Homeschooling preschoolers support thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought we needed it.

Are you homeschooling your preschool-aged child (or younger) with the intention of continuing to homeschool into the school years? If you wish to share, how old are your kids? When and why did you decide to homeschool?

Are you using a methodology or specific resources? What are your kids doing or what are their interests?
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#2 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 01:05 PM
 
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Yes, I need this thread! All my friends kids are in preschool now; I'm feeling very lonely.

My dd is 31 months, I think? and we are pretty much waldorf homeschoolers.
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#3 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm homeschooling my 4yo son. I also have a 2yo son, but we haven't been doing anything with him that I've considered "homeschooling". We plan on homeschooling until at least the beginning of high school, aside from extra special circumstances. I would love for the kids to just skip high school and take community college classes. I would probably let my kids try school once they were at least 9 or had a realistic idea of what it involved.

We decided to homeschool when my oldest was about a year and half old. He was advanced in some areas and behind in others, very asynchronous in general. We thought that school would not be able to consistently meet his academic needs and wishes. Since that decision was made, we learned of other great reasons to homeschool.

We haven't really been using a methodology, but we have been staying out of ds1's way and letting him lead the way. I was really attracted to unschooling. Like, I don't work with him on writing, even though he does it sometimes. Staying out of his way has worked best for him so far. I said in the other thread that I showed him how to solve a basic puzzle when he was 2. But in general, he doesn't take direction from others very well but he's very self-directed. So our methodology is "child-led", I guess. I've also read quite a bit about Waldorf (not a good fit for us) and "A Thomas Jefferson Education" (compelling). I don't know what we'll do in the future.

It doesn't feel like "homeschooling" with my 2yo right now. I have set up a few Montessori practical life activities for him in the last few days, so I'm starting to think of homeschooling him. I don't remember when it felt like homeschooling with my oldest, but probably not before 3, I guess.

Our educational materials, besides regular books, are the Miquon Math Orange Book, maze books, science books, and some encyclopedias.

Ds1's interests over the past year and half have been: bones, outer space, castles and knights, engines, gravity, energy, geography, and molecules. Everything after the first two topics have been recent interests. He also loves to draw and used to like writing (but hasn't been into it lately). He does a lot of imaginative play with his little brother. They both like numbers.

Ok, enough about us. I would love to hear about the other "preschool" homeschooling families.
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#4 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubertulip
Yes, I need this thread! All my friends kids are in preschool now; I'm feeling very lonely.
Preschool is the norm where we live too.
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#5 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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DD is four. She has been passionate about reading since 3 so I started looking into theories on encouraging reading at that age, and other educational persuits as well. It led me to homeschooling and I've always thought that I may like to try it, but now I am convinced it's what I want to do. It just so happens that I got convinced of this before dd reached "official" school age. So yes, I would consider us homeschoolers even though some other hs may not. It's my business anyway of course. We don't follow any specific methodology that I'm aware of yet, but I'm still learning all the termonology anyway.

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Dinosaurs, making masks and puppets for her theatre, dinosaurs, collecting rocks, planting seeds, making her own coloring books, reading, Laurie Berkner, dinosaurs, going for walks, did I mention dinosaurs

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#6 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunRayeMomi
So yes, I would consider us homeschoolers even though some other hs may not.
That's what this thread is about! I consider us homeschoolers too, even though kindy doesn't start until next year and it's not, technically, mandatory. We've hooked up with our homeschooling support group and they have been very inclusive. There are several other families in that group with only little ones. We even ordered from the Scholastic book club, because the homeschooling group gave us order forms. And I've been telling ds1 that we homeschool, because he wasn't sure what his deal was and if he was missing out on being in "real school".

Laurie Berkner is awesome, btw! We're getting two CDs of hers for Christmas. The energy song is a favorite here!
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#7 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 02:24 PM
 
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I'm unschooling my 4yo and 2yo ds's. Ds#1 is very child-led; there are days when he'll say, "I need to do some homework" so I give him some suggestions and he decides what his "homework" will look like. Other days, it's TV, Rescue Heroes, coloring and being a kid. Ds#2 is a sponge and copies his brother in about everything except for talking. He knows a bunch of letter sounds by sight just by watching Leap Frog and playing with magnetic letters with ds#1. Most of our "curriculum" involves the library on Thursday mornings. Both boys really enjoy reading, and ds#1 wants to know why everything is the way it is.

Sara - it sounds like your Raye and my ds#1 would get along quite well with their mutual love of dinosaurs!

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#8 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 03:14 PM
 
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I am home schooling my 3.5 year old dd and my 14 month old dd. OK, the 14 month old doesn't do anything that remotely resembles school, but I don't want her to feel left out. Honestly, we don't do anything formal, but we are the only people we know who don't do preschool.

Dd1 is another asynchronous learner. She is very advanced in reading, but a little behind socially. All of her "academic" progress is her own doing. She wanted to read, so she taught herself (with a lot of being read to and me answering questions). Her current interests are: reading, faeries, anatomy, animals, yupik masks, and classical music.
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#9 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 03:45 PM
 
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I'm homeschooling my 29mo...if you consider drawing pictures of Spongebob Squarepants over, and over, and over, and over again homeschooling, lol.
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#10 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 03:48 PM
 
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So happy to see this thread! I am homeschooling my nearly 4yo but I am hesitant to post in this forum or tell many people IRL for fear that it will seem like I'm pushing him. I consider myself to be child-led mostly but I also consider us ecclectic and leaning towards unschooling...ummm which is to say we don't really follow any particular methodolgy or "type" of homeschooling.

Right now Ds is interested in clocks, the planets, drawing and has had a long standing obsession with letters and words. We are working on reading right now, in fact we just finished playing on the starfall website and he really enjoyed it. I can't decide if I want to buy some kind of phonics program as well but for now I think I'll just wait and see. We also recently joined a small homeschooling group with other kids his age and that has been fun so far.

I decided that I wanted to homeschool him when he was probably a year old or so. I was interested in it as an option but the more I researched the more sure I became that it was the *only* option for us. Dh has been a little slower in coming around but he is getting there. He does want to homeschool but he's not quite as passionate as I am!

I also have a 14 mo but he's pretty busy being a toddler

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#11 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread.

I'm educating my 3 year old son at home.

The National Curriculum in the UK starts at age 3 with the foundation stage (ages 3 - 5). While we aren't following the National Curriculum in all aspects, this illustrates that in the UK education is seen to begin formally at age 3 (mandatory school age is 5 years; but children start 'school' at 3).

I'm always asked why DS is not in school, and when I explain that we home educate it's met with mixed reactions (though, I've never had 'he's too young for that' -- like I said, the mindset in this country is that school starts at age 3).

We are doing an ecclectic approach. We mix Montessori and some aspects of Waldorf such as a focus on nature and creativity. Ds is interested in many things so we follow his interests a lot, but I'm also happy to introduce him to new things that I feel may interest him, and I've also started to have more of a structure to our day which seems to suit him (and me) much better.

I've discussed ds' future education with dh at great length recently and we agreed that we'll go on to classical education and WTM in a few years.

Edited to add: My son is growing up bilingual (English and German) and we plan to introduce another language (French, most likely) next year.

It's nice to see a support thread here, as I only have one friend IRL who home educates and she does not live close by. We're moving next week and I hope to find a home education support group once we're in the new city.
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#12 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 04:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLittleWonders
I'm unschooling my 4yo and 2yo ds's. Ds#1 is very child-led; there are days when he'll say, "I need to do some homework" so I give him some suggestions and he decides what his "homework" will look like. Other days, it's TV, Rescue Heroes, coloring and being a kid. Ds#2 is a sponge and copies his brother in about everything except for talking. He knows a bunch of letter sounds by sight just by watching Leap Frog and playing with magnetic letters with ds#1. Most of our "curriculum" involves the library on Thursday mornings. Both boys really enjoy reading, and ds#1 wants to know why everything is the way it is.
Can you tell my why you consider this homeschooling? I'm not trying to be argumentative. I just don't get how unschooling preschoolers is different from just being an involved parent at home with them. I'd like to understand the need to define this as homeschooling/unschooling. I can somewhat see the difference if a parent is sitting down at 9:30 am 4 days a week to do math workbooks, followed by a preplanned science lesson but the unschooling of preschoolers is something I have trouble distinguishing from life.

I have 4 kids - 3 are of preschool age (4 y/o twins and a 2 y/o) and while I consider us a homeschooling family and my kids are all involved in some of the homeschooling activities we do like Roots and Shoots or the homeschool co-op for electives, I don't consider my younger ones homeschooled as they are not yet school age.

Karen

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#13 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 04:09 PM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread!!

I'm subscribing. Most (if not all) of my friends from our baby group are looking into preschools now. One is paying $10K per year for Montessori. (Wish I had an extra $10K!) Another just wants to have some time away from her kids. Another signed her kid up on a waiting list while she was still pregnant!

I was thinking about doing a home school preschool co-op, but I haven't taken steps to organize it yet. We'll see. So far, no one I know is interested in doing it with me. I feel like though I enjoy these friends, that our family does things much differently than many of theirs and we're already starting to drift apart.

I do feel rather lonely some days and we they haven't even started preschool yet. I feel like I've been unschooling DD since the beginning. I am still researching homeschooling in general and various types of HS. Right now, I just go with whatever DD brings up.

For instance, she's only 2-1/2, but lately we've been having many biology lessons. She's really into exploring what animals have milkies and which don't. So we're leaning about mammals (on the simplest level of course). And we talk about nipples a lot lately too. I don't imagine that subject comes up a lot at traditional preschools.

All that said, I'd love to find some other homeschool preschoolers in our area. (Seattle Eastside.)

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#14 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 04:25 PM
 
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I have two daughters who I homeschool who are 3.5 & 2 years old. I have to be honest that I'm not 100% sure I'll homeschool them but I am for now...and will be for a while anyway.

I'd love to discuss ideas for the "preschool" ages...

~Mary-Beth
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#15 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 04:38 PM
 
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I guess I qualify. My oldest is 5 and is K age, but I also have a 3.75yo DD and a 23moDD at home. And in a few weeks, we'll add an almost-5-yo into the mix.

I've found that I was very involved and active when my oldest was a preschooler. But I don't do nearly as much with my current 3yo than I did with her older brother when he was the same age. Although I do involve her in projects and she sits with us while we do lessons, I'm more willing to let her take the lead.

Last year, when my kids were 4, 2, and an infant, we did SonLight PreK core. Both the kids and I really enjoyed it. We're currently doing Little Hands to Heaven K curriculum (with a bunch of other stuff added in). We'll do SL PreK again after the first of the year, and then move onto SL core K. SonLight is a really good fit for our family because it's literature based (and my kids LOVE listening to stories!), and because I'm able to combine several kids of different ages into one core. Then I add the appropriate level of language arts, math, science and handwriting onto the core.

Right now, my 3yo is really into doing worksheets. She just loves sitting down and working out of her big brother's books. I don't push her AT ALL, simply make the materials available. She really likes copying letters, writing her name, and doing simple math.

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#16 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 04:54 PM
 
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I'll join the thread. I don't consider Nadia "homeschooled" yet, and Eva's "kindergarten age" now, but I definitely support those who do consider themselves homeschoolers, even when their children are younger.

In many ways, homeschooling is a state of mind. There's a difference between someone who has absolutely no intention of turning her child's education over to another simply because they've reached "school age" and someone who only plans to do it "until school starts." Even if their actions look identical from the outside, there is a difference on the inside!

Besides, we encourage pregnant moms to attend LLL meetings before their babies are born, and I know I wanted to join a HS support group before my kids reached K/1st grade age for the same reason.

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Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#17 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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I guess it would be reasonable for me to say I'm homeschooling my almost-3-year-old, since I plan to homeschool her once she's school-age if at all possible, and I don't expect to suddenly start doing anything different once she is that age (except for complying with my state's reporting requirements.) And I've started teaching her to sound out words, which is a "schooly" sort of thing to be doing.

After reading the "If you're not unschooling" thread, I'm really not sure whether the approach I envision taking would be considered unschooling, close to unschooling, or miles away from unschooling. I can't imagine using a curriculum, or having learning take place on any kind of schedule, or having subjects I tell my kids they have to learn (though I do wonder what I'd do if they simply refused to learn anything about, say, multiplication.) But I do have things in mind that I think my kids ought to know, and I don't see anything wrong with actively trying to get them interested in those things, or looking for opportunities to teach them. For instance, I'm teaching my daughter to read even though she hasn't specifically asked to learn (or asked me repeatedly what certain words are, or anything else that might be seen as indicating a strong desire to know how to read.) But I didn't do more than just occasionally demonstrate how to sound out a word until she began to show some real interest in what I was talking about, and I certainly wouldn't keep on working on reading if she seemed bored by it. And we're not having formal "lessons" - I just find opportunities to practice the skills with her now and then when we're both in the mood.

Lindy asks me all the time to "talk to me about somethin' I don't know about," so I do that a lot, and I suppose I offer a lot of unsolicited facts at other times, too, but we're not really "working on" anything specific except reading. She's recently decided she's very interested in volcanoes, so we've been reading a couple of books about them over and over again, and I'll probably try to find her some more books, or maybe a video or something.
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#18 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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I'm just in full-swing of researching homeschooling, since ds will be school-age next year, and we have pretty much decided to homeschool. It's kind of weird though, now that he's almost school age, I find I need to know more about homeschooling, even though I feel like we have been homeschooling all along.

I was sold on homeschooling very early on when a friend from LLL told me about her homeschooled family. I never mentioned it to dh though, because I'm way farther out in left field than he is, and I figured he'd think it was another of my *crazy hippie* ideas. You can imagine I was shocked when he was the one who brought it up one day!!!

Anyways, we have recently moved from a very pro-homeschooling city, so in that sense I was sorry to leave it behind, but home to find a homeschooling community here before too long.

I guess you could say our approach would be eclectic, mostly child-led. Lots of time outside; ds is real big on the natural world (dinosaurs, reptiles, the body, gardening). We read tons (recent favs are Roald Dahl and the Harry Potter books), and ds loves to dress up and be different characters. He seems to have a better grasp on math than reading, so we'll not rush into it. We're also teaching him French though, just by spending some time each day using French instead of English.

I feel like there is still a lot for me to read and learn about before we take the leap and break it to our families that we are hsing!!
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#19 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 06:14 PM
 
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I guess you could add us into the "trying" preschool list. My DD is 2.5 and enjoys projects and is always asking what's that mommy. So we are now waiting for te Little Hands to Heaven books to come in so we can start on those along with our regular daily life lessons.
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#20 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 06:32 PM
 
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I am homeschooling my 4yo and 19 month old.

Full time Kindergarten starts in the month following your child's 4th birthday.

I haven't done anything "schoolish" with him at all, except I did show him how to write his name. I think, however, I will start some maths with him whenever the creepy cold weather comes.

At this point, with the toddler, I'm just trying to make sure he makes it to his second birthday without any major injuries. I just know the "real" parents of this kid were acrobats from the cirque du soleil and our babies were switched at birth.
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#21 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 06:39 PM
 
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#22 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 09:52 PM
 
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Subscribing. I'll brb (hopefully!)

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#23 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 10:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4
Can you tell my why you consider this homeschooling? I'm not trying to be argumentative. I just don't get how unschooling preschoolers is different from just being an involved parent at home with them. I'd like to understand the need to define this as homeschooling/unschooling. I can somewhat see the difference if a parent is sitting down at 9:30 am 4 days a week to do math workbooks, followed by a preplanned science lesson but the unschooling of preschoolers is something I have trouble distinguishing from life.
(Not taken as argumentative at all.) For me, I call what we do "unschooling preschool" because (1) ds isn't going to a real preschool, (2) he's of the "official" preschool age - 4, (3) we don't plan on sending him (or his siblings) to school at any age. So, it's easier to tell everyone that we are homeschooling, even though we don't have to file anything until he hits 6 yo. As well, his two best friends are homeschooled even though they aren't of "official" school age because that is what their parents are doing long-term. The term gives my son something to use for identification. He's very proud of hs'ing and when asked about preschool, or kindergarten next year, he will always pipe up that he's homeschooled. For me, I call it "unschooling" preschool because it is completely led by him. I know there are preschool curriculums (curricula?) out there, but we don't do that now and will probably not in the future either. My son is a very good unschooler and enjoys the freedom, even at 4, to guide what he "learns" and when he "learns" it. So, that is how I arrive at the idea of unschooling preschool.

And I didn't answer in my previous post, but we plan to homeschool/unschool through high school. Our hope is that we can integrate junior/community college classes in once they hit 15 or 16, but otherwise, have no intention of sending them to public or private schools, nor to enroll them in ISPs or other homeschooling umbrella schools.

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#24 of 390 Old 11-09-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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MyLittleWonders,

thanks for your answer

Karen

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#25 of 390 Old 11-10-2005, 12:04 AM
 
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Count me in
My children are dd Sarah, who is turning 4 in 7 days! and ds Daniel 13 months.
I've wanted to homeschool even before having my kids and have been reserching it for the last 5 years. I love finding good homeschooling message boards as there are very few homeschoolers here (We are in rural queensland, Australia) and no homeschooling group or any special classes that I hear about over there.

It's pretty normal here to send your child to Kindy (what you call preschool) at 3. I've been lucky to have a friend with a dd the same age who deferd a year. So her dd isn't starting till next year (School runs end Jan-early Dec)
I run our churches play group to give dd and ds extra socializing opertunities although next year all the older ones 3+ will be gone
From 2007 they are bringing in mandatory prep to replace preschool.(What you think of as Kindergarden, grade one is from 5) This is for 4 year olds whith more accademics. Again you can defer a year, but most wont I don't think. I am totaly against this Govt of early accademics but most mums I speak to seem to think it's great.

My dd is mostly into animals, being creative and imaginative play. She also loves being read to. Hasn't shown much interest in letters and numbers, although she is starting to show a little more interest in letter sounds and 'writting' recently. So I hope I can encourage this some more. After Christmas I want to start Five in a Row.
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#26 of 390 Old 11-10-2005, 12:25 AM
 
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Well I just did a spotlight thread last week, only to find out this week that I am not actually homeschooling because my children are too young for many to actually see us as homeschoolers.

Here's my thinking on this:

First, we are a waldorf family, and while it is true that waldorf philosophy doesn't emphasize academics until 1st grade, it is also true that waldorf education is as much a way of life as it is a curriculum. We are deep into establishing the rhythms, and exploring the stories, arts and crafts of a waldorf lifestyle. There is quite a bit of loving guidance that goes into this lifestyle and it feels like pre-schooling to me.

Second, CT has just lowered the compulsory schooling age to 5. So once dd turns five (in a couple weeks) we will be officially homeschooling.

Third, almost all of her friends go to pre-school or kindergarten and they are allowed to call that school (I've even heard people talk about their daycare providers as "school") so it makes sense to us to talk about what we do as homeschooling. In fact, we have been listening to criticism about our not putting dd in preschool for two years now (the norm here is age three), so it stings a bit to have to hear the homeschooling camp tell us we can't possibly be homeschooling if our child is not yet "school age."
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#27 of 390 Old 11-10-2005, 12:52 AM
 
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#28 of 390 Old 11-10-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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I'm so happy to see this thread; thanks for starting it .

I have been exploring the idea of homeschooling because a lot of the people we know have been sending their children off to preschool and I just don't feel as though that is something for us. Right now, I am trying to find out as much about homeschooling as I can; it seems as though that is going to be the route that is most appropriate for our family.


Alisa, mama to Ella and Isabel (1/03)
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#29 of 390 Old 11-10-2005, 03:10 AM
 
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[QUOTE=eternal_grace]Thank you for starting this thread.

I'm educating my 3 year old son at home.

We are doing an ecclectic approach. We mix Montessori and some aspects of Waldorf such as a focus on nature and creativity. Ds is interested in many things so we follow his interests a lot, but I'm also happy to introduce him to new things that I feel may interest him, and I've also started to have more of a structure to our day which seems to suit him (and me) much better.

I've discussed ds' future education with dh at great length recently and we agreed that we'll go on to classical education and WTM in a few years.

Edited to add: My son is growing up bilingual (English and German) and we plan to introduce another language (French, most likely) next year.
QUOTE]
Uhhh, hello, eternalgrace? I was going to subscribe and post about what we have started doing here in our house but it sounds like you are my twin over there in England, your post describes almost everything in our house except that my twins are 2yrs4mos. and we live in NY and we have always done the nature/crunchy thing that is sort of a hallmark of Waldorf and I just started the Montessori stuff and my kids love love love it. Please, what is WTM? And can you elaborate on your decision for a classical education later on, since that is what I have been really thinking would be good for us? Also, does someone speak the 3rd language in your home fluently or will you be learning it at the same time? My dh is German and I have been pushing him to speak to the children in German during daily activities for immersion type learning. Also their grandparents keep speaking English to the twins but I keep asking them for their native German tongue since I think it would be such an easy thing for the children to learn if they would all just keep the dialog going. I am not a native speaker and my accent STINKS and I don't even know enough to be teaching German properly. Later we would like a classical education for the twins but I am so unsure about schools and if I want to deal with the negatives of sending them off to private school later on. We pretty much know we want to hs for a few years and then decide how advanced they are and how to proceed from there. I need to know so much more about hs'ing that it is my new research obsession, asking everyone what they do and what is Math Mequon and where do I find it? I just got a bunch of M stuff to start my kids with their math and they are all over it like white on rice, and now I am wondering if I need to introduce even more to keep them happy. I think I'm a slacker for not knowing this stuff already, but I never even gave hs'ing a 2nd thought before since we wanted to send our kids to a lovely private school down the road from us. But I am thinking that 5 days a week at 3 yrs. old is just TOOOO structured and not enough just play time and hang out doing what some teacher would consider doing nothing but that I know all too well is actually experiencing real life. anyone in NY and know anything about hs'ing in NY? What about parent co-ops? What about them? Anyone with any time to explain this stuff or point me in the right direction? Has anyone even considered doing a classical education from home??? Wouldn't it involve a ton of tutors? Not that I'm against that, I'm not, I just wouldn't know where to get them from. What do you do for team sports like football and rugby, I figure my ds is going to want to play on a team? I just assume my kids will go off to high school somewhere since that is so far down the road I can't even think about it, it makes my head spin. OK, enough about me. THANK YOU LeftField for starting this thread!!!
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#30 of 390 Old 11-10-2005, 03:12 AM
 
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Me!

I have a 3yr old and 21m old.
I'm not doing anything too formal yet, but I'd like to do something occasionally more structured.

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