Radical unschool child wanting to public school, with special needs? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-11-2009, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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has anyone ever delt with this situation before?
i consider us pretty radical unschoolers, and i am having to constantly defend our choices to those around us.
my oldest, Addy, has SID and is a highly explosive child. we are working with a behavioral Ped and she goes to weekly OT
my mom works in a public school. she has taken Addy to work with her, once in the past. and she is constantly telling her how AMAZING and FUN and wonderful school is. so now Addy has huge ideas about going to public school for kindergarten in the fall.
due to knowing the school system around here, and knowing Addys special needs, i am REALLY hesitant to say OK to her going to public school. Aside from the fact that i whole heartedly believe in radical unschooling.
on one hand i want to let my child experience everything for herself, and i want her to make her own choices when it comes to learning. BUT i also know that with her very special needs that she is going to come home stressed out every day, and life will be very hard for all of us, but most especially her.
has anyone gone from RU to public school with a child with special needs?
anyone have any advice?
or a shoulder?

treehugger.gif )O( unschooling, witchy mum to Addy(7) and Niamh(4)
Living with an invisible chronic illness.
Fat and hairy. And happy with both *( o Y o )*
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#2 of 8 Old 04-11-2009, 03:09 AM
 
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Yes, but different.

Radically unschooling the Dumplings now for several years but last year YoungSon, 12 and with Autism, wanted to try public school. He also has extreme dyslexia, and anxiety issues. Socially it was a great success; academically not so much, but he decided to stay home again this year. But it was different because he was older, and I explained to him that he was totally responsible for his behavior. I would not nag him to get up, do homework, or anything else. He could choose to play this game or not, but if he did, it had to be by the rules - he would have to go every day, do the assignments, be polite even when bored, etc.

With a much younger child, I am not sure I would give the same choices. Could she get what she is looking for in some sort of classes - art, sports, dance? - without doing school? Are there homeschooling groups in your area you could try out? Or perhaps she is the kind of kid who enjoys doing workbook type things, and that would help her feel academic? I like to nurture my inner nerd with classes and textbooks, don't know why a 5 YO wouldn't.

But first, I would talk to Mom about trying to convert your child. It really sounds pretty underhanded to intentionally manipulate the kid this way.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#3 of 8 Old 04-11-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Have you asked her what she thinks school will be like? It may be that once she realizes what's involved (a lot of sitting in desks, getting up early in the morning, doing homework, less time to play outside and do the things that she chooses) she's less interested. I do think that kids this age tend to have a somewhat romantic and inaccurate view of what school really is.

Don't know if this will help, but it's what I'd try first.
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#4 of 8 Old 04-11-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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I would start by talking to my mother about how I really want her stop talking about how FUN and AMAZING school is.

School can be fun and amazing but it can also be tedious, miserable and a poor fit.

She is giving a very one-sided view of school and it seems a bit undermining.

Kathy
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#5 of 8 Old 04-12-2009, 03:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my mom and i have talked about how i feel like she in undermining me as a parent, and i have asked her to stop repeatedly.
Addy and i have also discussed what school would be like. she still wants to go.
i just feel so apprehensive about letting her try it for her self.

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#6 of 8 Old 04-12-2009, 09:20 AM
 
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This may or may not be a solution for you, but what about letting her do some more 'schooly' things? My dd, who just turned 4, has been saying "I can't wait until I am 5, so I can go to 'real school'!!!"

It broke my heart because we have been planning to home school for years, before we even had kids! I asked her what she thought school would be like and she said "First you do your work, then you play for a while on the play ground and then you do more work" I suppose it's pretty accurate...I did explain that she would be apart from me all day, that she wouldn't have a choice in things she wanted to do or not do, ect.

I think honestly, it's because all her friends are in school and she gets so sad when she asks to play and I tell her they are in school...she must think she will be in their class and get to play all the time you know? And I have no doubt that she would love kindy, it IS fun most of the time, and they tend to have more freedom in the younger years. However, there are things I feel like I need to protect her from, subtle messages and ideas. I didn't want to impose my dislike for school on her though, so once I found out what she wanted from school, I worked hard to make that happen.

Now we are doing 'school' at home, we sit at the table and do worksheets or whatever, as many as she chooses to do. She has her own special basket of school supplies and we make a big deal of her 'work' time. I also am planning to sign her up for 'school' at a local enrichment center that caters to home schoolers. It's a drop in center, and they offer a ton of different classes (art, music, spanish, ect) for her age.


Anyway, I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but it's what we are doing and it seems to be working pretty well. She now tells everyone she is already 'in school' and doing 'kindergarten work'. It helped to get to know some other home schoolers her age too. This was hard as we didn't fit in with two of the groups we went to, and most of the kids were way older than her anyway, but recently we found two younger children that get along great with her and they home school. HTH
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#7 of 8 Old 04-12-2009, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2abigail View Post
This may or may not be a solution for you, but what about letting her do some more 'schooly' things? My dd, who just turned 4, has been saying "I can't wait until I am 5, so I can go to 'real school'!!!"

It broke my heart because we have been planning to home school for years, before we even had kids! I asked her what she thought school would be like and she said "First you do your work, then you play for a while on the play ground and then you do more work" I suppose it's pretty accurate...I did explain that she would be apart from me all day, that she wouldn't have a choice in things she wanted to do or not do, ect.

I think honestly, it's because all her friends are in school and she gets so sad when she asks to play and I tell her they are in school...she must think she will be in their class and get to play all the time you know? And I have no doubt that she would love kindy, it IS fun most of the time, and they tend to have more freedom in the younger years. However, there are things I feel like I need to protect her from, subtle messages and ideas. I didn't want to impose my dislike for school on her though, so once I found out what she wanted from school, I worked hard to make that happen.

Now we are doing 'school' at home, we sit at the table and do worksheets or whatever, as many as she chooses to do. She has her own special basket of school supplies and we make a big deal of her 'work' time. I also am planning to sign her up for 'school' at a local enrichment center that caters to home schoolers. It's a drop in center, and they offer a ton of different classes (art, music, spanish, ect) for her age.


Anyway, I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but it's what we are doing and it seems to be working pretty well. She now tells everyone she is already 'in school' and doing 'kindergarten work'. It helped to get to know some other home schoolers her age too. This was hard as we didn't fit in with two of the groups we went to, and most of the kids were way older than her anyway, but recently we found two younger children that get along great with her and they home school. HTH
thats a really good idea. the problem tho is that she doesnt DO structure. she doesnt DO work, even if you try to make it fun. i think she has ODD, but it could be that she is just a really sassy 4 year old. lol.
she is super intelligent and has the capacity to learn at an amazing speed, BUT, she hates to put work into it. one of the reasons we are unschoolers is because she DOES learn more from experiencing the world around her than she does from studying.
just yesterday when we were outside playing with her friend who lives down the street (and does attend kindy) Addy said "dont worry Jordan, you dont have to worry about spiders today, because the temperature is too low for them to want to make a web, they need warm days for them to come out of spider hibernation" we havent ever talked about that before, its just something she has noticed on her own, that not many kids learn, even if they are taught. i thought it was really cool that she was able to put her observations of the spiders in our yard and their behaviors into words that were fact, even though no one ever "taught" her it.
we tried workbooks before, she HATES to sit down and do workbooks, she likes to read things, when we arent asking her to. she would much rather read things in the world around her, than read from a book.
i KNOW that kindergarten could give her some wonderful things that being with just me and her sister, and occasionally another homeschooled child can bring to her. like socialization at recess. and she could possibly learn to love structure. but i DONT want my childs wonderful amazing spirit broken for the sake of fitting in and doing what everyone else is doing.
bah.
i KNOW that the very first day i would get a phone call to come pick her up because of an explosion due to sensory overload.
i am so worried that she will resent me if i dont let her go, and that she will have such a hard time if i DO.

treehugger.gif )O( unschooling, witchy mum to Addy(7) and Niamh(4)
Living with an invisible chronic illness.
Fat and hairy. And happy with both *( o Y o )*
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#8 of 8 Old 04-12-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyMamaBear View Post
i KNOW that kindergarten could give her some wonderful things that being with just me and her sister, and occasionally another homeschooled child can bring to her. like socialization at recess. and she could possibly learn to love structure. but i DONT want my childs wonderful amazing spirit broken for the sake of fitting in and doing what everyone else is doing.
bah.
I don't remember where I found this, but I drag it out to shut up the guilt and fears that still resurface now and then (less frequently each year).

What about socialization? (from another angle)

Two women meet at a playground, where their children are swinging
and playing ball. The women are sitting on a bench watching.
Eventually, they begin to talk.
W1: Hi. My name is Maggie. My kids are the three in red shirts --
helps me keep track of them.
W2: (Smiles) I'm Terri. Mine are in the pink and yellow shirts. Do
you come here a lot?
W1: Usually two or three times a week, after we go to the library.
W2: Wow. Where do you find the time?
W1: We home school, so we do it during the day most of the time.
W2: Some of my neighbours home school, but I send my kids to public
school.
W1: How do you do it?
W2: It's not easy. I go to all the PTO meetings and work with the
kids every day after school and stay real involved.
W1: But what about socialization? Aren't you worried about them
being cooped up all day with kids their own ages, never getting the
opportunity for natural relationships?
W2: Well, yes. But I work hard to balance that. They have some
friends who're home schooled, and we visit their grandparents almost
every month.
W1: Sounds like you're a very dedicated mom. But don't you worry
about all the opportunities they're missing out on? I mean they're
so isolated from real life -- how will they know what the world is
like -- what people do to make a living -- how to get along with all
different kinds of people?
W2: Oh, we discussed that at PTO, and we started a fund to bring
real people into the classrooms. Last month, we had a policeman and
a doctor come in to talk to every class. And next month, we're
having a woman from Japan and a man from Kenya come to speak.
W1: Oh, we met a man from Japan in the grocery store the other week,
and he got to talking about his childhood in Tokyo. My kids were
absolutely fascinated. We invited him to dinner and got to meet his
wife and their three children.
W2: That's nice. Hmm. Maybe we should plan some Japanese food for
the lunchroom on Multicultural Day.
W1: Maybe your Japanese guest could eat with the children.
W2: Oh, no. She's on a very tight schedule. She has two other
schools to visit that day. It's a system-wide thing we're doing.
W1: Oh, I'm sorry. Well, maybe you'll meet someone interesting in
the grocery store sometime and you'll end up having them over for
dinner.
W2: I don't think so. I never talk to people in the store --
certainly not people who might not even speak my language. What if
that Japanese man hadn't spoken English?
W1: To tell you the truth, I never had time to think about it.
Before I even saw him, my six-year-old had asked him what he was
going to do with all the oranges he was buying.
W2: Your child talks to strangers?
W1: I was right there with him. He knows that as long as he's with
me, he can talk to anyone he wishes.
W2: But you're developing dangerous habits in him. My children never
talk to strangers.
W1: Not even when they're with you?
W2: They're never with me, except at home after school. So you see
why it's so important for them to understand that talking to
strangers is a big no-no.
W1: Yes, I do. But if they were with you, they could get to meet
interesting people and still be safe. They'd get a taste of the real
world, in real settings. They'd also get a real feel for how to tell
when a situation is dangerous or suspicious.
W2: They'll get that in the third and fifth grades in their health
courses.
W1: Well, I can tell you're a very caring mom. Let me give you my
number--if you ever want to talk, give me call. It was good to meet
you.

--Author unknown

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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