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#1 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD1 is 4yo, and tends to be pretty shy in unfamiliar settings and with unfamiliar people. Just as a quick example, we had started going to a church that we love, and stopped attending, because DD1 had such conflicting feelings about the preschool Sunday school. She'd always say she wanted to go, and we'd drop off her younger sister in the nursery and then bring her over to her room, where she'd clam up and shut down. I'd suggest she go play with the other kids, and she wouldn't leave my side, so I'd suggest she come down to services with her father and me, but then she'd cry that she wanted to stay, she just wanted me to stay with her.

Her cousin is starting school this week, and he's very excited. They're pretty close and have talked about this a lot on their own. She's asked me about it a few times, if she was going to go to school with A, and things like that. In talking about school in general, she's made it very clear that she does not want to go, and has even asked me if she could just stay home and "you can teach me".

Pretty to think so. :

The complications are thus: DH and I own a business. I'm working from home right now, but it's heavy phone contact with clients, so I spend most of my day upstairs in our attic office while my mom takes care of my girls during the day (totally blessed, I know. ). We are looking at me getting off the phones in the near future, but I will still have other work to do, although not enough to keep me up here 8 hours a day/ 5 days a week.

We have tried some limited preschool activities (letter and number recognition, things like that) and I just don't know how to explain the things that she doesn't understand. It frustrates me, and I feel like I'm failing her at times like this. I'm afraid that I'm not a very effective teacher.

Also, and this is kind of peripheral, I worry that if I don't force some time away from me in the form of school, or sunday school, or SOMETHING, that she's going to end up being socially retarded. This is largely my own issue, as she's a lovely girl who can carry on a conversation with just about anyone about anything, as long as she's had time to warm up to them first. Also, I've read all the articles about the myth of socialization in school, and I agree with them, so WHY I have this particular hang up, I have no idea, but I'll own it. It's totally mine.

I know that if she can get over the hurdle of the first few weeks at school, she'd do just fine. But those first few weeks will be awful, and I'm afraid they'd be enough to make her hate school forever.

And why am I worrying about all this now when she's four and we have an entire year before kindergarten? Well, because, with A going to school, it's a pretty hot topic of conversation around here. And also, registration for school is in March which is only six months away, and will fly by in the business of life around here

One other hurdle that we have is that DH is kind of anti-homeschooling. That being said, I think I can sway him, at least for kindergarten, and then we can tackle other years as they come up.

So...thoughts? Advice? What would you do? What DID you do, if you were in a similar situation? I'm in NJ if that matters at all. I know we have very homeschooling friendly rules and laws. And we have a great group of homeschooling moms who meet for a playdate every Tuesday afternoon nearby. We haven't been able to make it over there, because of the aforementioned working situation

Thanks in advance for any comments.

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#2 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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You're describing my daughter to a T...except mine is Five. I sent her to preschool-- she wasn't happy about it at first but she has a VERY demanding/moody personality and I needed to have that time away from her. This started when she was two and it really did help her.

Now at five, she is homeschooled and I have seen regression. Doesn't "want" friends, doesn't want to go anywhere and thinks that I should be with her 24/7. While some people would probably think that's okay, I'm not digging it. I've toyed with putting her into school for a bit...but I don't think we will.

We're staring a co-op K-2 class tomorrow and tonight she gets to go to "Girls Club" through homeschool and on friday we have field day. So I think this regression is just temporary and we will be over it in a few weeks.

If you do homeschool, you really need to make sure she has some time without you. Be it at a dance class or in a co-op or something...she needs that big of time away.

As for time, at this age, it isn't a huge commitment. Our lessons are extremely short and I'd be we have less than 30 minutes of any type of sit down writing work (math and writing) combined per day. You don't need to push or worry about teaching what she's not getting-- she just may not be ready. I remember looking at my daughter's Pre-K letter assessment from last year and there's a HUGE difference between what she knew in Oct vs March.

So...my question for you: Why homeschool? What do you want out of it? What do you want out of it for your children? Why is your husband anti-homeschool?? Do I get to guess? We're all unsocialized freaks?

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#3 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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: Well, no, actually. He thinks that teaching is a specialized profession and people spend years in college learning how to do it; what makes us think that we can teach our kids with none of that schooling. Like I said, it's kind of a flimsy argument and I'm sure I can talk him out of that attitude,at least for kindergarten. The socialization thing is ALL me :

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So...my question for you: Why homeschool? What do you want out of it? What do you want out of it for your children?
My major reason for thinking about homeschooling is that I don't really want to subject her to something that she's so fearful of. Also, I do believe that I can give her a better education than she can get in our public school system, with more individualized attention, and focusing on things she WANTS to learn, as opposed to forcing her to learn things she's uninterested in.

I'm afraid that by forcing her into a school situation, it'll turn her off learning.

I'm equally afraid that I won't be able to do it.

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#4 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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I suggest you read some different theories of homeschooling- unschooling, maybe look at some montessori or waldorf, just to get some ideas about how there are a ton of different ways to do homeschooling. Just reading about unschooling helped me to loosen up lots of my worries about whether or not we could homeschool.

I personally don't see anything wrong with staying with your dd at sunday school for a few weeks while she adjusts to it- or doing other social activities for her that let you be near her. Maybe you could volunteer to help the Sunday school teacher as an assistant for a month? For next year, you can look into something like Daisy scouts- or some kind of lessons to expose her to other kids in different enviornments, without school being necessary.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#5 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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I personally don't see anything wrong with staying with your dd at sunday school for a few weeks while she adjusts to it- or doing other social activities for her that let you be near her.
I agree.

When my oldest child (very introverted) was 3/4 years old I would go to the YMCA to work out a couple days per week and he did not like it when I left him in the nursery. I had to stay with him for a while until he felt comfortable. I think that type of separation anxiety sounds very normal for your child's personality type and young age. Plus, it's not something they are doing every day so it's harder on them. My oldest is now 14 and is still introverted/shy. It's just who he is and I love him for it. I don't think he's socially retarded at all.

My 7.5 yr old DD, on the other hand, is very extroverted/outgoing and can drive me literally crazy at times. When she was around 3/4 she would run from me, wander off in stores and not listen. She was definitely not clingy. I definitely prefer the clingy types when they are really young tho.

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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#6 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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Its hard with a personality like that. My son is SOOO social, it is just night and day with those two!!!

Does she do any "outside" activities? My daughter went to a therapist who suggested finding something to help her with self-confidence. She started gymnastics, which had me in the "room" (watching) and her being able to have fun in a safe environment.

And glad to hear your husband doesn't think we're unsocalized freaks! :

As I said on another post...many teachers don't have degrees in what they teach. Often they actually get the certificate AFTER they've been teaching.

People can homeschool to Harvard (there's a book out on it). Trust me, and this is coming from a lazy/distracted mama, you can homeschool Kinder.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#7 of 15 Old 09-09-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SharonAnne View Post
: Well, no, actually. He thinks that teaching is a specialized profession and people spend years in college learning how to do it; what makes us think that we can teach our kids with none of that schooling. Like I said, it's kind of a flimsy argument and I'm sure I can talk him out of that attitude,at least for kindergarten.
It's worse than flimsy.

I went through all the elementary ed classes to become a teacher, and found myself stunned at the end to realize I knew very little from it - not an uncommon experience. Besides that, it's very different from simply helping one's own child learn, and teachers often need to work on deprograming themselves to get down to the simplicity of homeschooling needs. And here's a thread to take a look at: How many of you were (are) teachers?

As for starting to homeschool for the kindergarten a year down the line, you really don't need to be thinking in terms of a lot of one-on-one instruction time. It seems to me you would have a great situation in having your mom around to facilitate imaginative free play and some fun activities that aren't all that different from what she's normally doing - and, as you mention, your time will be getting freed up some too!

As for her tendency to want to be with you so much, mine was like that too, and he eventually just eventually grew out of it in spurts and went on to become very social. I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with supporting her needs along those lines - it's not as if there's any way to change her. In fact, if I had it to do all over again, the one thing I'd change would be to not worry about it.

I see no reason why homeschooling wouldn't work very well for you.

There's a large email group for working & single homeschooling parents - you might find some ideas in there too. The link to it is on this page: working & single parents - and the page also includes links to articles and other information.

Have fun! Lillian

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#8 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
I went through all the elementary ed classes to become a teacher, and found myself stunned at the end to realize I knew very little from it - not an uncommon experience. Besides that, it's very different from simply helping one's own child learn, and teachers often need to work on deprograming themselves to get down to the simplicity of homeschooling needs.
I think you know this is my story I'm still deprogramming some of the stuff I learned when I got my Elem.Ed. Degree.

I also totally sympathize as a parent of a child who doesn't want to separate. I agree with the PPs that staying with her a few times at church would be fine if you thought she'd get comfortable. It didn't work for me, and actually added more stress for us because I felt resentful at having to stay with him.

I think with your having so much family close by, you will have plenty of opportunities for her to spend time away from you, as you and she both feel comfortable.

My best advice is to try not to worry She will learn the stuff she needs to learn when she's ready, without your having to force it. The biggest issue I see is with your DH, his attitude toward HSing, and his expectations for you with the business. But you know that already


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#9 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 12:46 AM
 
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Just keep on, mama. We went to a homeschool group thing last week and my daughter was practically trying to climb back into the womb. Honestly, I was getting a little tiffed-- I mean, SERIOUSLY.

But I just smiled and let her sit in my lap at the beginning. Then the group went out to play and came back in to sit on the rug.

See if you can keep trying to do things and get her used to participating while you quietly sit in the corner. Once she's used to that, you can try to go out. She might have a bit of drama on that part, but if she's used to participating with a group, she'd hopefully get back to the activity quickly.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#10 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SharonAnne View Post
Also, and this is kind of peripheral, I worry that if I don't force some time away from me in the form of school, or sunday school, or SOMETHING, that she's going to end up being socially retarded. This is largely my own issue, as she's a lovely girl who can carry on a conversation with just about anyone about anything, as long as she's had time to warm up to them first. Also, I've read all the articles about the myth of socialization in school, and I agree with them, so WHY I have this particular hang up, I have no idea, but I'll own it. It's totally mine.
tbh, when reading your post I was thinking that what you were describing wasn't all that abnormal or unexpected for a 4 year old. I tend to think that by forcing the issue you might be complicating things or making them worse than you'd like.

We consider ourselves to be "Waldorf Inspired" so I found this post on "Social Experiences for a Four Year Old" (and it's follow-up) to be helpful.
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#11 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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I just wanted to comment on the shyness thing. My dd is very shy and I worried about that when deciding to HS, but then I realized - I was very shy as a child (and in many ways I still am), and I don't feel school helped me in one bit in this regard. In fact, I think I would have thrived if I had been allowed to venture out into the world on my own timetable rather than being pushed into social situations.

Now I am still introverted. I can't say I am "shy" because I am not necessarily afraid of socializing, I just prefer to limit it. I am very happy this way, and I don't think any amount of forcing me into social situations would really change me.

Instead of necessarily thinking of her shyness as something that can be cured, maybe instead you could reframe it into "who she is" and think in terms of what environment she'd be most likely to thrive in.

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#12 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 10:44 AM
 
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Just wanted to chime in. My daughter has always exhibited introverted tendencies at first. She sounds very similar to yours in that she needed a lot of time to warm up to people. Once she did, she was such a chatty, interactive, fun kid. But, she needed that time.

She attended preschool and pre-K at a great holistic school. Preschool was great for her in many ways but it was never an easy transition for her. Her pre-K year was very unsuccessful and we ended up pulling her out of it half-way through the year. We realized that school was not helping her feel comfortable exploring things on her own. It was actually making her social anxiety worse, even though she had known the kids, teachers, environment for 1.5 years at that point. She was still very stressed out about it.

So, last March we pulled her out and re-committed to homeschooling. All last Spring she only wanted to do activities if DH or I remained with her. During the Summer though she gradually wanted us to leave her at the horse barn (she rides several times a week and is good friends with the trainer's daughter) for a few hours at a time. It was a good trial because she requested it and felt very comfortable there.

As the time came to sign up for activities, I asked her if she wanted to participate in any classes without DH or I with her. She said that she wasn't ready. So, we made sure to only join things if we can be with her.

Well, something just *clicked* as soon as she turned 5, which has been all of almost 2 weeks now. She would normally cling to us when meeting a lot of new people at a time, and we went to the first girl scouts meeting over the weekend and she actually played and talked with the other children! At piano lessons yesterday she didn't need DH in the same room with her (it was only her 2nd lesson with this teacher). She was chatty with the cashier at Trader Joe's. It is as if her protective shell is slowly cracking, and she is starting to let the rest of the world see the girl usually saved for close friends and family. It's been amazing, really.

I also am fully convinced that she is blossoming as the result of us pulling her out of school and letting her decide when she was ready for this next step. We had to give her back that comfort zone and let her be the one to push the limits.

So, really, the best advice I can give is to just be patient with her. Trust me when I say I know it's not easy. But, it's so worth it when they discover this by themselves. It's like watching the butterfly emerge from the cocoon.

Holli
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#13 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your input and ideas I'm so grateful for this community. (Hi, Li! I love it when we find each other's threads )

There's a lot of great ideas in here and OMG, this:
Quote:
Instead of necessarily thinking of her shyness as something that can be cured, maybe instead you could reframe it into "who she is" and think in terms of what environment she'd be most likely to thrive in.
is probably exactly what I needed to hear!

WRT the Sunday school situation; I did try staying with her. She actually was doing much better at one point this past spring, and then we skipped one weekend while we were camping, and she regressed right back to the first day when we went back the next week. I just did not even have the energy to try to do it all over again at that point. And I can't stay with her for two or three weeks every time we miss a week of church, because of illness or vacay or whatever, you know?

I think the church thing is where I started getting concerned, and I think the reason for that is that none of the other kids in her class there seem to have a problem getting back into it if they miss a week. None of the kids seem to have issues when there's a teacher rotation, either (every couple months, sometimes sooner, depending on different things, but it's a volunteer position, and they rotate the volunteers, which I totally understand-but it's hard on my kid).

So, I guess all my issues stem from comparing my little girl to other people's little girls. Which, really, come on, I should know better. And, let me tell you when I hit on this; last night, I was laying in bed with her, helping her fall asleep and we were doing our good night stuff. I said "You're a very special little girl" and for some reason, those words that I've said a gajillion times before hit me, and I realized what an idiot I've been here.

Then, reading what Attila wrote above...yep. :

So, I kind of broached the idea of homeschooling her next year with DH and he'd like us to try preschool a couple days a week now, and see how she does. He's not an ogre, and if she's not doing well emotionally, he won't have a problem pulling her out. But, he thinks that J is a lot like him, wrt being shy around new people, and that if she just forces herself, she'll be fine. Of course, a 4 year old and "forcing" just seem odd to me. But, we'll see. We haven't spoken about it at great length yet, and I have a lot of new fuel and ammunition from this thread. (Lianne, you and SIL are my big argument against his "teachers know more than we do" defense )

Completely selfishly, I really have been looking forward to a time when both my kids are in school and I can work and get my house clean and stuff while they're at school. I so always envisioned myself having fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and stuff ready for an after school snack and all that stuff. :

But, would it be so bad if one or both of my girls were helping me make those cookies? If there's one thing being a parent is teaching me, is that I need to let go of the stuff I had planned and enjoy the stuff I've been given.

I'll keep you guys posted with our discussions and decisions. I'll be back with more questions and stuff, I'm sure.

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#14 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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He should be used to having me used in arguments by now

This is a great thread for me too - thanks for starting it

Also Rebecca's blog has some good stuff about school lately, if you want to check it out. There's a link in the CP newsletter from this month.

WAHMama to Allen (2-10-05) and Alexa (6-27-08)
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#15 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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I have a daughter who was very much like yours. She attended Montessori preschool at 4, and would mostly hang out with the teachers. They were much more predictable than the other preschoolers. LOL She did fine in new situations if she had plenty of time to observe and warm up to the situation. However, the teachers would describe her as shy or extremely introverted. We began homeschooling when she was 5.

She really blossomed with homeschooling. We could see the same small group of kids a couple times a week and she developed some close connections. I was there to observe and help her when group dynamics were confusing to her. She was able to pursue academics and social issues at her own pace.

She is turning 11 next week and she would never be described as shy or socially awkward now. She is a very self-confident and self-aware young lady. She is very academically advanced and recently expressed the interest to attend classes with other students. We had tried a one day a week co-op, but it wasn't really enough for her, and strangely enough we have found more acceptance of academic acceleration at the local charter school than in our homeschool community. As of this fall, she has been confidently trucking into school to attend high school classes with mostly 14-17 yr olds. She feels at home there and well accepted by her classmates. She is the picture of confidence. I remember a tall 17 yr old boy coming up to her and saying, 'What are you a sixth grader or something?'. She calmly met his eye and said, why yes, yes I am. He then smiled, shook her hand and said, 'glad to meet you!'. LOL

She happily fits into many worlds right now. We still homeschool part-time and she loves going to park and playing pretend games with her gang of 8-12 yr old friends. She loves going to school with the high school kids. She has a group of adult friends from community activities we participate in. I just don't think she would have gotten to the place she is right now had she gone through traditional school. She didn't have to fit the pace of school either academically or socially and instead she was able to grow at her own pace.

Time will tell how puberty and teen years will go - but right now I feel very happy with the choice we made 6 years ago. I remember the worries of hs'ing an only child and one who was often described as shy or introverted. I now wish I hadn't wasted any time worrying.

Good luck on your decision!.
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