Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,097 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone.<br>
I am a mother of two (7-year old daughter, 1 year old son) from Ontario, Canada. I have been considering homeschooling my daughter (and eventually my son too) but I'm not sure about it.<br><br>
Basically I started thinking about it because my daughter HATES school. She loved Kingergarten, but as soon as she got into Grade 1 she started complaining that she wasn't learning anything, that school was boring, that the songs and poems they learned were for babies.<br><br>
Grade 2 is even worse, she tells me every morning she doesn't want to go to school because she never learns anything there.<br><br>
One day when she was telling my sister about her dislike of school my sister said casually to me, "Have you ever considered homeschooling her?" I immediately said, "No, I don't think I'd want to have her home all day every day...we need a break from each other sometimes."<br><br>
But that night when we went home I started thinking about it, and thinking some more. Would it really be so bad? Certainly at home she could learn more...so I started doing research. For the last few weeks I've been doing research online and reading books from the library.<br><br>
I've come to the conclusion that homeschooling yields huge benefits for the child and for the family too. I like the idea of our family being closer, and I like the idea of my daughter having more time to develop her special interests--she is a wonderful artist and already wants to do it as a career, so I would love to give her time every day to work on her drawings.<br><br>
I have also come to have less respect for my daughter's school after I went on a field trip with her class this past week. I saw how in a large class of rowdy kids, the emphasis is always on behaviour, not learning. The teacher is always putting her energy into getting the kids to be quiet, not in helping them learn. So much time is wasted getting the kids to behave and herding them around, not to mention the time wasted standing in line.<br><br>
On this field trip I also witnessed firsthand the meanness of the Grade 3 teacher. On the schoolbus the kids cheered when we reached our destination. The Grade 3 teacher stood up and told the kids with great vehemence, "You'd better be quiet RIGHT NOW...I have LOTS of free space in my dentention room tonight!" I could believe she was threatening the kids just because they were being enthusiastic about the field trip. I don't at all like the idea of my daughter having this woman for a teacher next year.<br><br>
I have also read some of Grotto's essays which didn't serve to improve my opinion of the public school system.<br><br>
One more thing: When I think back over my own 14 years of public school, my most dominant memory is simply of being bored all the time. I remember telling my mom that I wasn't learning anything, too.<br><br>
So everything is telling me to pull my daughter out of school and start giving her a real education. My daughter has caught wind of my research too and is very excited about the possibility of learning at home. My husband also is very supportive.<br><br>
BUT...I admit, I am scared to take this step! The idea of telling the school I'm pulling her out gives me butterflies in my stomach. And did I say I have no less than THREE public school teachers in my family? (Two cousins and an aunt). I am nervous about what they are going to say to me, as well as what my nosy neighbours are going to say, as well as what everyone is going to say...the city I live in is not a very enlightened place, it's a blue-collar city, and I feel like I am going WAY against the grain just by thinking about homeschooling!<br><br>
So I guess what I am looking for is encouragement. I know it's the right thing to do...but like I said I just feel nervous about it. I'm not a person who is good with confrontation, I'm very shy! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
You know, I felt all the same things you described (I come from a long line of educators, including my mom who is a 3rd grade teacher and my dad is a Ph.D. in Education!) I also thought homeschooling was "weird", maybe even abnormal.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I am so glad I got over it because homeschooling has been one of the best things for our family.<br><br>
We have been homeschooling for almost a year. All those fears, all those judgements, they have pretty much gone away, they seemed to subside about 3 months after we started homeschooling.<br><br>
We have all, my parents and my husband and myself, seen how beautifully my son has done in homeschooling. My son has become so much kinder, relaxed and most recently self-motivated in his learning. My daughter, whom I also took out of preschool, is doing great and is quite inspired by doing what brother is doing! And then our immediate family has benefited from the peace and calmness of both ds demeanor but also of being in charge of our schedules and having time to just relax!<br><br>
I would say if you are leaning towards homeschooling, try it for 6 months, see how it works. As for all the worry, ebarrassent, fear, just keep moving through it and enjoy the time you have with your child, that time is something you will never have again. It is worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,097 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Elizabeth. May I ask, how did your parents react to your decision to homeschool? If it was negative, how did you deal with the reaction?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,896 Posts
I understand your feelings so well! My DS is only 4.5 but I was so scared of the idea of stepping outside the mainstream and not sending him to school...and it was especially noticeable because I have 2 sisters with kids the same age as DS who were starting JK this year too so I felt a lot of pressure.<br><br>
I feel really good about the decision now though. DS is a bit asynchronous in terms of his development so he is all over the map in terms of where he is with various skills (social and intellectual). I thought that would make it difficult to have a good JK experience for him and I didn't want a repeat of what happened to my nephew in JK and on (my nephew actually had the JK teacher who had a prosthetic hand *throw her hand* at him because he was frustrating her so much...and I see many of the same personality traits in my DS as I remember in my nephew).<br><br>
I think the hardest part is making the decision. What helped me was to just decide "for now" rather than trying to decide how I would feel about the decision in grade 4 or grade 6 or on. Deciding to homeschool doesn't have to be a forever decision and somehow making a decision for kindergarten rather than for his entire school career made it a manageable mouthful for me KWIM?<br><br>
It really isn't nearly as difficult and far more interesting to be with my DS all day. I'm not saying it is always a ball of sunshine LOL because he is by his very nature *intense* but it isn't nearly as scary as I built it up to be before I made the decision <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Steph
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,664 Posts
What I'm doing to prepare myself for homeschooling, and for responding to others' concerns is reading a lot of homeschooling books.<br><br>
I read "dumbing us down" and thought it was pretty good, but I'm now reading John Holt's "Teach Your Own" and it has me completely angry at the school system.<br><br>
I also am skimming/reading "The unschooling Handbook", "When Children love to Learn", "The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child", "Learning all the time" and "The ultimate Book of Homschooling Ideas."<br><br>
I think that after reading some of these books, you'll have plenty of answers to give to the "concerned" people in your life. The teachers should especially support your decision. As for your neighbors, get a bumper sticker or something. The more you advocate for it, the less arguments you'll have from people who don't understand.<br><br>
Good luck. It sounds like your daughter is in desperate need of homeschooling.<br>
Lisa
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
My dad was supportive, my mom was reserved which I couldn't always read- was it quiet disapproval or was she was just waiting to see what would happen. We had the the blessing/ curse of a horrible school experience (aggressive teacher), so my parents were of the agreement "something" had to be done and quickly, so yanking him from school to homeschool seemed the quickest option, everyone agreed.<br><br>
I did a lot of consensus building initially. Letting my parents know what happened on a week by week basis. Asking my mom for input on reading. Talking in wonder about how calm and relaxed my son was becoming. Talking about how little sis wanted to learn to read like brother. So my parents early on were hearing how well the kids were doing. I talked a lot about the homeschool group, friends we got together with that were also homeschooling, classes I did with the homeschool group. Being honest about how hard it initially was.<br><br>
I initally found a lot of the comments, which are "oh-so-common" very de-stabilizing ("Wow! That must be SOOOO much work", and "I could NEVER do that!" and "What about socialization [sic]") So I would rec. having some answers to those, because you will hear them, as opposed to me being shocked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,097 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for your responses. I guess if I'm going to do this I'm going to have to just swallow my fears and do it. But first I think I should read up a bit more, so that I have answers to give when people ask me difficult questions. Right now I am feeling nervous because I can picture a family member challenging my choice and me just clamming right up. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Thanks btw for the book recommendations, Lisa.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span>So:<br><br>
Two cousins and an aunt are teachers.<br>
Your neighbors may or may not approve.<br>
You, your husband, your sister - and your daughter - think it's a good idea.<br>
Who's opinion is most valuable? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
There were at least four teachers, by the way, who told me they'd do it themselves if they could. And there are pro-homeschooling articles by several teachers in my (non-commercial) <a href="http://www.BestHomeschooling.org" target="_blank">website</a> - plus links to articles by other teachers over in the left hand column.<br><br>
And here's an eloquent book for gathering steam on how to express what you're doing - by a former teacher whose family was homeschooling while he was teaching in a public high school:<br><a href="http://www.educationreformbooks.net/family_matters.htm" target="_blank">Family Matters</a> - Why Homeschooling Makes Sense, by David Guterson.<br><br><i>And</i>: <a href="http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html" target="_blank">this is the speech</a> John Taylor Gatto made when he was given the award for NY Teacher of the Year - in which he says, among other equally thought-provoking things:<br><br></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I don't think we'll get rid of schools anytime soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we're going to change what is rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, but it does not "educate" - that's inherent in the design of the thing. It's not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent, it's just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.<br><br>
Schools were designed by Horace Mann and Barnard Sears and Harper of the University of Chicago and Thorndyke of Columbia Teachers College and some other men to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.<br><br>
To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic - because the community life which protects the dependent and the weak is dead. The products of schooling are, as I've said, irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on the telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>I think you should just go ahead and homeschool whenever you want - not wait till you feel you can effectively deal with people outside the family who have nothing to do with it. It really doesn't take long to come up with some standard lines to briefly explain the benefits you see, and to be able to stand your ground - and to make it clear that it's not open for interrogation or criticism. You can start by reading some of the articles up in the sticky called <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=396414" target="_blank">I need non-religious articles in defensive of homeschooling</a>.<br><br>
You might be very surprised to find out how much respect and support you'll run across - and people in a blue collar community are generally not an exception to that at all. You just need to be careful that your choice isn't seen as a criticism of other people sending their own children to school.<br><br>
Chaos pie wrote </span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">As for all the worry, embarrassment, fear, just keep moving through it and enjoy the time you have with your child, that time is something you will never have again. It is worth it.</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>Well said! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
But keep in mind the need for <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?p=6371574#post6371574" target="_blank">decompression/deschooling</a> time when you begin - because it's really essential. And you can be reading good books on homeschooling during that time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
All the best in your process! - Lillian<br><br>
.<br></span>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,097 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much for all the helpful info Lillian. You're perfectly right of course; no one's opinion matters at all but mine and my family's, I do know that. But still, it's difficult for me to push the nervous feelings away...that's why I'm here, looking for encouragement! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The book you mentioned (Family Matters) sounds excellent, I think I will pick a copy up. And I have bookmarked your website too.<br><br>
I have read that speech by John Taylor Gatto, as well as some of his other speeches and essays--they're really depressing in a way, because they made me understand a lot about not only my daughter but myself--I see now how useless, and actually harmful my years at school were for me. Right now I am 28, and just now I am finally finding my sense of self, finding my confidence, discovering the goals I have for my life. It took me this long to shake off the effects of public schooling on my mind. This realization makes me all the more committed to homeschooling my daughter. I don't want her to be held back and held down in school the way I was.<br><br>
My daughter continues to ask me every day, "Did you decide if we're going to homeschool yet Mom?" I was originally going to put off making the final decision until she finished Grade 2, but now I'm thinking maybe she shouldn't go back after Christmas break. That will give me a couple months to read up and get some supplies...and Christmas would be a good time to deschool I think, it's a very relaxed, happy family time for us.<br><br>
Can I also ask, does anyone here have any specific advice for the deschooling period? How long should it be? Should I avoid any kind of "schoolwork" at all for that time? (I use the term schoolwork loosely, I'm not really planning on bringing school home!)<br><br>
Thanks again mamas! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
I posted about our experience, and my thoughts on our deschooling:<br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=549910" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=549910</a>
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dillpicklechip</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6507842"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can I also ask, does anyone here have any specific advice for the deschooling period? How long should it be? Should I avoid any kind of "schoolwork" at all for that time? (I use the term schoolwork loosely, I'm not really planning on bringing school home!)</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>Here's a whole MDC thread on the subject, with links to a number of good articles that discuss it in depth: <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?p=6371574#post6371574" target="_blank">decompression/deschooling</a>. Christmas break may sound like a good start, but actually traditional holiday times don't seem to satisfsy the need. Even a whole summer vacation, strangely enough, isn't usually an effective time - you need to think in terms of starting decompression/deschooling when school would actually be back in session. And yes, you should most definitely keep any thought of "schoolwork" out of your mind during that time, no matter how loosely you mean the term. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Lillian</span>
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>chaos_pie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6508266"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I posted about our experience, and my thoughts on our deschooling:<br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=549910" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=549910</a></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>I never saw that one before! What an interesting post - because it's so helpful for people to hear what it's really like for others. It can feel very much like pacing around waiting for water to come to a boil. It's not so easy to make up your mind in advance that it's not just wasted time - that it's a completely valuable thing unto itself - but it pays off. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,358 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dillpicklechip</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6499424"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One day when she was telling my sister about her dislike of school my sister said casually to me, "Have you ever considered homeschooling her?"</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I think it's great that you would already have a family member on your side, if you decide to homeschool.<br><br>
In a rush, but wanted to comment.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dillpicklechip</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6507842"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My daughter continues to ask me every day, "Did you decide if we're going to homeschool yet Mom?" I was originally going to put off making the final decision until she finished Grade 2, but now I'm thinking maybe she shouldn't go back after Christmas break. That will give me a couple months to read up and get some supplies...</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
My kids have never been to school, so I've never been through the phase you're in right now, but the many parents I know who have all say that it's the hardest part of homeschooling -- deciding to do it. And their one regret? That they waited too long, trying to 'get ready', hoping their kids would 'settle in' at school, or trying to find a natural (to the school) point of transition.<br><br>
If you pull your dd out of school on Monday, you'll have an enforced period of deschooling, because you <i>won't</i> be ready with supplies and plans. One rule of thumb for deschooling is "one month for every year of school." So, assuming your daughter did JK and SK and Grade 1, you're looking at three-and-a-bit months. If you wait until you've got supplies and plans and all your ducks in a row, you will be tempted to jump in with structure too soon.<br><br>
Even a week is an eternity in the life of a 7-year-old. No, Christmas break doesn't constitute a deschooling phase. If you want to jump now but you're just afraid, I'm happy to give you a push. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br><br>
Miranda
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>moominmamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6510255"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Even a week is an eternity in the life of a 7-year-old. No, Christmas break doesn't constitute a deschooling phase. If you want to jump now but you're just afraid, I'm happy to give you a push. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Okay, I'm lining up next to Miranda to help with the push! I've never seen her push, so I figure this is special. - Lillian<br></span>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
I guess there is always that adage "Act first, apologize later" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> It would be hard for anyone to talk you out of it if you have already started homeschooling!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span>I just thought of a great line that's in an essay somewhere in the area of the <a href="http://www.nhen.org/newhser/default.asp?id=227" target="_blank">National Home Education Network website</a> that was put together expecially for those considering homeschooling. Maura Seeger wrote:<br><i>"When we started homeschooling, I felt as though I had tucked a child under each arm and jumped off a cliff. Imagine my surprise to discover we have wings. ..."</i><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,097 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Miranda, you make some good points there...I'm thinking about it, I'm thinking about it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,914 Posts
Pull her now. I'm one of those people Miranda talked about that hemmed and hawwed - and I should have jumped.<br><br>
If you know it is right, dh is supportive and dd is interested there is really no reason at all to wait. If you haven't already, do check out the <a href="http://www.ontariohomeschool.org/supportgroups.shtml" target="_blank">OFTP website</a> to see if there are support groups near you - it can help to have a community of people who help make homeschooling feel normal in the early days.<br><br>
Jump in - the water's fine!<br>
Karen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,664 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Karenwith4</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6512740"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Pull her now. I'm one of those people Miranda talked about that hemmed and hawwed - and I should have jumped.<br><br>
If you know it is right, dh is supportive and dd is interested there is really no reason at all to wait. If you haven't already, do check out the <a href="http://www.ontariohomeschool.org/supportgroups.shtml" target="_blank">OFTP website</a> to see if there are support groups near you - it can help to have a community of people who help make homeschooling feel normal in the early days.<br><br>
Jump in - the water's fine!<br>
Karen</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br>
Helping with the pushing<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I'm jealous that you have the opportunity to start now. I'm waiting until Feb because I'm in another country and my children are in the middle of learning the language. I can't WAIT until Feb!<br><br>
I also have to praise (again) the book "Teach your own." It was almost not on my reading list and so many people suggested it that I bumped it up. It's the best ammunition for dealing with doubts that I could have asked for.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top