What do you do if your (young, prek) child wants desperately to go to school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 06-02-2012, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Dd is 3 1/2 and would be going into preschool this year and kindergarten next year if she were going to school.  I have always intended to homeschool and finally (yay!) got dh on board.  However, lovely dd is desperate to go to school.  She talks about it all the time, that when she's bigger she will go to school (all her bigger friends go to school).  We live just down the street from the school and she sees her friends come out for recess often and wants to play with them.  I'm pretty sure she thinks that school is just a time that you get to play with your friends.  I'm sure that she would do great in school, she's bright and social and loves the teachers who she has had in swimming etc.  She is "that kid" that I can leave her with strange adults in a strange place and she will have everyone in love with her by the time I pick her up.  However, we are simply not interested in her participating in any of the preschool/primary schooling options here (they are TERRIBLE, and well that's how I got dh on my side, there was always a plan to hs).  I have heard of homeschoolers who say that if their child ever asked to go to school they would put them in it, but dd is so young.  I try explaining that some families do school at school and others do school at home and we are a family that does school at home, but I don't think she gets it.  Usually I get a "yep mama that's right and when I'm bigger I will go to school".  I don't want to be too harsh but do you guys have any suggestions for how to handle this?  We are coming up to the point where people are going to start to talk to her about school, and I really want to be able to handle this before they start grilling my 3 year old.  We live in a small town and everyone knows how old she is and everyone does 4 year old preschool so people will ask her.


I hope I got this across right.  Dd is very determined.  She's been asking about her birthday party since december (her birthday is in November, and yes she would be in k in 2013 the cut off is quite late here) and is very insistant on talking about her birthday when she'll be 4.  The same thing is now happening with school.

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#2 of 12 Old 06-02-2012, 08:35 PM
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Can you join a local homeschool group and start attending some activities with them? It would allow her to know some bigger kids who don't go to school, and there would be fun activities with the group that she could look forward to.

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#3 of 12 Old 06-02-2012, 10:19 PM
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We've had/are somewhat still having these issues. A friend homeschooling boys told me she's heard this is more common with girls shrug.gif. What's helped so far -
  • Park day - it hasn't been totally easy to get connected thus far, but DD has made one friend close enough for some play dates, an invite to her birthday party... The other mom is just as motivated to encourage the friendship.
  • planning time w her schooled friends
  • getting more "out there" constantly pointing out the cool things we get to do bc she's not in school - field trips several times a month v. a year, no time limits on activities she's enjoying, etc.
  • getting DH, a teacher, to weigh in and help her understand that school isn't about playing and toys, which is her picture - even if he didn't teach, I think it would help not to feel like this is just a me v. her dynamic.

Good luck!

*** DH (wed 5/03), DD (6/07), and DS (8/11)
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#4 of 12 Old 06-03-2012, 07:25 AM
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I agree with pp about mixing with homeschoolers, so she really understands that homeschooling is a valid path.  I would also watch her media exposure (preschool shows tend to do a pretty hard sell on "school") and I might start remarking on things like when recess is over "Oh look, the school kids have to go back inside now, I'm so glad we can stay out and play, aren't you?" I would also make sure she understood that she would not be in class with whatever friends she has who are in school right now-- they would be in a different grade and she would never get to play with them during the school day.  I wouldn't go overboard in criticizing school, but I would try to dispel whatever inaccuracies there are in her view of school.


I wouldn't argue with her about whether or not she will go to school when she is bigger, because she very well may go to school at some point, even if that point is college, but I would say that different kids can start going to school at different ages, and we're having so much fun without school and she's learning so much, that I don't think there's any need to sign her up.

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#5 of 12 Old 06-03-2012, 09:16 AM
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If she doesn't know about preschool, then you have a couple of years to make a good case for HSing.  She has that time to get excited about it.  


Nothing in this house cheers on HSing more than watching Bill Nye and Harry Potter in jammies first thing in the morning, and after some play time, sitting down with mama with her coffee and diving into 2 more chapters of HP.  Except perhaps the camping trips we take when all the families have gone back to school and the weather is still glorious.  Or that we can have a chance to become really fascinated by something and have the time to delve in depth.

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#6 of 12 Old 06-03-2012, 09:36 AM
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I agree with meeting other homeschoolers and getting involved in homeschool activities.  If there are any homeschool coops in your area, that might be a good thing to look into, even now (although around here, all the homeschool coops won't let you join unless you have at least 1 child that is K or older), but it could still be good to look into it.


The more involved you get in the homeschooled community, the more friends she will make who don't go to school, the more normal homeschooling will be.  Plus, getting involved allows you to plug into fun activities, park days, etc.

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#7 of 12 Old 06-03-2012, 09:45 AM
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We went through this too-dd's big sister ( my stepdaughter) goes to public school and we have attended many of her school events plus dropping her off/picking her up at the bus 1-2 times a week.  I think dd got the picture that school is all parades, parties, games, and field trips, along with the super cool big yellow bus!  At your dd's age, she was pretty insistent about going to school, but as she has gotten older (5 now) she is excited about homeschooling.  She occasionally says she will go to "regular school" when she is 8 (no idea why that age!), but mostly says that she likes being home and wants to homeschool forever.  Things that have helped:

  • Joining a homeschool co-op for preschool age kids so she gets to do lots of fun activities and play with to homeschooled kids. 
  • Pointing out all the activities we get to do that we wouldn't if she was in school all day.
  • Explaining that kids in school only get maybe 30 minutes of "play" time for recess and usually are sitting at desks most of the day.
  • Talking up the fun points of being at home, i.e. staying in jammies all day, getting play whenever we want, getting to do fun activities to learn instead of just worksheets etc. (not to say all schools are just worksheets all the time).


I think meeting other kids who homeschool has been probably the biggest influence though (along with wearing jammies all day :) )


and OP, my daughter has already started planning her next birthday too-her birthday was 2 months ago-yeesh!

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#8 of 12 Old 06-03-2012, 10:22 AM
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Mixing with homeschoolers is a wonderful strategy. One of the other things I did was to make casual comments as we went through our days doing occasional interesting or exciting things, comments like "I went to school, and I didn't get to go to a dinosaur museum like this until I was in 5th grade. But homeschoolers can learn about things whenever they decide to, even if they're only four years old!" This feeds into kids' sense of delight at being compared to bigger, older kids ... casting homeschooling in a favorable light. 


I also got my eldest involved in a few activities during her final preschool year that she'd have to give up if she went to school: Wednesday morning violin lessons, Friday all-day playdates with a lovely homeschooling family, occasional art days with the homeschool group, trips to the pool. These were cherished activities for her, and as school enrolment time grew near and people asked about whether she would attend, I could answer them while she was in earshot and say "We're planning to continue homeschooling. We've got a really nice thing going at home, and she's involved in a few outside activities that she would really miss if we had to give them up." And then I'd enumerate them, and my dd would hear ... and it didn't really sound like I was trying to persuade her, but I'm sure it all sank in.


There's a lot in society that acts as persuasive advertising for schooling, so I figure it's totally fair game to balance that out with some propaganda of my own.



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#9 of 12 Old 06-03-2012, 05:05 PM
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So, I'm a hsing mom of an 8yo ds and 3yo dd.  My 3yo dd is EXACTLY. LIKE. THIS.


We are REGULARLY involved in other homeschooling groups, but that's not "school" for her.  She wants work.  And it's not like we're a school-at-home family.  Even when I try to be somewhat school-y, it lasts maybe a total of a week or two and ds revolts (which is fine--I need a reality check  ;)  ).


She DID attend a daycare facility last year (she was 2-1/2yo) for about 8 weeks right before we had to move (I needed packing and renovation time where she could be safe).  It wasn't until recently (maybe January?) that she was full-on wanting "work".


Keeping us out and about (and when we're not, at least one day/week--we have another homeschool family over) is a HELP, but doesn't curtail her wanting "work".


I've lightened my rule on TV for her (my ds has an actual reaction to too much electronics, but she doesn't) and got some DVDs from the library for phonics (since that's her current interest).  She added wanting to learn numbers this week, so I got one of those videos.  She's allowed to watch one of these/day maybe 3 days/week (which "buys" me time to read to/with ds)


I also have a set of alphabet cards (upper case and lower case with a picture on the back of the letter) and I lay out the upper case and give her the stack of lower case to match on her own.


I have about 24 Montessori activities in ziplock bags from an activity swap a few years ago.  They're not great for keeping her busy for very long, though.


I read to her, obviously.


Age-appropriate maze books and cutting books are cool.


Ds' piano teacher takes 10 mins of his lesson time to give her a lesson.  This was her idea and she was VERY driven about it.  Seriously????  In fact, when the instructor said she just needed to know letters A-G and numbers 1-5, my dd looked at me and said "THAT'S NOT PIANO!!!!"  Oy...  It's been about 3mo and she's doing really well with it (and is driven to practice).


I'm looking for some handwriting stuff for her since she's had a HECK of a 3-point grip since she was TWO.  :O


I'm just looking at the mountain of preschool crap I bought when I had no idea what homeschooling really meant to me/us and I went out and overbought stuff.  Now I'm sorta glad I didn't toss all of it.


This summer she has some classes with the park district... one is JUST about cutting things.  In the fall she has 2 hours (one day/week) of class at a homeschool co-op.  Hoping that squashes some of it.

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#10 of 12 Old 06-04-2012, 10:05 PM
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I would feel less confused to have a child like yours then mine. I think my daughter will be one day, but my son is totally not. I have explained homeschooling (adventure schooling) clearly to him and the opportunities that it means for him to be free going. He is a tough boy that knows how to use tools really early. He is very much into his body as well. In a nut shell, he moves around a lot, has a crazy great imagination that is always pulling us into building things, cutting things, burning things... etc. He also enjoys many of the hobbies I bring to the table - a promise that we (Dh and I) both made, because we have a lot of fun things to celebrate in case he is bored (which happens - see pinterest). We always bring lots to our kids anyway. We know his taste and basically, he has a harder time stopping or leaving when we offered him an opportunity... so one day recently he said "Mom I really like homeschooling, I never want to go to school." I smiled. I know he will go one day.. well, I have a feeling anyway. He could surprise me. When I explained school I was clear about how very little is actually real there, lots of art, but not much exploring. I was clear about the food options too. Everything.. he understood that the room is full of kids with a teacher, but he knows that they have to sit and listen - a lot! 


On the other hand! My personality is wickedly into systems of organized arrangements of things, or else I struggle and so does my DH too (maybe even worse off)!!! My son is mid-way, when I give him anything, he usually tells me it isn't right and we should be doing it this way instead. I roll with it. If you have a daughter that wants a whole bunch of preppy office type learning, then go with it! Maybe if you commit to a few days a week were you are rolling along for 4 hours in the morning at home? Pinterest, etsy, those sites are filled with ideas for DIY. My son is very strong willed about his days and passions - put it this way, he is in that block high school with 180 minute classes :), with academics swirling in on demand to help with whatever he is doing. If your daughter wants to learn through a curriculum, by all means -  Enjoy it! I think my DD is headed this way. She has a caring, managing, neat, personality and is obsessed with anything that keeps things together. 

Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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#11 of 12 Old 06-05-2012, 06:24 PM
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homeschooling group and try to drive a different route to avoid driving near a school. 

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#12 of 12 Old 06-06-2012, 08:40 AM
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The school bus used to drive right by our house every morning and afternoon.  Couldn't much get away from that!

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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