DS1 is asking to go back to school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-13-2013, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS1 is 7 and we've only been homeschooling for a week here. The transition from public to home has been a lot more challenging than I expected it to be.

 

Mid-week he claimed he wanted to go back to school, tonight he sought out his agenda and claimed he's going to school tomorrow.

 

I know it's not what he really wants (he was miserable, often in trouble, and bored in school). I know he's missing friends, and we've been making an effort to get out of the house to go swimming and meet up with friends and stay in touch, but that's also been my innitiative. He'll sit there and complain that he misses so and so, then when we arrange to meet up he won't actually want to. I know he struggles with transitions and will often enjoy himself after commencing an activity even though prior to starting he'll mope and complain and try to avoid.

 

He claims he's not learning anything, and admittedly life's been busy (we have a 6 month old, and I provide childcare to a 15mo old 1-2 times a week, as well as after-school care for one child a few times a week), but we do sneak learning in, and he's much more receptive to it when he doesn't acknowledge it as "work" (e.g. trivia questions at the pool where he gets to jump in when he gets an answer right, book-making, baking following a recipe, reading bedtime stories, writing lists, writing instructions after watching a video, etc.)

 

I've been in contact with a somewhat local homeschool group because Lord knows we need the support. I'm hoping that, and planning some regular outings (taking the train to the city to go to the Science Centre, swimming, skating, Civic Museum, etc) will help, but I could use some support in the mean time. Suggestions, thoughts, advice? I'm all ears!


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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#2 of 12 Old 01-13-2013, 07:23 PM
 
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At his age, and with what you know about his experiences, I would give it some time before giving up homeschooling.  Of course, it is going to be a transition.  Perhaps you can agree on a set amount of time-- that way there is a concrete time period, not some squishy squashy "for a while" kind of thing.  If you dare, make the date next September.  

 

Then, stack the deck!  Go ahead and make a point to do the things he cannot do while going to school.  Deschool.  Only cover what he wants for a while.  And, yes, you are trying to connect with HSing groups.  That's great--he's probably missing seeing his friends, even if he's miserable in a school setting.

 

Good luck!


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#3 of 12 Old 01-13-2013, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Would you overtly state that you're de-schooling or just let it happen? I need to read more on that topic. He's somewhat craving structure (e.g. "We do French before we do math" and "Ms X let's us do X when it's time to whatever"). I've let him choose the sequence of activities and attempt to replicate school activities for now. I figure the wind-down will take a while and only then will we find a real rhythm that works for us.

Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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#4 of 12 Old 01-13-2013, 08:04 PM
 
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Disclaimer:  I have no personal experience with this!

 

However, I have an opinion on everything.....

 

If you think it might help, you could simply ask him if he wants a break.  You can still structure the day, including reading together, outside time, card and board games, as your little one is cooperative.  At 7yo, he is still at the age where these kinds of activities can take the place of academics--playing banker in Monopoly, strategy games, qwirkle, whatever, Bananagrams in French or English.  Everything you've mentioned sounds wonderful.

 

If he wants to continue with some school at home, have him help you design the day.  He can tell you he doesn't like math right after lunch, but perhaps while you are making dinner.  You can tell him that the baby is particularly cranky at 10:30 before naps, and the day when you have the toddler is the day for him to do his puzzle books and his own reading, if he can do that yet.  Maybe those are your best days off academics entirely.

 

*He* has a lot of say in how his homeschooling goes.  He does need to know this, unless you intend to do "school-at-home".  This is the kind of empowerment that is unavailable to him at school, and could help him get excited about HSing.

 

If you do not intend to unschool, and he wants a break, I might consider setting an agreed-upon date to start up again, if you plan on requiring him to to some academic work.  


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#5 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we officially need to de-school. He's breaking down like crazy.

 

I'm also seriously considering a trip to the psychologist (mainly for anxiety issues surrounding sleep, but he also has a pretty negative self-image and compares himself to everyone and feels he can do nothing right). It breaks my heart to see such an awesome kid feel so ick.


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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#6 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eirual View Post

Well, we officially need to de-school. He's breaking down like crazy.

 

I'm also seriously considering a trip to the psychologist (mainly for anxiety issues surrounding sleep, but he also has a pretty negative self-image and compares himself to everyone and feels he can do nothing right). It breaks my heart to see such an awesome kid feel so ick.

 

I think it would be better for him if you were to get a routine in place asap, and not have him adjust to deschooling then adjust AGAIN to homeschooling. Usually I think deschooling is best but he sounds like he needs routine and predictability, and his equilibrium is massively upset right now. The fewer changes the better; the sooner a routine is in place the sooner he can get his feet under him. It sounds like he will very very very much benefit from homeschooling over public school, and I think you made the right decision, and he's  not able to make an informed choice right now - he's just grasping at whatever he thinks will make him feel better short term. Counseling sounds like a great idea for learning some coping strategies for his anxiety. 

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#7 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:47 PM
 
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I'm a pretty unstructured unschooler and I agree with BellinghamCrunchie. He sounds like he's lost his footing. I'd give him a grounding with some structure. It doesn't have to be traditional schoolwork structure -- it's probably best if it's not -- but it sounds like he needs to feel like his life is predictable and under control, and since he hasn't got the tools yet to self-structure you'll need to create that structure for him. At least for a while, maybe a few months, until he gets his feet on the ground.

 

In fact I would steer away from formal structure where things are expected of him. Instead I would go for informal structure, meaning you create a predictable set of experiences for him each day but you don't expect him to give any particular responses or show any output or evidence of mastery. Read aloud to him. Do some yoga together. Play board games. Go for a walk with a camera and see what you can see. Take some photos. Schedule half an hour of Lego time. Bake something with him every day. Figure out how to grow salad sprouts on the window-sill and make a schedule to rinse them twice a day. Read aloud some more. Watch a nature documentary. Do PE at the pool. Write it all down as a plan ahead of time, make sure it's stuff he'll enjoy or be comfortable doing, and check it off as you do each thing, so he can see that he is doing lots of homeschooling. I'd put in some variety, but keep a few things consistent from day to day. Build a rhythm that will comfort him with its predictability. Explain that homeschooling will gradually change over the weeks and months to come as you and he discover more about his interests, what he finds fun, and how he learns best, but for now this is what you'll do. 

 

If you're talking about things that are outside of the scope of a typical 1st grade curriculum, point this out with enthusiasm. "Yeah, today it's very bright outside, so the camera lens only opens for a tiny fraction of a second. That's called shutter speed, and we'd say the camera is using a very fast shutter speed. Hmmm, you know ... when I went to school there was a photography course you could take, but it wasn't until high school. I think it's so cool that when you're homeschooling you can learn about things like this even though you're only 7 years old! Here, you carry the camera for a while; take some more pictures if you want."

 

Calm predictability, confidence in your ability to find a wonderful home-learning path, and plenty of time together. If you provide that, I'm sure things will get better. If the anxiety seems over the top for more than another few days, counselling might be a good idea as well. Good luck! 

 

Miranda


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#8 of 12 Old 01-15-2013, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for that feedback, ladies!

 

I like the sounds of that, routine and predictability without power struggles and expected output (a big part of his "breakdowns" are preferring to avoid or seem silly than risk making a mistake). DH has been pretty adamant about "schooling at home" but I'm not willing to continue fighting for something that's clearly not working. He's a smart kid. He learns so much better and deeper when things unfold organically with an intrinsic motivation.

 

Thank you for the guidance!! love.gif


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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#9 of 12 Old 01-15-2013, 08:48 AM
 
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The kind of structure and record keeping thats been recommended will also help convince your dh that learning is happening without the school-at-home.  It might be an easier transition for him, too!


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#10 of 12 Old 01-15-2013, 09:12 AM
 
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If he's stressing over making mistakes, he needs to see handling mistakes well. I had that problem into adulthood, until I watched the happy painter on PBS. I don't remember his name, but he was so calm, all the time. We got into the habit of watching him, because his show was on right before naptime. One day he dripped paint on the canvas. He just said "Oh. Well, perhaps in this happy world a bush lives there. I'll put one in when I get there", and continued painting. Then, he cover the drop with a bush. No fuss. Then he showed the two paintings, side by side. The one done before filming and the one with the bush added. And he talked about how mistakes happen, but he actually liked the one with the added bush better, so sometimes mistakes are good things. It changed my perspective on perfection. I still strive for perfection, but allow mistakes when they happen.

If he was told you are going to 'try' homeschooling, he may be worried about forgetting the schedule and falling behind. If you plan to homeschool for the rest of this year, let him know. That may help him relax.
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#11 of 12 Old 01-15-2013, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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BOB ROSS, I love Bob Ross! Good idea, I'll see if I can expose him to more of that. I've also started printing off some of my favourite positive quotes and am posting a new one on our wall each week.

 

I did inform him that we've made a commitment to homeschool, and I'm not being wishy-washy about that. Perhaps my expectations have been too high or mislead up to this point. I will aim for happy structure, lots of modelling, and hopefully a balance between adventure and down-time.


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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#12 of 12 Old 01-16-2013, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Update: 2 days of goodness, more or less. thumb.gif

 

We see the psychologist tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to. We all go to the first session, so hopefully we'll all pick up some tips and insight.


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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