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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>As many of you here know, we have homeschooled until this year - my boys started 4th and 1st grade at our local public school.  Transition was fine for both of them.  Surprisingly fine.  However, dh and I are not happy about some things, and are considering pulling them out.  In my attempts to make this post as short as possible, I'll list the issues we're having.</p>
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<p>Cons of School:</p>
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<p>Time.  We all miss our free time, and our ability to go on field trips and vacations whenever we want.  I've found that we almost never go to the park or on hikes anymore.  The kids both take martial arts 3 days a week after school, which they absolutely adore, so we don't have a lot of free time during the week.</p>
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<p>Illness.  We have been sick for the past 2 months, almost solid.  It's becoming to be a real lifestyle problem - we're missing birthday parties, vacations, holiday fun, etc.  Not to mention just the general misery of being sick all the time.  I work in ds1's classroom, and it seems like half the kids in there are coughing or have snot running out of their nose.  I am thinking about not even volunteering anymore because I seem to get sick every weekend after being there on Thursday.</p>
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<p>Education.  We were pretty much unschooling before, and were very worried about my older son being behind.  Snort.  Other than writing skills (which are just a bit behind), he is just fine.  In fact, he's having to dumb down to work the way they want him to.  Everything is regurgitation.  Science, his most passionate topic, is a complete joke.  I like to think we could supplement at home, but there's no real time.  Between school, homework, and after school activities, the kids need time to just play.</p>
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<p>Pros of School:</p>
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<p>The kids like being a part of the local school.  They feel like they finally fit in here in our suburban neighborhood.  They love the book fairs and the family fun nights.  They loving being able to give a school name when people ask where they go to school.</p>
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<p>The school has music, art and drama.  Ds1 is playing the trombone and loves it.  We can't really afford to add music lessons.</p>
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<p>Schedule - I see now that a regular schedule makes everyone around here happier.</p>
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<p>Friends - This is a pro and con, actually.  Ds2 has finally made his own friends.  When homeschooling, the friends always seemed to be shared, and often were ds1's age.  Ds2 is actually quite the popular little guy, and really loves having so many friends.  Ds1, however, is struggling.  He kind of got a bum group of kids, IMO.  No outright bullying or anything, but teasing and exclusion and the kind of stuff that makes ds1 crazy.  Now, we also experienced this homeschooling at park days and such, but at least he had time to hang out one on one with his other homeschooled friends.  He hasn't really connected with anyone in his class, and feels left out on the playground.  It's a source of daily frustration for him.  He is an incredibly social kid, and this is the priamry reason we put them in school in the first place.  He asked to go to school so he could be surrounded by kids on a regular basis.</p>
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<p>Teachers - Ds2 looooooves his teacher.  And so do I.  She is a dream, and he has really blossomed with her.  His creativity has just skyrocketed (academically he was already advanced).  Ds1's teacher, eh, not so much.  Nothing horrible, just not great. </p>
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<p>How do you decide what to do?!?!?!   Academically dh and I believe homeschooling is far superior, and it hurts our hearts that our kids are missing out on the cool stuff we could be doing, and instead are filling out worksheets and regurgitating info that is forgotten as soon as the test is over.</p>
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<p>However, I would hate for the kids to lose the school community.  If you ask the kids, they are conflicted.  They want to come back home, but really like some aspects of it.</p>
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<p>Ah, gotta run.  Any insight from those who have BTDT would be much appreciated!</p>
 

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<p>Is part time an option?  They may get some of the pros - but the cons will go away.  You will have more time for cool stuff.</p>
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<p>I do not really have much advice for you, but I do know you struggled for a long time before deciding to enrol them.  Perhaps you could give it until the Sping Break or the rest of the year before deciding?</p>
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<p>It is also very hard to know whether or not DS1 is a poor fit for school, or whther it is just a bad teacher/bad group of kids.  In either event, the schools willingness to help DS1 fit in better would play a role in whether he continued to go.  If they were unwilling or unable to help a child fit in, I would withdraw him or switch schools.  Life is too short.  I know you said they were not bullying him, but teasing and exclusion can be forms of bullying IMHO.  </p>
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<p>One more thing...are you still thinking of moving?  If so, do as the kids want for the rest of the year.  What difference will it make?</p>
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<p>Lastly, you can HS one child and not the other.  If DS2 is thriving, but DS1 is not, withdraw DS1.  There are pros and cons to mixing and matching - but people do it all the time.</p>
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<p>Good luck, mama</p>
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<p>I was also going to suggest trying part time -- maybe ditching the math and science, and seeing if your kids could take just the fun stuff. That wouldn't solve the problem of time off though. Not being familiar with schools and how they work these days, I would wonder what would happen if you just took lots of time off here and there with your kids? Would it cause trouble? Could you handle that trouble?</p>
 

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<p>Time seems like the only stable con in your post.  You'll stop getting sick once you get used to the germs and there will be ebbs and flows in the educational quality with options for different programs starting at middle or high school (depending on your area). </p>
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<p>Why did you put them into school in the first place?  You said it was social, right.  Was that the main reason?</p>
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<p>In your case, I'd finish out the year and see what you feel then. </p>
 

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Well I can see why you feel conflicted. I guess I wouldn't make a decision just yet, unless your DS1 decides he's done at some point. I wouldn't make him go if he doesn't want to, but wouldn't just pull them out while they're still unsure (unless you see some damage going on and feel that the pros of pulling ds1 before he says he's ready will outweigh the cons).<br><br>
I would also, if you are moving, let your DS1 know that a different school experience elsewhere might be better and if he wanted to stop going to his current school and homeschool until you move I'd let him.<br><br>
Agreeing with kathymuggle that I wouldn't automatically pull DS2 out if it's time to get DS1 out. That doesn't mean DS2 needs to stay in forever, but I wouldn't pull him abruptly and have it tied to his brother (unless of course DS2 insists upon it). Better to be inconvenienced awhile and let him get used to the idea of going back to homeschooling and hopefully excited about it.<br><br>
Best of luck with all this. I'm sure it will all work out but I can see why it's stressful at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>Thanks for your thoughts.  Part time school is my dream, always has been, but it's not an option around here.  Dh and I are planning on taking the kids out a bit more, so we'll see how that goes - I'm not sure yet how much trouble it will be.</p>
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<p>The reason we started school to begin with is that ds1 asked to go.  All last year he talked about it, and we had very frank discussions about what it would entail, and he really wanted to give it a try.  We decided to have ds2 go as well for not only convenience, but also so that they could continue to have shared experiences.  Maintaining their bond is very important to me.</p>
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<p>It's such a hard decision.  Ds2 enjoys a lot of the activities at school, and likes his friends and teacher.  However, he refers to school as "a waste of time" and complains that he never does anything new.  He is very advanced - was reading at 4 - and his teacher recognized this right away and has been great about letting him have a lot of freedom and choice of activity during phonics and other lessons which he already knows.  But, it still is just a lot of worksheets and cutting and pasting and reading, which he could be doing a more interesting version of at home.  I know he would want to come home if ds1 did, but I certainly wouldn't force him.</p>
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<p>Ds1 is average academically (but advanced in science), and is doing just fine, getting all As and Bs.  The group dynamic is most important to him, and he is struggling a bit with it.  He's never been an awkward kid.  He's always been very outgoing and confident.  But being not only the new kid in school, but also new to school altogether was a learning curve for him.  I'm very proud of how brave he has been about the whole experience, but I know it's hard when he tries to play touch football at recess and doesn't know the rules that are particular to schoolyard football, as opposed to regular football.  Or doesn't get all the little teasing and (IMO) advanced entendres that float around.</p>
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<p>We're still undecided.  Like I said, academically, I think we could blow the socks off the public school system with what we can do at home.  But I can't provide the much anticipated pajama day (although every day was pajama day when we were hs'ing <span><img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span>), or PE (we tried the local homeschool YMCA PE program, but it kept cancelling because it had too few kids) or music recitals (without spending a fortune) or just the group dynamic in general that ds1 really craves.</p>
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<p>I know that some school their children to make up for what is lacking in the public education. Since PT is not an option I would probably keep the kids in school,and do things at home to make up for what they are not getting.</p>
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<p>The illnesses should taper off. My biggest problem is keeping the truant police off my back.Not that I have been reported,but I have come close.Health comes before  attendance.And  so does money.Here you need a doctors note,and I am not paying $75 to get an excused absence.</p>
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<p>Most schools don't take kindly to missing days for vacation.My kids are in Montessori now,and they have been a little better but have state laws to follow too.</p>
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<p>Again, I would go for what the kids want and do what you can to make up for the average lessons.Have some of their friends come over and do a science project.It can be tough for teachers to do hands on activities with 20+ kids.</p>
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<p>I know this thread is a bit old, but I'm going to dredge it up just to tell you that I'm right there with you.</p>
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<p>I'm feeling very conflicted about school right now also.  The experience is mostly great for my kids, but the academics are lacking.  My kids have been in school for nearly 3 years now, and I'm watching standardized test score percentages fall.  And while those tests are NOT the be-all-end-all, the scores are confirming what I'm observing.  My kids just aren't being challenged.  My 11yo recently studied WW2 in history, but we were informed by his teacher than they ran out of time to discuss the holocaust and the atomic bomb.  REALLY? My 10yo is really struggling with reading comprehension and spelling, but there just isn't time for the teacher to work one-on-one with him. </p>
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<p>But socialization at school has been huge for my kids.  They have made many good friendships and I know that those friendships would dissolve if they weren't attending school together.  The friendships that my kids have formed at school are much closer and stronger than the friendships they made when they were HSing. They feel a part of a larger community. I'd hate to pull my kids away from that. </p>
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<p>We're not going to make a decision right now- DH and I will wait until spring to make a final decision about next school year.  But we're struggling with the same decision for similar reasons. </p>
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<p>FWIW, I think that the idea to teach kids what they're missing outside of school is good in theory, but doesn't work as well as one would hope for my family.  I've got 4 kids, all of whom are involved in 1-2 extracurricular activities.  The last thing they want to do after spending all day at school is to sit down and do something else schooly.  They deserve their downtime. We do some HS-ish activities during the summer to supplement their education at school, but more than that would feel like overkill.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>annethcz</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289277/trying-to-decide-if-we-should-pull-them-out#post_16193887"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><p> </p>
<p>FWIW, I think that the idea to teach kids what they're missing outside of school is good in theory, but doesn't work as well as one would hope for my family.  I've got 4 kids, all of whom are involved in 1-2 extracurricular activities.  The last thing they want to do after spending all day at school is to sit down and do something else schooly.  They deserve their downtime. We do some HS-ish activities during the summer to supplement their education at school, but more than that would feel like overkill.</p>
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<p><br>
This is our situation right now, too.  DS went back to school after 2 years of homeschooling so he could have more time with friends.  Our hs friendships were too inconsistent, and ds wanted to see his HS friends more than every couple of months. School has given him access to good friends day in and day out.  But he's now having second thoughts about school from a learning aspect, and I'm really hoping that he'll reconcile it in his mind that coming back to HS will meet more of his overall needs.  I've been less than impressed with the content and structure that our school is providing.</p>
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<p>And yeah, there really isn't as much time as you think there should be to provide the learning opportunities outside of school.  I feel like there's never enough time.  </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>Oh yeah, I hear you about the academics.  The lack of creativity is staggering.  I hate the math program they are using (Everyday Math), and science is a complete and total joke. He has had science homework once, and it was a worksheet.  But like you pointed out, there's no time to do additional academic work at home.  Both kids take martial arts 3x/week, ds1 takes tap 1x/week, and Little League is going to start soon.  (This is all by their request, btw.)</p>
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<p>I have a hard time spending a bunch of time and energy trying to get kids to fill out reading logs, which I hate beyond passion.  My kids read a ton, and we have no need for reading logs. </p>
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<p>I could go on and on, but I am overall just really disappointed.  My kids love the action of school and all the kids, but overall I think our quality of life has gone down.  The general consensus right now is that they will finish out this year, and we will probably homeschool again next year.</p>
 

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<p>I felt this way last year. I returned my children to school after home schooling for a while. But I had them finish the year and kept them home this year. I am sooo happy about it!</p>
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<p>On the education..isn't it funny how you can do next to nothing at home, and then send them to school and they are way ahead of those who have been caged up in the classroom all day, every day, for the last several years? Makes you wonder what they do all day. (ok, I already know what they do, and it kills the learning for them).</p>
 

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<p>I struggle with this.  Ds1 did K and half of 1st grade before we took him out.  I worry that he will miss the constant time with the other kids, b/c I know he enjoyed that, but I also hated the education he was getting (Everyday Math SUCKS.)  I try to keep in mind people that the idea that children should spend all day, every day with other kids is a recent invention and does not always lead to positive social experiences.</p>
 

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<p>As far as the social aspect goes, well it goes both ways.  My kids have never been in school, but I went to public school for all of my schooling.  I honestly can say I didn't have any real friends from school until college.  All of my friends were from 4-H, I had no real friends in school.  Sure, I had a few kids I would sit with during lunch or hang out with on the playground, but we weren't close at all.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen school kids outside of school.  I'm sure i could have had closer friends from school is my mom had encouraged it (by setting up playdates and things like that)...but she never did.</p>
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<p>My kids on the other hand have way more friends than I ever had and they met them all through homeschooling.  Sure, it takes a bit more effort...like setting up playdates and making a commitment to attending park days, joining coops that meet weekly, attending lots of field trips (basically making a point to get really involved) but my kids are definitely closer with their friends they met through homeschooling than I ever was with any school friends.</p>
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<p>I guess my point is, that I think for elementary kids to have friends, it takes effort on the part of their parents...whether the kids are homeschooled or attend school.   As a homeschooling parent, I do find it easier to set up playdates, simply because I know the parents.  While I may not be super close with every other homeschooling mom, I feel at least civil and friendly enough towards them that i wouldn't mind meeting at a park or calling/emailing to set up a playdate (especially a drop-off playdate).</p>
 

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<p>DS did a year of public kinder last year, and we are very thankful to have him home now. I was at a similar point at this time last year, wondering whether it had gotten bad enough to pull him out mid-year; we didn't, because he seemed happy socially and there was always some new thing he would miss coming up in a few weeks (marriage of Q and U, jogathon, etc.).</p>
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<p>The thing is, he was really attached to all that stuff, the trappings of school, the chocolate milk at lunch, the recess, when he was there. But--and probably in part because we had the summer to transition home--he doesn't really miss it now. I think he was largely attached to school because it was his world--and now he is immersed in home things because he is at home.</p>
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<p>I wonder if, in part, the social scene is better for your younger DS because of the age--there seems to be a sweetness to early elementary that in our area largely fades away by 4th grade.</p>
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<p>For us, everything else aside, the academics were a deal-breaker. It's amazing to me how much more we can do in less time. And how much richer the learning is when all of it is at that sweet spot.</p>
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<p>Heather</p>
 
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