A little background on our situation:
DS1 will be going into his kindergarten year this fall, and I had found a great charter school for him to go to where we used to live, but then we found out we were moving out of state and I decided to try homeschooling. Well, we've been home together for the past 2 months along with his 10 month old brother. It hasn't been easy and Im really now trying to determine what would be best for DS1.
Here are the reasons why I thought I would like to homeschool:
-more time to influence my son the way we think is right.
-ideally not sick as much. (yes this is a true concern of mine especially since he gets colds often already and we dont vaccinate)
-I believe that because my son really loves socialization, he is easily influenced in order to find friends. I noticed this behavior when he went to preschool for fours months where we used to live. I would like him to have a better sense of himself and more confidence in his choices.
-we can foster his creativity and personal interests that i believe are pretty special
-i just cant believ that these 5 years are already passed, i still want more time with him while he is a child:)
-better nutrition. ive heard from many public schooling families that they give out sweets regularly whatever the occasion may be. its just not how we are.
here's why i think public school might be best for DS1:
-as i said earlier, my son LOVES people. i actually think he needs people much more than the average person. Since we've just moved, i havent yet been able to connect with other families, but i do plan to do so within the month, so this may not be an issue soon.
-my son also seems to really need a lot of attention and i just cant give him 24/7 attention. it seems since his brother was born, hes just much more needy.
-he doesnt listen to me most days, so i end up yelling. i hate this about myself. i try reading AP wesbites for discipline, but truthfully, i believe the reason he doesnt listen is because hes not getting enough attention one on one and like i said, its just not possible with the baby to give him all of my attention. and when i yell he starts to get angry and yell back, back talk, hit etc. its just not a great situation.
-i think he would be less bored, would enjoy the daily routine and from hi preschool experience, he just really seems to like to aim to please.
All in all, i still really want homeschooling to work for us, but im not liking the yelling and not listening. i want to be a nice mommy and give a lot more love than ive been able to lately. Some days are great and i get really excited thinking about different activities and lessons to do, but then other days just feel like a waste. I feel like he hasnt "done" anything all day, and staying home with me is just not a positive experience.
I know this was an incredibly long post, so if youre still reading:), please help me sort my thoughts, i would love to hear from your experiences of successes and failures.
Warning: long post.
First, doing anything with a 10-month old is difficult. Second, kindy is a cinch and can be done no differently than you do everyday life--cooking, building, games. You have the materials around, you give them time and freedom, and you've got your bases covered. And as a parent of a very-nearly 2nd and a very-nearly 3rd grader, I can say that 1st and second grades can be covered in this way as well. So, don't think that homeschooling has to involve any parent-down task that's different from what you already do. Relax and focus on the everyday--it's challenging enough!
You list many reasons why you don't want to send him to school. These are not the things that are going to keep you homeschooling, though. Two items on the list stand out to me: pursuing his interests and the yelling. You'll want to work on both.
First, about the yelling. He sounds like he is strong-willed boy, and if not handled properly, this is going to carry negatively into his homeschooling. The thing about strong-willed kids is that they usually have ideas of their own--often some very good ideas and much of the struggle involves making sure they feel like they are heard. They are often incredibly bright, motivated kids. If you are not doing it already, ask him what he would do differently and how. Then, if the stakes truly are not high, let him come up with a solution. This kind of approach is going to trickle down to your homeschooling--it's good practice, and some would say a line between life and learning does not truly exist.
Also, kids like this often want what is asked of them to have meaning. There needs to be a reason why he learns these things. Some kids (and adults--my husband!) are sensitive to needing a reason to learn this stuff. It needs to have meaning to his life. Not adult reasoning-meaning, but his own. And yes, that might be "I need to learn this so I can teleport to Middle Earth and live like hobbit!" OK.... so, what do we know about hobbits? And what to we know about what is involved with teleportation? There was a great book called the Physics of Star Trek that covers teleportation, and there have been new developments in our understanding of what might be required that might make that book obsolete. What? Not written for a kindergartener? Does that matter? Maybe it doesn't.... you never know until you try!
Whenever possible, ask him what his ideas are. Give him what freedom you can. Negotiate for what he is asking for. "No, you can't play the drums while baby is napping. Maybe if you don't want to help me cook dinner, you could play the drums then."
Give him some responsibility. Not chores, but the fun stuff, say, letting him flip the pancakes and turn on the oven. Handling the mixer. Let him hammer in some nails into some wood placed safely in a vise. (Or a stump--we have lots of those.) Entrust him with "big kid" things. Let him help you make out a grocery list with some of his own ideas (I give my girls complete freedom with $10 each to buy what snacks and treats they want, every week). Let him plan dinners for the week. Let him plan out an "expedition" for the day. Operating machinery and electronics is a big deal in this house. That is going to buy you some patience and energy to dig your heels in on important matters. Give a very small allowance and give him freedom with how to spend it (ours is one quarter-per-year-per-week. So, at 5 they got 1.25 every week--small enough that they could squander it, large enough that they could actually save for things.)
So, sorry for the long post, but I think you need to find more of those positive reasons you want to homeschool, not so much in terms of what you want to avoid (though, everything can be expressed in the negative.) More of wanting to pursue his interests, and what that entails:
Observe or ask him what his interests are. Maybe his interests are already satisfied, and what he needs is time to pursue it and a bit of company and assistance (erector sets, snap circuits, making a little place for his animals to play in, baking brownies). If they aren't satisfied, and he might want more, borrow some library books, bring some extra materials into the house that you want to have around the house anyway (a second set of blocks, different paints and paper, etc.)
Find out how he wants to pursue his interest. "Hey... do you know that you can visit the fire station and see the trucks up close?" "Should we take some binoculars next time we drive by the elk?" "Should we leave for the park/gym/swim early so we have time to watch the construction site?" "Our neighbor works with wood, should we ask him to show us his tools and help us build a birdhouse?"
Some kids prefer to have more hands-on, and at your son's age, everything can be learned this way (And--personal opinion-- if that means that my kids might be "behind" their peers so that I can get them to enjoy, say, math in a hands-on way, then so be it.) Sometimes they want to be hands-on with some things, and more cerebral with others. My girls adore their animal videos!
In the same vein, you'll want to pay attention to the way things are presented that grab your son's interest. Our neighbor friend (5yo) who never stops moving will sit down for hours looking at a giant tome on logging in the Pacific NW. The stuff presented to kids for early reading skills doesn't keep his attention. If you are using a curriculum, you might pay attention to this. As a homeschooling parent, you have the freedom to switch (or ditch) curricula that aren't a good fit.
Know when is the best time. Obviously, a baby around the house is going to dictate some of your daily schedule, but if you haven't already, let him have some say as to when you work together. But, you know? There is nothing in a kindy-or-first-grade-level learning plan that can't be done with games, reading together, and free exploration. Nothing.
And then, back to his reasons why, which I have already covered up above.
Again, sorry for the long post. I wrote, I edited, reedited, and hopefully this will be coherent and actually be helpful, since I spent so much time on it, I don't want to have completely missed the point--AACK!
"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
Thanks so much for your reply! I began letting him choose/have more freedom when he could. He ended up asking me to "be the grown up and make the decisions" hehe:) so thank you again for shedding some light on what is possibly going on with my child.
I think my main concern though is making the right choice for my son so that he is happy and thriving. The yelling, i need to figure out no matter what we choose, i think ill head over to positive discipline...but im still stuck with not being able to give him enough one on one no matter which way i dice it:) hopefully he'll just begin to enjoy having his brother with us and perhaps my dh and i can focus on each giving ds1 one on one time on the weekend.
Im not really scared about the cirriculum part, though i hear NY can be a bit intimidating, the learning is what im quite excited about!
thanks again and i would still really love to hear from others on their experiences as well!