We haven't put our 5-year-old DD in school here in France so far. At first, when she was three (the usual age for starting school here), we hesitated to enroll her in school because she was extremely reserved, overwhelmed by noise and hustle and bustle and had a hard time separating from us, especially to be looked after by strangers.
Now, two years on, she has changed enormously; she's very outgoing and social, has lots of friends and really enjoys other children. My DH thinks she would be better off in school now because she would get to see other children more there, and because he thinks the discipline would do her good.
However I find myself more and more resistant to the idea of her going to school. The state system here is famous for being rigid and authoritarian, with lots of competitiveness and pressure, and there aren't any alternative schools in our area (and in any case we couldn't afford one).
Generally speaking I'm happy to say that she seems like a very contented child to me. However DH is really concerned that she won't thrive unless she gets more contact with other children. It makes me a bit sad to realise that we perceive our DD's wellbeing so differently.
Also, as you'll have gathered, he and I have somewhat different ideas about discipline - I'm trying to use collaborative problem solving/nonviolent communication (not easy for me as I certainly wasn't brought up that way, but I really believe in it) whereas he's more traditionally authoritarian.
As far as our own wellbeing goes - personally I'm finding the homeschooling journey more and more interesting and fulfilling, but he's feeling stymied and under constant time and financial pressure. He says the current situation isn't sustainable financially, which is true, but DD won't be five forever either - surely we should make the most of these precious early years while we can?
The most frustrating thing for me is that he keeps badgering DD about it (for want of a better word)- asking her if she wants to go to school, telling her that she should give it a try, etc. He'll also try to get her friends who go to school to say positive things about it in order to try and convince her.
She herself now sometimes says she wants to go but I don't know to what extent that's because she feels under pressure from DH (or because she's simply curious). As I said before, generally speaking she's quite a peaceful, happy child and I actually think she needs a fair bit of quiet downtime, plus freedom to move around physically - she thinks on her feet a lot - which is yet another reason for not putting her in school.
Is this unreasonable of me? Is it unfair for me to be bothered by my DH's actions? Any thoughts or ideas would be very much appreciated.
You and your husband are adults. Your daughter a child. It is unfair to try to pressure her. In the end the decision isn't up to her anyway is it? You and your husband need to work out your differences and be on the same page. This is important. Putting her in the middle or otherwise trying to manipulate her is grossly immature and unfair.
Mama to DS (6/07) , DD (6/09) , and DD (07/12) ..
If it were me, I would ask my husband to keep my daughter out of it, and keep the discussion between the grownups. But that only works if you're really listening to him and working to find a solution that you're both happy with. Have you considered seeing a marriage counselor to help you two work through this?
Good luck to you!
Belated thanks for the thoughtful responses. Your replies got me thinking about where DH is coming from and I think I see the problem a bit more clearly now. He had a very hard year in 2013 - major surgery that knocked him out physically for months, plus big challenges in his work. I don't think he's consciously trying to manipulate DD, it's more that he's feeling overwhelmed and is also genuinely concerned for her welfare, and I haven't managed to convince him that school wouldn't be the best option for her.
He says that he wants to be able to discuss the subject openly with us both. I tend to think though that it's just too weighty a thing for a 5-year-old to be able to judge adequately. On the other hand, it seems to me to be next to impossible *never* to talk about school with a child of that age - many of her friends go to school after all and they talk about it to her a lot. I guess it's the nature of the discussion that we need to work on....
Anyway, I'll keep the suggestion of marriage counseling in mind and work on listening to DH a bit better!
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