Since my daughter was an infant, I've been researching educational options. I felt overwhelmingly drawn to homeschooling, for oh so many reasons. I always assumed that was the direction we would go. DH was never on board, but I always thought he would come around. Then my daughter turned 5, and we had to make a real decision. She was adamantly opposed to even talking about kindergarten, so I thought the matter was settled, because I knew there was no way DH would be able to drag DD to school kicking and wailing. Then one day, a few weeks before school was going to start, DD just said she decided she wanted to try kindergarten, and that was that. I didn't feel right about resisting at that point, since I was outvoted. And, honestly, I thought it would be a complete disaster. She's always been a very sensitive, very attached little girl, and she had never even gone to a summer camp or taken a ballet class without me. So she went from constantly being with me and her baby brother to being gone 35 hours a week. I didn't think she'd last a month. But it turns out, I completely underestimated her. She's thriving there. She integrated well, made friends, and is doing an amazing job. It's not the stressful and traumatic transition I anticipated. So, now DH is even more convinced that public school is the right choice, and DD likes it and wants to keep going. And I wish I could just believe that this was what was best for her and we could all be at peace. But I still don't think it's best, for a variety of reasons. She can't possibly get the personal attention there that I can give her. She's not learning anything at all academically. I worry that the lack of challenge will persist, as it did for me. And we just don't get enough time together anymore. When school's out, she's tired and worn out. They get her best hours. The most frustrating part is that she never got to really experience what homeschooling could be like. She wasn't ready to do anything without me until just before school started, and she was too young to really be involved in what our homeschooling community offers. So now she really likes the socializing she gets to do in school, and doesn't really understand that she could have that without school too. The parts of school she likes are recess and free centers--the nonschool parts of school. So now I feel like we're trapped in this system and I'll never convince her or DH to try homeschooling. Meanwhile, I'm losing all this time with my daughter. And I don't really know what I'm looking for by posting this, but we're a quarter of the way through kindergarten and I'm really really sad. (And it doesn't make me feel better when DD's teacher says she would have homeschooled her own children if it had been a financially viable option for them.)
What about getting to know the homeschooling community and start bringing your daughter to outings. Or you could meet a couple of the moms and set up a play date with your children. That way your daughter will see the fun side of homeschooling. It would introduce the other side of it to her.
Kindergarten is sort of a fun grade, it sounds like she's enjoying exploring a different part of the world for a while, but it certainly doesn't mean she'll never want to homeschool. Things get a bit more tedious in future years, and there's a good chance that if your husband is involved with her schoolwork, his opinions of the various educational options will change some.
I agree with PP that you should make contacts with the local homeschool groups, and participate in some of the events if you can. Just because she's in school doesn't mean you have to give up all responsibility for her education, you're just subcontracting some of the work.
Another mom commented about getting to know other homeschoolers. That was my first thought as well. The reason she loves school now is because of the social aspects. She needs to see that this isn't lost in homeschooling. In fact, there's potentially even more time for this because the school day is yours to control.
My second thought is that you're the mom. You get to decide. It's not just you, but everyone seems to have lost their God-given authority to do what we believe is best for our kids. We look for consensus, we negotiate, we 'sell'. For something as important as this, don't wimp out-- make it happen.
I understand that sad feeling.
We had the exact same experience with DD. I was all set up to homeschool, and she decided she wanted to go to kindergarten. She loved the school bus, doing what the other kids in the neighborhood were doing, having two recesses and a lot of play in kindergarten, all of it.
About the last two months of the school year she began to balk a bit about going. By this time I had adjusted to having her gone all day and had plans during my day. She began to ask for taking a day off now and then to spend with me, and sometimes I would let her, and sometimes I would tell her that its important to commit to school and that you can't really go to school and pick and choose what days you want to go.
When first grade started, she went for a few weeks, then it became very clear to her that she wanted to homeschool. She was sad when the kids got on the school bus that and I could tell she was having second thoughts, but she didn't choose to go, and we've been homeschooling ever since (she's in second grade now).
I really think kindergarten is a different sort of thing than the rest of the grades. I don't mean to minimize or trivialize your feelings right now, but I also think that its very possible, likely, even, that she will change her mind either as spring approaches or shortly after starting first grade. Meanwhile, kindergarten will be an interesting experience for her. Now she will know what public school is like, and now she will be able to make a more informed decision. She won't wonder what the other kids are doing in school - she will already know. That big mystery will be gone for her.
So - don't sell your curriculum on ebay just yet :)
It probably won't be hard to convince your DD to try homeschooling. It's easy enough for you to tell her all the bad things about school beyond kindergarten and all the good things about homeschooling. And it shouldn't be up to her, anyway. She's too young to make an informed decision. Of course you wouldn't want to homeschool if you really thought it would make her miserable, but even if she thinks it isn't what she wants to do at first, you ought to be able to make it fun enough that she'll decide pretty quickly that she likes it.
So the only person you have to worry about convincing is your husband. I'm not sure what to tell you about that. It depends on what his objections to homeschooling are.
I am planning on transitioning my DS out of public K over winter break. Like you, I have never thought public school was the best option, but pretty much all of my supports were for sending him off to school. As the year began and my dissatisfaction grew,I brought it up to my husband, parents- etc. They all shot me down. Then I really built my case up. While you stated the reasons of her not being challenged- my son is in the same place- and not getting her 'best hours', less individual attention, etc, I would suggest looking into the cold hard facts about the public school system- I am not sure what your schools are like where you live, but even though our schools are considered "good" where I live, there are so many reasons why the system is flawed, and the wrong fit for my child. Look at it from child development and learning perspectives: The overcrowded classrooms, total lack of individualized learning experience for the different types of learning styles and personalities, poor funding, pressure on a certain type of academics, the ps environment, etc. I wasn't trying to be a fear monger but bringing an argument to my family based on facts and not just my personal feelings really helped. ALSO, gathering information and resources on the new face of homeschooling and possibly an idea of what you would plan on doing might help too- often people not in the HSing realm still picture a very out of date- or stigmatized- vision of what it's like. Often the fears from family I confronted were: socialization issues (share ways you plan to give your child a chance to socialize/ have friends), academics (let them know how they will learn at home- and if it's a less-traditional way even more info on it), and often, finances play a role. (how will you cover materials? curriculum? family expenses for the long term if you stay home, etc.). I found out that people start to take your desire to HS a lot more seriously if you have built a strong case for yourself and your child, as well as walking them through what homeschooling your child will look like. :)
Perhaps you have already done so, but it wasn't clear so that's my advice on the matter. Best wishes!
Also, Not sure of the laws in your state but K in my state is actually optional! everyone sends their kids, but it's actually not required. It helped settle the matter with my husband to provide that fact and offer this as a 'trial run' for the remainder of K because it isn't going to harm his public school career in any way.
One thing I noticed with my sensitive child (dd2). . . she seemed to LOVE kindergarten. Then we had Christmas break and it was like she was reminded how nice it is to stay at home. She did not want to go back to school after break. Maybe your child will follow suit. If not, it is up to you. But, for the kids that aren't challenged (2 out of 3 of mine were that way), in kindy this often builds confidence because they get to feel really smart. School is easy, but they realize that it isn't easy for everyone. By mid first grade it gets a bit boring, then for us we got a gifted pull out that started in 2nd and made a big difference. However, it wasn't enough, and my oldest (the one who loves to be in the middle of a crowd of people) asked to come home in November of 3rd grade. She didn't return after break.
The school experience was good for her though! If nothing else, having her experience it and then be an active part of the decision to come home helped to make homeschooling a joy vs a power struggle. I am not saying that other kids have a power struggle with their parents, but for THIS kid, it would have been one if I pulled her out before she was ready. Maybe if she had never gone to school it wouldn't have been an issue. However, she did go and we had that to think about.
I'm going to go a little against the grain here. I'm not convinced homeschooling is the best option for all kids and I have, reluctantly, concluded that for some children school is a superior option. Now I planned to homeschool my kids probably from when I was a child myself-I grew up around homeschoolers and, having radical teacher parents, read through most of Holt's stuff as a teenager. I have three kids, 4 to 9, who are and have always been (largely) homeschooled
I still think homeschooling is great, but for some kids, at some times, I think school is a good option. This is for a number of reasons, but one big one, as my 9 year old has convincingly argued to me, is that some kids (like him) just learn better in a group situation. I do note that you've said that your child isn't learning much academically but I'm guessing its quite early in the year? Could that make a difference?
I also would not assume that the socialisation issue will resolve if your child is out of school. I think you need to really research the local scene if this is important to your daughter. Round here, there is a thriving scene, yes, but that only translates into one or two kids each who mine really click with. That does make for quite intense friendships and the lack of choice isn't for everyone. My kids really need the balance provided by activities where homeschoolers don't dominate, like scouts and guides, and groups for specific interests eg sailing, orchestra, choir. Luckily, for us, we have access to this stuff locally.
I'd actually see the homeschooling community vs the schooling community as possibly a little like a village vs a small town. There just aren't as many kids to get on with so you generally have to rub along with each other. This has huge advantages but for a certain type of child who relishes learning and playing with a lot of other kids, and also likes to choose their own friends, its just not going to make them happy. It took my son to point this difference out to me, I'd honestly never thought of it in those terms. I suppose the thing is that our kids aren't us, they do have their own personalities and needs. ,
Although we're not unschoolers, I've always felt strongly that my kids should have a huge amount of say in how they are educated, with that say increasing with age to an extent. (to translate: my kids don't get to choose whether they learn, for example, maths. But they can choose the method that works best for them, the order they learn, if they can make a reasonable argument for learning via playing board games I'll go with that. And if they feel that school, afterschool classes, or what have you is the best way to learn then we will work with that .)
As an aside, I also have a very, ahem, sensitive, kindergarten age child who would probably not do ballet or anything without me-she certainly won't do any classes without me. BUT for the past year she has been in kindergarten two mornings a week (Waldorf) and has made friends. She stays overnight at their houses (I know the parents very well and they live close by), she does classes that she'd never have done alone if they are there too. These friends really do provide a scaffold for her in a way that I never considered would happen and that never happened with my older kids. My feeling is that right now, her friends (and their parents) are actually providing a comfprt zone that allows her to do things she really does want to do while knowing that there is emotional support there. I am going to take her out of kindergarten in the near future, however I'm glad she has had this experience, its valid in its own right.
If she were my kid, I think I'd wait and see, see how the year is going. Talk to yourself and your husband about why homeschooling would be a good option for you, Think about the downsides and see what you can do about them.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this thread. Computer issues and sick kids. I really appreciate your comments though!
To address some of the things some of you wrote:
I've tried to get involved with the homeschool community, and actually tried to get DD involved before we enrolled her in kindergarten. We found it difficult to break into initially. We did make good friends with one family, and have stayed in contact with them. We've had some playdates after school, which has resulted in DD feeling like she can have both worlds. She doesn't have to miss out on seeing her friend because she can see him after school, and she doesn't have to miss out on seeing her new friends because she can go to school. I'm still taking her toddler brother to homeschool community events when I can, but many of them are just geared toward children much older where he's out of place, and many are in the afternoons right around the time I have to pick DD up from school. I'm still working on meeting more families though, because, frankly, even if we never do end up homeschooling, the moms I've met so far in the homeschooling community tend to be women I get along with well because we tend to be likeminded.
To those who have said I shouldn't leave this decision to DD, I agree with you, to an extent. But DH and I fundamentally disagree on this decision and our differences are not likely to reconcile, so it makes sense to me to give her input more weight. If DH and I were in agreement that she should be homeschooled, then we would pull her out and help her adjust, even against her wishes. But I feel like it's very unlikely that I will be able to successfully homeschool her while lacking the support of both DD and DH. If she is uncooperative and DH is uncomfortable with it from the beginning, it's going to be ugly.
As to DH's objections to homeschooling, that's sort of difficult for me to explain. He and I view the world and make decisions in fundamentally different ways. I'm very much an idealist, so in the beginning, I had no particular attachment to any type of education. I started with a blank slate, examined the available options, and chose what felt to me like it had the potential to be the ideal education for my daughter. I laid out all the reasons for my husband why public schooling was an inferior choice for our daughter and why homeschooling had so many advantages. But his way of thinking just doesn't allow him to be open to that. He very much draws from his own experiences and is uncomfortable with anything outside of his experience. So, since he was public schooled, and pretty much all his friends were public schooled and are public schooling their kids, that's just what you do. That's his starting point, and he can't look beyond it unless there is a clear problem. If public school were a dramatic failure for our daughter, then he would be most comfortable moving to a private school, and only after that too failed would he want to look at homeschooling. To him, homeschooling is just too risky because it's not the method he's comfortable or familiar with. Oh, and he does have one friend that was homeschooled for a little while in the 1980s who said he didn't like it because he didn't get enough social interaction. And a coworker's brother homeschooled his kids and they're socially awkward. And because these are the only people he personally knows with any experience in homeschooling, those experiences override the successes of the dozens of homeschooling families that I've met. There is really nothing that I can say to him that will change his viewpoint--he has to experience the failure of the school system himself in order to be open to what I'm saying. And I don't want to wait and let that happen to our daughter.
I, personally, really enjoyed elementary school. I loved school until 7th grade. But I feel like, even though I enjoyed it, it was really damaging to me in a lot of ways that I've only recently begun to recognize. I learned patterns that I'm still fighting to overcome. My daughter is very different from me, but in some ways she's also very similar. That's why I'm concerned at the lack of challenge in the curriculum. She's young for grade and I was one of the oldest, so maybe that part will help. But she's about a year ahead in most areas, and she just learns things very quickly. I don't want her to learn that everything is supposed to be easy and that she doesn't have to work hard to be successful, like I learned. And, obviously, the fact that she now has little time to spend with me and her brother is changing our relationships, and it's not a change I feel is healthy or appropriate at her age. I think it's fabulous that she's now comfortable going to classes away from me, but I'd much rather outsource small parts of instruction, like horse riding and ballet, instead of outsourcing the entire management of her education. I feel like I've been forced into a joint custody arrangement, and while I actually do like her teacher (my new coparent), I'm just not happy about giving her that much of my daughter. I feel like I can do a better job with my own daughter. I love her more, I know her better, and I'll work harder to give her what she needs.
Can I just say how wonderful it is that you are thinking so deeply about this? You clearly have your head screwed on right and homeschooling isn't a knee jerk reaction. That is great and its lovely to hear. I wish you well with your decision making, it isn't easy and I think especially for us homeschoolers the process often never completely resolves!