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#1 of 21 Old 05-13-2013, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a bit confounded. We belong to a local homeschool group. We are the only unschoolers. The others in the group do some form or another of traditional schooling, although they describe themselves as relaxed. One family lives very close to us in our neighborhood and my kids really like to play with them. They do their school work in the mornings, usually, so have most afternoons free. So, I tell my kids (especially my 5 year old who isn't of compulsory school age in our state, anyway) that they have to wait until after 3 pm before they can go over and ask them to play because that's what the time their mother had told me. This family has a 5 year old, too, so I don't really understand why at least she can't play whenever but I respect their routine and tell my kids to wait.

We are required by state law to administer annual standard tests to our school-age children. Everyone in the group except me has already finished that and declared their school year over. I, erroneously, assumed that meant the other neighborhood family would be available to play any time of the day. Their mother still won't let them play until the afternoon Monday-Friday. They are allowed to play all day on the weekends unless they have something specific planned.

I really don't understand this. It seems lots of parents don't let their kids play just for the sake of not letting them play too much or something like that. I can sort of understand this during the "school year" if they have a schedule to keep or certain work they need to finish within a certain time but I don't understand why they extend that rule to the time when they are not doing school. What is the point of that? Why not just let the kids play?

I'm frustrated, I guess, and I feel bad for my kids because they just want to play with their friends.

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#2 of 21 Old 05-13-2013, 09:48 AM
 
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Obviously I can't speak to the particular families and the situation you're in, but I do understand why a family might restrict playdates. I have kids who are introverted, and dh and I are introverted too. Some of us are very social introverts, but even with so we find that too much out-of-home and beyond-family social time eventually leads to exhaustion, emotional lability and problems with family relationships, rhythms and routines. So we've found it best to restrict our social time. At times this has led to hurt feelings of friends ... until we took the time to explain. We love being with you, but we need our "chill time" at home with just ourselves in order to continue loving the time we spend with you. We need time to recharge our social batteries. We are good with extended socializing, provided we have a couple of days afterwards where we don't have to put our energy into anything much beyond our own home. So a full weekend or a sleepover requires 1-2 days afterwards of low-key family time until we all feel normal again. 

 

Perhaps one or more of the members of the other family are similar to me and mine? They've discovered a balance of social vs. personal/family time that works for them, and they want to preserve that flow. 

 

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#3 of 21 Old 05-13-2013, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm introverted and my 9 year old is, too,. I have had to work hard at overcoming that so that I can better accommodate my more outgoing children.

I know this family and I'm pretty sure their kids are not introverted. The father is but he's at work during the days. The mother has told me repeatedly that I am welcome to come over and hang out any time, any day. Her door is always open. I doubt someone who is introverted would extend such an invitation. I know I never would (and haven't reciprocated). hehe She was constantly inviting me over for morning coffee when we first met. She knows that, if I go over there, my kids will be in tow. They are not old enough to stay at my house alone.

So, I don't think it's that. It's a time of day thing. They still cannot play on Mondays-Fridays before 3 pm. I think it's just an arbitrary rule that has something to do with following industrial school/work week schedule. I guess that confuses me because one of the reasons I homeschool is so that I don't have to follow someone else's schedule. We can play when we want, sleep when we are tired, eat when we are hungry without worrying about the time.

Hmm...maybe it does hurt my feelings a little because I don't understand why someone would just tell a kid, "No, my kids can't play with you today." I let my kids decide. Sometimes they want to play and sometimes they don't. My 5 year old almost always wants to play. My 9 year old is more likely to decline. Just as I wouldn't force my introverted child to socialize, I don't want to force my extroverted child to not socialize. KWIM? I don't think their enjoyment should be contingent on my mood.

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#4 of 21 Old 05-13-2013, 05:38 PM
 
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Hmm...maybe it does hurt my feelings a little because I don't understand why someone would just tell a kid, "No, my kids can't play with you today." I let my kids decide. Sometimes they want to play and sometimes they don't. My 5 year old almost always wants to play. My 9 year old is more likely to decline. Just as I wouldn't force my introverted child to socialize, I don't want to force my extroverted child to not socialize. KWIM? I don't think their enjoyment should be contingent on my mood.

 

Maybe she is setting that time aside to do their own thing.  Her family may not want to change the rhythm/structure of their days regardless of the season to avoid the upheaval that comes with such changes and later, the having to resettle into a structure again.  We follow almost the same (very loose) rhythm where ever we are and whatever time of the year it is.  It comforts my kids and it makes it easier for me.  

 

Also, do your children go over there to play or are you asking her kids to come over to your place?  If they are asking to play over there, then I could see why a parent may decline when s/he doesn't feel like it.  Adding another kid or a couple is an another layer of responsibility.  

 

Also maybe she wants to avoid long play dates.  If it starts at 3ish, there is a natural end to it -- at dinner time, KWIM?  

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#5 of 21 Old 05-13-2013, 07:01 PM
 
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Not everybody does homeschooling because of the time restrictions school places on their lives.  Plus, if she has multiple children, she might take turns with each child and not want the distraction of playtime with neighborhood kids happening in the house or yard to distract her children from their schoolwork.  Yes, schoolwork.  I'm just guessing.  If she does have multiple kids, she might want to keep the routine in place year-round.  It still seems frustrating, but there are many valid reasons why she wants to maintain a certain start time year-round (except on weekends!)

 

I'm with you on having different reasons to homeschool!  However I think, personally, that if a family nearby was always available, I think I'd set some limits, but then again, I need my space at home and apparently this family doesn't, but I bet they have limits on their extroversion as well!


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#6 of 21 Old 05-13-2013, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, do your children go over there to play or are you asking her kids to come over to your place?  If they are asking to play over there, then I could see why a parent may decline when s/he doesn't feel like it.  Adding another kid or a couple is an another layer of responsibility.

Her kids are always welcome to play at my house. If my kids are doing the asking, it's for them to come here. I don't expect her to always let my kids in their house. I don't allow my kids to invite themselves to someone else's house.

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#7 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 01:31 AM
 
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Hmmm. The first thing that springs to mind is that they really are busy. Doing schoolwork, having family time, whatever, she wants to carve out that time til 3 for her and her family. My kids and I are not introverts really at all, though dp is very introverted so I have some idea of the whole introvert need to recharge. But I still have a deal whereby we don't normally arrange to do stuff in the mornings, and this is about balance more than anything. They need alone/family time. So no, they might not be busy doing formal work but they might be using the time to catch up on reading together, or art stuff. I'd imagine that just as unschoolers often consider themselves to school year round, so too do some using a more formal approach. 

 

Its hard too because it seems to me that someone saying "you are always welcome here!" might be being either a. polite or b. enthusiastic. Or the relationship might have changed and matured over time. Is there any possibility, perhaps, that the kids don't always want to spend time together and she's kind of bridging that? 


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#8 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Its hard too because it seems to me that someone saying "you are always welcome here!" might be being either a. polite or b. enthusiastic. Or the relationship might have changed and matured over time. Is there any possibility, perhaps, that the kids don't always want to spend time together and she's kind of bridging that? 

I don't know. If I knew the reason, I wouldn't be confused about it. winky.gif

For me, I think part of the issue is that there is a different family dynamic, which is fine. I understand not everyone parents the way that I do. If someone comes to ask my kids to play, I let my kids decide unless we really do have something else to do. If my kids choose not to play, I tell the other kids that my children are doing x,y,z and don't want to play right now or I let my kids tell them depending on the situation. I don't just say, "They can't play right now," or "They can't play with you today."

She does tell me or my kids when they are doing something specific. It's the blanket "no play before 3 pm" during the work week rule that I don't understand.

I would be surprised if the kids don't want to play with mine because the moment they are set free, they come to our house to play. The older boy walks his dog and stops at our house almost every day to see if my kids want to walk with him. Yesterday, their little girl followed me home from her house and hung out at my house even though there weren't any other kids here. All the other kids were over near her house. (This was after an incident that involved the boys walking the dog that I went to talk to the mom about so that getting the kids all mixed up couldn't be avoided.)

I don't allow my kids to run over to her house first thing in the morning. We get up rather late, anyway, but I do tell my kids they need to wait until a decent hour before knocking on people's doors so it's usually at least 11 am before they go.

But, back to my original generic question (because I was only using this one family as an example since we interact with them almost every day), I have noticed that a lot of parent do this. They strictly limit the amount of playtime their kids get. I have come to expect that with parents who send their kids to school because they are more likely to ascribe to the idea that kids need lots of structure and adult supervision and work and limits. A lot of times, when other kids in the neighborhood can't play, it is because they are being punished for something, grounded. I didn't expect all of that from homeschool families, or at least, not as much, because one of the reasons I homeschool is so that I don't have to put arbitrary limits on my kids (and it's human nature to expect other people to think and do the same way you do).

So, I was wondering what the purpose of that might be. I get that parents may have that time carved out for "family time" or whatever. I guess my thinking is that my kids are with me all the time so I don't need to delineate a specific time of every day as family time. We spend a lot more time together every day that families who's kids go to school. We are always together so the more than can get out and be with and play with other kids and other families, the better.

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#9 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 06:54 AM
 
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I didn't read the replies, but have these thoughts about the original post.

It sounds to me like the family is trying to fly under the radar of truancy officers, CPS, etc. In states where there is a lot of bureaucracy, there is closer investigation of homeschoolers when they are reported. After hearing enough stories of people investigated, many choose to keep their kids on as normal-looking a schedule as possible.

I did that as well, after my son reached the age when legally he had to be schooled, and continued until he was old enough to be exempt from truancy laws. The first time we went out before school was out for the day, we had a truancy officer knocking on the door the next day. A quick explaination and he was gone, but it confirmed what I worried about -- the neighbors reporting us.
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#10 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds to me like the family is trying to fly under the radar of truancy officers, CPS, etc. In states where there is a lot of bureaucracy, there is closer investigation of homeschoolers when they are reported.

I seriously doubt it's that. We live in a state with virtually no oversight. I've lived in this neighborhood for 6 years now. My kids have always been out and about in the middle of the day and I've never had an issue. The elementary school bus stop is even my driveway. The bus driver and other parents of school kids have seen my kids home on a regular basis during the day. I've had the police at my house during the day when I've called about something. And, we go out shopping and eating and such during the day and have never had an issue. I know they go out and about in town in the middle of the day, too. I've even been investigated by CPS for having a homebirth, totally unrelated to homeschooling, and the CPS agent thought it was cool that we homeschooled. She's pretty friendly with all her neighbors and she's not the type to worry about CPS.

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#11 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 07:17 AM
 
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If it's not a truancy concern, then they administered the test before completing the year's agenda. That, too, is pretty common among homeschoolers that I know.

Why are we speculating? Why not ask?
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#12 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 08:02 AM
 
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I still think it's a different HSing philosophy and dynamic, especially in your general question.  We come from an unschooling viewpoint (play=good, parent-imposed structure=not good*) and we have very different reasons for HSing than the rest of the vast population of HSers in North America.  I imagine most people would feel that given kids carte blanche to play, or even close to it, would undermine their educational goals.  Because, of course, children would never choose to "learn stuff" on their own!  Play time must be the reward (and keeping playtime later in the day, you have the chance to remove it if they don't do their schoolwork!)

 

*simplistic, I know, but you get the point.


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#13 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I guess I do still come from a very different philosophy even among other homeschoolers. I thought being a secular group who all describe themselves as relaxed would mean they'd at least be ready to just play, play, play once they finished their school years. There aren't any other unschoolers around here that I know of. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to keep telling my kids they have to wait.

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#14 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 03:28 PM
 
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It seems to me that there is an idea of what "relaxed homeschooler" is supposed to mean. Terms can mean different things to different people. Maybe you can talk more and discover what that term means to the other family, as well as is there a time of year when earlier playtimes would be acceptable. That will get you farther than speculating.
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#15 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Again, my dealings with this one family was not really the focus of my question. I understand that different families do things differently. I also understand that families have times when they do certain things not pertaining to school. I'm just confused by why some homeschooling families would feel the need to follow the normal school week/day schedule, even when they are officially done doing school for the year. Why follow an arbitrary schedule set up by a system that you have purposely excluded from your families life if you don't have to?

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#16 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 04:45 PM
 
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Again, the best people to answer that question is someone who is doing that. Those of us here can tell you what we do and why, but only that family can tell you what they do and why.

Some people feel more comfortable with a school schedule. The reasons are probably as varied as the families doing that. If you feel the friendship will survive the question, ask it. Otherwise, just accept it as something that simply is.
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#17 of 21 Old 05-15-2013, 12:55 AM
 
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Apologies MarineWife, I hadn't realised it was a general question you were asking smile.gif. I think its an interesting point you are raising, actually.

 

What I would say is that we are a family that doesn't require work off the kids or anything (well, aside from music practice-that's part of the deal of paid-for lessons) and over the years I've become fairly protective of the time we spend together as a family. We are actually not introverts, but in some ways the opposite, and that I think is the reason its so very important to me that we do preserve this time. It would be so easy for my three kids to all be off playing with someone most of the time. Although my kids are not introverts it is important to me that they have the chance to develop a certain amount of introspection and autonomy of thought and so I do carve out chunks of time for them to be alone or with the family. Its about balance, for us. 

 

My experience of having quite random amounts of time with others was that while it was great, we were finding we didn't get specific stuff done that we all wanted to get done. I wasn't getting to sit and play a game with my kids or do an art project because we always seemed to be shuttling somewhere, or I was chatting to the adults while the kids played with the kids, or even if there was just one other kid in the house alone that still often changed the dynamic. Plus kids over does mean more mess. We are far from hermits nowadays but we're a bit more considered about the social side, whereas when I started hsing I was in a bit of a panic about the social side and really spent a disproportionate amount of time making sure my kids did social things. 

 

Just to say too-I'm not really familiar with the HS scene in the US except via here but it seems to me that people HS for a lot of reasons. I've certainly read of people HSing because they feel the schools to be too lenient, too liberal, wanting to teach a specifically Christian curriculum. I agree, its not my cup of tea but hey, life.

 

ETA as a pure aside re the truancy. How on earth could you hide a kid anyway? I'm surprised that that's even possible. TBH I'd expect a truancy officer to be far more worried about a "hidden" kid than one who was out and about, known, at the library, doing community work, at their allotments, going shopping, playing with friends in the park...this is so area dependent I know but honestly, if I were a social worker I really do know which kid and which family would be raising my alarm bells.


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#18 of 21 Old 05-15-2013, 09:33 AM
 
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It seems to me, though, that to assume that family life should radically change just because an annual schooling assessment has taken place is just as schoolish a way of thinking as it is to assume one must adhere to a 9-3 school-at-home approach. In a way, keeping a family-time rhythm throughout the year, and not just during 9 months of formal learning, is the more holistic approach. 

 

If you are a middle-of-the-road homeschooler (relaxed, eclectic or whatever) why should you not believe middle-of-the-road ideas. Like ... there's a role for structure, even though learning takes place all the time. And ... yes we have these curricular resources but we learn a lot from just living life. And ... sometimes we find it helpful to parcel out learning as a separate part of our day, but we value the learning that is part of the flow of our family life as well. Just because these families parcel out some of their learning under the heading of "school" doesn't mean that they don't believe in and value an intermingling of living and learning that defies school-year boundaries. 

 

As a parallel: We finish up our year of Suzuki violin lessons in June every year, but the kids keep practicing and we keep music in our weekly routine of music-listening and setting time aside for practicing even so. It changes flavour: it's less goal-directed, there's less focus on learning individual solo repertoire, no lessons and no accountability to teachers and peers, but we make sure we keep up the playing and listening. There are usually orchestra and quartet parts to learn for summer workshops and performances. So yes, the formal lessons are over ... but learning goes on. If we don't continue to create space in our lives for music, and create some special summer opportunities, we find that in the fall we have a huge hole to dig ourselves out of.

 

You may see a 9-3 schedule as form of tyranny which homeschooling frees you from. But for some families the 9-3 may create a rhythm to their daily lives that they find works for them. Perhaps they value what that block carves for them in terms of family time, fallow time, housekeeping and meal-prep work, creativity, sibling interaction, and so on. Perhaps sit-down formal schooling was never the main reason they protected that time as their own, it was just an easy way to explain what they had discovered about the optimal flow of their family life. I know I've been known to use exactly that tactic: "Monday and Wednesday mornings don't work well for us. That's our homeschooling time." It's code for "My unschooler and I value our at-home mornings and enjoy the balance that rhythm gives to our lives." It's a Wednesday morning right now and we're not sitting at the table doing math together. In fact my dd is still asleep and I'm typing this post. But without this time consistently devoted to discretionary at-home activities, our lives don't feel balanced. 

 

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#19 of 21 Old 05-15-2013, 09:49 AM
 
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I know for my family, even when we are not doing school work, I still expect them to do their chores, and read their Bible daily.
Also, (not assuming anything here, but for me) my kids act different after they've spent too much time with other kids. Some are no doubt bad influences, other times it's being extra wild when they return, sometimes they are just overstimulated. Not saying your kids would be the cause of any of those things, just speaking from personal experience.
Could be too, that she needs a motivation (bribe) to encourage good behavior before 3.
And I know I always enforce a "everyone goes home at a certain time" for my own sanity. Delayed start of playtime might just be another twist on the same concept.

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#20 of 21 Old 07-03-2013, 05:02 PM
 
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Maybe they are doing their chores.  Sometimes playing with neighborhood kids can become a slippery slope.  Without time boundaries, the kids may end up socializing TOO much, thus not having the chance to "be bored" and think of creative solo activities. 

 

ALso, maybe one of the reasons she homeschools is to have her kids socialize with one another a lot.  Perhaps they play well together and it gives mom a break and she feels good knowing they are getting family bonding time.

 

I'm just guessing that the mom set up that rule and it is better to stick to it through the summer rather than transition back.

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#21 of 21 Old 07-04-2013, 01:58 PM
 
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This doesn't seem weird to me. There are a lot of families that don't have an open-door-play-whenever policy. Just respect her differences and don't speculate if you can help it.
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