DD having trouble adjusting to preschool (child death mentioned) - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-12-2012, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This in kind of a long story, but I will try to keep it short:

 

We moved from the US to Uganda 2 1/2 months ago.  Found a great international preschool for my almost 4 year old to attend, her first time in school.  She is very attached to DH and I and hasn't been excited about the idea of school.  She is slow to warm up to new people/places but does fine once comfortable.

 

We were able to ease her into it slowly - they had some "summer camp" days where they just did fun activities, so we went for about 6 mornings and I was able to stay with her the whole time.  One of those days she even stayed by herself.

 

The first day of school she did great, no tears and had a great time.  Went three days the first week and was fine.

 

Monday of 2nd week she was crying on and off all morning.  That day, there was a tragedy at teh school and a little girl drowned in the school pool.  It was a horrible, horrible situation.  I don't think DD knows what happened.  I've asked some vague questions and she doesn't seem to know.  We were careful not to talk about it in front of her.

 

School was closed for a week and there were 2 parents meetings and we decided to send her back.

 

Today was her first day back after 9 days off.  She was completely hysterical and inconsolable when it was time for me to leave.  I ended up staying with her the whole morning.  Even after she knew I was staying, she still continued to cry on and off for almost an hour.  She completely freaked out when I had to go get something from the car and I assured her I would be right back. 

 

The administration was fine with me staying with her, and she is saying she doesn't want to stay at preschool by herself.  My tentative plan is to stay with her for part of the morning until she feels comfortable again, but I would love some other suggestions. 

 

I have considered homeschooling, but don't think it's a good option right now because:

 

 - I work part time and have a 7 month old as well

 - there are not many homeschooling families in Uganda so she would have very little interaction with other kids

 - DH is from a culture where school is very important and he is not on board with homeschooling

 

Any suggestions???


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Old 09-12-2012, 04:16 PM
 
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wow -- what a complicated situation.

 

I'm going to think about it more and see if I come up with anything.

 

Did you attend the parent meetings? Did you feel positive about the school afterwards?


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Old 09-12-2012, 09:42 PM
 
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Transition to preschool, especially after a move, can be tricky. Even if every child in her class doesn't know what happened (and some probably do) the tension flowing over the kids from the parents has to be intense. I would take it slowly and see if it can work.

 

The only reason I would withdraw her at this point was if you thought the school was at fault in the death. Poor family.

 
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We did attend the parent meetings - apparently the pool attendant latched the gate but forgot to put the padlock on after he was finished cleaning the pool.  The young girl (almost 3) wandered away from her class, who were playing right below the pool, unlatched the gate and fell into the pool.  By the time the pool attendant reached her, it was too late.  They did CPR for an hour but couldn't revive her.

 

I hate the idea of doing swimming in preschool, but every school we looked at (both international and local) either has a pool on premises or take the kids somewhere for swimming lessons.  The lower priced local school don't have swimming, but then there are other issues like overcrowded classrooms, a highly academic curriculum (in preschool), lack of space for playing, etc.

 

The school drained the pool and won't have swimming this term - they have put numerous safety measures into place like a safety net, pool alarm, video camera, pool attendant within the fence whenever kids are present, etc.  They are also rebuilding the fence to make it higher.  So we feel ok for now with keeping her there - plus there are other benefits like small class size, play based curriculum, a large compound with lots of space for playing, etc. 

 

I think she may have picked up anxiety, but on Monday she started crying right after I left which was before this all happened.  She had cried on and off all morning on Monday.

 

Culturally, the way people relate to children is different here too.  I am new so I don't want to make blanket cultural statements - what I observed yesterday is more of a "shame-based" way of dealing with children.  When my DD was crying yesterday, one of the teachers said "look at (other child) - he is not a baby.  He is not crying for his mommy."  and they sang a song about crying makes you sad and it's not good to cry.  I think she was scolded on Monday for crying because she said "I was crying for you and they told me not to cry but I didn't listen."  So I don't know if the way the teachers responded to her on Monday also has had an impact on how she feels about school.

 

She is now saying she doesn't want to go back to school tomorrow alone.  I might stay with her for an hour or so and then see if she is comfortable enough to stay by herself the rest of the time.

 

I had been prepared not to send her to school until jan to give her time to adjust to the move, but she doesn't get to play with other kids unless she is at school, and she had such a great time at the summer camp and was so excited about school.  Most women here work and most kids are in school, so there are not many opportunities for play dates or kid friendly activities during the week.  when she's not in school, she is in the office with me with a babysitter which she does really enjoy but there's not much for her to do here and no space to run around and play.


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Old 09-13-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post
Culturally, the way people relate to children is different here too.  I am new so I don't want to make blanket cultural statements - what I observed yesterday is more of a "shame-based" way of dealing with children.  When my DD was crying yesterday, one of the teachers said "look at (other child) - he is not a baby.  He is not crying for his mommy."  and they sang a song about crying makes you sad and it's not good to cry.  I think she was scolded on Monday for crying because she said "I was crying for you and they told me not to cry but I didn't listen."  So I don't know if the way the teachers responded to her on Monday also has had an impact on how she feels about school.

 

 

 

She could be picking up on how different the expectations are of her than they always have been, and be having some trouble incorporating that. Yet, if you guys will be living there for a while, sparring her from the adjustment doesn't seem helpful to me. Eventually, to have friends and be around other children, she'll need to find a way to function both with the way she is treated at home and the way her current culture expects her to behave. As a preschoolers, there may be more help and support and understanding for making that transition. I don't believe that this is something that necessarily will be easier in a year.

 

We had one international move when our kids were small, and I opted to spare my children from that adjustment. I ended up regretting it because it caused both my children and myself to be come very, very isolated. It also effected my DH's career because he ended up requesting a transfer back to the states and the only way to do that was to take a demotion.

 

Because of that experience, my vote would be to gentle keep working with your DD on helping her find peace with being in play based preschool with a decent student - teacher ratio. How realistic is it for your to continue to attend with her for a while (considering that you have a baby and a part time job)?


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Old 09-15-2012, 05:57 AM
 
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bluedaisy your dd has gone through a HUGE change. you have only been there a couple of months. 

 

do you think your dd needs a little more time to adjust to the culture. 

 

can you wait a couple more months. i know you didnt want to - but one of the things to adjust too also is the cultural attitude. i dont think shaming will be that big a deal. everything is so different for her. 

 

btw i am SOOO ENVIOUS.

 

however, some kids are just going to cry. no matter what you do. you then see if you have the options open to do what your child wants.

 

a few things that worked for us. 

 

me investing intense one on one time in the morning. snuggling together before she gets out of bed. not sure how feasible that is with a 7 month old too. 

 

doing something fun after school. 

 

however if you wait too - just age adn maturity makes a huge difference. just getting older helps them react differently.  


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Old 09-15-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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This is a really tough situation and it is probably not just about the pool accident.  I imagine she is having a tough transition time.  When my child first started preschool (in a different culture and language than our own) he started wetting the bed and before that he had not wet the bed for like two years.  He did this everyday for a week and when I pulled him out, he stopped.  The stress of it was just too much for him.  After this incident, I slowly put him back in the school a few hours at a time and then with half days and three days a week. That seemed to make the adjustment better but he never felt part of the place.  I am now homeschooling him.  

 

I know in your case homeschooling is not an option.  Can she go a few hours at a time, a day for maybe a month and then slowly up the hours?  I found this really reassured my son and helped hugely with the adjustment.  It was huge that he got to know the teachers.  Maybe you could try something like that...

 

Oh and the shame based approach to discipline is very common in many cultures.  So, it does not surprise me that that maybe the same in Uganda.  

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Old 09-15-2012, 10:50 PM
 
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Ime with my dd and as a preschool teacher, the biggest key to a child being happy very quickly after their parent leaves is not saying goodbye until you mean it and leaving after you say goodbye. Projecting confidence in your choice as you leave also helps and a consistent drop off routine can help a lot, especially one that gives the child power like closing the door on you, but not drawing out the goodbye is key. Each time you.say goodbye then come back then say goodbye again your child gets more distressed and it is harder for them to pull out of it. When you go after the first goodbye, even if there are some tears, they calm down quickly and join in the play, especially after the first week or two. It sounds like there is a lot of change and this is a hard situation. I hope you are all able to settle in happily soon.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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I noticed that you said that after the death at school, there were two parent meetings (any with the kids?) and that you didn't talk to your daughter about it/she doesn't "seem to know" about it.

 

A couple of years ago, a 10-year old child hung himself at my kids' elementary school during school hours. It was a horrible, tragic event. However, we did talk to the kids about it (mainly to quash rumors and give them straight facts - this was unavoidable because the school was surrounded by the press for several days), counselors were available for kids and parents, etc. I wonder if your daughter feels the tension around this issue even though she may not know precisely what happened and that is causing/contributing to her anxiety? Kids pick up on a lot of stuff that is unsaid. Once my kids knew what happened, they wanted to move on and not talk about it anymore. Other kids really benefited from the counseling and talking. It's a horrible lesson to learn that a child their age can pass away, but on the other hand, not talking about it may create more fear and anxiety.


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Old 09-16-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses....she is only in school three half days a week right now - her class has a choice between 3 and 5 days, but I think she is the only one who goes 3 days.

 

Last week, she cried about school every time we tried to talk about.  On Friday, I told her I would stay with her for one hour then she could choose whether she wanted to stay and play or come with me.  She came with me.

 

I talked to the principal in the afternoon and she said it was fine me to stay with her as much as I needed to, so I am glad she is understanding. 

 

When I was with her on Friday, one other child was crying and the teacher told him, "If you don't stop crying, mommy won't come back."  This made me think that maybe they said something like this to DD on that Monday when she was crying on and off.  She is at the age where she takes everything at face value and believes it.  The culture here is that children are shamed for crying for mommy, whereas in the US many children would probably be consoled and reassured that mommy will come back.  It makes me really sad to think that she might have been worried that I would never come back for her.  I've talked to her about that and reassured her that I will always come back for her. 

 

One girl - what happened last Wed was different than typical "drop off tears" - she was completely hysterical, screaming and holding on to me tightly, even when I told her I was just going to the car to get a diaper and then coming right back.  This isn't like her, which makes me hesitant to just leave her because I think there is something else going on.  Also, if we were still in the US, I would be more likely to just say good bye and leave her crying.
 

Ragana - I'm hesitant to talk about it because we've never even talked to her about death yet - because the kids are so young, the teachers decided to do a lot of artwork the first week back and listen for comments, then have counselors available for any kids who had heard about it.   Her crying started right after I left on Monday, before this all happened. 

 

I just don't know what to do - I am already dreading tomorrow morning - we bought her a school uniform and she will be wearing it for the first time, so we are planning to make a big deal out of her uniform.  I also told her if she stays by herself, I'll take her out for ice cream right after I pick her up.

 

The culture here is not soft on children at all, so I know the teachers and my coworkers disagree with the way I am handling this and think I need to just leave her there screaming.  Her teachers were shocked when I let her leave with me on Friday.  I was so happy when the principal was understanding but I'm tired of dealing with the other comments as well - when I brought her to the office with me Friday, every one of my coworkers scolded her for not staying at school.   I don't know if maybe I am being too soft on her and if I just need to insist on her staying, navigating this new culture is hard!


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Old 09-16-2012, 07:33 PM
 
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I don't know; what bothers me is that the philosophy they have is so different and they are saying some downright scary things to children. Potentially what they are saying is worse when there are no parents around?

 

How does this seem compared to your child's normal temperament (pre-move)? Is she an anxious child that takes a long time to adjust or is she usually more resilient? If she typically bounces easily than I think I agree with you that something more is going on to cause her this much distress.
 


 
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:59 PM
 
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I really feel for you. I'm dealing with this right now with my 4.5 year old without a big move. Personally, I would pull her out. I would be extremely uncomfortable with the teachers saying things like "if you don't stop crying, your mom won't come get you.". If that is what is to be expected culturally, fine, but then I'd give her a year to mature a bit so that hopefully she isn't feeling so distressed. I'm planning on sitting in school with my son this week and seeing how things go, but I've decided that I'm not going to put him through the stress of it if he's not ready for it. I have a baby too and would love a little one on one time with him, but it just isn't worth it is ds1 is so upset. I've talked to enough people now who have been through the same thing that I'm confident that if it doesn't work out now, we can try again later and he will be ok without four year old preschool.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:51 PM
 
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I very rarely give the advice of pull your child out because I homeschool and I don't want people thinking I think everyone should.  In your situation,  I would without a doubt pull her out.  It seems like a very unhealthy environment!  What terrifying comments for a small child.  Follow your gut and pull her.  I am not sure if you realize but your post slants more toward taking her out but it seems you have doubts about being too soft.  Your daughter is obviously terrified.  Heck, I would be terrified in that situation if I were her.

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post  This isn't like her, which makes me hesitant to just leave her because I think there is something else going on.  Also, if we were still in the US, I would be more likely to just say good bye and leave her crying.

This it the part of your post that strikes me. You are saying that this isn't your daughter's typical behavior in a situation like this.


 
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:52 AM
 
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..... navigating this new culture is hard!

 

Yes.  Navigating a new culture (regardless of which one) is really hard and we (adults) have this misguided idea that children can adjust to new situations much easier than adults do.  In my experience this has not been true.  It is just that children do not have much control over their lives and their narratives. They can't really express their feelings fluently.  They can't word it just so that we could see their pain, confusion, fear, loss.  Sure, they eventually adjust but they have as much difficulties as adults if not more, IMHO.  To top it of, they have no idea why this massive change is taking place and if/when it is going to happen again.  With all the changes that have happened, knowing what is solid (i.e, you/her daddy, your relationship with her) is really helpful.  She wants to be with you because you are the only constant in her currently unrecognizable world.  It is no wonder she does not want to separate from you.   And, to top it all, to potentially have someone tell her that you are not coming back? That would be pretty scary for a little girl whose life just turned upside down.  Reassure her.  Give her as much time as you can ... she will slowly get into the swing of things.  She will eventually adjust but it will be a while/ a long while... 

 

The shaming thing is very common.  There is a kind of emotional blackmailing that teachers and caretakers do that I find very distressing.  Hopefully she will eventually learn to handle it.  

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Old 09-17-2012, 05:02 AM
 
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When I was with her on Friday, one other child was crying and the teacher told him, "If you don't stop crying, mommy won't come back."  This made me think that maybe they said something like this to DD on that Monday when she was crying on and off.  She is at the age where she takes everything at face value and believes it.  The culture here is that children are shamed for crying for mommy, whereas in the US many children would probably be consoled and reassured that mommy will come back.  It makes me really sad to think that she might have been worried that I would never come back for her.  I've talked to her about that and reassured her that I will always come back for her. 

 This is what strikes ME. no matter what you tell her at home, if they use cruel and counterproductive practices like this with a sensitive child, there is no way this is going to get better.


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Old 09-17-2012, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone, these responses are making me cry....she is a very sensitive child, and it does take her some time to warm up to new situations, but usually once she is comfortable she is ok. She went to school without any tears for 4 days before she started flipping out. 

 

I do really want to pull her out, but people's responses here are making me feel like that is overreacting, and I think that if she is comfortable it will help her settle in here to have some friends and fun things to do at school instead of just playing in my office all the time.

 

Also, the drowning incident at her school completely freaked me out and I want to make sure it is not my own fear and desire to be with my kids 24/7 that is driving this decision.

 

Today didn't go well...she cried all morning before we left for school.  We had said that if she stayed at school, I would take her to a special lunch, ice cream, and a playground.  When I said that, she tearfully said, "Ok, I will be brave." But then she kept crying on and off as we were getting ready and she was really crying when we were walking out the door saying "I don't want to go to school!"

 

She cried when we got to school.  I was debating whether to stay with her all morning, and when I saw how upset she was I decided I would stay (but I hadn't told her this yet).  But then the teacher took her by the hand and brought her into the classroom - she was really screaming "I want my mommy!" over and over again,  I stood there for about 10 minutes until I heard she finally calmed down.  Since she was already calm, I decided to leave her and see how it went.

 

WHen I came to pick her up, her eyes were all red.  She didn't run to me like she usually does, just looked at me like I had betrayed her.  Her teachers said she had been crying off and on all morning, and she fell asleep after snack time  This is a girl who gave up her nap at 2 years old and hardly ever falls asleep without me.  I think she was so emotionally exhausted that she just slept.  Three of the teachers said to me, "she will be fine, you just need to drop her off and she'll get used to it,"  Even though the principal said I could stay with her, its clear the teachers don't want me to.

 

One of my coworkers, who was amazed that i didn't make natalie stay at school on fri, said to me "Here in Africa, and you are in Africa now, we don't let kids rebel like that.  We just beat them and make them go to school."  so sad. 

 

anyway, dd has been happy all afternoon, and said she had fun at school, and acts like she wants to go back.  I think I will wait and see what happens wed morning.  If she seems excited to go, I'll take her.  But if she's crying all morning again, I'll just withdraw her for this term.  It's not worth it. 
 


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Old 09-17-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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Oh wow. That is so sad. All of it. I'm sitting with my son in his class at this very moment but I'm coming to the conclusion that this isn't going to work. It is really hard to have that pressure from everyone around telling you that you have to do this or that you're going to screw up you kid. I am really struggling with that and I don't have the added pressure of being in a different country and culture. Listen to your heart. Even if she settles in and her anxiety lessens, are you okay with her being cared for by teachers who shame children like that? What happens if she scrapes her knee or is sick or just has an "off" day? It doesn't seem like a very nurturing environment.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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I was talking to my friend today who is dating someone from Africa.  She said that if she cries he tells her to stop crying because it shows how weak she is.  He said people are told not to cry because they are acting like babies.  So I think it may be more of a cultural thing.  I just think it is damaging and I don't think it is going to change.  I am not saying Africa is all like this at all.  I really don't know much about it.  I am just relaying what my friend told me.

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Old 09-17-2012, 02:49 PM
 
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The decision to homeschool in a foreign country with no local support for homeschooling is a decision to not integrate. It's not something to do lightly.

Different country's have different values. Unless the entire country one is living in seems emotionally damaged, it's a bit sweeping to say their way of raising kids is damaging. It's different than our way, but that doesn't make it wrong or damaging.

I'm not sure what would be best for the blue daisy's daughter. I don't know if this transition would be easier in another semester or year, or if it would be harder. Not all kids magically find this transition easier because the are older.

But I did make the choice to homeschool in a similar situation, and looking back, I regret it.

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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I'm sure that this situation is made much harder by the cultural differences and all of the transitions your child has been through lately.  However, we went through bouts of the same thing at preschool in our own neighborhood at a preschool where big brother had been so it was familiar.  Since bringing DD to work or not working was not an option for us, we had to work through it.  It was much easier since we had supportive teachers, but it was still a struggle.  Some things that helped:

 

* A really strong before school routine that included some one-one-one time with DD plus a reading session that always ended with "The Kissing Hand" -- a great book about a baby raccoon starting school.  So I sent her to school each day with a "kissing hand" as the last action.

 

*  Consistently attending school.  I suspect that the week break after the drowning probably made this much more drawn out.  I know we always had to go through a re-adjustment period after each vacation.

 

*  While probably not a common philosophy here at Mothering, I decided that leaving her and "forcing" her to adjust was the least cruel thing in the long run.  So, I would hand a screaming child to the teacher, peel her fingers off of me, say goodbye and leave.  And it was HARD.  I did hang-out and realize that always stopped crying within 3-5 minutes once she thought I was gone, and I know that the teacher would cuddle her until she was ready to go play with her friends.  It would have been harder to do that if I knew that teachers were un-supportive though.

 

* After school/weekend play dates with kids in the class so she always had a friend to greet her when she got to school in the morning.

 

*  Most of the time things would calm down within a couple of weeks.  And things would be great for a few months and then something would happen and we'd have to start all over again.

 

Are there children's sports or other non-school based programs that she would participate in without you?  My DD start gymnastics class about the same time and that gave her extra practice at being on her own in an environment that she loved and looked forward to.  Is there anything at all like that around you? 

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The decision to homeschool in a foreign country with no local support for homeschooling is a decision to not integrate. It's not something to do lightly.
Different country's have different values. Unless the entire country one is living in seems emotionally damaged, it's a bit sweeping to say their way of raising kids is damaging. It's different than our way, but that doesn't make it wrong or damaging.
I'm not sure what would be best for the blue daisy's daughter. I don't know if this transition would be easier in another semester or year, or if it would be harder. Not all kids magically find this transition easier because the are older.
But I did make the choice to homeschool in a similar situation, and looking back, I regret it.

 

We are doing this right now.  We tried to really make a go of the school situation but in the end it just did not work out for us.  The options are limited so now I am homeschooling.  Kids couldn't be happier.  I am relieved.  

 

What Linda is saying about total integration is true to a certain extent.  We have given up on getting our kids to become fluent in the local language.  Because everyone else is in school, they spend a lot of time alone in the day time.  But school lets out around 3 and they usually have playmates then and over the weekend, we try to get them together with other kiddos.  Homeschooling without all the resources a developed country provides is hard but we are in a middle income country so it is not as bad as it would have been had we chosen to homeschool in a place like Uganda that has even less resources.  So yeah, lots of implications to consider.  

 

Linda, can you expand why you regret homeschooling your kids at that time? (I know you mentioned your husband had to take a demotion, anything else you feel you missed out on?)  After trying to really push my kids in, in the end, I just felt like it was not worth it.  

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Old 09-17-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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At my DD's preschool what her teacher has parents do is stay for as long as their child needs but she also recommends that they bring a book or something else to do and totally do not interact with their child.  This means no eye contact, no talking to them, and no touching them.  If they talk to you you can respond and it's fine if they come up and touch you, but you shouldn't initiate anything and you shouldn't try and help them interact with the environment, just let them explore it on their on and be a physical presence of comfort if needed, but let the teachers do the interacting.  As she gets more comfortable with her environment you should eventually be able to move around, talk with other parents and eventually leave-supposedly this method has worked with countless children and I love the gentleness of it.  Hope that helps :)
 


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Old 09-17-2012, 09:19 PM
 
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Linda, can you expand why you regret homeschooling your kids at that time? (I know you mentioned your husband had to take a demotion, anything else you feel you missed out on?)

 

 

We missed out on living in a foreign country because it ultimately lead to our decision to return to the US early. My kids missed out on learning a second language. My kids missed out on making friends. I missed out on making friends. I was isolated when I did meet people by the fact that I homeschooling. It was a bad move for my DH's career.  With hind sight, I can see that it took our family down a very different path, and that the path we missed out might have been pretty cool

 

It was a really big decision. A far bigger decision than someone deciding to homeschool in the US.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 09-17-2012, 11:01 PM
 
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We missed out on living in a foreign country because it ultimately lead to our decision to return to the US early. My kids missed out on learning a second language. My kids missed out on making friends. I missed out on making friends. I was isolated when I did meet people by the fact that I homeschooling. It was a bad move for my DH's career.  With hind sight, I can see that it took our family down a very different path, and that the path we missed out might have been pretty cool

 

It was a really big decision. A far bigger decision than someone deciding to homeschool in the US.

 

Thanks for explaining further.  Just wanted to learn from your experience.  I can see why you feel the way you do.  

 

I do try very hard to take the kids to extra activities that involve being with kids from the local culture.  However, I already see that the language abilities they acquired during their time in school is becoming eroded and there is not much I could do about that while homeschooling.  Local schools here are way too harsh (and I am pretty tolerant of many things).  Real international schools are really expensive.  The Pseudo-international schools are in name only; in philosophy, they really handle things the way the other local schools do.  They charge higher prices because they have smaller class sizes and they have fancy toys but that is it; still very harsh in treating children.  So, trying to make the best of both worlds by homeschooling and having my kids in selected activities.  Hopefully it is enough.  

 

OP.  I hope things go better for you soon and she will adjust.  As a veteran expat, I can tell you that the whole living in a different country thing, while wonderful in many, many ways, is also more challenging than people think it is.  It requires a ton of flexibility.  It is def. an opportunity for your family.   

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Old 09-17-2012, 11:16 PM
 
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 As a veteran expat, I can tell you that the whole living in a different country thing, while wonderful in many, many ways, is also more challenging than people think it is.  It requires a ton of flexibility.  It is def. an opportunity for your family.   

 

 

It is. And raising small children in a different country is a very different ball of wax than just living in one as an adult or even with older children /teens.

 

If you guys can't make a go of school right now (and I do understand how badly things are going) my advice would be to try again later -- may be next fall. She's still really young and a lot has happened in short time. May be more time to settle into where you are and the whole situation just calming down would help. 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 09-18-2012, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all very much for your perspectives - Linda on the Move, it is helpful to hear from someone who has been in a similar situation.  One thing I struggle with is that when I lived in East Africa as a single woman, I felt like I was able to integrate well and really experience the culture.  Living in another culture with young children is a completely different ballgame!  Based on my ideals, I would want my daughter to attend a mid priced local school so that she can more fully experience the culture.  But I am finding that what my daughter is comfortable with at the moment is very different than what I would ideally like for her.

 

For the reasons I mentioned in my OP, I do not think we would do homeschooling in the long term (although I did just hear about a homeschool co-op that is mostly Ugandan families which I might check out for this interim if we pull her out of school so at least she can have some child interaction).  Instead, we would pull her out until she has had more of a chance to settle here, and try again with school maybe even as early as Jan, or maybe next fall.  Since she is only 3, I wouldn't feel the need to do any kind of formal homeschooling with her at this point.  She is a very bright child and picks up things like letters, numbers, and basic addition from our playtimes and everyday life. 
 

Emaye - thank you for your perspective as well - how long were your kids in the local schools?  What was the "tipping point" for you to pull them out?  How old were they?  Also, if you don't mind sharing, what country are you living in?  You are right that living in another country with young children is much more complicated than I had expected!

 

gypsymama - thanks for the insight - maybe I could try bringing my laptop along and doing some work outside, so I am "nearby" but not actually in the classroom with her.

 

Evan and Annas mom - thanks for the suggestions, we have that book so maybe I will start reading it to her in the mornings and see if it helps.  There aren't really children's activites here - most of those are done through the schools - preschool is half day and then there are "clubs" in the afternoons that the kids can stay for - music, art, swimming, etc.

 

I am going to have a meeting with the principal tomorrow so hopefully we can either come up with a plan or we will just try again in jan.


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Old 09-18-2012, 05:22 AM
 
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Emaye - thank you for your perspective as well - how long were your kids in the local schools?  What was the "tipping point" for you to pull them out?  How old were they?  Also, if you don't mind sharing, what country are you living in?  You are right that living in another country with young children is much more complicated than I had expecteder!

 

I pm'ed you. 

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Old 09-18-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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FWIW I don't know what I would do in that situation, but I have been in your daughter's situation before.  Sort of.  We moved to the US when I was 5 and I was dropped off at kindergarten not knowing a word of English.  I don't remember being scared or crying; I was excited.  I mean I might have had new-kid jittrs but I made friends, I drew, etc.  There was some culture clash - I thought the food smelled, I didn't get how dress-up worked, I didn't know the nursery rhymes, etc.  But I enjoyed going, and I quickly learned the language, etc.

 

However, right around that time I started there, my dad also decided we needed some more English lessons so he sent both my mom and me to this Berlitz place.  I was happy enough to go, but something didn't jive right when we got there.  They separated us and took me to a little room, windowless, and the lady was truly frightening for some reason.  I even remember she was called Debby.  I threw a holy fit - and I was NOT a kid who would normally do that.  I was always, always complimented on how polite and well-mannered I was from an early age.  I never spoke against adults, I sat quietly at a table at meals, I was shy, compliant, etc.  (And yes, I came from a pretty shame based culture too, which wasn't bad or good, it just was... but it got the results of me truly feeling bad if I did speak up against adults etc.)  Anyway Debby was trying to console me and offered me this little doll that I absolutely smashed on the floor to pieces, and just howled and screamed and that was that.  I had never done that before or since, especially not with an adult, esp. not with a stranger.  But I wanted my mother, and I wanted her NOW.  It didn't really have to do with the separation thing.  In hindsight I'm sure the lady there was very nice.  But luckily my mom didn't take me back to that place afterwards.

 

I guess my two cents is that the place might seem lovely to you but if something about it is rubbing your daughter wrong, it might just be the place after all, and she may or may not be able to pinpoint exactly WHAT it is that bothers her.  I don't know why the Berlitz place sucked so much for me.  It wasn't any better or worse than any other place we went to.  It wasn't a scary dump or anything, it was very nice.  I just don't know.

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