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I'm open to the idea of homeschooling and we belong to a playgroup made up of h/s'ers, but I'm not totally anti-public school. While DS1 has been to classes, he's never been to any kind of care where I wasn't present, ie he's never had daycare/preschool/whatever. DS1 has made many comments this year that he's never going to go to school and won't attend anything where I'm not present. I'll ask him about playschool, he'll ask if I'll be there w/ them, if I answer no, he says no way.

Now he has a little brother and not as much attention from me, and I can see that he'd benefit from more interaction (playschool). We have 2 or 3 friends that we see weekly, but for whatever reason there's always little squabbles, and now I'm wondering if his social skills would benefit from a regular group situation.

So what would you do? "Force" him to go a couple of days a week and see what happens? RE: possible tears, at what point would I give up and quit? I could go and sit with him the first couple of days I guess (although I have no idea what I'd do w/ the baby!). Like I wrote, I'm willing to h/s, but not because of his fear of the unknown, y/k?

TIA for any insight, this is our first and I'm clueless!
 

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We had the same exact situation (well no baby here though) and I worried about school ALL summer and have lost a lot of sleep over it. My son has always had be by his side for EVERYTHING-I went to music with him, gymnastics, library-everything. He would ignore me when I tried to talk to him about school. I got books out of the library=he loved the book Boomer Goes to School about a dog who goes along as the kids show and tell. So he got excited about show and tell. I didn't focus on the fact that I would not be there with him but instead on all the cool things he would get to do. I also did my homework in terms of finding a school where he would feel comfortable-small class etc. Day 1: I stayed for 2 hours and then sat in the car in the driveway of the school for the last hour. Today I stayed for 30min and he waved to me and blew me kisses with a huge smile on his face. I am in complete disbelief and SHOCK but sometimes I guess these little ones surprise us. Had we done the tears and nightmares etc I would not be one to let that go on for too long. I know this isn't helpful but perhaps once your child sees the school and experiences day 1 or even day 1 and day 2 or 3 with you then they will feel more confident about staying without you.
 

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Well, all I can say is sending ds to preK at age 4 when he felt similarly to your ds was the biggest mistake I've made as a parent. I honestly thought he would enjoy being around the other kids and doing neat things. I picked out a nice Quaker school that said all the right crunchy talk about positive language, respect, etc. But it was an institution much like any other and it was a scary place for ds. The 10 half days he went effected him for years, probably still are 4 years later though only the first one was very bad. This parenting gig would be easier if we could see the future.
 

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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Well, all I can say is sending ds to preK at age 4 when he felt similarly to your ds was the biggest mistake I've made as a parent. I honestly thought he would enjoy being around the other kids and doing neat things. I picked out a nice Quaker school that said all the right crunchy talk about positive language, respect, etc. But it was an institution much like any other and it was a scary place for ds. The 10 half days he went effected him for years, probably still are 4 years later though only the first one was very bad. This parenting gig would be easier if we could see the future.
This is the kind of situation I'm afraid of! But now I'm wondering if it's odd that DS is so vehement that he doesn't want to go to school, not even playschool. And I mean, vehement. He told me "I don't want to go to school until I die!" and I said very blase "Well, you probably won't be going to school if you're dead"
and he replied "No, I mean I don't want to EVER go to school!" I have no idea where he gets this attitude, since as far as I know he's never been exposed to any negativity. It seems mainly to be fear of not having me nearby.

So now I'm wondering if the lack of replies is because other 4 y/o are eager to go to school.
 

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My brother was this way when we were small-- he had tubes in his ears and was speech delayed, so he was very clingy with my mom, before school and in other ways til he was much older.

To prep for preschool, mom took us there, let us look around, talk to the teacher, look at all the cool stuff... and she made a point of finding a little boy in the class that my brother could talk to and made friends with... so there was something special he could look forward to about school that wouldn't happen anywhere else.

Does your DS have any friends in public school, even if it's not the one you'd choose? Could you get permission to "shadow" them for a day (with you hiding in the back) so he can see what it's about, and fun instead of frightening? Or alternatively, could you arrange a playdate with some little ones from the school you've looked into?
 

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Originally Posted by caudex View Post
My brother was this way when we were small-- he had tubes in his ears and was speech delayed, so he was very clingy with my mom, before school and in other ways til he was much older.

To prep for preschool, mom took us there, let us look around, talk to the teacher, look at all the cool stuff... and she made a point of finding a little boy in the class that my brother could talk to and made friends with... so there was something special he could look forward to about school that wouldn't happen anywhere else.

Does your DS have any friends in public school, even if it's not the one you'd choose? Could you get permission to "shadow" them for a day (with you hiding in the back) so he can see what it's about, and fun instead of frightening? Or alternatively, could you arrange a playdate with some little ones from the school you've looked into?
Those are good ideas and I could. I guess at this point I'm surprised that I have the only 4 y/o that feels this way!
 

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DS2 was three when he started pre-school and was the same way. He clung to my side all the time and we even had issues with hiding from the EI specialist who came to the house. He was not talking at the time so I have no idea if he would of said "No way" like your son said. He always had had myself, DH or one of my older three with him at all times.

Long story short. I made not too much of a big deal of the thing. We basically said that after Christmas he was going to go to school like his older brother and sister. I let my older two do all the talking because he looked up to them. They told him about all the fun stuff they did and how they were excited he would get to do the same stuff. Only issue we had was they were convinced he was going to THEIR preschool. Do you have an older friend he looks up to who is going to school who could talk it up to him?

I was totally expecting a major meltdown the first day. Guess what, he walked in and never looked back. No tears, no nothing. I talked with the teacher later on and she said he looked sad a few times (never cried) but they were able to redirect him and he was fine. Honestly, he might surprise you. As a warning, though, we did have tears a few times about 6 months later. Lesson learnt, don't play anything that looks fun to him while he is school.
(He had big brother had built a LARGE Thomas village and I had to pull him from their play to take him to school. The other time involved workmen putting in windows and he wanted to watch them).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
This is the kind of situation I'm afraid of! But now I'm wondering if it's odd that DS is so vehement that he doesn't want to go to school, not even playschool. And I mean, vehement. He told me "I don't want to go to school until I die!" and I said very blase "Well, you probably won't be going to school if you're dead"
and he replied "No, I mean I don't want to EVER go to school!" I have no idea where he gets this attitude, since as far as I know he's never been exposed to any negativity. It seems mainly to be fear of not having me nearby.

So now I'm wondering if the lack of replies is because other 4 y/o are eager to go to school.
I think if I hadn't sent ds to school, he would have grown out of this stage and possibly been ok with school. I still think homeschooling is better for him. He is very independent now. But 3 and 4 are big ages of fear when the child really becomes aware of how big the world is and how small and he is. If I had wanted him to go to school, retrospectively, the best thing would have been for me to hold him back a year and send him to k at age 6 (he just makes the cut off so this would have had him as the oldest kid rather than the youngest, although his prek class was 3 and 4 yos and he was in the middle at newly turned 4). He wasn't exposed to any negative talk about school, either. It was all about not having access to me.

I honestly think much of the problem was that he was a bright sensitive kid. He knew how helpless he was in a situation without me. Sure, I'd have liked him to trust other adults more but quite frankly, only a few ever proved themselves trustworthy enough. Looking through his eyes, I can see quite well how ds felt the teacher was tricking him. She'd say "we" will go play in the sand, walk him over to the sandbox and leave. She didn't realize he assumed she meant she would play with him. It was very scary for him to be in a situation that he had no control over, to see other kids reprimanded or given time outs, to be given lists of rules and told what to do or not do with few, if any, explanations. He might have adjusted if he was allowed to come see me whenever he wanted (I stayed on the premises, just outside the classroom). But getting locked in so he couldn't was the last straw for him.

I don't understand how any kid is ok with being dumped in a room of strangers. Mine isn't even shy or introverted.
 

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My 4 year old isn't in school yet. We decided to wait until she's 5 years old. She knows about school, my mom is a teacher after all, and I even drove by the school she will attend and showed it to her to familiarize her with the concept but she was more interested in the field full of a flock of geese and so we mostly talked about the geese.
She is looking forward to school. I just felt that 4 was too young for her to go to school yet. I'm still not sure what to do with Sophia. They are only 13.75 months apart in age. I don't think I'll be sending Sophia to school next year. I think I'll wait for her to be 5, too.

ETA: I've been their teacher all their life and they play on the Starfall and up to ten websites, and we read a lot, so much of what they may have learned in preschool, they already know from mommy.
 

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When I felt my very shy DS was ready for preschool, I visited a bunch of schools to find the right one. I found one that met all these criteria, in terms of helping DS transition.
  1. I could be in the building while DS got to know and trust his teachers. I sat out in the hall right outside his door for the first 2 weeks, then down at the end of the hall for one more week. (I wasn't the only mom who did this.)
  2. He could have Mr Rabbit (his stuffed bunny) with him. DS is much braver when he has Mr Rabbit nearby.
  3. They had an afternoon session. DS just isn't a morning person and is much more clingy when tired.
  4. They would respect DS's need for me. They would never make him just CIO, they would hold and comfort him if he was upset, and i f he wasn't OK in under ten minutes they would call me. If he clearly stated he needed me, they would call right away.
  5. I could walk him into the building.
I had other criteria as well, but they don't relate to this.

It all worked out great for DS. The right transition has worked out amazingly well all around. He not only became comfortable with his school, he generally became more confident, secure and outgoing. He speaks to other adults eagerly (last year before school we were worried about selective mutism.) He asked to go to the child care room at Wegmans the first time he saw it. He can't wait till he's tall enough for smaland at Ikea.

As wonderfully as the right gentle transition has worked for DS, I highly suspect that a bad first experience would have had the opposite effect and would have probably solidified his shyness.

So, I recommend shopping around for the right school.
 

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It's not just your 4 year old.
Mine also DOES NOT go to classes without me, and says he will never ever ever go to school. I just think that's just who he is; his older sister was happy to go to gymnastics without me, and then art, music, pottery etc. at his age. But they are different people. I have not pushed anything with him, and he's definitely becoming more ready to separate from me S-L-O-W-L-Y. I go to his art classes with him and they are happy to have a teacher's aide there.


I just don't really see it as a problem (but I also don't see preschool as remotely necessary!) My ds needs more time, is all. Sounds like yours might, too.

I remember not wanting to go to school either. I mean, the whole time I was in elementary school, I wanted to stay home with my mom. I'd pretend to be sick sometimes so that I could. I wish she had homeschooled me.
 

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i agree 4 is the age of fears.

4 1/2 is a big milestone time. i have noticed something changes within them and suddenly the kids become really matured - esp boys.

the key here is knowing the right thing as a parent. and i am not sure what the right thing is. as my dd grows older its hard for me to really know as she surprises me a lot.

she knows hs is not an option for us. she knows i would love to hs her but cant.

also starting a new school is hugely scary. every year around this time its natural for kids to have anxiety around starting school.

with my dd i have learnt to 'push' her. she surprises me so much. she always has the chance to refuse but she has to try first. i have to be there behind her to encourage her to try new things. sometimes it works and she has a grand time. sometimes it doesnt and she doesnt have to continue. however seh is discovering this about herself. and so is taking more of a stand at 'stretching' herself. of course this is at 7 years old.

i would not base your opinions about your son now. things may change later on.

my dd didnt even want to go to dc. we changed 5 dcs in 4 months before we found the right fit and she settled down even if she didnt want to be separated from mommy.

while i feel sad i couldnt support her wishes early on, i have seen that somehow its really matured her to a great degree. so much so that at 7 she shruggs off her complaining.

i think his protest is not about school itself. he could say that about anything. i think its more about being supported by family. knowing that no matter what mommy will be there to support him.

i would also try doing a roleplay with his dolls to figure out why - if you can. sometimes children can choose simple things that blow everything out of proportion. so he may have a completely different idea of school, and you might find it might be an easy fix to see that its not really how he thinks it is.

as my dd grows older i find its one thing to support, but i have to be careful that i dont support 'too much'. that it keeps her from experiencing life. sometimes their fear keeps them from doing things they would normally enjoy and i feel it is our duty as parents to encourage them to try.

my dd knows she does not have to continue. so on her own she is willing to try something she is scared to try. however you as a mom will know when its a big NO NO, or a 'i need help. i want to do it but am scared to take the first step, so will you help me take the first step' support.

of course while in the throes of deep fear which might last a while, its not prudent to push them to go.

my dd who was already in dc was both excited and scared about starting K. we walked around school. we played on the playground in summer. i promised her when i dropped her off, that i would be around within the vicinity of the school for a week, so that if the teacher called i would rush in and pick her up. both for the start of k and first grade. i even talked to the teacher in front of her so that she knew her teacher wouldnt stop her from calling me. i never got the call.

my dd has never wanted to be separated from me but being a single mom i could not support that. my dd learnt to cope. even in dc which she started at 2 (and had to stay for 10-11 hours) she finally figured out how to cope. at K she started having issues. however we were v. lucky that we got really kind teachers whom dd didnt like as teachers - too structured, not enough humor - but who are our fast friends because dd enjoys them as persons.

i think you are key as the person to help him with his unknown fears. and sometimes the hardest thing for parents to do is to throw them in there, but first completely going over with options first so they know all they have to do is try, they dont have to stay. just knowing daddy or mommy is there when he 'falls' will give him the courage to try it. however you as a parent need to know what the boundary line between 'freakout not ready to try yet' is vs 'ok i am not ready but willing to give it a try'. my dd's intensity behind a no helps me see if seh is at the 'willing to try it' place and so just needs a nudge.

good luck. here's a peice of info. starting K is much more stressful for the parents rather than the kids. seriously. i see that in other parents and i saw that in me.
 
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