grades 1 to 3, and even later grades. After 7 hours at school, mostly sitting at a desk, some parents feel their children should be free to have another life when they get home -- playing outdoors or doing whatever they enjoy 'til bedtime.

OP, as far as thinking you can't homeschool/unschool if your child likes Bratz -- maybe you're thinking there's just one "type" of homeschooling family. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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: Have you read gatto?

OP-dont do it if you havent, not this week anyways.
haha.

I actually did re-read "Instead of Education" by Holt this weekend- because I'm that kind of masochist!

I really agree with PP about taking over kids' time. I used to read like crazy as a kid- like in 5th grade I read from when I got home till dinner. I read Exodus in 4 days in 5th grade. I also read 1 book per day during vacations. (Maybe that's why I wear glasses!)

Many kids today don't have the time to read like that- or do anything in that kind of obsessive, exciting way. They are too busy with extra curriculars and homework.

A private school I'm looking at right now give homework in 4th and 5th grades largely to build "time management" skills. Like giving large assicgnments so kids can plan when they will get everything done given that they have after school stuff 2 times a week.

I didn't deal with long term planning at all till Jr. High as far as I rmemeber- well maybe 1 or two larger papers in 6th grade. And I was always one of the top students- largely due to my extreme reading habit.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd hire a babysitter for the hours you work and homeschool when you get home. Kindy is really that crazy nowadays? Yikes. :
I wish I had the guts to do this.

On the other hand, this summer when we still had this set up, dd always wanted me to make playdates for her. Now that her few friends who used to have free time are in school, it would be hard to get her as much social time as she might like.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some perspective: I've had my dd in the Vietnamese school system for the last 2 years and it makes the US school system look like HEAVEN. We can't wait to get back and get her into a somewhat saner school system!
I've heard this about a lot of other countries. I totally feel for you.

One thing I find interesting is that every country is trying to make the kids smarter to compete in the "global market." However, considering the situation with the environment, I seriously wonder if the growth on which the global market depends will be sustainable by the time our kids grow up.

(I know that's another topic, but it is one that informs my ideas about the "point" of education a lot.)
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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What irks me is all these activities they set up for evenings. I have a chronic illness and most evenings I'm too exhausted to drive safely. Not to mention that I'm a single mother and I have childcare during the day when school is in session, but not in the evenings. This is less of an issue now that my oldest is 12yo- I can go out for the evening and leave the 3 kids home alone- but DS won't go to sleep if I'm not there. Evening activities will only work if I can get him to bed before I go out. And by then I'm tired!

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Old 10-15-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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In my town, the public school starts kids in a full-day program from age 3. Most people around here seem to feel that's just fantastic, and I have had to answer lots of questions about why my son isn't in school. I'm a SAHM, he's out and about with me all day. We do tons of fun stuff, he learns new things constantly, and our lives are our own. If he feels like building sofa-cushion forts and hanging around in them wearing nothing but his boxer shorts all afternoon, well by golly, he can do that. The freedoms of childhood are short-lived anyway.

I hated school, even when I was doing well. Kinda like how I'd imagine prison still sucks, even if the guards are decent people and you don't have to fight with other inmates.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What irks me is all these activities they set up for evenings. I have a chronic illness and most evenings I'm too exhausted to drive safely. Not to mention that I'm a single mother and I have childcare during the day when school is in session, but not in the evenings. This is less of an issue now that my oldest is 12yo- I can go out for the evening and leave the 3 kids home alone- but DS won't go to sleep if I'm not there. Evening activities will only work if I can get him to bed before I go out. And by then I'm tired!
I feel for you. I'm healthy as a horse, and I have no interest whatsoever in doing anything other than reading and sleeping after 7:30 pm.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo View Post
I wish I had the guts to do this.

On the other hand, this summer when we still had this set up, dd always wanted me to make playdates for her. Now that her few friends who used to have free time are in school, it would be hard to get her as much social time as she might like.
Why not get to know some homeschooling moms in your community -- and see if you can make babysitting arrangements with moms who have children close in age to your dd?

I used to think I'd NEVER want to commit to regular babysitting -- but now that my 7yo has such a strong need for frequent playdates with other children, I find a couple of days a week (babysitting for other homeschoolers close to dd's age) works great.

I still wouldn't want it to be an everyday thing: that's why I recommend hooking up with more than 1 mom -- unless you happen to find a mom who wants to do it everyday.

I think you'll find your dd's able to meet her social needs way more effectively this way -- especially when you consider how little actual playtime most children get in school (well, maybe she gets a lot now, but after kindergarten it gets so structured).

Another cool thing about homeschooling is you can be a lot more flexible and have overnights any night of the week that works for both families. My dd has one girlfriend who's been coming every 1 to 2 weeks for a 24-hour period. I sure never got that much socializing when I was in school -- at least not during the school year!

To top it all off, if dd hasn't had a playdate and wants to connect with some of her neighborhood friends, I remind her when it's about 4:00 because that's when a lot of the kids come home from school. Sometimes some are able to play -- but, sadly, even some this young are already bogged down by homework.:

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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