Several months ago, I posted here about some of my thought process concerning whether I would want to take my boys (currently first and second grade) out of public school to teach them at home. At the time, even though I loved the idea of homeschooling, couldn't stop thinking about homeschooling, was concerned about the direction of public education and aware of the benefits of homeschooling, even WANTED my kids to be homeschooled, there were many, many barriers in my mind---the chief being that I just did. not. think. I. could. do. it.
Fast forward to now, many of the barriers have been removed. I'm finally at a point where not only do I think about homeschooling constantly, but I feel like I could do it---with the help and support of a local homeschooling community that's just getting off the ground. Not only that, but I've come to feel that the benefits of homeschooling would be worth the necessary sacrifices on my part.
The only remaining barrier, really, is that my kids are still doing pretty well in public school. Even though they complain about going (mostly because it interrupts their video games, I suspect), some of the stories they bring home tell me that they do enjoy a lot of things about school. And, I do think that they are learning. We live in a neighborhood with a pretty good school. I'm involved in the PTA, and value the relationships I've built there. As far as the school knows, I'll continue as a PTA officer next year. This obviously isn't a deal breaker---I know they would get along with out me---but my loyalty to the school is a factor.
Anyway...my main question here, though, is whether or not I should allow my boys to have input in our decision about staying in public school or leaving.
On the one hand, it feels a little dictatorial to just make the decision without discussing it with them. On the other hand, I really don't think they are mature enough to know what's best for them when it comes to their education. And---if my husband and I are pretty sure that homeschooling really is the right path for us, what if we ask the boys what they think and one or both of them says no? My middle son (the first grader) often does say no, just to be contentious---so it is within the realm of possibility that he would reject the idea. Even though he complains about school.
Is there a good way to sound them out about it, without them knowing they are being sounded out? Are there good ways to align them to the idea first, to be sure that they will be on board if/when we do solicit their input?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. :)
In regards to your questions I would say, ask your kids what they think. Really in a just everyday conversation kinda way. Consider their thoughts and feelings but ultimately you and DH make the final decision, as you said, they may lack the maturity to make wise decisions. And as far as being loyal to the school, that's fine and dandy, but your true loyalty lies within your home. Your family should have first place in your heart. So do what is best for you and your family first, then worry about the others.
Breastfeeding, non-vaxing, homeschooling, baby wearing, cosleeping, non-cic'ing mama to CJAGJJSD And married my highschool sweetheartAnd expecting #5 in Nov. 2014
My kids have input. Our local schools are "good" schools. Two out of three of my kids would be fine if they chose to go back. Their level of input does vary based on the age of the child and while I would be willing to switch the scenario, I won't let them bounce back and forth between public and home.
My oldest has always had the choice. We pulled her out in third grade and she was part of the decision. She knows that homeschool has to work for all of us and that if it isn't, then she will go back. That also means that if she feels it isn't working, or if she simply wants to return to public school, she can. This upcoming year she begins high school. She has chosen to take a couple elective courses at the local high school. Since this is a new experience, we will reevaluate after the first month or so as well as after the quarter/semester time periods. She was also a part time student during the rest of elementary school so that she could continue with the gifted pull out program (one day/week) that we loved.
My middle has never wanted to be at school. I feel a touch bad that she was there for kindy and half of first. Mostly because I now know how much better it is for her at home. I let my lack of confidence get in the way. She is part of the orchestra through the school district but has no plans of returning for regular classes.
My youngest has always had a choice. She went to kindy and first grade. At the end of first grade she decided to try out homeschool for second grade. She is finishing second grade this next month. She has acted like she might want to go back to school -- mostly because a couple of friends say they "need" her there. However, she isn't really going to get a choice for third grade. She is staying at home because her attitude and relationship with individual family members is so much better now that she is home. She has also been working way ahead of grade level and she would be very bored to go back. I would love to have her in the gifed program, but they changed the way the classes were created so it doesn't look like it is an option.
In general, I feel that children whose opinions are validated have greater self confidence later on. That doesn't mean that they "rule" -- I am still mom. However, in this situation, I wanted their input. We talked about pros/cons, we acknowledged that if it doesn't work out that we could change our mind. I also feel that I get a great amount of cooperation from my kids simply because they chose to learn at home.
My kids are currently in PS in kindergarten and first grade but I will be homeschooling them after they finish this year. I always thought I would homeschool but have been a single mom for the past 4 years and when it came time for my oldest to enter kindergarten I just went with PS thinking as a single parent I could never try homeschooling b/c I have to work 40 hours a week at least to keep my kids fed and sheltered. Then I told myself that's crazy if I really want to I can work it out so I am going to try it after the kids finish up this year- I felt it was right to finish what was started and there is only a month left anyway.
My desire to HS came before the kids entered school but has been validated by our PS experience the last two years. I don't hate our school and actually really like a lot of the teachers. I just dont think i like PS in general for my kids. My oldest (daughter) has always been a little ahead for her age and is an October baby who just missed her kindergarten cutoff date. Kindergarten and first have been boring for her and I have had zero luck when I tried to move her ahead or get next level work for her. So with HS I will be able to give her what she can do and not just make her stay at "the standard" for her "grade level". I will be moving her on to 3rd grade work when we start HS studies. My other child (son) has social anxiety and although has done well this year I feel like he can do even better when his studies are done in an environment he is comfortable in and he works on his social skills separately with things like sports or lessons or play dates. He is a bright kid but also a little boy who doesn't always want to sit still and I want to see what he can do when he gets to learn his way.
So those are my reasons for trying HSing. Not against PS completely I just feel like for my kids I should at least try and HS even though it will be a challenge with my having to work fulltime and being a single parent.
My DS came home, his choice, half way through first grade. That was after several months of trying to make things work, then offering him this option. That was just over two years ago and he remembers PS clearly, tainting his sister's view of it. I am happy to have them both home and think that it is the best choice for now, but am flexible year to year. My DD could go to Kindergarten next year, but when given the choice, chose not to. Mostly because she likes being home with her brother. I expect there may be a year when she needs to see for herself what PS is all about, and I am willing to let her try it. I see my DS returning for classes here and there when he reaches middle or high school level... science labs, math, athletics, theater, band... but who knows, maybe not. It is kind of like a PP said, as long as it works for our family, we can try it. They both participate in a (much loved) day long outdoor program once a week that unless there was a big reason to reconsider, they will continue to do, even on the days they are not super excited about it, because that is our child care for work purposes...
I asked my 3 kids questions like "what do you think about homeschooling? what things do you think would be fun? what things would you miss about school?" etc. we also have some friends who were homeschooling, and I made a point of having them over during the day, and we all had some conversations about their lives, had they ever been in school, etc. we just pulled our 4th, 2nd and Kindy child out of school midyear this year, after debating about it since my oldest was a toddler. I was also a member of the PTA and even had a paying parttime position at their previous school. we are still friends with the families we were friends with at school, and my kids still have playdates with some of the students (that does not have to end!)
you didn't ask, but I have to just say, I am SO GLAD WE'VE DONE THIS!!! Even if my kids eventually decide they want to go back to school, I am so proud that we bucked the norm and tried something outside the box. even without having a co-op or specific group I could join right away, we have so quickly found amazing groups of homeschoolers, and we are LOVING our newfound freedom. I really do feel like we have the best of everything, and I trully can't believe more people don't try this.
good luck! :)
Yes, I forgot to add that I too was an active member of the PTA. They have done okay without me... and my ds is still friends with three of his closest friends from school. That connection doesn't have to end. Talking about all of the things your kids could do if they didn't go to school would be a great way to get them thinking along the same lines. You could also do a practice day on an in service or holiday... or let them take a day off of school and do something fun to give them an idea of what it would be like. Also connecting with other homeschool kids in the area might help alleviate concerns about friends, though that wasn't a problem here...
I pulled my ds out after 2nd grade.
He has a lot of friends who are home schooled, so he really knew what it could be like before we did it. Maybe one thing you could do is find a homeschool group near you and ask if it's OK to come to some event(s) of theirs?
Maybe something else you could do is start conversations with your boys about the things you're unsatisfied with about their public school experience. Like, "gee, wouldn't it be great if the whole class didn't have to push ahead/hang back because we all learn at different paces?" or whatever is up for you. "Can you imagine what it would be like if mommy was your teacher?" Or if you go someplace or do something educational you could say, "wouldn't it be great if this counted as school?"
On the other hand, you could just ask. I'm accustomed to using the prelude, "Understanding that the final decision is mommy's, do you think you would enjoy..." :) There's a lot that my ds didn't like about the idea of homeschooling, so I think he would have been fine either way, but it felt good to both of us for him to have input, and giving him the necessary background to give his input I think prepared him more realistically for the reality of home school. (It's not ALL bionicles and minecraft, after all :) )
Like your children, my ds was doing well in school socially and academically, so it was not an easy choice, but at least it's a choice between two good things.
Best wishes with your decision!
|Homeschooling , Education|