I am a mother to a 4 1/2 year old and a 2 year old. My family is in the final stretch of deciding if homechooling is for us. While my husband and I are neither in a firm camp on what we vote for, I'm definately the one keeping HSing on the table as an option.
My oldest boy is a bit wild - lots of energy, lots of creativity, and it's a challenge helping him to remember to control his body (jumping around, bouncing on teh couch, just plowing people over and not even realizing it, etc.). It gives me some pause with homeschooling, because I worry that precisely the philophy that draws me to homeschooling will leave me confused about how to help him learn basic levels of discipline (such as controling your body, etc.)
My youngest just woke up, so I'm sending this before I intended. Thanks for your advice and support, and I'll try to clarify later what I maybe left fuzzy.
The good thing about home-schooling is that you are in charge of the curriculum. I don't think the sit-and-read-classics and learn from that or drill-type learning would be his thing. But, you can do things where it is more kinesthetic--and also when he gets the wigglies, he can get up, run around and get the wigglies out. Also, home-schooling or brick-and-mortar schooling is not necessarily a one-and-done decision. You can re-visit it if whichever you decide is not working for you at the time.
As for his active-ness: it could be anything from sensory-seeking behaviors, to immaturity (he'll calm down as he gets older...aka he's a 4 year old boy), to he's hyper. That determination is not for me to make. Maybe mention it at his next doctor appointment.
We're homeschooling - I have 2, 4, and 6 year old boys and while the 6 year old has definitely calmed down some since he was 4... he's still all over the place and it is one of the things I worry about ALL.THE.TIME. That said, I think he'd be way worse off in traditional school where he'd be forced to sit for long periods ... it's a tough call! HUGS!!
I think it's wonderful that you are able to have lots of time to consider this. I think young boys especially have it rough in an academic setting. Some--many--are just not able to sit still until 7yo, some older than that. It's not that there is anything wrong with them, just that they are active kids. Homeschooling gives you the freedom to honor that. You can either work with it as best you can, in little chunks if you are the more formal kind of HSer, or you can wait it out, mentally record what he *is* learning while flying through the air between the armchair and the couch and called it "relaxed".
To better reach a decision, find out the states mandatory age to register as a homeschooler. Most parents I talk to here in WA are surprised to find out that any education--HSing, public school or otherwise--is not mandatory in our state until exactly the child's 8th birthday!
Some HSers are of the belief that you need to keep "at grade level" for optimal learning. Others--our family included--are more relaxed and believe that learning happens best when the readiness is there and that it can be a good decision to wait. That kids will catch up easily. As a gardener, I think about it like planting a tree. The best, strongest trees are planted from seeds right where they will grow. Most folks plant the large, potted trees so they can get a bigger tree right away. Little do they know that those seedlings, having better established roots, will catch up and surpass those potted specimens and be healthier trees besides.
I hope I didn't confuse you with that analogy! It made sense to me, but......
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
The best part about HSing is you can taylor it to his needs. When he's older and it's more formal you have the option of working for 20 minutes, then taking a 10 minute wiggle break, then another work period, etc. In PS he'd just be labeled as hyperactive and you might find them pushing having your child evaluated for ADHD, when in reality your child is just acting age appropriately for a little boy. And he will calm down. My oldest has always been very active, but now at 6 1/2 he can sit and do schoolwork for over an hour straight most days. I would NEVER have thought he'd have been capable of this ever when I saw him at 4 1/2.
Thanks so much ladies. I am in total agreement that a brick and morter traditional school would not be a good fit. I think my concern is that I, personally, value flexibility and honoring our innate tendencies, etc. I guess I can't help but wonder: What if I'm wrong that it's the best thing for him? What if I'm protecting what should be more.....guided, for lack of a better word? That's not quite what I mean, but I can't help but wonder if my romantic approach to how spirited he is will hold him back from growing beyond it. I really second-guess whether professional teachers simply have more resources to approach someone like him with more ideas than I have. And then I remember that even if they did, they wouldn't be able to with all of the unreasonable expectations placed upon them.
He is registered in a preschool this year, and his teacher tells me that control over their body is what happens during this year. She's aware that he struggles with it, and she tells me that I'll be surprised how much he changes this year.
Growing out of it and trained out can be two different things. Waiting for him to grow out of it can seem a bit indulgent at first when you have no experience with an older child to reassure you otherwise. Training him out of it can be trouble, though, as he might begin to see himself as somehow....wrong....if he can't discipline himself as quickly as other students. That's not always what happens, but I would at least wait until kindergarten age to put him in a school setting. Wait and see. Most parents and teachers have no faith in that. They cannot trust that a child would ever *want* to sit still, learn to tell time, read, do math, science, history, literature. But in my experience, mostly they do! Surprise! Sometimes earlier, sometimes later (sometimes waaaay later) but they usually get it.
I just don't get it.... they get the kids to learn to sit still, then they have to eventually make them get off their duffs and walk. By the way, my 5yo (never ever taught math), just showed me a "Go Fish" card and said, "Mama, two 3's and a 1 make 7". She can add dice, count play money, count amazingly high, write the alphabet and her name, and build amazing structures with whatever. She also has a superpower--she can turn anything into a toy and make an entire game around that. For hours. How could they learn to do all that if they need to be taught? And.....right now she's sitting still! No big feat for a 5yo girl necessarily, but, they DO SIT STILL! Just not always on command. Apparently that is important these days. (She's now showing me how she arranged the Go Fish cards in two perfectly matching stacks.)
Now my 6.5 yo is planning out her Halloween costume. She just had the idea for making a light saber out of a dowel and sparkle red paint which she has diligently put on layer after layer. Now she's drawing the design to complete it, now she's writing (big deal for her, she's had difficulties with coordination and fatigue, not unexpected since it took her 4 years or so to learn to smile on command without looking like she just ate a lemon). She's finishing the list of what else she needs for her vampire-with-a-light-saber costume. She also reads, knows a little Spanish, can add, subtract and multiply, tell time, measure, she has amazing powers of listening and I've read her the Hobbit 3 times, LOTR once through and many other classic stories. Right now she is walking adding numbers out loud.
It is a very, very schoolish night. (It's about 7PM right now and nearly bedtime.)
OK, now I've made some parents of 7yo's who don't get this obviously schoolish behavior from their kids feel guilty and ineffective because their girls do nothing but race around the house and over the furniture with a cape. Except when they bounce on the bed or go stomping through puddles. "So what?" I say. This is not a big deal, I think. Others definitely think otherwise and there are so many arguments about this, but we must sometimes agree to disagree. I promise to teach my girls not to bludgeon the general population with their profound illiteracy. Now I'm being sarcastic. Sigh! I need to just stop and edit this down to something more palatable. Or not. (See signature below.)
OK, understand that all this commentary is coming from a die-hard unschooling parent. I have my opinions and that's what this post is. But I *see* that little kids are natural unschoolers. Will we stay that way? Who knows? Right now my family is just riding the wave.
I think you can afford to wait. The teacher will try to convince you otherwise, but I disagree.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
The nice thing about homeschool is children don't have to sit still.. I do some preschool stuff with my oldest and she will listen and walk around at the same time. Today she was climbing around the the living room while I read and would stop every couple of minutes to ask a question about something I read. So shes learning but she doesn't have to sit to learn. In fact she probably would learn less sitting because she doesn't like to sit still. Instead of enjoying it she would be thinking of when it was all over so she could get up and go again.
I'd like to point out that he *is* learning to control his body in that joyful and exuberant way that little kids simply own. When adults refer to kids "controlling their bodies" what they really mean is learning to quiet their bodies on command.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Just wanted to say that I also have a very "spirited" 4.5 yr old ds, and I've noticed that lots of people, including even family members who work with children in a school setting, find him difficult. They often say that he doesn't listen (and he doesn't- to them), is out of control, and needs more discipline.
At home, where he is homeschooled with his older brother, age 8, he plays independently for long stretches, gets all the rest and quality whole foods he needs throughout the day, including high protein snacks (really helps him stay even-keeled), and will sit quietly for over an hour while I read a stack of books to him. He loves art, especially watercoloring, loves his gymnastics class, and listens really well in his Spanish class, which is taught by an instructor using the Waldorf approach to foreign language- lots of movement, songs, and games.
This child thrives in his homeschooling environment. I'm fairly certain that a traditional school would break his spirit. I'm so grateful everyday that we can homeschool.
Hope this helps!