Struggling with decision to homeschool - Mothering Forums
Learning at Home and Beyond > Struggling with decision to homeschool
MommaLura's Avatar MommaLura 02:27 PM 03-01-2011

I know, this sounds crazy. I've always wanted to homeschool and due to my children's numerous food intolerance as well as many other benefits I want to homeschool. So, why is it every day I question that decision? My ds is only 3, so this is a preschool decision right now and dd is 6 months so it a future thing for her, I do have time. But I since I had dd I've been struggling with ds. He's bored and he never listens anymore. DD is a high needs baby and its hard to do much structure with ds. Right now we can afford to buy some materials for homeschooling, but other than the basic craft supplies I find myself hesitating.


I'm scared I can't do it, that he'll miss something important. I'm scared I've forgotten everything and can't answer his questions. Any advice?

pigpokey's Avatar pigpokey 04:36 PM 03-01-2011

You don't need any home schooling materials right now.  Let him outgrow that terrible 3.5 disease that a lot of our sons have, and start when he gets more back to normal. 


I think I started teaching my son from the 100 Easy Lessons book at about 3.75 but only because his big sister was turning 5 and starting.  Had he been the older ... my older child did just phonics games on the computer, and classes like dance, gymnastics, swim team before then.

SundayCrepes's Avatar SundayCrepes 10:17 PM 03-01-2011

From my son's third to fourth birthdays, he was AWFUL. I actually asked the pediatrician if he could cause shaken baby syndrome in my little one. I would wake up in the mornings, dread the day, and think, "I used to love him more than anything. Now he's the enemy."


My son is 5 now. He is so gentle with his little sister. He "reads" books to her and tries to teach her the words for the pictures. When they wake up in the morning, he tells her, "I love you." This is not the child that lived here two years ago.


So, you've got two challenging children. Wait until your little one is over two before you worry about anything except keeping everyone alive. Wait until she's 3 to worry much about homeschooling.


We're on the unschooling spectrum, so we won't be using much in the way of curriculum. (However, I do buy the secular sonlight books.) If I were into curriculum, I would wait until my son was around 7 before doing much academic. The more I read about letting kids just play the first 7 or so years the more it makes sense to me.


So, just keep treading water and believe it will get easier.

Plummeting's Avatar Plummeting 11:02 PM 03-01-2011

I wouldn't spend money on anything at his age, unless he's asking for it. 3.5 is so, so, so, so young. I know it doesn't seem like it when they're your first or only (been there!) but it's true. If he's asking for it that's great, but if he's not, don't stress yourself out even more by trying to add in things that really just aren't beneficial for kids that age. I have an 11mo and an almost 7yo, so I'm at the point of HAVING to do some formal work (we definitely aren't unschoolers) and there's just no way I'd put myself through that for a kid your son's age.


In fact, consider yourself lucky that your daughter will be older by the time your son is ready for K or 1st grade, lol. Today my 11mo learned how to climb onto my 6yo's table. Yeah, that's not very helpful when the 6yo is trying to do math. On a normal day, while we're trying to do school work, the 11mo tears books off the bookshelves, eats paper, pokes herself in the eye with colored pencils she's snagged from the pencil box, plays in the toilet (because the 6yo forgot to close the bathroom door), throws keys or phones in the trash, takes junk mail out of the trash (and eats it), chews on the white board eraser, goes into the 6yo's room and finds small toys she shouldn't have and puts them in her mouth, tries to rip our maps off the walls, gets down the hall and into the dog's water bowl before I even notice she's gone (she's fast!) and all kinds of other things, just in the 90 or so minutes we're doing focused work. Really, truly, it's that crazy. Plus, she's a baby and she likes the sound of her own voice, so she shrieks. A LOT. Try explaining any new concept to one child over the happy, but annoyingly loud, shrieks of the other. Don't put yourself through that before you have to. lol

Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 11:21 AM 03-08-2011

I think you'd be way ahead to put aside thinking about homeschooling until such time as he's school age - 5 or 6 - and you still won't get behind anything. Right now, just provide for the kind of things he's attracted to, and enjoy your time with your little ones one day at a time - the future years won't be nearly as daunting as they may seem right now. I'd spend whatever money on things he can enjoy for developing physical skills and imagination - the best investment for laying down a good, strong foundation for all future pursuits. Here's an article from a mom of five homeschooled children - lots of good suggestions:  Preschool Homeschooling.

Don't spend even a moment worrying about the possibility of having forgotten things and not being able to answer his questions - it's a piece o' cake to look things up in a hurry with reference books and online search engines such as Google. You'll only need to buy (or check out from the library) a few things at a time in the years ahead - it doesn't need to cost a bundle to homeschool. It's not that easy to "miss something important" - you'll be able to come across plenty of guidelines and good books that will help keep in mind the standard things children learn as they grow up. Instead of the structure you mention that you can't provide, due to the baby's needs, you can try just providing a set rhythm of general activity times - such as trying to set up simple crafts on certain days at certain times, settling down to read aloud to him at certain times, having regular snack times and times for going out on walks, a time for setting up simple building projects, a time to regularly go to a playground, etc. Your son will probably feel less bored and frustrated when he has the sense of things to come in a predictable way, and if there are plenty of things around for him to turn to in between.  - Lillian

Thandiwe's Avatar Thandiwe 04:11 PM 03-08-2011

((hugs))  I struggle often, too.  I am confident, when I look at it objectively, but then those fears, just like you're saying, creep in.  Will I fail them?  Will they fail to have all the opportunities they would in school?  We have the advantage of my 5.5 year old spending a few months in our local charter public school early this school year.  As such, I know what it's like on the "other side."  And I know that we are doing them a service by keeping them home.  But at times my oldest starts wishing he could go back to school, mostly "for lunch."  And it's those times that leave me wondering if I'll hurt them by keeping them home.


I *know* I'm not, but I *fear* I am.  I need to gain confidence, or we won't be able to hold our ground.  Not in this society, and not in this non-alternative region.  I know how you're feeling; sending kind thoughts.

Lisa1970's Avatar Lisa1970 08:28 PM 03-08-2011

We all question the decision I think. It is not mainstream really. So, it can be really hard to not just do what everyone else is doing.

MommaLura's Avatar MommaLura 07:38 AM 03-09-2011

Thank you all! You gave me a lot to think about. Ds is a child interested in everything and full of questions. Outside of this crazy age, he's amazing! He wants to learn and asks to learn. (he also asks for a snake, HA! no way!)  Right now we are big on craft projects, outside time and lots of reading, which is great. We've learned a ton about construction vehicles together and it looks like reptiles are next. Children really do introduce us to a whole new world.


Plummeting- I can totally see my dd doing that. She's already crawling, already eating paper and trying to rip books and eat them too and, of course, loves big brother's toys. She has zero interest in anything age appropriate or safe, so you gave me a nice laugh this morning. Thank you =)


Thank you, Lillian, we will focus on strengthening our rhythm. I had a nice night rhythm going, but daddy keeps forgetting eyesroll.gif

Ella Enchanted's Avatar Ella Enchanted 10:21 AM 03-09-2011

Most of us have grown up with public-schooling just being "the way it's done," and it can be hard to turn away from a lifetime of one thing being drilled into us.  It helps to keep in mind that today's public schools are drastically different than they used to be.  Most schools have done away with detentions, so bullies get away with everything.  Most schools no longer fail or hold kids back a grade, citing their "fragile little self-esteems," but actually teaching them they don't have to work for anything in life.  Most schools have done away with winning and losing so that there is no sense of accomplishment for working hard when slackers get the same reward.  Most schools "teach to the test," focusing on teaching kids how to pass tests rather than how to think critically.  Almost universally schools are horrifically underfunded as salaries and other funding is cut to make way for raises in politician salaries.


To be honest, I've seen kids in public high school with a lower level of actual education that kids of equal age who weren't actually educated in any way at all, just on their own (I do know some kids whose parents don't educate them in any way, not even abiding by the unschooling method of following a child's interests).


I know it's a down way to look at it, but there isn't a lot of chance parents can do any worse than our public schools are doing.


Oh, I know we have some fantastic educators who dedicate their lives and the very air they breathe to teaching, but only so much can be done in classes of 50 (and, in high school, having several of those) and funds so limited that there's now a (small) tax write-off just for being a teacher what with how much they have to spend out of pocket now.  Teachers paying with their own money is so common that it's now the new " the way it's done."

sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 10:51 AM 03-09-2011

Personally, I'm planning to enroll dd in a "mother's morning" sort of preschool this coming fall. Either 2 or 3 days a week for a few hours. She adores time with kids, I adore having some time to myself, if it doesn't work for her, I'll pull her and try something else.


I've found that just doing something like library story time improves the energy of the rest of the day and I'm always at my best first thing in the morning, right after her nap, and after dh has been the parent-in-charge for an hour or two (particularly if they leave the house or I do).


So all-in-all, I think that sending dd away for 9 hours a week or so will make the other 159 hours better.