Rought transition to public school - anyone else deal with this? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-16-2012, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have homeschooled my oldest two the past three years. This year lots of their friends are going to school so they too wanted to go. Dh was thrilled, even though he was "supportive" of homeschooling, I know that he preferred them to be in a public school.

We are in a year round school so they just started last Wednesday. They are in K and 1st grade. The 1st grader is having a rough transition, but the kindergartener loves it. The first day she seemed to really like it, the 2nd day was ok and the 3rd day I had practically yank her out of the van and push her in the doors. She said she was too tired, so I thought after the weekend it would be better. We planned on a low key relaxing weekend and thought by Monday she would be better.

She spent all weekend worrying about how much time was left until Monday and telling us she didn't want to go and she wants to go to her old school instead (homeschool co-op). When you ask her what she doesn't like she says that she "misses us", "thought school would be fun, but it's not" and she "didn't know it was going to be this much". I have explained to her that lots of things we are changing are not due to school and we would continue to do those things (no tv before school or until after dd2 gets home even if she were to finish early, showers/baths every night instead of every other night, laying out clothes the night before, etc. When ds was born a lot of our routine went out the window and we were in survival mode and now I feel like we are ready to get back to "normal"). I have also explained that her sister will get to do fun things in school so she needs to be sure this is what she wants. She can't change her mind back and forth on a whim. She says she understands and would still like to be homeschooled. I told her that we will talk about it, but for now she is going to school. She says ok but for only one more day I have tried to ask non-leading questions to see if maybe she's being picked on, excluded, has a teacher she doesn't care for and haven't come up with anything of that sort.

Has anyone else dealt with this? How long did the adjustment take and what things have you done that have helped? It seems like everyone I talk to says their kids love the start of school. Dh says we should, at minimum give her a few months. I say two weeks, tops. It would be different if we didn't have any other options that were easily available. It's as simple as filling out a form and doing what we always have done. I could understand giving it a much longer time period if coming up with a different option involved moving mountains, so to speak. I feel like if it takes her months to adjust, and she is finally happy to go to school, or at least not sobbing every time she sees her lunch box being packed, we haven't really "won". So what. She's content now, but at what cost and for what reason?

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Old 07-16-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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I am sorry, I can not give you any advise on how to make it easier for your DD to adjust to school. I am sure it is very difficult for her to adjust from being at home with family members and easy flow to more rigid structure of school day. 

We are actually taking DD5 out of kindergarten to homeschool because, even thought she loves kindergarten and they play there all the time, it is too much for her and she gets overtired. 

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Old 07-16-2012, 03:54 PM
 
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Have you spoken to her teacher to get an idea what might be causing it?  The teacher may not have any answers, but on the other hand he/she may know exactly what's going on.  She/he also might be able to do some things that pump up your daughter's feelings of being safe/secure/included, or just give your daughter a bit more "ownership" in the classroom.

 

Anyway, I haven't gone through it, but I was a teacher, and I definitely would have wanted a parent to ask...
 


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dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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Old 07-17-2012, 11:49 AM
 
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I am putting my dd in ps this year, after homeschooling for 3 years. My situation is similar, where my dd decided to try and my dh is happy about it. I seriously doubt if she will like it, so I already plan to bail out if she's not into it, which at that point I am happy to hs again. Is homeschooling no longer an option for you? I already spoke to my dh about the fact that if she decides to go to ps, she has never tried it before and does not know what it is like, so essentially she is scoping it out. If she does not like it she is not obligated to continue that path BECAUSE homeschooling IS an option for our family. This in no way means she "failed" it just means she got the opportunity to check it ou and see what it's like.
If homeschooling is NOT an option for you, I don't know what you should do. You cannot drag her into the school from your car, and I'm sure you are getting extra pressure from your dh so that makes it extra hard on you. He's not there so he just thinks you should MAKE them go, when in reality that may be harmful. This will take psychology and a lot of patience on your part. I sympathize with your situation as I wonder how things will go for us as well
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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Has anyone else dealt with this? How long did the adjustment take and what things have you done that have helped? It seems like everyone I talk to says their kids love the start of school. Dh says we should, at minimum give her a few months. I say two weeks, tops. It would be different if we didn't have any other options that were easily available. It's as simple as filling out a form and doing what we always have done. I could understand giving it a much longer time period if coming up with a different option involved moving mountains, so to speak. I feel like if it takes her months to adjust, and she is finally happy to go to school, or at least not sobbing every time she sees her lunch box being packed, we haven't really "won". So what. She's content now, but at what cost and for what reason?

 

I have not dealt with it in the same way as my children just started being homeschooled this past year.  I have one returning to school this year, so I will have an opportunity to see more clearly from this angle I am sure.   I have however taught both K and 1st.  It definitely would take some kids the entire first quarter to adjust.  I have had students who parents almost pulled in the first two weeks, yet when left for a longer time they adjusted and thrived.  I will also say (at the school I teach at) that K and 1st are very different.  K has a lot more playing, kids sit at tables there are more manipulatives out for self directed use and it is fun!  Over the year it becomes more structured as the children are prepared for 1st grade.  As a 1st grade teacher, I utilized that knowledge to try to keep lots of movement, group time at the carpet (instead of strictly at desks) and activity choice within the classroom.  It certainly benefited the kids.  I was considered an unusual entity though.  The other teachers expected a LOT more seat time, did not rotate materials or give much choice.  Watching my ds go through with a teacher like that, it took a couple months for him to adjust.

 

You need to choose what is right for your child, however you also need to give it enough time to make a judgement.  I would think 2 weeks is not enough time to decide because the change is so great for her.  Can you talk to her teacher and find out more about the day/structure/routine and use this info to help dd adjust?
 

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Old 07-18-2012, 09:21 PM
 
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Grade 1 is still very young.  IMO, it's too young for a child to be able to make this kind of decision themselves.  They can't really understand what school is going to be like, and it's usually very different from what they imagined it to be.  This is what you're experiencing -- your daughter wanted to go because she thought she was missing out on something really cool that her friends got to be part of.  Now that she's experienced the reality, she's realizing she liked the way things were before, better.  

 

If homeschooling is still a valid option, and the only reason you were trying public school is because SHE wanted to try it, and there's no pressing reason or need to keep her there, then I really don't see what the point would be of 'helping her through the transition'.  You might certainly be able to get her to a place where she can tolerate school, maybe even convince herself that she likes it (and there will certainly be aspects that she honestly likes) -- but why bother?  If the whole point of sending her in the first place was ONLY because she thought it would be fun -- and it turns out it's NOT -- then what would be the purpose in keeping her there?

 

Of course if sending her was a necessity due to family circumstances, it would be important to help her adapt.  And it would certainly take more time than a few weeks.  But it does sound like you would still be able to homeschool her, right?  And it clearly sounds like school is simply not what she expected it was going to be.  She wanted to try it, you allowed it, so why punish her by forcing her to stay?  Some would argue "you can't just change your mind like that, you have to stick with things."  But this is a grade 1 child we are talking about here, and one who honestly was not able to comprehend the decision she was making.  One of the things we try to teach our children is 'try new things', and part of that lesson must be 'it's okay to not like something that you try.'  Otherwise, the lesson is "anything you even TRY, you must commit to fully and completely finish no matter how much you despise it."  This only makes them want to NOT try new things, because it's too big of a risk if they actually don't like it!  

 

Giving it enough of a chance to get an honest impression -- that's fine.  Like if my daughter licks her dinner and says "blech I don't like it," well no, that's not good enough.  Take an honest bite.  But she doesn't have to finish the whole plate to know whether or not she can't stand it.

 

As far as school goes -- I think 2 weeks, 10 whole days of being in the same classroom, is plenty of time for a child to know that they're not happy.  Remember that 10 days is a whole lot longer to a young child than it is to a grownup!  And school IS tiring and 'too much' for most young children.  (Remember too that kids in some other countries don't even start formal education until age 7)

 

If it were me, I'd keep her in for one more week, just to make sure the first wasn't a bad fluke.  Oh and yes, I would absolutely talk to the teacher in case there was just a simple thing going on that was easily addressed.  But then I wouldn't hesitate to take her out.  And it's not 'giving up' or a failure or caving in or 'not sticking it out' or anything like that.  She wanted to try it, she tried it, she learned the truth.  And in the future, when her peers are all talking about this or that about how great they think school is, she'll know better from her own experience (and not just 'mean mommy tells me I can't go') and she won't bug you anymore about wanting to go, and she'll maybe even be all the more grateful that she has the opportunity to do something more enjoyable.  :)

 

Many homeschooling families deal with children around the ages of 5-7 asking to go to school.  It's a very common age for this to come up, because all their friends are going and it becomes the central focus of their friends' lives and so it's to be expected that they would feel they're missing out on something.  Some parents deal with this by letting them try it so they can learn for themselves what it's really like.  Many parents don't allow this at all -- they might enjoy it, but for the wrong reasons, and get sucked into the 'peer orientation' culture that the school system generates (read "Hold Onto Your Kids" by Dr Gabor Mate if you're not familiar with that concept).  Or if they really can't stand it, it could cause major setbacks in their innate drive for self-education that will take much time to heal from.  I'm certainly in that second camp -- when my son asked about school, I said no, and tried to explain why.  By the time he was 7 or 8, he stopped asking.  By the time he was 10, all his friends were talking about how much school sucks and how lucky he was to be homeschooled.  It's very definitely a thing that's specific to that young age!

 

Usually when they're approaching middle school age, they're mentally able, and mature enough, to be able to make a rational decision about wanting to try school -- something more than just 'all my friends are going and I'm missing out.'  My niece has been unschooled up to now, but has decided to try going to middle school -- grade 6 -- this fall.  We'll see whether she likes it - she very well might.  I have another friend who unschooled her daughter until her daughter decided she wanted to go to school starting in grade 8.  She loved it, adapted beautifully, and has been going for 3 years now.   My son would be going to grade 9 this fall and has no interest in going to school at all, heh.  But if he did want to, I'd let him try it -- because he's old enough to understand the pros and cons.  A 6yo is not, no matter how much you try to explain to them.  So I wouldn't punish her for having allowed her to make that decision.


Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post

 

 

If homeschooling is still a valid option, and the only reason you were trying public school is because SHE wanted to try it, and there's no pressing reason or need to keep her there, then I really don't see what the point would be of 'helping her through the transition'.  You might certainly be able to get her to a place where she can tolerate school, maybe even convince herself that she likes it (and there will certainly be aspects that she honestly likes) -- but why bother?  If the whole point of sending her in the first place was ONLY because she thought it would be fun -- and it turns out it's NOT -- then what would be the purpose in keeping her there?

 

Of course if sending her was a necessity due to family circumstances, it would be important to help her adapt.  And it would certainly take more time than a few weeks.  But it does sound like you would still be able to homeschool her, right?  And it clearly sounds like school is simply not what she expected it was going to be.  She wanted to try it, you allowed it, so why punish her by forcing her to stay?  Some would argue "you can't just change your mind like that, you have to stick with things."  But this is a grade 1 child we are talking about here, and one who honestly was not able to comprehend the decision she was making.  One of the things we try to teach our children is 'try new things', and part of that lesson must be 'it's okay to not like something that you try.'  Otherwise, the lesson is "anything you even TRY, you must commit to fully and completely finish no matter how much you despise it."  This only makes them want to NOT try new things, because it's too big of a risk if they actually don't like it!  

 

 

 

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If it was important to your daughter or family that daughter goes to school - then yes, there would be an adjustment period and it would be more than 2 weeks.

 

However, it does not sound like it is uber imprtant for your daughter to go to school - she went because she was curious and because her friends went there  (caveat:  long standing and unfixable social issues may be a reason to try school - this does not sound like the case with your daughter). You are not happy about her going to school, and your husband seems fairly neutral - he is happy she is going but is supportive of HSing as well.

 

Why put everyone, but particularly your daughter,  through a adjustment and transition if it is not something you see a strong need for in the first place?

 

I also have to say…I usually know within days whether a place or activity is a good fit for me  (good fit is not the same as bump-free).  Let's give kids the same credit - she probably knows whether this is a good fit for her. 

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Old 07-19-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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any update, OP?

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