I'm sure this has been asked and answered, but I couldn't find a good search term to narrow down results. So, everyone keeps talking to my daughter about being excited to go off to kindergarten. School sounds like a lot of fun, riding the bus, having recess. We just told her recently that we are going to home school.
I tried to explain it to her, that we would have more freedom to do what fits our family, but she seems to be searching for some way to understand why she's not going to school with the rest of the kids. I noticed that she just goes along when people ask her about kindergarten or school and gets quiet. She doesn't really have a way to talk about it--like she feels like she's not going to embark on this great passage with everyone else and is perhaps embarrassed, since she's not "going off" like everyone else.
She's started playing with her little brother that its "time for school..."
Just wondering how other folks have helped their small children understand going against the norm or to normalize our choice and how she can talk to others about it when they ask the questions they all ask.
Are there any books/media out there where the kids are homeschooled. Not The Wild Thornberries. I think that the characters in that show are too weird.
my oldest daughter is going to start homeschool kindergarten in the 'fall' too .. we had similar issues when we first told her and it didn't help that she had been going to preschool a couple days a week .. i found what helped the most was me acting excited about it and clearing out a space in the house that we are calling 'school' when people ask ehr about kindergarten she says ' I'm going to homeschool!' what she means is, "i'm giong to school int he basement!' like its a place .. though i think she is starting to understand more what it really means as we are starting to do some school once or twice a week .. but its not like kids going to school really understand what they are getting into ;) the nxt time someone asks her about school if she gets shy - you can try to answer for her, "she is going to homeschool in the fall, we are going to have so much fun!" i would feel like it was all a lie.. but its not like school is really all the fun people make it out to be either :P lol she will likely follow your lead though, if you tell a few people she will start telling them.. i noticed that my DD started out saying 'we will try to homeschool' because thats what i was telling people.. when i started saying 'we are going to homeschool' when people asked then DD got a lot more confident about it..
We passed for that stage recently with our oldest. We create and partipate in couple homeschool groups. Another idea is make an Homeschool ID with they own picture and create a name for your homeschool. Kids like to be identify with somethings.
I guess the people who asked him the nosy, none of their business questions about school didn't really get into all that much detail about it - the bus, recess, etc. It was pretty limited to "are you going to start kindergarten in the fall?" to which he would invariably reply "yes" and then they'd ask something like have you met your teacher, or which school do you go to, etc., and he'd say "I go to homeschool" and then they'd stutter around and change the subject. LOL.
I think he was more disturbed by the realization that all of the shows he watched on PBS featured kids going to school. At the time, though, I don't think he realized that HE was the freak. HSing was, to him, just the normal thing to do.
He's going into 2nd now, and has a lot more friends who go to PS, and has since figured out that he's in the minority, but I still don't think he's put a lot of thought into being "different" or anything. He's been allergic to dairy until recently, so he was the only person he knew who couldn't have ice cream. And our family makes a lot of choices that are different, and I think he's just accustomed to it.
Thank you etsdtn99. My dd just "graduated" from once a week at preschool, so that is a complicating factor. Your suggestions and observations fit for us too. I need to get the classroom ready.
"We homeschool" is a nice simple answer. My ODS originally told people "I don't go to school," to which I'd have to chime in that we homeschool. ODS never wanted to go to school. He took speech therapy at the public school and saw all the lines of quiet kids and all the structure and order and it sounded awfully to my wiggly free-spirited boy. However, DD, who currently takes ST at the school, sees it and thinks it all looks wonderful. We dealt with her asking when she would go to school for a while, but she's recently stopped asking. (She's 5). I did sign her up for two weeks of summer camp and I think that helps - she knows she gets a structured fun environment without having to do the work or it for all the days. Plus, ODS hates the idea of not being homeschooled so that helps.
Another thing you can do is meet up with a homeschooling playgroup. If she meets kids like her, then it won't be so strange.
ODS knows a lot more public school kids than homeschool kids. But it doesn't bother him. Several of his friends have told him that they wish they could be homeschooled as well. So, ODS thinks he's pretty lucky!
I'm not aware of books or videos and would be interested myself. Our girls play "school" too but not because they want to go to school. We do let her say she is a kindergartener (now 1st grader) "and we homeschool". I have plenty of books with school involved, but if a book is about "going to school" I usually skip it. I am an unabashed homeschooling cheerleader! Every time we do something cool that wouldn't have been possible had they been at school, I mention how happy I am that we homeschool. "If we want to learn about (insert current fascination here) for 10 months then we can do that." I point out that the world is our school, all the time, every day, and that even watching that hummingbird for a while is homeschooling. "School" can be at night when we point out the stars. It can be in summer when we harvest from the garden and save seeds.
I am also happy to "play school". I don't try to play it like I know it is (or try to make a cynical point with the game), but with how they think it is. They tell me to play teacher. I say "what to you want to learn about?" "No! No! You tell us!" "Alright, we'll learn about the wind. What questions do you have?" Then I'll write down their questions and attempt to answer them. "School" usually digresses into play time for them and a new list of questions for me to search the library catalog or internet with. This is nothing like school, but what do they know? If they ask me something specific about going to school, I'll let them know the truth. Some kids love school. Most kids love kindergarten, but those feelings can change and usually do.
Recently, I am stepping forward to skilled people and identifying ourselves as homeschoolers, and could we please watch you work? I can see that some kids might cringe this kind of parental forwardness, but so far that hasn't been an issue with my kids, and it helps for them to see my enthusiasm about homeschooling.
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"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
Maybe its because my kids knew from VERY young...but they never wanted to go to school.
Is there a group you are going to join? A class you could take? Fun field trips or something? Give her something to look forward to.
Or you could teach her to say, "I don't have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to catch the bus!"
I think the question of how make starting formal kindergarten homeschool and the question of how to respond to others are different issues.
In addition to the great suggestions, I've heard of going out for breakfast, taking "school" photos, planning a special field trip. My pediatrician likes to take the kids camping at all the uncrowded campgrounds :)
And I think it's reasonable for kids to be hesitant at first about volunteering information. Now, DS is very comfortable, but it took him a while to feel good about weathering the adult discomfiture. It seemed reasonable for us to speak for him until he felt confident speaking up himself.
Meeting more homeschooled kids is helping. We have met quite a few, but she hasn't really hit it off with any of them...until this last week we met a few older girls from different families in a couple of different contexts. She adores them. I guess we just have to keep going on that trail. Its hard for me--I am not ordinarily very social, and find that for the moms I meet, just because we homeschool doesn't mean we have anything else in common...and its awkward if the kids don't like each other!
Dd (age 5.5) has never attended a preschool and we are media-free so we never had to deal with TV shows force-feeding expectations of "school" to dd. These two things have helped quite a bit since "school" is not really a "cool" idea to her. She knows she has friends who will be starting kindy at a school building this Fall, and we have played at school playgrounds many times. In fact, we just celebrated dd's 5.5 birthday with some of her friends at a school playground! I don't want her having weird feelings associated with either schooling or homeschooling, but I do want her to know that we think homeschooling is best and the most fun because we love being together and we love having freedom. Like a pp mentioned, whenever we do something fun that we couldn't do if dd were in traditional school, I remark on how glad I am that we're home together and homeschool. When people ask dd what school she goes to (they've been doing this since she was 3!), she just responds, "We homeschool," because that's what she's heard me do. I think it's a good idea for this age to make kindergarten an "event" with all the fun trappings so they feel special just like their friends who get to ride a bus and get a new backpack. For us, that has meant buying a homeschooling bookshelf and lots of fun things that I'm going to put out on the first day of school. I think we'll also do a First Day of Kindergarten picnic or something, and plan a camping trip for that weekend. Our kindy is actually not going to be very different from what we already do but I do want it to have a special "feel" about it. We plan on doing a short circle time each day with songs, a story, and poetry followed by a craft, and we'll light a special candle and say a special blessing over our lesson time, etc. I like to think of this as creating ambiance, which is something children love, especially at this magical age.
My kids have been asked the one main question so many times over the years when we were out and about during a school day while school was in session and that is: ARE YOU OUT OF SCHOOL SICK TODAY? or if it's on a holiday they will comment to my kids asking if they are enjoying their day out of school and some might go as far as to say what school do you go to. My kids have never really had a problem just saying "I'm homeschooled." If the person is interested they may say something and comment more and ask questions and if they are not interested (which is the norm) then they say nothing and they get real quiet or change the subject, lol! Love it.
46-year-old single (divorced), self-employed working, home schooling, mommy to:
12 y-o (private school)
5 y-o (home schooled)
Oh and forgot to mention this, but for me family was the toughest on us. They would always ask how we do it, do we use the same schedule or curriculum the schools are using, how do we know when the kids are ready to move up, socialization with other kids their age (the biggie), and so on and blabbity blabbity boo. Once you've homeschooled a few months you start to get used to it I think and it will tend to go in one ear and out the other. You can't let it get to ya because there is always going to be someone with a ton of questions or someone putting the idea of homeschool down. I have had more school teachers down it than the average person for some reason. They will say how on earth do you teach different grade levels, I do good to do my one grade level year after year and I've been doing it twenty years or whatever. (rolling eyes) First off, I'm not a teacher and I will leave it at that.
46-year-old single (divorced), self-employed working, home schooling, mommy to:
12 y-o (private school)
5 y-o (home schooled)
My oldest had trouble with not going off to kindy too. She would tell people "my Mom won't let me go to school". She felt very romantic about school almost the whole first year. But I contributed that to how much every one else builds up school. We talked a lot about we can do x or y because your not in a school building. I also discovered she wanted a place for "school", so one of our rooms is set up for that now. When she saw she was doing science for ages 8 up and I explained we had that freedom because it was just her and I, she really liked that part of it. Now she wouldn't trade.
Have you guys talked about what your going to do during homeschooling? How you get to do that and this and the other thing? Perhaps she needs an idea of what homeschooling means? Right now it just means not riding the bus and having recess with jump ropes?