Unschoolers taking classes at public school. Help? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-18-2012, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an unschooler dilemma.

Both of my oldest children have expressed a desire to take some classes at our local public school. They are 4th and 6th grade. The school has an "arts rotation" with classes in Art, Music, Gym, Media/Tech and Spanish; 1 each day of the week. They want to take all the classes, however I anticipate there will be some issues with at least Spanish.

They are not at "grade level" for reading and writing. It's not been an integral thing so far. They can read well enough to get by in the things they love to do, and that's all the interest they have had until now.

So, I mentioned that they would need to be better at reading and writing, and that the best way to get the practice they need, and therefore the skill level, is to read books. I also suggested that they copy 1 page per day from the book they are reading for penmanship practice, and to reinforce spelling concepts. So far they are wholeheartedly embracing this, and have been reading several pages a day, and writing their one page. They are learning more about the purpose of punctuation, how to anticipate if the word will fit on the line or have to go to the next line, etc. Things other kids are learning in 2nd grade. They do not, however, know cursive.

They begin at the end of January. They are working hard, so far (it's been 3 days) but what happens if they've not "caught up" in time? I'm worried about them being so embarrassed that they don't want to go back, or that they are hopelessly teased, etc. Should I just also ask the school for additional help in getting them up to speed, in addition to the arts classes? I would feel like I were admitting failure in that case... I'm just not sure how this will go...


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#2 of 9 Old 11-18-2012, 06:04 PM
 
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I think so much depends on their personalities. If they are confident and eager, they will probably enjoy the experience. It is okay to be somewhat "behind"--after all, not everyone excels in public school either. 

 

If they become embarrassed, that might be a good lesson in itself, though a tough one for sure, for the parent too. In your estimate, will embarrassment result in their desire to catch up, or in shutting down? 

 

If you feel they are really behind, can you suggest re-evaluating by the end of December and possibly not doing the school this year? How do they react to the possibility of being "behind"? DH, for example, never cared how he compared to other kids. He did well in the subjects that he liked, and barely passed the rest. I, on the other hand, really cared about grades. 

 

Let them know they don't have to do the entire semester if the experience doesn't fit their expectations. And that any kids who would tease are not worth paying attention too--they are probably insecure themselves. You might find out that many will be really welcoming and friendly. 

 

Don't worry about cursive, most children don't learn cursive in school. 

 

FWIW, my 10 yo "caught up" in handwriting in 30 days of daily writing, 6-7 sentences a day. She is not super fast, but she is confident and it doesn't look like she's just learned. She's probably just below average, compared to PS kids.

 

I can really relate to your post. My 10 year old doesn't want to go to school, but if she wanted to, I'd have exactly the same concerns. She is not very confident and tends to care what others think about her. If she wanted to go, I'd be discouraging her for now, as not doing well wouldn't be a stimulus for improvement for her. 

 

Good luck with this. 

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#3 of 9 Old 11-18-2012, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm... I didn't really think about whether or not they care what other kids think about them, or if they do well. I just assumed. Don't all kids care about doing well and what other kids think of them? I guess not! Maybe I'd better figure that out, huh?


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#4 of 9 Old 11-18-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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How old are they?

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#5 of 9 Old 11-18-2012, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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11 and 9


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#6 of 9 Old 11-18-2012, 07:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

Hmm... I didn't really think about whether or not they care what other kids think about them, or if they do well. I just assumed. Don't all kids care about doing well and what other kids think of them? I guess not! Maybe I'd better figure that out, huh?

My 10 yo cares a lot, but the 8 yo doesn't. 

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#7 of 9 Old 11-19-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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You might want to check the school's requirements.  At my children's ps, after 3rd grade all written assignments were expected to be in cursive. 

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#8 of 9 Old 11-19-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LibraryMomma View Post

You might want to check the school's requirements.  At my children's ps, after 3rd grade all written assignments were expected to be in cursive. 

 

I agree it's worth checking, but I think the approach in your area is somewhat unusual in this respect. Some schools no longer teach cursive, and most no longer require it to be used: legibility is the only requirement.

 

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#9 of 9 Old 11-19-2012, 11:35 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry too much. The fact is that most kids in public school aren't at grade level either. My son is taking courses at our high school and has some nerve damage to his right hand, so his hand writing is what one would expect from about a 4th grader. We were worried it would be an issue, but at parent teacher conferences I was consistantly told his writing was average or even above average. I can't even always read it! While some kids penmanship is actually at "grade level", it's more of a goal than an expectation. ;) 

 

On the flip side, dd wanted to do some classes at the jr high. She's 6th grade age, but doing high school work at home. (she discovered earning your diploma exempts you from mandatory attendance laws, a lot of child labor laws, daytime curfews, etc. and is part of a self paced, accredited school so she can earn a "normal" diploma and be done with the legal hoops. lol) They told me she is so far below the 6th grade level that they consider her "high risk". =/ Different staff, with different biases. The kid is doing algebra and reading Shakespeare for fun, but is drastically below their expectations for a 6th grader??? Whatever.

 

Frankly, any judgements people make about your homeschooling will be because they want to judge you for homeschooling. If they have an issue with it, they will insist your kids are below their peers in some way, no matter what....if they don't have an issue with it, they will just offer help to support your kids within the educational choices you've chosen.


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