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Hi! I am an unschooling mom to an almost 7 yr old dd, and almost 4 yr old ds.<br><br>
I have a few problems/frustrations as a homeschooler, that I would like to share with you all. One is that I have found very little IRL homeschooling support. There is a large group (provincial association...Alima if you are reading this I am referring to the MASH group in Winnipeg) about 45 min away that has field trips that are way too advanced for my kids (overly structured for my want-to-go-at-their-own pace kids, or they are too young, plus the time and distance factor involved, I also work pt which does not help). They do have a monthly potluck at a community center that I go to, the kids play in an unstructured way which dd especially loves, and I get to visit, so that is great. Locally, I have even had less luck. I am told there are numerous groups of 5-10 families each, but no large organized group. I have gotten involved in one such group (my babysitter attends) but feel like a fish out of water. They have a gym nites, as well as a monthly show and tell, and a moms night out/planning night. Well, dd has never done well in large chaotic noisy groups (I really suspect she has alot of sensory integration issues and would also be diagnosed with ADD if she was in the school system) and only attended 2 gym nights as (being the intense girl she is) she ended up crying she made her team lose, was totally bewildered as to what she should be doing in the games, etc and needed major guidance from me, as well as lots of "regrouping/recouporating time" on the bench. She did know a few kids (the babysitters kids) and is actually NOT shy, but it didn't go well so we have not gone since. At the show and tell she does well and loves going up on stage, but her brother is a handful (usually I have no one I can leave him with) and despite bringing things for him to do, I this last time had to walk him in the back rooms due to his playful babbling, etc <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> . It was kind of un-nerving for me (and I always worry what others think) seeing others with TWO YEAR OLDS EVEN, sitting demurely a few rows ahead of thier moms "behaving" with hands folded in their laps, I kid you not (!) My kids are always the ones in the group who blurt out endless questions, have to touch, etc (and it's frustrating for me to always have to guide them as to what is appropriate, provide alternatives, or just plain 'ol not go to certain things ,etc) and it is hard not to see the negative aspects of this vs. seeing them as curious, for example. And NO offense to more structured homeschoolers, but I have gone to a few mom's nights and it is disheartening to hear them complain about how to "make" their kids do thier schoolwork, how they let them play outside ONLY one hour more because it is finally sunny and then they had to come inside to do thier writing practice, etc. I am SOOOOooo different from them in my homeschooling philosophies, that is for sure!!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Sigh...I feel like such an odd ball and isolated. Not only from being an unschooler in a land (seemingly) of strict religious school-at-homers, but also because my kids don't seem to do well in alot of things the homeschoolers around here "do". I feel like I am trying to fit square pegs in round holes here. I do not know alot of people around here, it seems like there are only a few ways to connect with others and to have a jumping off point for friendships, like if you go to church, go to a homeschool group, or are in the public school system and meet others based on those activites. DD seems happy I guess, we only have 2-3 families we know a bit beyond acquaintance level, and I try to get together with them as she loves playing with their kids, but they go to school and most weekends everyone is busy trying to keep up with the rat race.<br><br>
I guess another thing I am grieving about (I don't know if that is the right word) is that my kids just don't seem to "fit". I have even stopped taking dd to Sunday School, as she gets overwhelmed and "spacey" if I am not there with her, tuning things out, leaving the table, etc (she has no problem concentrating on things that she enjoys or is meaningful to her, and she blossoms when she is allowed to go at her OWN pace, socially and "academically"...I try to focus on the positive in that) I know she would not do well in school and her spirit would be crushed, that is why we keep her at home. I cannot help but think sometimes that I am not doing her any favors, etc. I don't think at this point I can send her to anything "by herself" like brownies, or Scouts or something...it's like if she doesn't have someone interacting with her individually, keeping her "there" and "grounded" or "drawing her in" (this is what I did with her in Children's Church) she just gets "lost" in a group situation and distractable, KWIM?<br><br>
I have to wonder, what am I trying to hope to accomplish here? Has anyone been in my situation? Who am I trying to "socialize" for, them or ME? Me feeling lonely and isolated and wierd for homeschooling is not helping. Am I just trying to mold my kids into the things that society "says" that a "typical childhood" includes? (Geez, would my kids be socially inept as adults if they never went to camp or girl guides for example?) I have a deep down fear, I am realizing, that my kids won't "turn out", and that it would be a reflection either on me or homeschooling. A tiny part of me is thinking of having them evaluated (ds is actually getting a speech eval as he is not talking well AT ALL and has a few gross motor issues) but am scared that if dd is labelled ADD or something ( I do at this point tend to think it is a poor fit of environment/lack of accomadation of certain learning styles like kinesthetic...like authors such as Thomas Armstrong or John Breeding advocate...but now I don't know) it means I am a "bad" mom or not doing a good enough job. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
SORRY this is so long! I am glad to have online support here and in other places I lurk...I can't tell any real life people about this without them telling me to get a curriculum or spank them or something! I have had this all on my heart a long time and have had to talk to someone...and family is no help as they are critical of our decision to homeschool. HIT ME anyone with some advice or answers, PLEASE! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Tina, dp James, dd Stephanie, ds Jonathan here in Manitoba Canada
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br>
i was just about to post something similar, about feeling my dd doesn't fit, and i don't fit, and the isolation, and so on. i ran out of time for my own post reading yours <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> , so i will post mine later...but i can certainly empathise. DD is turning 5 in a month, and when she is 7 -8i hope to be in a more homeschooling friendly community with more resources...
 

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Tina,<br><br>
Check this out. I think you will find comfort and answers that you are seeking.<br><br><b><a href="http://www.livingjoyfully.ca/anneo/I_Am_What_I_Am.htm" target="_blank">I Am What I Am</a><br><br><br></b>This is a link to the ShineWithUnschooling list. I find my community there. In real life, we create an environment which works for our family. We don't do large, structured, directed activities. We love living life according to our own drummer.<br><a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shinewithunschooling/?yguid=287472904" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shinew...guid=287472904</a><br><br><br>
Pat
 

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I feel for you and your situation! Our family had a very similar situation when we moved here nearly two years ago. We didn't fit in with any homeschool group (and really didn't want to!!) so I started my own and luckily have met a few families very similar to ours who needed the same outlet we did and we gather weekly and do some fieldtrips or go the park or do arts and crafts...mostly the kids just want unstructured play....we mom's need each other for the support of friendship. We meet once a month for a mom's night out....we ALL count down the days until!!! We rarely discuss school. My oldest son who is 6 1/2 had some add behaviours and then we realized he was very sensitive to some food additives and had food allergies. We switched food brands and eliminated all bothersome additives and his behaviour has improved. He wasn't able to focus at all after having something we was sensitive to. I would recommend taking a look at food sources and then maybe post a couple flyers or put a notice in your paper for other unschooling families to gather in your area. If you feel this way chances are others in your area feel the same way you do and NEED a family like yours to meet. Our newspaper has a Bulletin Board section and I email them our current events and they post it under their calendar section. Plan a park day and post at your library or community center and express that you want unschooling families or you will find structured homeschoolers at the park. And who needs Brownies anyway....
 
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