Can you use public Kindy as free daycare? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a single mama and it looks like I'll need to relocate to (???) for my job this summer. DD will be 5 in September. Since I'll likely know nobody where we'll be, I'll need a daycare option for her while I work (I'm a college prof so hours will be flexible). I'm thinking that if the schools are not too horrible where we end up, I could put her in public K, but have my own set of stipulations. Do you think these would fly?
No homework, no standardized testing, I can pick her up any day at any time for any reason, her vacations will coincide with my college vacations (e.g. she'll have 6 weeks off in Winter instead of 2, be done by early May, etc.), she'd go 4 days a week instead of five.
I've always intended to homeschool but feel like I'd be in a bind, at least this coming year. My child is very bright and we've been learning together all along. She does stuff a lot of 1st graders I know can't do so I'm not worried about academics since I feel like we've got that covered. I just need someone to watch her on a limited budget that first year while I recover financially from a move and temporary free public school seems like it might be an option.
Or would this totally be a bad plan? Thanks for any input.

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#2 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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Your plan may not work if the school district has strict regulations about compulsory attendance, absenteeism, and truancy. There may be legal consequences for missing too many days, even in kindergarten, although kindergarten is sometimes exempt from truancy policies because it isn't compulsory. You'll have to check with the specific school board and school.

Good luck.
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#3 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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Since Kindergarden is considered public school, I doubt you would be able to tell them what their cirriculum has to be for just your child. Maybe I am wrong, but I would expect my children to have to follow the cirriculum at kindergarden. It isnt free daycare, its public school.
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#4 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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I really don't see this flying, especially at a public institution. They want your kid there every day so they get their government money, and if your kid isn't there, they don't get it. It would also be more difficult on the teacher to have a kid bouncing in and out like that.

What about trying to find a college student or group of them that could manage your hours in exchange for a combination of tutoring and cash? If your college has an ECE department, they also may have an on-site daycare.

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#5 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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I doubt it. Once you enroll in the school, that school has legal standards it *has* to follow for truancy/attendance and standardized testing (although I don't know too many STs for kindy kids). At DS's kindergarten, even though they are a private school, they still have to report to the state when a child is absent or tardy a certain number of times, and the parent can wind up in court because of that. The schools are required to follow those legal standards because they receive state funding for each student enrolled.

That, and it's not fair to the other children and the teacher if one student comes in when she pleases, leaves early all the time, and doesn't do the required work...that student might fall behind leaving the teacher to play catch up with her all the time while trying to teach the rest of the kids.

I think if you can't afford a nanny or babysitter, then maybe keep her in kindy the first year, keep doing school stuff at home with her if you'd like, and then pull her out and homeschool her next year when you're financially able to provide childcare for her while you are at work.

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#6 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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I agree with the pp's. Public schools just don't work like that.

If you are interested in homeschooling anyway, maybe you can contact a local hs group and find out if some of the families have older daughters who could watch her and/or maybe some of them could take turns including her in their day while you are working.

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#7 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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if public school were a drop off daycare for free, i'd utilize it too sometimes. they could hang out for while... but have no required homework, tests, and i could drop them off and pick them up whenever i wanted....take 6 week vacations with no "falling" behind i think many of us could dig that kind of school!

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#8 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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I'm a public school K teacher-- no that would not work, for both legal and practical reasons, many of which have been mentioned by PPs. It's also just pretty demeaning to all the hard work I do every day with my kids to be thought of as merely their babysitter. It takes a crapload of work to educate a class full of students, and one coming back and forth would be highly disruptive for everyone. When we have foster students and homeless students who are moved around and pulled out it is really hard on the class and the students who don't feel a real part of the community. We spend a lot of time working on integrating them and catching them up to our current units and we do it gladly because these kids need any measure of stability we can offer. I can't imagine choosing to do that just to get free childcare. What happens when she comes in Monday after not being there Friday and she doesn't have the first half of her story written when we write the second half? What about all of our group projects that she would have a hard time coming in and out of? Good curriculum is integrated day to day and unit to unit and builds on itself.

Btw I fully support HSing, I just don't think public schools are there merely for convenience. If you want to enroll her, you will likely need to follow all of the school requirements, and for good reason.
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#9 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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Also, let us not forget that public school kindergarden is NOT in any way, shape, or form, FREE. (jumps down from soap box )
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#10 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I don't think that would work. Teachers are legally obligated to provide education that meets the standards they were hired to teach and to provide the testing the state requires all kids to take. I really doubt that a teacher is going to risk her job for someone who considers them to be a daycare service. Most teachers work hard to help children learn social and academic skills that they need to succeed in the next grade level and in life. Comparing them to daycare is really insulting. Also, even if you homeschool some states still require testing. Depending on the state you may also be penalized in court for her missing too many days.

There may be a private kindergarten option run by a daycare center in your area and if they need to boost their enrollment they may allow you to dictate your own terms. You can also advertise for a sitter at your university or check out nanny services on-line and try to find one that way.
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#11 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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This won't be allowed, and it's insulting as heck to the teacher and the other students. Please don't even ask about it.
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#12 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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I'm a homeschooling mama, but I have to admit that I find this idea insulting to the teachers and kids who would be in the actual class. It would be so incredibly disruptive. Plus, I know my own DD would hate missing out on everything else the other kids are.

I just feel if you are going to use the system, you are committing to their rules or at least committing to helping to change the rules, if you don't agree with them.


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#13 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 02:30 PM
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I addition to the objections described by earlier posters, I think it would be really hard on your dd to be in an out of the school environment at random times while everyone within that environment is working on continuous projects.

Depending on where you are, the hours of public school might not even be very useful to you. Very few college classes meet during the same hours as am half-day kindergarten.
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#14 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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I addition to the objections described by earlier posters, I think it would be really hard on your dd to be in an out of the school environment at random times while everyone within that environment is working on continuous projects.
I agree with this, and would add that it wouldn't be fair to the other children either. Classrooms have a culture, and to have kids bopping in and out would be very difficult.

And really, teachers aren't glorified babysitters. They work very hard for very little return. They have to continue to work hard to keep up their certification. Horror stories of "that teacher" aside, most teachers bust their butts to create a loving and enriching classroom environment. Treating them as drop-off care really doesn't seem very respectful to me.

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#15 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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I saw this in new posts and was intrigued. Just wanted to offer up the idea that the OP probably didn't mean to insult teachers, and that she's feeling panicky about a tough situation- she wants to HS but can't due to life circumstances. So she came up with this idea and threw it out there, perhaps without having though much about the ramifications.

That said, another vote from me for "bad idea."

Good luck OP. I hope you figure out something that works for your family.

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#16 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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But you can send her to kindergarten with the intent of homeschooling when you are ready to. If you are able starting in first, go ahead, but please don't pick her up all willy nilly and that other stuff

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#17 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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No, you can't use public kindergarten as free daycare, and proper order too.
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#18 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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As a professor, how would you feel if a student came to you and said, "I don't want to take your tests, I don't want to come every day because it doesn't really work with my schedule, and I would like to be done six weeks early"?
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#19 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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Here that wouldnt work since K is mandatory with attendance rules just like the other 12 grades.

The other stuff wouldnt be possible either here at all.

I just checked and where you are now in Pennsylvania it is not mandatory for students to attend K and they dont even have to be in school until they are 8yo. You can find the other states in the link below.

http://mb2.ecs.org/reports/Report.aspx?id=32

 
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#20 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
As a professor, how would you feel if a student came to you and said, "I don't want to take your tests, I don't want to come every day because it doesn't really work with my schedule, and I would like to be done six weeks early"?
Honestly, in a lot of college classes it would work fine, as long as the student didn't want credit or grades (as I assume is also true of the OP for her daughter in kindergarten). Colleges generally let students take responsibility for their own educations.

In kindie, though, no... probably won't work very well.

 
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#21 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I saw this in new posts and was intrigued. Just wanted to offer up the idea that the OP probably didn't mean to insult teachers, and that she's feeling panicky about a tough situation- she wants to HS but can't due to life circumstances. So she came up with this idea and threw it out there, perhaps without having though much about the ramifications.

Yes, this, thank you. I certainly meant no insult whatsoever to teachers. But as I toyed with the idea of public K, just for a year until we got settled, I realized how much it would pain me to be away from my daughter that much while I was not working. So I'd be off school and wanting to take her to the zoo or whatever and frustrated with some district rule that I wasn't "allowed" to do that. So I thought of maybe a part time school option but I see now how that won't work. And she's really social and I want her to be able to be with other kids. But I do enjoy her and she loves learning things with me.

If I had the means to be a SAHM I'd do it in a second, despite all those years of grad school. But I'm the only income we have And soon I'm going to be alone in a new city trying to find the best option for both of us.

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#22 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
As a professor, how would you feel if a student came to you and said, "I don't want to take your tests, I don't want to come every day because it doesn't really work with my schedule, and I would like to be done six weeks early"?
:Yeah

And then added it with "I don't really think what I'd learn in your class would be all that important or useful to me, but I get pretty bored some weeks at about the same time your class is. So I figure it's something to do."

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#23 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As a professor, how would you feel if a student came to you and said, "I don't want to take your tests, I don't want to come every day because it doesn't really work with my schedule, and I would like to be done six weeks early"?
This has happened

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#24 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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This has happened
You know, I like the idea of doing K with the intention of bringing her home next year. I see you're in PA, and I wanted to say that if you would pull her out before the end of the school year, you wouldn't have to do the affidavit and paperwork until she was 8. If she stayed the whole school year and you intended to homeschool first grade, you would have to do all the official paperwork.

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#25 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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:Yeah

And then added it with "I don't really think what I'd learn in your class would be all that important or useful to me, but I get pretty bored some weeks at about the same time your class is. So I figure it's something to do."
Point taken but actually I get this a lot too. I teach a lot of nonmajors who tell me straight up that first part of your sentence, followed by, but I need a class like this to graduate. It doesn't bother me any, really, but I can see how it might upset some people. And again, I mean no insult to teachers. But I digress...

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#26 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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Just agreeing with everyone else that it won't fly at most schools. My Kindergartener last year missed 11 days due to travel and illness and we got a warning letter b/c of attendance rules. If you want all the advantages of public school (which include a fun place for your kid to go while you work), you really have to do it all - or not at all. In your situation, I would enroll her and give Kindergarten a shot.

My oldest didn't go, b/c we were homeschooling, but my 2nd did and absolutely loved it. He would have been pretty annoyed if I had not brought him everyday (and he was, the days he had to miss), or picked him up early, or he didn't get to go back to see his friends after winter break. Kindergarten is fun for most kids (my DS was/is advanced but they still found ways to challenge him). I bet your DD would enjoy it, and if you are at a place where homeschooling will work out (and she doesn't want to go to 1st grade), then you can plan to do that the following year.

ETA: there might be a part-time option in your new area - so definitely look into it. We have what is called a Family School (and they existed in CO, too) where they kids can go so many hours a week and do all the really fun stuff like PE, Art, Music, and recess, but the academics are left for home. We had plans to do this when we moved here, but ended up in a Montessori program now that we are super happy with. The thing with these programs is that you still have to meet the attendance guidelines - which are different, obviously than full-time school - but I don't think they'd be okay with a kid missing weeks at a time, or anything. They likely have waiting lists and would give the spot away. It's just not regular public school kindy like you were asking about, but designed for homeschoolers .

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#27 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I like the idea of doing K with the intention of bringing her home next year. I see you're in PA, and I wanted to say that if you would pull her out before the end of the school year, you wouldn't have to do the affidavit and paperwork until she was 8. If she stayed the whole school year and you intended to homeschool first grade, you would have to do all the official paperwork.

Yeah, unfortunately the PA state system of higher education is in tatters and jobs are being slashed here. But thanks for the info, just in case! So chances are fairly high I won't be in PA next year. Which is a bummer because I went and educated myself on PA homeschool law these last 2 years! Though there is a remote possibility of a job in Philly.

I'm scared, frustrated, and admittedly tainted by horrible public school experiences as a kid.

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#28 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Yeah, unfortunately the PA state system of higher education is in tatters and jobs are being slashed here. But thanks for the info, just in case! So chances are fairly high I won't be in PA next year. Which is a bummer because I went and educated myself on PA homeschool law these last 2 years! Though there is a remote possibility of a job in Philly.

I'm scared, frustrated, and admittedly tainted by horrible public school experiences as a kid.
I'm sorry. It sounds like you're really looking for a solution than can work for you and your family. FWIW, Philly has compulsive ed beginning at age 6, not 8 like the rest of the state, so my plan might not have worked anyway.

I'm sorry you had a negative public school experience. I went to Catholic school most of my life and was a little freaked out about the idea of putting my kid in school. We homeschool now, but my oldest was in elementary school for 2 years at a really great little neighborhood public school. He had a wonderful experience. My kids actually still participate in our school district's orchestra program and they love it. I guess this is just to reassure you-- homeschooling is great, but public schools can be great as well.

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#29 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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So I'd be off school and wanting to take her to the zoo or whatever and frustrated with some district rule that I wasn't "allowed" to do that.
While it's controversial... if you do this on an *occasional* basis, and she's otherwise well within the attendance requirements, no one is going to notice. An extra sick day once a quarter isn't really an issue. Once every few weeks or more frequently is more likely to be a problem.

My mom is a public schoolteacher, and my parents still pulled my brother and I out for a day every few years for trips to Disneyland and nonsense like that.

Just be aware that missing school impacts school funding in addition to any potential academic impact on your daughter.

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#30 of 94 Old 05-20-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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I had to post and just give some virtual hugs. I think it's really admirable that even in your present circumstances, you'd like to do all you can to homeschool her. I wonder if you could find a kindergarten near you that had shorter school days? that might allow you more time to be with her. You're not committing to public school forever - just less than a year (and all things considered, I'd think Kindergarten pretty benign in comparison to the higher grades). And of course when you are ready to take her back full-time, you could pull her out of kindergarten and sign whatever needed to say "we're homeschooling now".

To others who felt she was insulting, it's clear that was not her intent. We have to think about how WE would feel and how panicked we might be if we were in HER shoes. I know if I had no other options, I too would be panicking. I might not choose my words perfectly so for a subject title asking for help. I think rather than make her feel worse when she's clearly already having a hard time does no good. She came for support, and to ask advice. If she understood all that has been pointed out to her initially, she wouldn't have asked it, but in a state of panic, we don't always think straight.
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