I'm so glad you brought this up!
We've decided to HS ydd, but our older 2 children are in school. ydd always talks about going to school like her big sister. I still haven't really thought of what to tell her yet. Her cousin is homeschooled, so I was thinking something along the lines of "we're going to do school at home like N!"
SAHM to DS (16), DD (13), DD (3) & a bun in the oven due 10/11/13
We had the same issue with DD (now 8). We let her go to kindergarten. She made it through kindergarten, then next year wanted to go to first grade, so we let her. About six weeks into first grade she'd had enough, and has been homeschooled since. I think she just needed to see what it was like. At first her choice broke my heart; I would watch her get on the school bus so excitedly and I felt so sad that my dreams of homeschooling had all gone down the drain. But in retrospect it was not such a big deal as I felt it was back then and I could have relaxed about it.
We waffled on homeschooling a bit. But everyone got DD1 SO excited about how awesome school is that she couldn't wait. After one semester we knew it wasn't a good fit and talked to her about homeschooling. Surprisingly she was ready to come home. In fact, once we told her we were going to homeschool we had trouble getting her to go to her last week of school. She was so over the excitement and novelty by then. So one strategy is to let her try it and decide on her own OR find some other homeschooling families and see if she get's excited over all the cool things that they get to do outside of school. The latter would be a good option if you don't even want to deal with school at all or at least expose her to another view of things.
If your child is 3yo, and you decide to homeschool, you have 2 years to promote the idea positively (and to block out the "kindergarten and school are totally awesome" propaganda).
I worked to keep the input fairly neutral (since we didn't know what we were doing). I talked about lots of different kinds of schools people go to (the local school, private school, church school, home school...). Then, when we knew what we were doing (homeschool), we did it having fun. :) My kids have not objected or said they want to be in school. They go to a once a week, half-day class, and I think that is enough for them to see what school is like and prefer what we do.
FWIW, I find that with most things, my kids are agreeable to things I present positively. I ask them for input, and we do consider their desires (and also what fits their personalities and current learning needs). The school choice to homeschool is just another of those life things that we do as a family - like we have 2 dogs and live in our house :).
I totally agree with Tjej.
Right now your child is being bombarded with propaganda about how great school is. (by the time kids are around 7 or 8 that is all gone and the popular media simply portrays how much kids hate school, lol). That's a strong message to fight.
This is just MHO but here is how I handled it: I personally think that most schools are not good for most kids. I think the social dynamics are not just dysfunctional but harmful to young children. My kids may have asked to go to school (they didn't) but I would have said "no" just as I say "no" to other things they really want but that I think are not good for them.
I can tell you this, once kids get a taste of school, the social scene, the peer-orientation, etc. it can be very devastating to take them out of that (unless of course they are asking to leave). Much much easier to start when they are young than to try to switch later.
Of course I'm biased b/c I think homeschooling is an awesome lifestyle. ;-)
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
I don't plan to homeschool DD (3), and yet...I keep coming back to this forum. I think about it a lot and have lots of questions. My big question at the moment is how you dealt with your child's disappointment about not going to school. My DD has been super-excited about going to school for a looong time now. She cannot WAIT to go. I can't imagine how disappointed she would be if I told her we were homeschooling. How did you all deal with this? Or was it just not an issue in your family?
By the time dd was school aged she'd been doing a lot of fun stuff with other homeschoolers, which helped counteract the propaganda a lot. She did go to school for grade 1, and was so bored she asked to homeschool again.
A question for you: How will you handle your child's disappointment if school falls short of her high expectations?
Maybe you can convert that enthusiasm for school into enthusiasm for home school before it has a chance to turn to disappointment.
You can tell her that your family is going to have school right there at home. The best part? She doesn't have to wait! Let her design her "classroom", give her a backpack for her "work" and let her play. I've even played teacher to my girls. I asked "what do you want to learn about?" and they said "trees!" So, I taught them a few things about trees, being very teacher-like and asking if they had questions. I kept it all very child-led (we are unschoolers) and we quit when they were done (after 10 minutes). Then I would say what I liked about having school at home: we get to learn about the things we are interested in, not the other way around. We can play when we want and never got bored of learning stuff. At the end of a good day, you can bet I make sure I credit homeschooling with our ability to do what we are doing. (In our region, some of our best summer weather is right when kids go back to school--and yes, I do indeed point that out to the girls!) Propaganda? Hell, yes. But I think it's only fair considering the pressure to make school seem so wonderful.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Sorry for not coming back to this thread sooner. I'm thankful for all the advice here, and I've really been stewing over this homeschooling idea a lot more. I've at least introduced the concept of homeschooling now, but wondering how I can take back the "You can go to school when you're five" statements I've made. My DD is really the type that I think would excel in school. She LOVES situations where there is a teacher and she's supposed to follow instructions. She's also very inclined towards typical academics. Still, I feel like she's learning so well with me, and since she turned three she's expressing interest in all sorts of subjects that we're exploring together through books, outings, museums... And I don't like the idea of her being away from me in a full-day classroom situation at 5 year old. Her dad and I both agree that 6 or 7 is a more appropriate age for that. So...we're still undecided, and I'm going to work harder on planting seeds in her mind about homeschooling. I LOVE the idea of playing school with her. She would go crazy for that.
Unfortunately, I think homeschooling beyond early elementary is out of the question for me on a personal level. I wish I could, but I just really feel like I need to pursue my own career path instead. So ultimately, she will end up at school whether it lets her down or not.