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#1 of 6 Old 01-07-2012, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We were unschoolers for about two years. About a year ago we sent our son, now 9, back to school. He is at a Waldorf school that we love for the most part. In our town it's where the hippies send their kids.

 

Anyway, it's come to my attention that the social aspect is the biggest draw for DS. Which is fine, except the school costs us thousands each year, even with the tuition adjustment that we get. DS is behind in his reading and writing, which doesn't bother me, but it does bother him. He keeps saying things like he's dumb, which of course we've NEVER said to him. I'm assuming he's picked up that kind of language from kids at school, or the TV he watches after school at my parents house. My parents watch him a few hours each week after school until my husband or I can pick him up. The TV is always on when I walk in, and it's usually on something I've told them 100x not to let him watch.

 

Sigh. End rant.

 

My daughter is 2.5 and will be going to the Waldorf school this coming fall. Part of me is SO excited for the time I'll then have to work on my job (which I mostly love). But part of my knows that she does really well when it's just she and I home all day.

 

Today DS and DD were home with me all day and I had serious anger issues like I haven't had in months. They were seriously driving me batty. I had to wonder if part of the reason was because I only see DS for about 20 waking hours a week. He and DD go to their other grandparent's house one day a week (Sunday) with my DH, who is starting a business on their farm. Saturdays are hit and miss, sometimes we are in town for a large part of the day and then DH and I have a date night.

 

DD and I are very close, which cause additional problems between DS and myself. She is completely comfortable with me, and we have our own little rituals and so forth. I can see why DS would feel left out, although I constantly reassure him that I love him and he's as important to me as DD is.

 

I can't help but think unschooling would either improve things drastically or make them a lot worse. For example, I would need DS to keep an eye on DD for a few hours a week while I work from home. My job is flexible, so it's possible I'd need to take both of them to run errands for my job, which neither of them are likely to enjoy. 

 

I wish DH could quit his job and be the unschooling parent. He'd be so good at it, and he wants to quit anyway.

 

Anyway. Does anyone have any ideas/advice/comments? I'm too close to the situation to see the forest for the trees I think.

 

TIA....


Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 01-08-2012, 05:32 AM
 
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A lot of people send their kids to school AND school them at home. If your ds has concerns about his reading and writing  abilities then see what you can do about it. Talk to the teachers about it to see what they can provide,and what you can do at home. I am in a similar situation feeling like I am paying thousands for social interation,and the education is for the most part them homeschooling in a public setting in what they call *independent work time*,which is pretty much all day.

 

 I don't think it would be good to have your son watching the little one while you do your work.If he was not home to be a sitter what would you do? Get a sitter or just watch her? I have see a few kids that were pulled to home just to be the full time sitters,and  it rarely works out in the long term.

 

The only way you will know however is if you try it.See how things work out for you and the kids at home this summer. Could sign your child up for an online public school. In the end though even at 9 it is up to your son to want to work harder so he feels good about what level he is at.It really can't be forced through drills.He has to want it and I am sure you and/or the teachers are willing to help him reach his goals.

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#3 of 6 Old 01-08-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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As far as picking up language like "dumb" I think that is pretty much inevitable. It is part of the culture and if your child has any interaction with other kids, books, TV, or really even other people they will eventually hear this. The bigger concern to would be that he believes it about himself. That's the real problem. While there are 9 year olds who can watch a 2.5 year old for most that's not really a realistic expectation. It is in some ways actually harder to babysit while there is someone in the house who is working too.

 

It sounds like you've identified two main concerns. 1. The way your son feels about himself and that possibly being connected to being "behind" in math and reading. 2. The feeling that your relationship with your son isn't as strong as you want it to be. Without totally overhauling your life immediately, can you think of any ways to address those concerns?

 

Do you and your son get any time one on one together? What do you do? We found it was really helpful at that age to have something we were working on together that continued from on time to another - like a sewing project or having a goal for a certain number of miles to walk or games of basketball to play. Or, routines like every Friday morning is hot cocoa time. Relationships really do benefit from focused one on one attention and when he gets to do more mature stuff with you that the 2 year old doesn't get to do that may help a bit too. Also, in terms your son's confidence, I'm wondering if he has areas where he feels he makes a real contribution to the family or areas where he's making progress learning new skills.

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#4 of 6 Old 01-08-2012, 08:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

 I don't think it would be good to have your son watching the little one while you do your work.


This was the situation is my home regularly for a number of years and it worked just great. My middle kids are 5 and 7 years older than my youngest, and the three of them were often home alone while I worked out of the home (a half day a week), ran errands (if they preferred not to come), taught violin in an adjacent studio (another half day a week) or went for a run. Their relationship if really solid and they very much enjoyed the responsibility of being home "alone." I never put the older ones in charge of the younger. It was a case of them all needing to work together to make sure things were kept safe and happy, and naturally more of that responsibility falling on the older ones due to their greater maturity. 

 

My older two are in school now and I miss their help in this respect. My youngest is still not old enough to be left home alone for extended periods (she's almost 9) and both she and my middle kids miss that kids-only time together at home without parents. 

 

So their was never a dynamic where the older ones were disciplining the younger, no power in the equation. They always handled the responsibility, and any situations that came up, very responsibly. I think it was a very healthy situation for all of them. It obviously depends on the kids, and the way it's approached by the parents, but it can work very well indeed.

 

To the original poster...

 

It sounds like this is a situation complicated by a lot of torn feelings about job and child-care situations. It's hard to offer advice. What does your ds want? What about your dd? Will she be thrilled to start school, or do you think it will be difficult for her? It sounds like returning to unschooling will involve a lot of realignment of parental time and priorities, not to mention a big shift for your ds again. If everyone in the equation is enthusiastic about moving in that direction, it will probably all work out. If some of you are ambivalent, it's hard to say. 

 

In any case, getting some distance beyond yesterday's button-pushing and anger will probably be a good thing! Wait until you've had some better days and keep turning things over in your mind. 

 

Miranda


Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#5 of 6 Old 01-17-2012, 09:47 PM
 
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I often hear from parents that they could "never homeschool" because being around their kids too much is too stressful and difficult. I believe that relationships, like all things in life, require practice and I often wonder how parents who work full time and have kids in school and various after-school activities get a chance to learn how to be together when they have so little opportunity. So I tell people that when you are together a lot you learn how to get along, that this is not something that either "is" or "is not" but that it takes practice and is a valuable learning experience. So I wouldn't let that put you off. 


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#6 of 6 Old 01-22-2012, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know how to multi-quote, or I would have quoted snippets from everyone's posts!

 

This makes a lot of sense to me. For the past week (7 days!) we've been stranded at home because of snow, flooding and landslides. All four of us were here for the first six days, then yesterday DH went to work. DS and I came up with an unschooling plan :)

 

It was SO SO lovely to have the kids both home with me (and DH too). We are talking about ways to make unschooling work again, including me taking on less responsibility at my workplace.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post

I often hear from parents that they could "never homeschool" because being around their kids too much is too stressful and difficult. I believe that relationships, like all things in life, require practice and I often wonder how parents who work full time and have kids in school and various after-school activities get a chance to learn how to be together when they have so little opportunity. So I tell people that when you are together a lot you learn how to get along, that this is not something that either "is" or "is not" but that it takes practice and is a valuable learning experience. So I wouldn't let that put you off. 



 


Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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