I have been considering homeschooling for over a year and keep stalling because we actually love the school community we are in. My daughter is in second grade and has had a really hard time going to school ever since kindergarten. She is very bright and knows almost everything they teach at school all year long. She was tested and does fall into the gifted range and the school does not have a gifted program but does try to help her somewhat through enrichment activities. They do a mediocre job even though it really is supposedly a great school. She cries before school probably 20% of the time. She likes going sometimes because she has friends there and it really is a nice place with caring teachers but she is bored out of her mind. I know she would thrive in a homeschool situation. She is a voracious reader and learns so easily I know I would hardly have to do anything but present her with the right material. I also have a kindergartner who really likes school right now so I am not sure whether I would take her out or not. This complicates it more for me.
I love the idea of homeschooling in many ways (except giving up my free time.) I have read tons about it for over a year and have tons of book lists and curriculum ideas. I have an educational and literature background and feel I could give my kids a way better education than what they currently get at their "blue ribbon" exceptional school. (maybe I am deluding myself but so much of what they do seems to be a waste of time!)
My hang up is that I really like the families at their school. It is a small K-8 school and I love the community aspect of it. There are regular social events outside of school and the families are kind and caring and just generally have the same values as we do. I like the idea that my kids will be with these kids for years to come as we know these families so well I hate to let that go because I feel like that is really good for my kids too. I like the idea of her growing up around these families (not exactly in our neighborhood so I don't think the relationships would really continue to the same extent if we pull her out.) I know there are homeschoolers in the area and imagine we could put together a new community but that seems so daunting.
But, is a general community a reason to keep my child in a somewhat miserable situation for 7 hours a day?
How much is your daughter getting from the school community? You talked about how much you love the other families and the idea of your daughter growing up with their kids. Do you think she feels the same way? Does she have close friends at the school? Does she have any other good friends who don't go to her school?
Is part-time schooling an option where you are? I know someone who homeschooled her daughter part-time the past couple of years and continued to be very involved in the school community. (In fact, she's the chair of the school board.) Her daughter went to school Mondays and Fridays. Even if your child isn't attending school at all, could you volunteer at the school as a way of keeping in touch with people there? I volunteer once a month at my local school, and I know another homeschooling mom who does, too. Or could you just make an effort to keep in touch with the families you know, calling them to set up playdates and family get-togethers?
The decision to homeschool doesn't have to be a permanent one. You can always try it and see what kind of community you find and then go back to school if you and daughter miss your old community too much.
Thanks Daffodil. She likes the school and has some friends there but she would not be heart-broken to leave at all at this point in her life. I don't think she recognizes the value of a community yet and maybe she never will appreciate this community like I do. I just like the idea that I know these people and that we are all looking out for each others kids and will continue to do so over the years. You make an excellent point though that I should be delineating between my preferences and her needs! I should definitely look into part time options as well as how we could stay a part of the community should we leave the school.
This isn't quite the same but...when DD was 3 I put her in preschool. It was a wonderful place, at the University where I graduated and worked part time. Relatively small class, I loved the teachers, really progressive in their approach.
When it became apparent halfway through the year that it was not working for DD at all, I made the difficult decision to withdraw her. It wasn't that I was worried about her education - I was strongly considering homeschooling at that time anyway, but it was the community. It was nowhere near as cohesive as yours as we were only there a short time, but I cried on our last day. I had felt part of a community there in a sense.
But my daughter was not happy there and it was not a good setting for her (we realized later she has Aspergers) and it was ME that was sad about leaving, not her. I had to do what was best for her.
Anyways, all of this to say that it is hard to leave community, whether you are moving away or switching school/church whatever. I'm retiring as a LLL leader this year and part of me is sad about leaving that community too. But that is part of life and the best thing is you tend to find a whole new wonderful community and I'm sure that will happen to you.
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
I would pull her out and hs her. Let the younger one stay in kindergarten. You can pull her out if/when you want to later. This is similar to my story with my oldest. I don't regret pulling her out at all. Also, since my younger child was still with the school, we still went to the "social" events--science night, roller skating, etc. DD was able to still participate. We found out later that most these events are open to the community too--but for the most part we don't do them anymore.
Your "community" will transition, but I don't imagine you will automatically be cut off from the current one. My dd's best friend was in her 1st & 2nd grade classes. As your homeschool community builds, you will find that you have great people in both areas.
Agree with AAK... if she's crying regularly before school, and has been for months and years, and it's not meeting her academic needs, then fear that you may not be able to build a supportive community without school isn't enough reason to keep her there.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
This is all helpful feedback. Thank you.
Amy, may I ask how did that go with leaving your younger in school? How did you position that with your kids? Just that the older one wanted to be homeschooled or had different needs?
For transition purposes, it was great. I got my feet under me regarding homeschool. Also, at that time, only my oldest wanted to homeschool and my younger child was only in half day kindergarten so she was home by lunch. My oldest and I did any "mom" required homeschool while kindergarten was going on. Usually, all homeschool was finished before Kayla got home. If there was a science project/experiment to do we often saved it for when Kayla was home. By the beginning of first grade, Kayla also wanted to come home. She had different issues; she is dyslexic. She had already figured out that she was different than most her class and she cried before/after school. She felt dumb/stupid. We brought her home in December of first grade.
The only downside to having one in school is regarding schedules. Sometimes there would be a great homeschool event going on, but it wouldn't finish in time for me to pick up my other child from school. Fortunately, I have family close by to help, but we did miss out on some stuff. This is actually the first year I have all three kids at home. I feel very free and excited about it. However, I know that for me, it was best to start with one.
My kids are both in a small K-8 school right now, and we are thinking about pulling them out. I really resonate with the idea of the community, and being a part of it, although I have to say a lack of an *authentic* feeling of belonging is part of our choice. There are great families and many who have been here for generations. We are 'outsiders' who have only been here for 6 years. Although we have been welcomed and it feels nice to be there, I often think I romanticize a lot more of the community situation then actually experience it- does that make sense? And my dd, who is in 5th grade, is starting to realize and experience some social exclusion that i have observed for years, but she has been blissfully unaware of. It's hard to leave a small community school, because you pretty much know everyone. But there are other homeschoolers in our town, so I would imagine those connections would grow.
I ran the idea very loosely by my dd today. No decisions have been made, and it took her a bit before she agreed she would like it. I think she would love it, but she has been always happy to go to school and has felt supported there. If we leave, it may be after Christmas break.
Good luck with your decision!