Is Homeschooling for us? Advice? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 6 and in K.  She is really struggling.  She has been to the principal, guidance counselor, and "resource" person more times in the last 4 months than I have ever heard of.  However, I wouldn't even know this if it weren't for the fact that I have two older daughters in school.  The school has only contacted me once to explain why she was taken out of the classroom.  The rest of the time my 8th or 6th grade daughter's hear it from the guidance councelor at their middle school.  This is despite the fact that I requested that her teacher tell me when she gets into trouble because I can't help with problems I don't know about.  She has blatantly refused to do this. 

 

They want to test her for ADD/ADHD Autism, personality disorders.  They constantly segregate her by making her eat lunch alone or withholding her from recess. They wanted to put her in speech and reading special ed and I refused.  Mainly because she reads fine to me at home and her speech is FINE for a 6 year old.  They seem to be bewildered by my refusal for the special help.  I explained that I was not interested in having my daughter labled. 

 

I told my husband of the latest problem at school (She spent most of a day with the "resource" guy coloring pictures and talking about what makes her angry) and my husband says, "That's it.  She's not going to school anymore.  We can't keep doing this." 

 

To which I replied, "She HAS to go to school.  It's the law."
He said, "No.  We'll homeschool her."

"Um, what?"  I said, "I don't know anything about homeschooling!"  And we ended our conversation. 

 

I was pretty anti-homeschooling at that initial conversaiton.  No offence, but when I think of homeschool families I think of odd families with super religious parents who don't want their children exposed to the real world.  But he got me thinking and doing some research and I realize that there are a ton of reasons for homeschooling your children and almost everyone is based on the idea that the parent feels it will be best for the child.

 

So I'm really starting to get the idea that this would be best for my 6 year old.  I knew that all day, every day K would be too much for her and it has been.  I completely lost my daughter.  My once bright, happy, loving daughter has been replaced by a dull, tired, angry and crabby person who none of us want to be around.  Sometimes she comes home from school and sleeps through supper.  She gets about 45 minutes of homework a night that i do not have the inclination to do because it is pointless and useless. She is given 21 "books" to "read" every night.  She's had the same ones since the beginning of the school year and they add a new one every few weeks.  So she is not so much "reading" these books as reciting them.  Worthless.  So I get crap about not doing this worthless activity.  This has made her completely lose interest in reading or listening to real books.

 

Mostly, I miss my daughter and my heart breaks at how she's being treated at school.  She DOES have some issues.  Mostly she's a little OCD and she has a VERY hard time transitioning.  She can't transition to a new activity without about 20 minutes warning.  She has to line her crayons up in a certain way and have everything just so.  Her teacher informed me with 20 kids in her class, she simply can not allow this.  My daughter's PreK teacher allowed her to work at her own pace and transition when she was ready and she never had the acting out problems that the K teacher has.  But there were only 9 in that class. 

 

I know absolutely nothing about homeschooling.  I work 12 hours a week outside of the home,and I run two websites inside he home.  I expect my home income to exceed my work income in about 6  months.  At that point I could probably quit my outside job (although I'm not sure I would want to/need to?)  Either way I should be able to homeschool while working 12 hours a week, right?  I have a 14 yo dd, 12 yo dd, 6 yo dd and 3 yo ds.  I would probably homeschool both the younger two.  The older two are doing well in school, they are in the talented and gifted program, band, chorus and all sports and have never had any problems. 

 

I was thinking of homeschooling the youngest two. My 6 yo takes dance on monday nights, is an AWANA sparky on Wedneday nights and plays soccer and T-Ball when it's warm out, oh and she goes to sunday school, so she would have lots of interaction with other kids.  I think I would have my 3 yo go to preschool 3 days a week half days next year anyway, and then still homeschool him. Then I would probably keep him out of kindergarten and re-evaluate in 1st.

 

I'm a little nervous about telling the school.  I have friends on the school board and I coach 6th grade volleyball, so I'm always at the school.  I live in a very small town (pop 1080) so I know that we will be the talk of the town if I do this.

 

I just don't know how I can continue sending her to school.  Just this morning we spent 30 minutes listening to her cry.  She asked me this morning when she could go to a new school and I said that maybe mommy would teach her at home.  Her face lit up.  Then she asked about her best friend, "Can Mya go to school at our house too?"  "No," I said, "But she can come play."  "OKAY!"  She was so excited.

 

I really feel this is what is right, but I'm terrified to take the plunge.  What if I can't teach her?  What if she doesn't listen?  How much of a struggle will it be at first?  How do I know what to teach? 

Thanks for reading this novella of a post!  Any help, advice, suggestions are welcome.  Heck, I'm begging for help and suggestions!

 

Thank you!

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#2 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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First of all I think you're wonderful to have been willing to think outside the box, beyond your preconceptions and outside your comfort zone to make a better life for your dd. 

 

To answer your questions. Of course you can teach her: you helped her learn to walk and talk and dress herself and feed herself. Kids are hard-wired to learn, and teaching doesn't need to consist of organized didactic lectures and demonstrations -- not unless you're in a school situation with a large group of children you don't know intimately. At home you'll find you mostly need to be a sensitive observer and facilitator. 

 

If she doesn't listen, one of two things is going on. Either you're trying to teach and direct her in ways that aren't optimal for her, in which case you need to take it as a sign to to adjust your homeschooling approach, or else there's something wrong in your relationship with her, in which case you need to focus on creating positive interactions. (Homeschooling doesn't allow you to sweep relationship issues under the carpet: you end up needing to face them head-on and work through them, which is a really good thing.) Homeschooling is endlessly flexible, so adjusting your approach, even quite radically and repeatedly so that you are both happy with the flow, is no big deal. Even fifteen years into homeschooling my kids I'm still adjusting things as needs and interests change. 

 

As for how much of a struggle it will be ... it depends on whether you greet the learning-and-growing-pains you'll encounter as an adventure or a burden. One of my favourite quotes about homeschooling is this one from Maura Seger:

 

"Making the decision to homeschool my kids felt like jumping off a cliff.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered we had wings!"

 

As to knowing what to teach, honestly I don't think it's rocket science. Kids need literacy and numeracy skills, practical skills and knowledge about the world around them, as well as strong critical thinking skills, but there's incredible flexibility in how and when they learn those things. For the most part we've found that life and curiosity are adequate guides through the web of knowledge. Many parents find it helpful to keep an eye on state educational standards / scope and sequence documents, just so they see that they are covering the bases. 

 

Above all, with your dd's negative experiences at school I would take a number of weeks to deschool. Read up about deschooling. Don't impose school-like expectations on her at home, not early on anyway. Give her a few weeks to decompress from her school experiences. Allow her natural optimism and love of learning to resurface. Do fun things. Expect her to be fairly aimless if she wants to be. It's time well spent.

 

Welcome to the grand adventure. Find your wings!

 

Miranda


Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#3 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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By the sounds of it, if you leave your daughter in school she'll be tortured, tormented and bullied to death. Even if her physical body survives (and don't kid yourself, it might not,)  her heart and her mind will not. Her soul will be crushed. Many parents think home schooling is the answer, but most find it too daunting a task. I'm here to tell you that if you can afford it (and I know a single mother of 3 who homeschools) then you can homeschool, and you'll be saving your child's life by getting her out of that toxic environment where her only future lies in being drugged to oblivion. There is no other way. I'm not kidding here. Don't listen to moderates, don't listen to family. Listen to your daughter, your husband and your own voice and don't let anyone tell you want to do!  For 90% of kids, school is hell. Your daughter has no escape from this torment except  you. Please take that to heart and don't try and justfiy leaving her there thinking it'll get better: it won't. 

 

We homeschool and it's quite easy. I'd be happy to talk to you over skype about if you like, but I don't have time to type any more for now.  Othersie, there's plenty of resources on the net.
Good luck!
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#4 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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As I read your post, I was nodding and thinking, "YES, HOMESCHOOL!"  Your daughter sounds like the perfect candidate. Some children do well in school, but others (and, really, I think all children can benefit) from one-on-one nurturing and guidance. You don't want her to lose her love of learning.

 

My boys have quirks too, and as my eldest has gotten older, I see him outgrowing them (he's six), but he's still got a few, and my three-year-old definitely has his own way of doing things. I often think that preschool would really be hard on him, and I know my eldest is blossoming in our homeschool too.  I've always homeschooled him, and he's been allowed to explore the things he loves, and we do things at his own pace. He is turning into our little scientist.

 

I know I'm making a shameless promotion here, but I invite you to visit my blog at www.mamaofletters.com because my boys are 6 and 3, and we are not an "odd family with super religious parents who don't want their children exposed to the real world."  Quite the opposite in fact. And I think as you learn about homeschoolers like myself and others, you'll see that this lifestyle can be very good for most children.

 

And I do think you can do it while you're working. I write a column for a newspaper, and I blog, and occasionally I do photography. I don't stress myself out with boxed curriculums. I make time to spend with my son, and I alternate short reading and math lessons M-Th. Then we work on a project of some kind.  We read all kinds of library books. We watch nature documentaries. We go to classes at the nature center, and we're slowly building a community of friends and making dates for playtime and social interaction.

 

I have found considerable inspiration by following Lori Pickert's blog on Project-based Homeschooling. You can see her website at http://project-based-homeschooling.com.  I highly recommend her book too.  It's full of practical advice and will give you a whole new perspective on what homeschooling can be like.

 

I wish you the best of luck on your new journey! Please don't worry about what others think. One of the most important people in your life needs you, and if homeschooling can help her, then you owe it to her to give it a try.

 

I love to talk to people thinking about homeschooling, so you are more than welcome to contact me for chats on the subject too.  

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#5 of 12 Old 01-19-2013, 10:49 AM
 
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I completely agree with Miranda...just wanted to add in my support.

Where there's a will, there's a way! You can do it Mama!
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#6 of 12 Old 01-20-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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What your 6 yo is enduring in K is exactly why so many parents homeschool. I have always been skeptical of it as well but after one semester of my DD in K I knew that PS was not the best choice for her. We aren't crazy religious nuts who are trying to shelter her from the outside world. We just want her to have the opportunity to learn at her own pace, learn what she REALLY wants to know and to enjoy the process. I want her to know how to think and learn rather than do pointless busy work towards a standardized test. And, honestly, I don't want her to become a drone worker bee, I want her to be a free thinking outspoken individual. You can certainly become that in public school but I think it is getting a lot harder these days IMHO.

 

That said, K isn't that important. At 5 and 6yo, if they don't know how to read or do addition and subtraction it isn't the end of the world. They should still be free to explore and learn about the world around them rather than have strict structure imposed on them. There are some great websites out there that talk a lot about how the public school system is really failing our kids in many ways and why so many kids struggle when they don't have too. Here are some suggestions:

 

http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/   look for the article index and click on Natural Parenting, unfortunately you can't get full access to all the articles without subscribing but ti is still a great thought-provoking magazine.

 

http://homeedmag.com/  there are lots of great articles in the archive which you can usually get full access to.

 

Homeschool Laws vary a lot by state and some school districts are happy to help, while others are pretty hostile to the idea and will tell you all sorts of things that have no basis in the actual law. I would try to find a local homeschool group that can help you with that, or post in the Finding My Tribe section under your state. Good luck!


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#7 of 12 Old 01-20-2013, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the encouragement.  We told my husband's mom our plans and she was very supportive also.  That was a relief, but I know my parents will think I'm nuts, so I don't look forward to that.

 

I looked up the laws for my state.  I have to submit a CPI or "Competent Private Instruction) form to my school board.  I can dual-enroll or remove her from the district completely.  I can choose to either have her evaluated by standardized testing (I'm in Iowa) or by having a portfolio evaluated by a certfied teacher.  Do you have ay recommendations on which way to do it?  Also I have to submit to he school board the curriculum or texts I'm going to be using and an "outline of course of study" meannig subjects covered, lesson pans, and time spent on the areas of study, and proof of vaccinations.

 

She wouldn't have to test until May 1st of the year she turns 7 by Sept 15, but I don't know if that means this year or next year.  She'll turn 7 on July 10th, but I don't know if that means she'll have to test this year or next year.  I don't know how you give a standardized test to someone who is just learning how to read?

 

The supervising teacher would have to meet with my child twice every 45 days, and although I have a lady on my block who teaches 2nd grade and would probably do it, I think I would rather have as little intervention as possible.

 

The Standardized testing option she would have to score in at least the 30th percentile for every subject area AND either score at or above grade level or have 6 months of improvement from the last standardized test . If I dual enroll I can get the standardized testing done for free, if I do not, I have to pay for standardized testing.

 

I don't know which to choose and I need help finding a cirriculum and texts and stuff.  I've looked at the Timberdoodle core curriculum and I like it, but it's expensive to buy the whole set and I wonder if I couldn't do better buying pieces here and there.  But since I need to submit the texts, etc to the school board, I need to get it all figured out.  I really want it to be bright and colorful and fun to start because she's had such a bad experience with school, I really want her to learn to love learning in a way where it doesn't even feel like work.  I would like lots of hands on learning and I only have about $150.00 to work with to get started.  I will have quite a bit more within a month or so, but our budget is very tight right now, so I'm thinking I should buy what I need for Reading and Language and Math right off the bat and then add science and social studies and others later on. 

 

I've started setting up our "classroom" which consists of a large child size table (6 chair variety) in a nook off of our living room, a bookshelf and a cubical and some additional storage shelves in a large closet with the doors removed.   It's quite cute and cozy.  We have wood floors and I'd like to get a little rug. I plan on putting up the ABC's and some other fun and colorful things on the wall.  I want it to feel like a child's learning wonderland and I want to have all sorts of fun and educational things for them to play with there when school is not officially "in session".  Let me know if you have any suggestions for those sorts of things. Blocks and puzzles and art stuff, of course, but I'd like more ideas too.

 

I'm really starting to get into this.  My husband is talking about puting her back into the school next year for 1st grade, but I really want to impress him with how great she's doing ,because I think once I get started, I'm not going to want to stop!

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#8 of 12 Old 01-21-2013, 09:09 AM
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In your situation I wouldn't hesitate to pull her out.  Even if you have a less than stellar homeschool year, I have a hard time believing it would be worse than you describe her 'at school' experience.  You most definitely can homeschool while working 12 hpw outside the home.  In my opinion, K-2nd (possibly 3rd) take very little time to implement at home.  Much of the learning can be done through play.  It sounds like your 6 year old would benefit even more than the average kid by being at home.  Also, I like your plan for the 3 year old.  Let him do part time preschool.  It will give you a bit of uninterrupted time with your 6 year old.  

 

Good luck!  And remember, nothing has to be permanent.  If homeschooling doesn't work out, she can go back to school.  

 

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#9 of 12 Old 01-21-2013, 07:21 PM
 
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May I suggest that you really think about deschooling for awhile.  It sounds like your daughter may need time to recover a bit from school and maybe a couch would be preferable to a desk and a list of cool library books (that she picks out) would be better than a curriculum.  This will also give you a chance to take some time to look for what you really want and to see what you really need.  It would be awful to spend a bunch of money on something that won't work for the two of you.  It so darn tempting to go buy all the cool stuff you see but it is so worth taking the time to listen to your kids and figure out what works for YOUR family.  I was amazed by how much learning happens with books from the library, a roll of butcher paper, and crayons.  The testing and the oversight stuff can be daunting but try not to let it intimidate you.  Have fun.


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#10 of 12 Old 02-04-2013, 10:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hebaume39 View Post

May I suggest that you really think about deschooling for awhile.  It sounds like your daughter may need time to recover a bit from school and maybe a couch would be preferable to a desk and a list of cool library books (that she picks out) would be better than a curriculum.  This will also give you a chance to take some time to look for what you really want and to see what you really need.  It would be awful to spend a bunch of money on something that won't work for the two of you.  It so darn tempting to go buy all the cool stuff you see but it is so worth taking the time to listen to your kids and figure out what works for YOUR family.  I was amazed by how much learning happens with books from the library, a roll of butcher paper, and crayons.  The testing and the oversight stuff can be daunting but try not to let it intimidate you.  Have fun.

 

Well said! I heartily agree with all of this - and she may need even more time to recover than you would imagine. And that's fine - there's absolutely no hurry. She'll need very little at this point, and you can find tons of things in the library when the time comes. Enjoy! Congratulations on your decision.  :)   Lillian

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#11 of 12 Old 02-04-2013, 10:35 PM
 
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I double checked the Iowa law. It looks to me like you have merged two of the four options. The national website, nhen.org, states that there are four options in Iowa, one of which is to have a portfolio reviewed by an evaluator at the end of the school year. A different option requires four face to face meetings and four other meetings throughout the school year. Since you are starting with the year half over, it seems logical only half the meetings would be required.

Make sure you are not relying on the school for info about homeschooling law. Here is a site for Iowa. http://www.iahomeeducators.org/


Time wise, have a plan for who will be responsible for your child while you are working. A friend of mine failed to do that and got in trouble.

I, too, homeschooled to keep my son off ADD/ADHD drugs, and not for religious reasons. We are out there, among those who do homeschool for religious reasons. But they are generally good people, even if your ideas differ, and most keep focused on what is best for the children, and can help you regardless of beliefs. At least that's been my experience.


Have you taken the plunge, yet? How's your daughter doing?
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#12 of 12 Old 02-05-2013, 06:03 PM
 
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I love everyone's reply to you, and cannot offer to tell you more than all the wonderful moms who have already replied.  I can just encourage you, and tell you that if your daughter is in so much trouble in Kindergarten, then obviously it's not a good fit for her.  My oldest son is only 5 and would be starting K next year, but I have no plans to send him to school.  Dh works full time, and I work from home, although barely half time now, since my 2 yo demands my attention all the time.  Honestly, I don't think you need a curriculum at this age.  There's no reason why you need to duplicate school at home.  What I've done is look at the objectives of different grades for end of year, and think about how I could teach or lead my son to learn those things.  Most everything at this age can be learned through games, through letting kids help you with whatever they can, and worksheets are unnecessary.  Your daughter doesn't have to "listen" to you because your goal is to make things fun not compulsory.  Does she like board games, find ones that are just a tad challenging and play with her or she can play with her older sisters.  My son and my mom are right now playing Monopoly...and he's probably learning more math from that than a whole year of school.  No one is forcing him to play Monopoly...just find fun activities and it doesn't have to be school at home.  

I don't buy curriculum...I do have some cheap $1 Target workbooks laying around and if he wants to do coloring by numbers, or do some mazes, he can.  I also print stuff off the internet whenever he says, "I want a dinosaur maze" or I want to make a candy book.  I feel like kids will learn so much as long as they're not in front of a TV...they'll find ways to learn because it's fun, not because someone is making them.  My pet peeve is all these places/products that advertise "We make learning fun" -- learning is always fun, as long as we don't force kids to make it boring. 

 

We are also not religious at all...my primary motivation for not sending my kids to school is that real learning is hands on...building a bridge from various materials at home is much more intrinsic learning than reading an easy reader book about bridges and then answering 5 questions at the end to show your understanding, and that's it.  I can provide that environment for my son; a school can't - like you said if there are 20 kids in the class they can't be all accommodated to.

Good luck to you...I'm sure your daughter will love being homeschooled.

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