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I am trying to connect to parents of homeschooled/alternative schooled children in my area - Broward County, FL. I would like to speak to an experienced homeschooler in my area to help figure out if this would be a viable option for my daughter. My main concern is that I have zero experience in this field, and also I live in a neighborhood without very many children her age that we know. So establishing a social network for both her and me would be necessary.

Here's why I am considering it:

My daughter (8) is currently enrolled in 3rd grade at a private school in Broward. It is a fairly "mainstream" school in their teaching methods. My daughter does very well academically (A's and some B's), but they seem to have a problem with her attitude. The teacher claims she is distracted, too social during class time, i.e. she talks to the other kids too much, and that she doesn't apply herself, rushes through the assignments and sacrifices quality for speed in written work. She claims that my daughter exhibits a lack of --quote-- "self-control" with the teacher and her peers. Whatever that means. She has scheduled a conference with me for tomorrow morning to discuss it. I am trying to figure out if I should bother trying to explain the following to her.

My daughter's personality is that she is a complete free spirit. She is the type of child who could have not a single toy, and she would be perfectly content playing make-believe with household objects. (I am actually quite proud and amazed that here, among the materialism of South Florida, she has managed to maintain a distance from the electronic-item, designer clothing, ipod, cell phone, pop-culture obsessions of many of her peers. I hope this is because of our diligence in keeping the whole Disney, Hannah Montana, Nickelodeon etc. madness out of our house, for the most part.)

On the flip side of this wonderful freeness of spirit, my daughter also does not to too well with rigid, highly regimented environments. She really cannot spend most of her day sitting behind a desk, doing worksheets etc. I believe it is this inability to learn the way they want her to, which is resulting in her "inappropriate" behavior. Clearly, she's "getting" the school material, since her grades are fine. I keep wondering, though, at what cost to her fabulous personality? Are we causing her to lose her wonderful creativity by stifling her in a traditional classroom? Are we insisting that she bend herself to fit the mold projected by the teacher? Does the teacher want her to be more manageable to simply make the teacher's life easier?

Also, regarding her supposed "lack of self control": My daughter has always been a bit of a "pushover" when it comes to interacting with her peers. Since Kindergarten, other kids have taken advantage of her. I don't want to use the word bullied, or abused since they seems too strong for such young kids, but you get the idea. Now, she's growing older, and is starting to fight back, or defend herself a little. I'm kind of relieved, actually, since I don't want her to spend her life as a milquetoast or something. Is this what the teacher calls a lack of self-control and finds objectionable? By the way, my daughter does have friends, she spends time on the phone with them in the evening, she is actually having a sleepover with a friend this weekend. So it's not a lack of basic social skills. Do I bring this up to the teacher too? Do you think it will do any good?

In your opinion, am I being clear on my position? Am I being too strong? I don't want to come across as "attacking" the teacher, because that won't accomplish anything. Also, in your experience, should I just throw in the towel, scrap the whole parochial school thing, and start her in some sort of alternative/homeschool program?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
 

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I'm sorry I can't offer you advice on your specific area, but I wanted to post anyhow.

In early elementary school, my parents were told many of the same things. For this reason, they decided to homeschool me, which was one of the best choices they've ever made for me. At the time, there were hardly any resources for homeschoolers in the area. My mother and another woman started a homeschool group that grew astronomically. In the 12 years since that group was started (my mother and the other woman passed off the leadership role several years ago obviously) it has grown to such a size that one location cannot hold all of the families. They split into cell groups for different parts of town, ages, etc. Any way, my point is that even if you don't have kids in your neighborhoods, there are other options for socialization for your daughter. When you have a very creative, free-spirited child, a classroom is pointless. They don't allow enough time for creative activities or for outside play time. I remember clearly being so bored in the classroom in Kindergarden, 1st, and 2nd grade. Once I was homeschooled, I finished all my school work (the same amount as I had in the classroom) in about 3 hours. I then spent the rest of the day running around outside, reading, playing (by myself and other children) and creating things (writing, arts and crafts, etc). THAT is what I needed! Not sitting in a desk 8 hours a day, getting 15 minutes of recess and art/music/PE etc once a week. I'd like to add that my mother had no 'qualifications' technically to teach me. For the most part there were no problems. She was able to find me tutors for my difficult subjects as I got older...also, in some places there are co-ops, classes for homeschoolers, etc. Your daughter should also be able to take electives in the public school system as she gets older. Florida Virtual School online may also be an option, if she doesn't mind sitting at a computer sometimes.

Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. But if it is right for your family, I encourage anyone who is able to do it!
 

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Hi,
We are in the Hallandale Beach area, our son is only 26 months old , but we are already exploring Free learning, there is a lady that is a strong advocate of un-schooling, her name is Dayna martin, there are many videos in youtube that can give you some guidance, also in the broward area there are several radical home schoolers / un-schoolers groups, go to the meetup website on this link and search in your area, plus if you skip the whole school thing, if you travel a couple of days a week should not be a problem, get ready to get busy because from all that I have read so far (blogs, organizations, meetup groups, websites, etc) unschoolers are the ones that get very busy. no experience required.
some recommended reading:
all books by john taylor gatto, alfi kohn, naomi aldort

go to google and type "unschooling blog"

list of videos:http://www.unschoolingamerica.com/videos.asp

and this is the best one :

go to yahoo groups and look for the alternative homeschool educators it has more than 100 members and gere is a brief description of the group:

We are an all inclusive homeschool group serving Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
Alternative Homeschool Educators of South Florida is a group of homeschoolers who believe in respect for all people regardless of homeschooling styles, race, age or religion.
Alternative Homeschool Educators of South Florida offers an online discussion list that includes discussion on all styles of teaching (life learning, unschooling, school at home, eclectic...)useful links, homeschool support from experienced parents, park days, field trips, educational co-ops and much more.
We enjoy getting together all over Miami, Broward and Palm Beach.
*Note: the majority of our members and meetings are in south broward county.

Hope this helps ,

Hugo
 

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mkarp77, your dd sounds a lot like my ds at that age. We started homeschooling him at 7-1/2 because, like you, we were worried about how school would negatively affect his personality despite his academic success.

He is 17 now, and I can say without hesitation that the talents and confidence he now possesses are directly related to our decision to remove him from school.

I also have a dd who is almost 12 and has never been to school.

We are new Broward County residents, and this week I'm going to meet some other homeschoolers at a local meet-up.

I'd be happy to discuss home ed with you either on this thread or via pm, so let me know if I can help in any way.
 
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