To homeschool or not

13

Comments

  • RosesRoses USASilver Member Posts: 720
    I think what's going on in the US schools depends on where you're at. I had a jr. in high school in the youth group, a very articulate young man, stumble reading out loud in Phillipians. NIV, not KJV. Maybe he can footnote, but he can't read words like 'people'.
    Then there was the district my husbandvworked at for eighteen months that had 700 students and two pedophilles caught during that time!
    But IIRC Avalinette isn't in the USA.
    Avalinette, another couple questions you might consider.
    If you want to put her in for a year or two, pull her out for a year or two, then put her back in, how will they handle that? (Not just home school, isn't there a possibility of international moves in your husband's line of work?)
    How do they handle kids who are asynchronus learners? (More advanced in some areas than in others.) That is, if your child needs tenth grade math and fifth grade English when sixth grade by age, what do they do?
    Does your country do tracking in high school? My cousin lives in a place that does that and determines whether her kids are college or trades I think around fourteen. If so, if you are homeschooling, how will that effect tracks available?
  • codename_duchesscodename_duchess AustraliaSilver Member Posts: 222
    My worry about homeschooling is that it is too easy to turn children into clones of oneself rather than independent thinking individuals. A public school will certainly contain a broad demographic and will challenge assumptions that can otherwise form. There have been a number of studies published showing that academic achievement is tied to parental involvement rather than the school itself. In fact there was no correlation between public/private school choice and outcome (not sure about homeschool).
    As discussed here, academic outcome is online part of what makes a well rounded person, and mixing with diverse people can help with personal development. If nothing else it's harder to hate some demographic (poor/black/etc) if you have classmates that are like that and they are real people to you.
  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Angeline said:
    If there is a theme throughout your posts here it is lack of follow-through and discipline, and being scattered, exhausted and disorganized.

    The issue of whether or not your child is ready for all day formal school should be separated from the issue of whether you have the organization, self discipline and marital support to homeschool. You are mixing up two problems.

    @Angeline, I absolutely am lacking discipline, scattered, exhausted and disorganised (and somewhat lacking in outside support). I had sort of assumed homeschooling as our default choice, but am now questioning whether I can do that because of the aforementioned lack of discipline, scattered-ness, exhaustion and disorganisation. I'm aware that the two issues are separate, but they're both relevant to the 'Should we enrol her in school next year?' question, are they not?

    And the all or nothing thinking has invaded this process in several ways. One of the biggest is the belief that if she goes to formal school her superior intellectual abilities will leave her bored. 

    I'm just thinking about this now. The line 'she'll be bored at school. ' was actually something brought up by my MIL (and maybe husband: I heard it through him) a year or two ago when she began learning her letters...and something I heard almost as a criticism that I was allowing her to learn this stuff. At the time I shrugged it off: there was no way I was going to stop her learning and anyway, we were planning to homeschool, so it wouldn't matter...

    I'm not sure I actually believe that (she'll be bored). If she goes to school next year, she'll be doing a lot more play- type stuff than formal stuff (I think) and anyway, she loves showing off and practising her knowledge so I can't see her being bored with doing more letters or easy math. She may not learn anything new academically at school, but she'd still learn plenty away from school.



    Angeline
  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Hannelore said:
    I think if you have a more relaxed attitude about when children are supposed to learn something it helps with the anxiety or seeing "early" (or "late") as meaning anything significant long term. I believe children are in the "normal" range when they learn to read--when it really clicks and they start to read on their own--anywhere from 3 to 7. And kids learn and grow in fits and starts. They seem to concentrate on one interest or challenge (sometimes at the expense of others), and then move on. 

    Thanks @Hannelore. Yes, I need to remember to relax. I actually do know that kids will learn at their own pace etc. I just sometimes get caught up in my anxiety to be a perfect parent and not miss anything. 

    I can't comment too much on the tidiness/housekeeping versus homeschooling. There's a level of tolerating a mess in order to accomplish greater things, and there's a level where the mess actually disrupts your life and PREVENTS you from doing what you want to do. I'm recovering from the latter. 

     I'm not sure the standard you have achieved, or what's reasonable for you or your husband, and what crosses into "pigsty." I think @frillyfun (?) has made decisions to accept the sort-of-mess in exchange for her busy lifestyle and business. But her family seems to run smoothly and happily.  I perceive you and your husband put a premium on tidiness which may end up ruling out homeschooling. 

    Our house is mostly in the tidy to tolerating mess stage, but slips into the PREVENTS stage sometimes. Unfortunately, my definition of pig sty and hubby's are different and I need to learn to look at the house from his point of view when evaluating whether it's tidy enough. H wants me to homeschool, but wouldn't be able to put up with the mess if I can't homeschool AND keep house.
      

    Sounds like you have a lot of resources to help you, whether you school at home or not!  That's so great; just need to figure out how to use them to your greatest benefit. If I were you I'd sit down with your husband and go over all the factors and concerns and logistics, then come to a decision, perhaps a 6 month or 1 year trial to hs or send to school. 

    Yep, that's basically what we're doing :)

    Good luck!

  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    I do love getting to share LO's learning journey with her, and getting to be there to see all the cool stuff she's doing and talking about. I will really miss those chances if she's in school. I also definitely prefer doing stuff with kids over doing housework. 
  • frillyfunfrillyfun East PodunkGold Women Posts: 3,386
    You're always going to share her learning journey with her!!!  You may not be the one who's teaching her absolutely everything, but honestly I never wanted that pressure.

    Here's what I love about sending DS to preschool:
    Picking him up at the end of the day, and hearing about the cool stuff that he did.  We go straight home, and put his craft project on the fridge, and he's so proud.

    Seeing his friends flock to him, and hearing about the little love triangles that develop

    Exposing him to other kids from a lot of different walks of life

    The sense of community he has

    Having the time, and energy to teach him the stuff that I want to teach him.  Because someone else is largely handling the academics we can do things together that he'd never get to do in school.  

    I get kid-free time to do my housework, and stuff like that so when I'm with DS I can really focus on him.  Plus housework takes a lot less time when you don't have a small hurricane behind you making messes, or perhaps worse yet- trying to "help".

    Exposing him to other points of view.  I think it gives him perspective, empathy, and shows him the diversity of the world.  Our homeschooling community here is great, but it's pretty much made up of relatively affluent white people.  Interacting with people from all walks of life is an important life skill, and I think he has a much better chance of picking that up in public school.

    Staying home isn't really an option for me, so I'm biased.  I have to find the good in the situation we're in, and that's not a difficult task.  I love seeing the way he's flourished by being around other kids.
    KattWinterGracey
  • KattKatt USASilver Member Posts: 4,554
    edited September 3
    I do love getting to share LO's learning journey with her, and getting to be there to see all the cool stuff she's doing and talking about. I will really miss those chances if she's in school. I also definitely prefer doing stuff with kids over doing housework. 
    There shouldn't be any reason you can't volunteer in her class regularly and still get to be an active participant in her schooling.   Most primary teachers (especially Kinder) are desperate for help!  And as FF said, little kids are usually spilling over with excitement after getting out of school to share their exciting stories of the school day with mommy.
    ScarletfrillyfunWinter
  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Thanks for taking time to comment @MrsJon ;

    You asked about me keeping our oldest daughter home until she was six. My reason for doing that was I simply could not get everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door every morning, so I gave up and kept her home. Not a great reason at all.

    I have times like this. I am honestly apprehensive about my ability to get my daughter out of the house and to school everyday (with little ones in tow). It's quite a strain just doing it twice a week as we do now (but I know part of the strain is that one of those days I actually stay in the class with my kids which is pretty hands on and tiring).


    I want to encourage you @Avalinette . I am so impressed with the thought and effort you are putting in to this issue. This is an important change and transition in your life, for you and your Little One. Keep talking to your H, keep making lists and asking questions. Then you can make the best possible decision together. That said, children are tremendously resilient. They adapt and adjust way better than we think.

    Thanks for this :)

    You mentioned separation anxiety. This is entirely normal for her age and stage of development. Maturing through the school year (wherever she ends up going) will resolve this. Just be sure you deal with it in a confident, cheerful, upbeat manner.

    I know it's normal. I question whether letting her stay with me till she feels more confident to leave my side is better for her or whether taking a firm stance and pushing her away is better for her. My gut says she's only four and I shouldn't push her away. 

    In my personal experience, being in school only increased my social anxiety and other things. Being removed from school and just being alone and with a small social circle that I had a choice to join increased my confidence and resilience.

    Lastly, I teach High School, and I can tell you that a student being a year older or younger than their peers is generally not a factor in their success. The ability to follow instructions, work independently and get along with others are far greater predictors. Those things are as relevant in Twelfth Grade as they are in First. Also, in today's classrooms, those things will put a student head and shoulders above their peers, regardless of intellectual capability.

    I taught high school here (before kids) and I know that the kids who can follow instructions, work independently and get along with others (in a constructive, rather than class clown way) are the kids with involved parents: our schools don't seem to teach those skills...I learned to work independently and increased my ability to get along with others in the years I was homeschooled rather than at school.

    Good luck with your decision-making process, and remember, as @Hanni said, nothing is cast in stone. If whatever you do isn't working or you make a mistake, you can change it and do something different next year.

    But what if I mess her up for life??? :P Thinking back: I endured 5 years of my parents making really wrong school decisions for me (not their fault; they didn't know they had a choice) and I turned out ok. I am in a much better position than my parents were for having choices and making informed decisions about my children. 

    KattHannelore
  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Katt said:

    become horrified by how far school academic standards have slipped (just in the ten fifteen years since he and I left school) and also by some of the non-academic but damaging philosophical, moral and ethical things kids are exposed to in school.

    This is interesting to me because I find, at least here in the US, that more is expected academically of children in school now than when I was in school (I am 38).  My son was doing work in first grade that his teacher said would have been considered 3rd grade work just a decade ago.  In second grade (just 3 weeks in now), he is annotating texts and citing text evidence in his responses  to questions.   I am blown away by the level of writing that is expected of the 8th graders I teach.  

    @katt, this made me think more deeply about it. Academic standards are 'higher' (than they were a decade ago) in the lower grades here: some schools are sending 4 year olds home with lists of sight words to memorise for homework (sure, a handful of 4 year olds will thrive on that, but most should be doing more play and less academics). The curriculum keeps being driven to start academics younger and younger because so many kids aren't literate and numerate when they reach high school and the powers that be think starting earlier will get them knowing more at the end. Generally it backfires and the earlier they push things for the younger grades the worse the level of academics is getting in high school. It's not that the pushing it earlier is making the kids take in less, but more that discipline in classes is worse and there's so much extra fluff being done in schools. Anyway, it's the lowering of academic standards at high school and the low ability levels of the kids turning up at university level that worries me and hubby.

    I have no opposition to homeschooling when it works well for a given family .  I see quite a few women who do it because they feel some sort of moral obligation to do so and they find themselves overwhelmed and frazzled from it.   I also find, when it comes to Internet research on the topic, that those who proselytize homeschooling (not those who choose it because it's best for THEM but those who think everyone should homeschool) tend to overstate the negatives of traditional (especially public) schools.    So be open minded and realistic.

    I do sometimes feel a moral obligation to homeschool my kids. It's part of what I struggle with when I think of sending them to school. I've seen and experienced many negatives in traditional schooling (as a pupil, as a teacher, as an observer of other kids and other teachers) myself, so I know I'm not just basing my thoughts on others' overstated negatives. On the other hand, I see kids who look happy in school and there are many successful people for whom school worked.

  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Katt said:

    become horrified by how far school academic standards have slipped (just in the ten fifteen years since he and I left school) and also by some of the non-academic but damaging philosophical, moral and ethical things kids are exposed to in school.

    This is interesting to me because I find, at least here in the US, that more is expected academically of children in school now than when I was in school (I am 38).  My son was doing work in first grade that his teacher said would have been considered 3rd grade work just a decade ago.  In second grade (just 3 weeks in now), he is annotating texts and citing text evidence in his responses  to questions.   I am blown away by the level of writing that is expected of the 8th graders I teach.  

    @katt, this made me think more deeply about it. Academic standards are 'higher' (than they were a decade ago) in the lower grades here: some schools are sending 4 year olds home with lists of sight words to memorise for homework (sure, a handful of 4 year olds will thrive on that, but most should be doing more play and less academics). The curriculum keeps being driven to start academics younger and younger because so many kids aren't literate and numerate when they reach high school and the powers that be think starting earlier will get them knowing more at the end. Generally it backfires and the earlier they push things for the younger grades the worse the level of academics is getting in high school. It's not that the pushing it earlier is making the kids take in less, but more that discipline in classes is worse and there's so much extra fluff being done in schools. Anyway, it's the lowering of academic standards at high school and the low ability levels of the kids turning up at university level that worries me and hubby.

    I have no opposition to homeschooling when it works well for a given family .  I see quite a few women who do it because they feel some sort of moral obligation to do so and they find themselves overwhelmed and frazzled from it.   I also find, when it comes to Internet research on the topic, that those who proselytize homeschooling (not those who choose it because it's best for THEM but those who think everyone should homeschool) tend to overstate the negatives of traditional (especially public) schools.    So be open minded and realistic.

    I do sometimes feel a moral obligation to homeschool my kids. It's part of what I struggle with when I think of sending them to school. I've seen and experienced many negatives in traditional schooling (as a pupil, as a teacher, as an observer of other kids and other teachers) myself, so I know I'm not just basing my thoughts on others' overstated negatives. On the other hand, I see kids who look happy in school and there are many successful people for whom school worked.

  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Roses said:
    I think what's going on in the US schools depends on where you're at. I had a jr. in high school in the youth group, a very articulate young man, stumble reading out loud in Phillipians. NIV, not KJV. Maybe he can footnote, but he can't read words like 'people'.
    Then there was the district my husbandvworked at for eighteen months that had 700 students and two pedophilles caught during that time!
    But IIRC Avalinette isn't in the USA.
    Avalinette, another couple questions you might consider.
    If you want to put her in for a year or two, pull her out for a year or two, then put her back in, how will they handle that? (Not just home school, isn't there a possibility of international moves in your husband's line of work?)
    How do they handle kids who are asynchronus learners? (More advanced in some areas than in others.) That is, if your child needs tenth grade math and fifth grade English when sixth grade by age, what do they do?
    Does your country do tracking in high school? My cousin lives in a place that does that and determines whether her kids are college or trades I think around fourteen. If so, if you are homeschooling, how will that effect tracks available?

    @roses, the State schools will have no choice in kids coming and going: in fact, they can't even stop a kid they expelled from coming back a year or two later. I have friends who pretty much do just that (in a private school): every year/term they re-evaluate and cycle through some of their kids at home and some in school depending on the needs of the kids. I realise that for me personally there's a bit of a fear of being on the system: if you never join a school, you can homeschool under the radar, but once you're on the system, they know about you and might do 'something' to you. I know this is irrational though: it stems in part from my experiences as a kid: where we lived homeschooling was only kind of legal, so most homeschooling families (mine included) never registered and purposely flew under the radar of the authorities. My parents said (and I agree with them) that God gives us our children and the responsibility to educate them and it's none of the government's business how we do that. We may choose to use government resources to educate our children, but mandating parents' decisions is outside the State's jurisdiction.

    So, the school can't stop you taking kids out and putting them in at will. The effects would more likely be on the social side: if being in and out makes kids 'different' to other kids. 

    For asynchronous learners, most schools have some sort of remedial/extention time for some students, but it will be a small fraction of school time and the rest of the time, the class caters more or less to the lowest levels. It depends a lot on the teacher as well. For the schools we're looking at, school B has a lot more time in self exploratory with teacher guidance type stuff, so better suited to an asynchronous learner.

    It's not really formal tracking as such. From the 12-15 years of age, there's some streaming (depends on the school) but it's fairly fluid. Year 11 and 12 choose subjects and either choose a set of board subjects required for university entrance or non board subjects which are supposed to be more practically orientated but in reality are often just time wasting while the kids wait to age out of school and be allowed to get on with life. There used to be more of a trade track and kids used to be able to complete apprenticeships while in school (when I was in high school) but they've phased a lot of that out in a misguided attempt to encourage everyone onto the university track.

    Homeschooled kids can either join a regular school for year 11 and 12 and get university entrance that way (quite common) or there are a number of ways to go straight from homeschool to university. I believe trades have even easier entry requirements. So, the short answer: homeschool will barely affect the tracks at all, especially not at this age.

  • HildaCornersHildaCorners Winter? You call *that* winter?Gold Women Posts: 3,377
    When my kids were younger I was heavily involved with the local and online gifted ed/homeschool communities. I ended up leading some seminars and educating more than a few teachers.

    My eldest started school in a district with a Dec 31 cut date. With a fall birthday, she was one of the younger students in her grade ... several years into elementary school we moved to a district with a September 1 cut, so she was well under her grade-age. However, she was always socially quite mature, so she fit in fine — in fact, she probably would have fit in with another year up. Her friends weren't socialized conventionally, lots of them didn't drive until they were over 18, so her young age never really showed.

    My youngest also has a fall birthday, but started school in the district with the later cut date. He was not socially mature; his grade was a good fit for him.

    For both of them, academics was never a problem. We live in a district where "all the children are above average", they were on the advanced side at school but not unteachably so.

    We did home school my daughter's last 2 years of high school. Because of her age, and the fact that she aced the high school state exams, it was more unschooling than anything else. We did join a secular co-op, my son attended some as well, and both kids enjoyed it a lot -- and learned a few things, too. I learned that home school kids and parents are no different than a group of school kids/parents, whatever they say.

    My biggest take-away from all this — only worry about one year of education at a time. @Avalinette, what will be best for your 4 year old this coming year? Do that, and worry about the next year bout 3 months before it starts. You *can* bounce back and forth between public school and home school, and the kids do fine.

    Kids also don't need to be working at peak ability. As long as they learn how to study, and that some learning takes work, they'll be fine. [You want to avoid having them coast through all subjects every year, but some coasting is ok.] Kids need to learn to socialize with everyone, but they also need plenty of time with kids at their own level.

    TL:DR  It's ok to mix it up, as long as the kids get *some* challenge and *some* socialization.

    Enneagram 5w4.  I'm researching what that means, before designing t-shirt art about it.

    "I feel no shame in making lavish use of the strongest muscles, namely male ones (but my own strongest muscle is dedicated to the service of men - noblesse oblige). I don't begrudge men one whit of their natural advantages as long as they respect mine. I am not an unhappy pseudomale; I am female and like it that way." RAH
  • frillyfunfrillyfun East PodunkGold Women Posts: 3,386
    DS started pre-k last week, and if little American kids are anything like the ones where you are the separation anxiety is REALLY common.  Fully half of his class was crying when the parents left on the first day.  Most of them were all smiles at the end of the day.
  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    Thanks for all the advice and kind words every one: especially those I didn't reply to individually. I did read everything and think deeply over it all.

    Here's an update: we went to a few school tours and discussed everything in detail. At present our daughter is enrolled to start school at the 'further away from us' State school (which we believe is a better fit for her educationally and temperament wise) with the plan to do a dual enrolment and send her to the school some days and homeschool on other days. The school has okayed this plan but details still need to be worked out. 

    Longer term we are kind of thinking something along the lines of school till around 6 years old and then homeschooling.

  • MissDMissD On your leftGold Women Posts: 111
    Picking the furthest school sounds absurd to me. How often do you drive? Will she ride a bus?

    Just my experience, but I loved the fact DS's school was 4 blocks away while I was pregnant and then had a newborn. At the very least, it gave us both a break from each other  :)

    Maybe I'm just lazy, but the thought of packing up littles twice a day/200 days a year to drop off one makes me shudder :)

    Just commit. Keep her home already, if you want - trust your instincts!

    B/c really, what's the worst that can happen if you don't enroll her til next year? Will it really matter 10+ years from now?

    Maybe homeschooling will be a great fit for your family - I know it works for many. But, have you two thought about where the kids will learn social graces? (I really don't care what kind of 'club' your kids is into, but they should always be involved in one IMO.) 

    And that brings up another thing to take into consideration.

    How much energy to you two have to expend on your kids and where's your best bang for your buck?
  • dalefdalef Silver Member Posts: 1,963
    I would strongly encourage going to the same school as the neighborhood kids. I did that in elementary school and got socialized despite being one of the youngest and slow to develop physically. We moved when I was 12, and although I was in school with some of the kids I had gone to elementary school with, they were not the neighborhood kids who knew me well.
    In my experience public schools don't develop the ability to cooperate, except for the cooperation needed to stand in line at a popular event.
  • AvalinetteAvalinette In the kitchenSilver Member Posts: 1,316
    @MissD and @dalef, thanks for your comments. I do also shudder at the idea of packing everyone up to go to school twice a day every day, but I'd have to do that whether she goes to the closer school or the further away school: it's just part of school.

    At present, my Mom (who is majorly in favour of my daughter attending this school) has offered to do three drop off/pick ups a week and hubby can do one or maybe more drop offs a week so that's less driving for me. I've also told my hubby and my Mom that I won't be driving anyone anywhere in the first 6 weeks or so after bub is born so it'll be up to them (and other grandparents) to get her to and from school for the first part of the school year, otherwise she'll hang out at home with me.

    I'm in favour of an arrangement of Mon and Friday I homeschool; Tues and Thurs my Mom and hubby take her; Wed I take her to school and stay back with my younger kids at the school playgroup. I don't know whether we'll actually do that. 

    There's little point in enrolling her in the neighbourhood school as we'll be moving out of the neighbourhood 3-4 months after the start of the school year so she'd have to switch schools. We're not sure where we're moving to but more likely to move closer to the school she's enrolled in than stay close to our current place.
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