On the fence and feeling pressured... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-25-2014, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm at a loss. My son will be 4 in April, and registration for September pre-k starts now. I love the idea of homeschooling, and I am really not loving what is going on in schools right now. I am nervous, though. Where I live, homeschooling is very rare. Most of my friends already have a pre-k picked out or their children have been in school since they were 2. The thing is, my son is very bright. I'm not worried about academics. I think he could use some more socialization, but he does have play dates and friends. We had him enrolled in sports classes and he loved it. So I think he would be absolutely fine if he were homeschooled. My worry is that we will change our minds, or he will want to go to school, and he won't be ready for the 5 days a week, many hours a day of sitting and being told what to do. I feel like pre-k is my last chance to sort of "test" school, with maybe a 2 or 3 day program. My husband seems to be on the fence about it. My son, however, has made it clear that he does not want to be left somewhere without me or daddy or nanny (my MIL). I feel like I might be crazy to respect his feelings on this, since he really has no idea what school is, but it absolutely breaks my heart when he says he doesn't want to be left alone at school. He came to me one day out of the blue and said, "If I go to school, and I want to leave, I won't know how to get home." He seems to have real fears about not having a familiar adult with him, so I'm feeling like he's not developmentally ready at this stage. However, like I said, registration is now if I want him to go anywhere in September. I'm just torn.

What holds me back is the fact that I work full time. He is with my MIL while I work, and she is really amazing with him, but I don't know if she would be able to be his teacher. I just don't know if I can be a weekend homeschooler.

I guess I'm just looking for validation that I'm not crazy for respecting a three year old's feelings, and that I will be able to find some kind of structure that works for us.

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#2 of 4 Old 01-25-2014, 05:07 PM
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Then I'd be crazy, because I do listen as well.  It seems like I've been able to tell the difference between reluctance where a little push would be enough, and a situation where the fears are deep-seated and not easily eased by fun activities and friends.  


Maybe I've erred on the side of caution sometimes, but I've had enough times where I've felt like I could push them and have had success (showers, swimming lessons, their first day camp) that I trust I can recognize when I've assessed the situation accurately.  So, if I'm feeling reluctance, I trust that as well.  I hope that makes sense.


I would instead seek out other settings, like your sports, where he can engage with kids and have you be there.  As he gets older there will be a lot of opportunities that encourage deeper friendships, like scouting or lego clubs or other interest-based activities to find and make friendships, not just with homeschoolers.


Maybe I miss out on a lot of opportunities because of this, but I consider it a personal red flag when I feel I *have to jump on something or else*!!  When I get that feeling, I usually go in the opposite direction.  But that's just me.

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#3 of 4 Old 01-25-2014, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. That is really helpful, actually. I think I'm more upset by everyone else's worries and our own indecision of not having an actual plan in place, so it's making me stress about finding a preschool setting when he actually doesn't need it. My son is outgoing, he talks to everyone, and is very social and verbal. So when he expressed fears about school I felt like it was definitely valid since he is absolutely fine if I'm there. I know my kid...he is acting truly fearful. I know what you mean, certain situations require some encouragement and talking and prepping, and then he's cool with it given a little "push". But this feels wrong...like he will just put on a brave face and suck it up. I never want him to feel that way.

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#4 of 4 Old 01-26-2014, 07:35 AM
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It sounds like the only reason to send him to preschool would be to give him some practice with school so he would be better able to handle all-day school if he ended up going there later.  But if he has a bad experience in preschool, it could leave him with bad feelings about school that could make going to all-day school even harder for him.  If he says he doesn't want to be at school without you, I'd pay attention to that.  A lot of 3 year olds just aren't ready to be away from their parents yet.  Most will probably adjust reasonably well if they have to, but if he doesn't have to, why push it? 


For the first few years of school, I'd say you can be a weekend and evening homeschooler.  Your DS should be able to learn everything he would be learning in school with a pretty small time expenditure on your part.  And once he's older, he may be able to self-direct enough to do learning activities while you're not with him.  But you really don't need to worry about that now.  If I were you, I'd just do what seems best for this year, and then next year you can decide what's best for next year.  If you do end up sending your son to school when he's older, I don't think it will make much difference that he hasn't practiced for it by going to preschool.  It may even be better.  Hopefully he'll be old enough by then that being away from you all day won't seem scary, and he won't have memories of having been scared by it in the past.

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