gifted 4 year old LOVES preschool...... *sigh* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 98 Old 01-03-2012, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my daughter is almost 5. she is very very social. in fact, her teachers used the words "socially sophisticated" when describing her. i know she is also way ahead of her class in many of the basic skills they teach in her class. (it's a universal pre-k class. they emphasize social skills, independence and basic literacy)

 

and she LOVES AND ADORES going. it's 5 days a week, just in the morning. she is sad and bored when there is a break. 

 

when she is home if she is not busy, she is destructive and naughty. i have trouble keeping her occupied. i can't turn my back on her. never could. when she was a baby, she would crawl up the stairs or a bookcase. as a toddler she ate paint, would sneak out the front door, throw her brother's toys in the toilet, drawn on my computer screen. as a preschooler she will put one chair on another to get cookies in the cupboard, stand out on the roof, cover herself in marker, cut the couch.... she will also play for hours with her friends, put everything away in her room where it goes, become absorbed in workbooks, puzzles, painting, cutting and gluing, etc. she isn't much for playing alone though. so at home, if i'm not giving her one interesting thing to do after another... she is either whining or doing something she shouldn't. (and driving me out of my mind)

 

my son is the total opposite. so i am not used to having to plan things every single moment of the day. he knows what he wants to do and he does it. she needs structure, direction and lots and lots of planning. and i just suck at it. and i can't provide her with social experiences every single day. like she wants. (break wasn't too bad, since we were really busy, but not looking forward to spring break)

 

my difficulty is, i know she will be heartbroken when school ends and all her friends go off to kindergarten. i really really really don't want her go to school. and i can't afford to put her in gymnastics, dance, piano, etc. grandma pays for ballet, i pay for a one afternoon a week program and that is all i can afford. 

 

what the heck can i do with this kid??? any suggestions??? i'm really concerned about what comes next. 

 

 

just to be clear, i am looking for suggestions about how to meet my daughter's needs at home AND continue unschooling (or some mutant form of it!). just pretend there is no public school option where we live and throw me out some ideas about how i can make this work! anyone else really committed to an unschooling lifestyle who has a really busy, needs to be occupied, really smart almost 5 year old out, who makes unschooling work??? ROTFLMAO.gif

 


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#2 of 98 Old 01-03-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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I think your best bet is to get her involved in lots of during-school-hours activities this year, things that she'd have to give up if she went to school next year. I hear you on the financial constraints, so go for whatever you can that's free: play-dates, homeschool park days, more playdates, weekly or biweekly library trips, weekly field trips (to the train yard, to the riverfront, to a nature trail), geocaching (borrow a GPS), etc.. And if you don't have enough to entice her, start a homeschool club or group activity. At various stages I started a community garden club for kids, a science club and a world cultures & cooking club. We participated in parent-facilitated readaloud club, theatre sports sessions, felting workshops. Most of this will require connections within the homeschooling community. Do you have those yet? Befriending homeschooled children in the 5-8 age range will go a long way for a kid who is so social, I would think.

 

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#3 of 98 Old 01-03-2012, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, i already run a science class for older kids. and i just started a library hop for the younger age range. we meet tomorrow for the first time.  luckily, 2 of the little girls in her class are from homeschooling families. but i have my doubts about at least one of them staying home next year. 

 

 

in my community, it's pretty much like; if you want something, you have to create it and maintain it. people are either looking for drop off groups, or groups where they don't have to do anything, and all for free if possible. 

 

even with my science class, which i do charge for, people expect me to be able to accommodate their younger kids too. 

 

and there is a huge emphasis on waldorf for younger kids in this HS community. and we don't really mesh at all with waldorf. i took my daughter to a dance class that everyone raves about (waldorf inspired), and my daughter was SO bored. it was quiet, slow, lyrical. my daughter LOVES the high energy, loud music, creative ballet class she goes to. we just aren't waldorf people. 


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#4 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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A couple ideas: in addition to what you're already doing, could you start visiting a nursing home once a week?  Or volunteer with animals?  That would be social, and would let you side step the homeschool community somewhat.   I hear you on the waldorf thing.  We are not waldorf people either, I am glad that my oldest kids are getting past the age for waldorfy classes. 

 

Another idea: sometimes when my kids are getting into trouble, it's because they don't have enough responsibility.  Are there tasks you could assign to her, so she has a productive place to put her energy?  At the very least, by the time she's 5, she will be old enough to clean up any mess she makes because she was bored, and that will probably make mess making less attractive.  Have you tried keeping her with you and having her help with whatever you're doing?  It would be tough if you're an introvert, but it might be what she needs.

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#5 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 08:57 AM
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She sounds like a kid who would love school. Why don't you want to let her go?

I unschooled my oldest for kindergarten, but it didn't work out great so we tried public 1st grade. He's in 3rd grade now and aside from a brief period of homeschooling in 1st grade (we moved and got a bad school placement that took a while to sort out), has been happily public schooled since. My second is in 1st grade now. He's gifted-- was reading at a 3rd grade level before 4-- and was dismayed at the mere mention of homeschooling. He started private kindergarten at 4.5 and is still unwilling to consider HSing, although I think it would work well for him. We may HS him someday but I'm not going to force it when he is happy in school. 

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She sounds like a kid who would love school. Why don't you want to let her go?

I unschooled my oldest for kindergarten, but it didn't work out great so we tried public 1st grade. He's in 3rd grade now and aside from a brief period of homeschooling in 1st grade (we moved and got a bad school placement that took a while to sort out), has been happily public schooled since. My second is in 1st grade now. He's gifted-- was reading at a 3rd grade level before 4-- and was dismayed at the mere mention of homeschooling. He started private kindergarten at 4.5 and is still unwilling to consider HSing, although I think it would work well for him. We may HS him someday but I'm not going to force it when he is happy in school. 



This.  If she's loving school and the structure and routine that go with it I fail to see how pulling her out is beneficial.  You need to do what is going to be best for her, not what you want to do.  If school is a bust you can always pull her out later.


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#7 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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I agree about at least considering school based on her personality and social affinties. But, well, the "giftedness" is a bit of a wrinkle. I have an 8-year-old who would really like to go to school. She loves having a 'learning community' and teachers and being around other people all day. She thrives on structure. Problem is she's working at a solid 7th grade level or beyond. Academically it can be very hard to get a good fit for gifted kids. Mine would love an open-ended program that's like preschool, but for kids 8-10. But the academic focus of 3rd or 4th or even 5th grade would be a horrible fit for her.

 

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#8 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 11:07 AM
 
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She sounds like a kid who would love school. Why don't you want to let her go?

I unschooled my oldest for kindergarten, but it didn't work out great so we tried public 1st grade. He's in 3rd grade now and aside from a brief period of homeschooling in 1st grade (we moved and got a bad school placement that took a while to sort out), has been happily public schooled since. My second is in 1st grade now. He's gifted-- was reading at a 3rd grade level before 4-- and was dismayed at the mere mention of homeschooling. He started private kindergarten at 4.5 and is still unwilling to consider HSing, although I think it would work well for him. We may HS him someday but I'm not going to force it when he is happy in school. 


This.

 

And, I know this is the unschooling forum (I like to lurk here-hi!), and you don't want to read or be convinced of the mainstream benefits of school, but just like school isn't for everyone, neither is home/unschooling.
 

 I was keen on home/unschooling my kids based on *my* feelings and experiences with school (I hated the structure and routine, I am also pretty introverted), but my DD loves and thrives on the routine that school provides her.  When I try to replicate what school provides her/she needs, I am exhausted and don't feel like I can be the parent I want to be. I like that school provides what I can't give her, and I provide everything else.

 

My DD is probably gifted too (they don't test til 3rd grade here), and her school is doing a good job at accommodating her strengths. While I'm sure she could be doing much more academically, but she gets a lot of socializing and life skill stuff, and she's having positive experiences, which is wonderful. When I embraced the fact that my child has different needs from me (ie. very social, thrives on school routines and expectations), things got a lot smoother for us.

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#9 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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I was going to homeschool DD1, but I've realized that she will thrive in school. She loves socializing and structured activities. We signed her up for a bunch of park district activities and are interviewing at preschools. I really wanted to homeschool her,  but my job is to provide the best education for my child, not the best for *me*. We have to parent the child we are given yk?

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#10 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 01:01 PM
 
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I was a kid who adored preschool, but kindergarten onwards was pretty awful for the reasons Moominmama described.   I've heard of social kids actually having a terrible time in school because they are surrounded by kids to whom they may not speak.    I suppose it depends on the kid and the school and the family's reasons for homeschooling, but I'm not going to question the LW's preference to homeschool. 

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#11 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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I have an idea.  Do what is best for your child and not for yourself.  She likes school. Let her go to school.  My gifted 9 year old would go insane if I kept her at home.  It doesn't matter how much stimulation I could give her at home, it wouldn't be enough.  Reread your post.  You say she loves school...yet YOU don't want her to go.  Think on that one for awhile.

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#12 of 98 Old 01-04-2012, 10:29 PM
 
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Ask yourself this question: as she continues on her school journey will she get what she is getting now? My son also enjoyed preschool, but K and the grade levels are not preschool. He would not have thrived in those environments. Once a child has been in school it can be hard to convince them to homeschool because they see it as being removed from their social group and the system of school, which is all they know. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where they have progressive schools that would work well with her giftedness and her learning style, without cramping it, certainly consider it. But keep in mind that as a child progresses through school it tends to get a lot more coercive in terms of them being able to take part in shaping their own education. Ultimately you are right that you have to parent the child you have and I don't think that there is no such thing as a child who thrives in school. I just think they are the minority. If you can find a place that's a good fit, it may be the right choice for you.


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#13 of 98 Old 01-05-2012, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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some people HS for religious reasons, some for philosophical reasons. some because their child hated school and wasn't thriving. some because the local school district sucks. and some of us HS because we fundamentally, ideologically disagree with the idea of how public schools affect children, families and culture. i don't want to put her in school because i hate them and think they are bad for children. even the ones who love school. yup, that's me. radical to the bone. i believe public school's job is to care for children so parents can work for the man and spend their money for the man. and it teaches them to continue this cycle. it produces workers for the system. 

 

and i better get my ducks in a row, since driving home today my little firecracker says "mommy, i don't want to go to kindergarten." i say "i don't want you to go either." she says; "whew. i thought i was going to have to go." i say; "why don't you want to go?" and she says; "mommy! we are homeschoolers! remember?" touche!

 

working on a schedule that we can start with this year and just continue right into next fall. and no one ever said this would be easy. i order to meet both my kid's needs, i will have to work hard. but that's okay. it's the price i have to pay for wanting to raise my kids a certain way. blowkiss.gif

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#14 of 98 Old 01-05-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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if you believe ideologically that schools are bad for children, families and culture, than why were you even asking the question? 

 

it's like saying you disagree with giving children pop everyday, but then saying that your kid reeeeeally loves pop, so what should you do about it? if you think it's bad for them, then it doesn't matter whether they like it or not, you make a decision as a parent which you think is right for your family. i'm not judging your choice to home school at all, i think it's a great option for some families, i'm just wondering why you worded your first post the way you did. 

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if you believe ideologically that schools are bad for children, families and culture, than why were you even asking the question? 

 

it's like saying you disagree with giving children pop everyday, but then saying that your kid reeeeeally loves pop, so what should you do about it?

 

Well, one suggestion might be to serve sparkling organic fruit juice once in a while.

 

I don't think it was a silly or pointless question at all. I don't think the only choices are "give in or over-rule" with "give in" not being an option. There are ways a parent can frame ideas and change the child's environment to influence how she weighs her options. We're talking about a thinking, feeling child here, who loves her parents and probably shares many of their perspectives and values, and who has a full 8 months of living and growing to do before she misses the big yellow bus next August. I think umami got some good suggestions in this vein, and has some good ideas of her own. And it now sounds like her dd shares her perspective to a significant extent on the issue.

 

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#16 of 98 Old 01-06-2012, 12:23 AM
 
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Why did you send her to pre-school in the first place then?

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Quote:
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if you believe ideologically that schools are bad for children, families and culture, than why were you even asking the question? 

 

it's like saying you disagree with giving children pop everyday, but then saying that your kid reeeeeally loves pop, so what should you do about it? if you think it's bad for them, then it doesn't matter whether they like it or not, you make a decision as a parent which you think is right for your family. i'm not judging your choice to home school at all, i think it's a great option for some families, i'm just wondering why you worded your first post the way you did. 



this is the *unschooling* forum, right? i was hoping for ideas about how to deal with where we are. i was looking for advice and support just like the very first response to my post. i wasn't looking for suggestions that i send her to school. i want to MEET her needs at home. that's what i was looking for help with. sorry if i was being too open ended. 


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#18 of 98 Old 01-06-2012, 05:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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miranda, thanks so much for your reply. it's never an "either or" thing for me. it's usually an "and, also" situation; in my head and in my life. 

 

i have a friend who's daughter was very unhappy at home (she is 8) and so she asked to go to school this year. they sent her to a school with a special focus. she is happy. her parents are happy she is happy. they aren't loving the lifestyle. sending a kid to school affects the whole family. not just the kid who goes. and i saw other options that they had but didn't try. because they weren't options they were willing to try. and that's okay, but the point is, it's never as simple as yes or no. there is so much involved; feelings, needs, visions, desires, goals etc. on behalf of the whole family. 

 

dariusmom, if i tell you why she went to preschool, will it help you to frame some suggestions for me for the future? 

 


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this really spoke to me this morning. i thought it was pretty relevant. http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/


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#20 of 98 Old 01-06-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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dariusmom, if i tell you why she went to preschool, will it help you to frame some suggestions for me for the future? 

 



It would help explain why you sent her to school when you say you think it is bad for children.

 

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#21 of 98 Old 01-06-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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Why did you send her to pre-school in the first place then?


 

I think a fair number of homeschooling parents believe that if schools were like preschools, they'd be happy with them: optional attendance, imagination- and play-based learning, emphasis on social time, half-day or part-time enrolment allowed, high adult-child ratios, self-directed learning centres, open-ended activities. Really, for a parent skeptical about tightly-controlled government-regulated academic schooling system fraught with standardized testing mania, there's a lot to like about preschools.

 

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#22 of 98 Old 01-06-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It would help explain why you sent her to school when you say you think it is bad for children.

 


why does it matter? why do i need to explain why she went to preschool? 

 

if you read my OP carefully, i said what her pre-K class focuses on. if i could find a 1/2 day K that was similar, i'd be open to letting her go. pre-school ain't school. as we all know. the afternoon program she goes to once a week is just like pre-K for older kids. (my son went for 2 years) i do think school is bad for kids. AND i can still send her to a non-typical pre-k class and be okay with that. like i said, "and, also," not "either, or." 


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Unlike many on this thread, I think you make the call.  She is 5 - if you do not want her to go to school, do not send her.

 

I am, however, concerned with a bit of a disconnect I am seeing - you are saying this is a child who loves to be busy and social - yet you do not have the money for it.

 

Are there free resources where you live to fill her up?  Co-ops, libraries, parks?  Does she have neighbourhood friends and/or can you try hard to keep up her school friends?

 

I would also help her to cultivate a need not to be so busy - or to self entertain.  I know it does not seem to be how she is wired, but I think it is a good life skill and worth cultivating.    Maybe try for an activity every second day?

 

I agree with you that some K programs are fine. You might be able to buy yourself another year, while you work on building your community and resources for grade 1 plus.

 

good luck!

 

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#24 of 98 Old 01-11-2012, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would also help her to cultivate a need not to be so busy - or to self entertain.  I know it does not seem to be how she is wired, but I think it is a good life skill and worth cultivating.    Maybe try for an activity every second day?

 

 



do you have ideas on how to do this? i'd love to help her with this but don't have a clue!


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#25 of 98 Old 01-11-2012, 05:23 AM
 
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You know - I said "not so busy" but perhaps what I really meant was self-entertain.  There is nothing wrong with busy-ness if that is how she is wired.   

 

I think I would take a two pronged approach:

 

1.  I would be unavailable (even for very short periods of time) when she is restless and looking for something to do.  She might need to get the message that her restlessness is her problem, and she needs to fix it.  By unavailable it would be best to do it when it was genuine - fixing supper, finishing a chapter, etc.  

 

2.  I would try and create a resource rich environment.  What does she like to do?  Can you make sure she has the stuff required for her chosen activities around?  If she is very used to you supplying activities for her, it might not be apparent what her preferred activities are.  You might have to start with number one, and number 2 will hopefully start to present itself.

 

I am trying to think back on when mine were 5, and to be frank they could blow through activities pretty quickly.  I think the things they did the longest at those points were play outside, and play with each other.  Things like playdoh or lego were fun - but they went through them fast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#26 of 98 Old 01-11-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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1.) if i not around (even for 10 mins of taking a shower), Bad Things happen. dizzy.gif but it's improving slightly as she gets older. 

2.) i'm not sure i *could* have a more "enriched" environment! lol.gif but i do think we need more organization for her. 

 

this was this morning: she doesn't like to be alone downstairs if i am showering. her bro was sleeping late. so i said to come upstairs with me and play in her room while i showered. she goes in there, comes out 10 seconds later "my room is no fun without my friends." so she gets a game, demands i play with her. i gently kick her out of the bathroom, she sets up shop in the hall right outside the door. and then demands i play out there. i get her fav dolls and tell her to roll the dice and move the pieces for them. this is a good idea, but i need to read the words for her. so i say, get another game you can play without reading. okay, this works she says. (i take really short showers) while i am in there she busts in, messes with the sink and then fills up the hair brush bin with water. (with all the brushes and combs in there). when i open the door to go get dressed, there are 3 games set up in the hallway! which i then have to jump over to get into my room! this was all in 10 minutes. hide.gif she kicked my butt before 9 am! faint.gif this is why i get so little done while she is at school. i am at home recovering from the morning!!


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#27 of 98 Old 01-11-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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Sometimes I think an environment that is full of resources, possibilities and choices is just overwhelming for a child. I've probably mentioned this here before, but years ago my family was unexpectedly snow-bound in a small cabin with no toys or gizmos or kid-friendly resources with three kids under 9, and I have never seen such amazing self-entertainment skills and imaginative play. They played with a pencil, a piece of green paper, the staircase and some cutlery ... because that was all there was.

 

My response to aimlessness has usually been to suggest three categories of things as choices (art-related thing at the kitchen table? outdoor play of some sort? a cleaning/tidying/housework type job with me?), and then add a fourth choices which is "think up your own idea." I don't want to give my kids the impression that it's my job to solve their boredom but I do want to help them learn strategies to sort through the possibilities. 

 

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#28 of 98 Old 01-11-2012, 05:51 PM
 
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I'm wondering if there is much rhythm to your days. For some kids who aren't naturally self regulated, having a regular flow to the days can be helpful. If so maybe try working with her to make a routine chart to hang on the wall. It can include both together times and independent times as well as daily activities like taking a walk or cooking lunch. It doesn't necessarily have to be super detailed but it may be the process of working on it with you will help her better see there are times for play, times to be together, and times when everyone is doing their own thing. For some kids feeling like they got your full attention for a period of time can make the on your own times easier too. We had a while during the preschool years when daily "craft time" was golden for lots of self entertaining time later.

 

I would also see if it is possible to involve her in some ahead of time problem solving about the shower - not right when you are going to take your shower but the day before. Brain storm together, make a plan, try it and then evaluate if it is working.

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#29 of 98 Old 01-13-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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I'm in a similar situation. My kids love their preschool - I hate it. It's the lesser of two evils for us at the moment - we've been staying at my mom's house for the better part of the last year and they're away from all their toys, they share a very plain room that we can't decorate, there's no yard, we don't get to the park too often because it was hot here in FL... etc. It was less than ideal. The other guest room we're staying in, DH is always in playing video games loudly... there's a TV front and center in the house... In short, I thought putting them in preschool to get out of this stifling environment would be a good idea. Well... they get SO overstimulated there that even though they are totally happy there they're always wound up and hyper - and they take the other four days to calm down before Monday gets here and the whole week starts again. DS has food allergies and they're always having snacks in preschool, birthday treats, etc and he has to be singled out. They make crafts and have dollar store types of toys they get every week that they get SO attached to, they pick up bad habits from other kids.. etc. (There's also a lot of other good things about it - awesome teachers, a great outside area, they learn a lot of gardening, science, hands-on things, songs... etc.)

When we move (next month, squee!) we're just not going to enroll them in school again. DH loves the break that we get from them during the day but I don't think that it's morally acceptable to hand them over to public school that I already don't agree with, just so that we (the parents) get a "break". They're both super duper high needs, "creative" (destructive), have a wonky sleep schedule I can NOT do anything about (they get up at 4 am and it's godawful)... But I just really want to bring them home, calm them down, and do homeschool - not necessarily unschooling as NYS doesn't really dig that but we're going to work around to the best of our abilities.

My vision for the future is to calm the environment down as much as possible. Like today... I took the coloring box down. It had crayons, markers, a bunch of different coloring books, construction paper, some misc. craft stuff. I left it out for them to sort through while I made some tea. Big mistake. Huge mess everywhere, they were just grabbing things out and tearing pictures out of the books and taking caps off markers... I gave them each a few colors of crayons and one book each and they're now quietly working on their pics for abou 20 mins now. When we move I want to do this to the whole house, as much as I can. When we're decluttered, fewer toys or activities, they're more likely to enojy what they have. When they had one puzzle they played with it for an hour. When I thought that was awesome and bought them five more puzzles, they just did one halfway then aske for another one and then lost interest altogether. I can't wait to get a fresh start in a new house where *I* get to decide where everything goes! We're going for the simple, calm enviornment and I hope it works. And like another pp mentioned - routine. We need routine. We have no good routine and it shows. The kids are always anxious because they never know when xyz is going to happen. I think unschooling can work fine but some kids need more order and structure than others, and it can be tricky to muddle through, I guess.

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#30 of 98 Old 01-13-2012, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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where are you moving to seawitch? i am in NY and unschool. 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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