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If you switched your accelerated learner from b&m to homeschool


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#1 xahm

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 07:56 AM

How did you decide?
I'm anxious about my kindergartener starting school Monday. She is very excited. She's working well ahead. Academically she's more like a bright second grader but kindergarten is likely a good social fit. We can homeschool without any major readjustment if it doesn't work out, but I want to give it a real, fair chance. My biggest fear is that school will inadvertently teach her that she shouldn't love learning or that she well be horribly, painfully bored.
If you have been in a similar position, where was the line for you? At what point does it go from "not ideal" to "not acceptable" in your book?
Hopefully this whole thing will be a lot of anxiety about nothing, her teachers well be wonderful and able to find challenges for her, and her classmates will be good friends. I just have to do something with this nervous energy at the moment.

#2 Arcadia

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 08:59 AM

My oldest went to the B&M that was about 500 feet down the road for K and 1st. It was enjoyable for him and we did afterschooling as usual. We pulled him out at 2nd grade because we were zoned out of our nearest school and my oldest managed to get into another decent school but my youngest did not (no sibling priority for open enrollment until a sibling has already studied there).

The main reason is that our kids would be in two different schools and my husband doesn't want them to ride the school bus.

Also our zoned school is more "behind" than our original zoned school. The grammar and spelling errors on the 5th grade science fair project boards which is compulsory for all 5th graders were rather bad.

Then the school my younger was zoned to put kindergarten kids in classes of 33 to 35 to save money and space. Their rationale was that many moved their kids to private schools anyway so the class size would go down after the first few weeks. If parents walk, that is not encouraging for us to let our younger try it out.

My husband didn't want to spend money on homeschooling, wanted subject acceleration and our kids wanted to go back to B&M if they can get into the lottery elementary and middle school. So we went with the K12 public charter in our state.

For my kids the lack of friends hit my younger boy hard within the first year of homeschooling. He was lonely and his self esteem was way down. He actually checked almost all the negative feelings in the child questionnaire for autism and ADHD testing. That was when my husband gave in and paid up for B&M outsourced classes. We went from spending $500 per child per year for German class to more than $6k per child per year for music theory class (afterschool), art class (after school), science labs class (homeschool), Chinese class(after school), math enrichment class(homeschool), math circle (after school). The math and science B&M classes were for social needs purely. We didn't want this kid to go into depression and the chances were really high at that point.

My older has a ring leader personality so although he was lonely, he was more neutral about it because he can go to the park and kids he don't know would be very friendly to him but ignore the younger. My younger is "socially awkward" and kids (strangers) consistently pick his brother but not him. His B&M classes classmates are the only ones playing with him during breaks or after class while waiting for parents.

So if we were to do over, we would have applied for every B&M public charter near to us and let our kids stay in school until 5th grade to get their social needs met. After schooling would have been a lot easier than what we end up dealing with. Insurance pick up part of the evaluation cost and we use our HSA account to pay the rest. My husband was reluctant to do evaluations but all the evaluations my kids underwent, he now recommends his friends to do it if they suspect something (anxiety, depression, special needs) is off.

We don't see any school aged kids until 3pm at the earliest when the school bus drops the K-8 kids off in front of the nearby library. So my kids only see the under 5 and adults out if we go to the library or park before 3pm.

My oldest love people watching. The more humans the happier he is. He doesn't crave interactions the way my youngest does. Put him in the most bustling mall and he is happy to do school work there because of the wonderful human traffic he gets to watch. He loves college campuses that are teeming with people too. So he was bored for some classes but he doodles and reads. All his teachers were encouraging and treated him as gifted even though we didn't have scores then.

I think liking or hating school is like the bell curve distribution. For my younger boy, B&M solutions are what worked even though there are more options than public school if you (general) could afford local classes to supply that B&M experience. My older is neutral but for him, staying at home was the deal breaker so 7 days a week we are out at some bustling places. There are many ALs in school in my area mostly in private schools.

So honestly wait and see and evaluate. So much depends on the teacher your child gets assigned to and then the general school culture.
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#3 dmmetler

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 09:06 AM

We did exactly that. DD entered PS as a 4 yr old kindergartner with a November birthday, in a state that at the time had an October 1 cutoff. We pulled her after k.

K was generally a good experience. Her class had a full-time aide, and they did a lot in centers, so DD could work at her level. The K teacher sent her to do reading once a week with a 3rd grade advanced pullout and to play math games with a couple of advanced middle schoolers (who, in retrospect, shouldn't have been denied instruction at their level to play games with a 4 yr old, but the school only offered math to Algebra 1, so I think the kids were basically in a holding pattern of enrichment math until they went to high school). It was a decent social fit.

But, by January, the teacher was suggesting we look at other schools. Her feeling was that the 1st grade teacher would be unable to accommodate because she didn't have the full-time aide and the curriculum was much more group focused and structured, and that bumping DD to a higher grade would be unfair to DD-that she believed DD would quickly catch up and be bored in any classroom they put her in, but that anything past 1st would demand too much sitting and writing, (the principal actually suggested putting her in a grade 2-3 split as a 3rd grader, which is what spurred the K teacher to tell me she disagreed with that choice). She suggested "you're a teacher, why don't you keep her home until everyone else catches up?"

So, we did. She "graduated K"-and started 1st grade at home, as it turned out, at 7:00 the next morning (Saturday) because she was so eager to get going.

Everyone else has still not caught up, but DD did go back to a more structured school last year, as a part-time 12 yr old college student :).
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#4 regentrude

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 09:29 AM

For us, it went from "not ideal" to "not acceptable" in 5th grade, when, in addition to not being academically challenged, the social climate became unacceptable.

It is one thing to have a child not challenged in school, but liking school because of the social aspect. However, if that sucks as well because the kid is bullied, there is absolutely no reason to attend b&m school anymore.

 

If I had to do it again, I would still have my kids atten elementary school and then withdraw them immediately at the end of 4th grade.


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#5 TerriM

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 10:05 AM

When she tells you she's bored out of her mind, ask her if she'd like to homeschool instead.  If she says yes, homeschool.  If she says she'd miss her friends, I'd still homeschool.



#6 quark

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 10:06 AM

My warning bells were ringing all the time but I was not aware then of homeschooling or that my only child actually did prefer to stay home rather than make tons of friends (like his then extroverted personality indicated). I don't want to scare you as my experience is probably not as common but it took only 3 weeks for my child to shrivel into a shell of himself, stop asking the "why" questions, lose the spark in his eyes and even his appetite. Two years later he told me the full extent of how the TA was bullying him and how the kids would not play with him because they did not understand his games. (ETA: and how soul crushingly boring the curriculum was). At the time, my kid was just about to turn 5. When he told me the full story, he was 7-ish.

 

This might be one of the more uncommon stories though. Plenty of kids love school and do well there. I do think that if we had continued in a school A would not have done well. A does not have a personality that challenges authority. Homeschooling helped A to develop strengths that a school probably would not have. But then, I'm sure there are also skills a school might have taught that I am not equipped to teach. The good thing though is that those skills do come at some time or other in childhood/ adolescence if one stays willing to learn.

 

My very brilliant, musically prodigious nephew adores school as do my three obviously at least HG nieces. It all reveals itself slowly. I'm sure you will be able to pick up on her feelings as she is so young. I hope it all turns out ok for her and you. Good luck!


Edited by quark, 02 August 2017 - 10:09 AM.


#7 xahm

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 11:25 AM

Thank you. Reading all this is helpful. I'm in a pro homeschooling bubble, so I hear a lot of negatives about school and people trying to convince me to keep her home. Knowing that elementary, especially kindergarten, is usually enough fun to make it worth it helps.I'd feel best if we were at our number one choice, but there are still about 20 kids ahead of us.
I, mostly joking, told my husband that if they give us a hard time about skipping eclipse day, I'll just disenroll her.
We are keeping any and all negative thoughts well away from her. Rah rah school!

#8 slackermom

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 12:11 PM

For my kid, it was never ideal, but we gave our public school system a real good faith effort. They had a early public pre-k program starting at age 3, and I thought that might be ok. I filled out the developmental skills checklist they provided in the new student orientation packet, and there were about 3-4 out of 50 skills for with my kid didn't yet meet the goals (such as "knows home address", "knows parent's phone number") so I made sure that we covered those things before school started. I later saw that that was the check list of items they expected students to master by the end of 1st grade! So, my kid was WAY ahead of expectations going in, with a built-in burning desire to learn everything asap.

 

We did some afterschooling early on in order to meet the child's intense and urgent requests to learn more. In alternating years, that was almost good enough. At ages 3, 5, 7, and 9, we had teachers that made an effort to meet the needs of individual kids, and gave our child permission and encouragement to work ahead of level. At ages 4, 6, and 8, we had teachers that were very rigid, and insisted that our child conform to their narrow goals. The school had failed to reach target goals on the standardized tests, and increased math instruction to 2 hours a day, with no room for variation. The situation became very stressful, especially as the disconnect grew, and the school recommended counseling for our child's growing anxiety.  My kid started weekly counseling, but was breaking out in painful itchy hives during school. The nurse was only there part time, and none of the teachers were allowed to give medication or apply the rash cream, so I ended up hanging out at or near school until the nurse arrived at lunch, so I would be available to dispense medication as needed.

 

Our ps system starts an advanced track in grade 4, after testing in grade 3. We stuck around long enough for our kid to try the advanced classes, but it was too little too late, and a bad fit because it was designed to be a compacting program, in which they covered a high volume of condensed material, with several hours of homework. That left much less time for our child's other activities. That year the teacher really did try to make it work for our kid, and by November offered to teach our child algebra after school, but by then I was getting ready to pull the plug. Over the winter break our kid was begging to switch to homeschooling, and in January I did the paperwork. I wish I had started sooner. Seeing the huge difference in approaches in the alternating years gave me increasing confidence that allowing my child an alternative would make a big difference.

 

So, you can see we had indications all along that things were not working, but it was hard to "give up" on school. We tried working with the principals (there was some turnover), and were told that grade skipping was not an option (our kid was among the youngest, only 6 weeks before the grade cutoff). One principal started little pull out groups with 3-4 advanced kids visiting the librarian and the science teacher for weekly enrichment. The next principal cancelled that. We were told to try private school. We would have left in grade 3 if not for the hopeful possibility that things would be better in the advanced program the following year. 

 

After homeschooling for the remainder of grade 4 and for grade 5, we found a charter middle school program in another district that mostly works for us. It is project based, and has a good advanced math program. Our child has been there 2 years, and is sort of ok with it. I sometimes refer to our homeschool time as a "gap year program" since our kid was totally done with elementary school by age 9, which was just too young for our middle school options. We have been looking at high school options very carefully, and plan to do our own thing again if our kid doesn't get into one of the specialized high schools.

 

 



#9 Lace

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 01:02 PM

I think it all depends on the kid, what programs you have available, and the quality of teachers you end up with.

 

PS is working well for my DS#2 so far.  He's basically the youngest (not grade-skipped) kid in his grade with a b-day a few days before the Oct cut-off.  Plus we've lucked out in that the schools have been largely willing to work with us on accommodations, so he gets single-subject acceleration.  He's starting 3rd grade at a public GT magnet the week after next.  I don't know if this will work long-term, but for now it's a good fit.  He LOVES school.  He needs lots of social interactions and benefits from a little distance from DS#1.  He thrives in highly structured settings, though he probably causes a lot of headaches for his teachers.

 

DS#1 has only ever done a one-day-per-week public HS charter.  K was fun.  The teacher did an excellent job differentiating for him.  1st grade was okay because the classes were mixed 1st-3rd and many things were new.  2nd was tolerated, but he complained a lot and lost all enthusiasm for the program.  3rd was disastrous.  He now hates school and never wants to go back again, even just for one day a week.

 

DS#3 did public preschool and had fun.  It was not academically focused; he was enrolled as a peer roll model for SN kids in an integrated classroom.  His teachers didn't even realize he could read until he'd been going for a couple of months, lol.  The PS tested him and offered early entry to 1st grade.  The GT team that manages his case felt that putting him in K risked him feeling disenfranchised quickly and strongly discouraged sending him to K.  They felt that even 1st grade would not really be a good fit.  They suggested I HS him.  I requested the skip be carried over to a HS enrichment program, which they approved, so that's were we stand.



#10 Heigh Ho

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 02:33 PM

Its going to come down to the school philosophy. 1-2 was an atmosphere of learning for my dc,.as they had the teachers who used to teach gifted and placement was by instructional need. Early finishers could work on.their own projects or expand.their assigned projects. Then the school philosophy changed and the curriculum was dumbed down. Lots of kids did nothing all day and their families moved out of state.

Edited by Heigh Ho, 02 August 2017 - 02:35 PM.


#11 Arcadia

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 03:00 PM

I, mostly joking, told my husband that if they give us a hard time about skipping eclipse day, I'll just disenroll her.
We are keeping any and all negative thoughts well away from her. Rah rah school!

My district allows 12 days of unexcused absences out of which five days can be consecutive. We went Legoland California for a week during term time with the school's approval.

My family's bad experience has been with the "try to do nothing" district office, snotty school board members and the envious parents. My kids were lucky to have teachers and school admin staff that were very nice to them. My older puked a few times at school every year and the office admins would dote on him while I walked from home to fetch him.

We knew by the first parent teacher conference that my older boy's teachers were willing to accommodate him to a certain extent. Whatever accommodations they could give was enough for him to have a good time at school.

Edited by Arcadia, 02 August 2017 - 03:00 PM.


#12 TerriM

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 05:48 PM

How did you decide?
I'm anxious about my kindergartener starting school Monday. She is very excited. She's working well ahead. Academically she's more like a bright second grader but kindergarten is likely a good social fit. We can homeschool without any major readjustment if it doesn't work out, but I want to give it a real, fair chance. My biggest fear is that school will inadvertently teach her that she shouldn't love learning or that she well be horribly, painfully bored.
If you have been in a similar position, where was the line for you? At what point does it go from "not ideal" to "not acceptable" in your book?
Hopefully this whole thing will be a lot of anxiety about nothing, her teachers well be wonderful and able to find challenges for her, and her classmates will be good friends. I just have to do something with this nervous energy at the moment.

 

BTW:  The biggest problem we had was not adjusting expectations for our kid.  He went into Kindergarten multiplying and thinking he would learn "fun math."  We didn't prepare him for the fact that the curriculum would be learning to count.   I think it would help if you have an up-front chat with her that she may already know a lot of the stuff so she's only bored, not shocked by unmet expectations.

 

I offered every year to homeschool and he said "But I'd miss my friends."  About a month into 5th grade when he realized that the "advanced math" class was stuff he mostly knew, and that nothing else was going to get more difficult, he agreed to homeschool.    We never ended up homeschooling because we found a school that was a much better match, but that would have been how it ended if we hadn't found his current school.


Edited by TerriM, 02 August 2017 - 05:49 PM.

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#13 xahm

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 09:38 PM

We've been trying to gently do this. I'm not sure if we've been successful. Math and science will be taught in French, so hopefully that will provide a fair amount of novelty and challenge. This is a kid who, after we explained once what multiplication is, laughed out loud when she was asked 0x4 because she instantly got it and thought it was amusingly easy.


BTW: The biggest problem we had was not adjusting expectations for our kid. He went into Kindergarten multiplying and thinking he would learn "fun math." We didn't prepare him for the fact that the curriculum would be learning to count. I think it would help if you have an up-front chat with her that she may already know a lot of the stuff so she's only bored, not shocked by unmet expectations.

I offered every year to homeschool and he said "But I'd miss my friends." About a month into 5th grade when he realized that the "advanced math" class was stuff he mostly knew, and that nothing else was going to get more difficult, he agreed to homeschool. We never ended up homeschooling because we found a school that was a much better match, but that would have been how it ended if we hadn't found his current school.



#14 katilac

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 11:12 PM

My oldest quit kinder about a month in because she was bored and unhappy. Bored and unhappy in a five-year-old is unacceptable to me, when I have the means to change the situation. 


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#15 TerriM

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 12:30 PM

I think the hardest decision is when they want to go for the social aspect, but are bored of the schoolwork.   They don't know if homeschooling will be better and are afraid of losing the friends they made.  


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#16 xahm

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 03:05 PM

I think the hardest decision is when they want to go for the social aspect, but are bored of the schoolwork.   They don't know if homeschooling will be better and are afraid of losing the friends they made.  

Yeah, I think this is what I'm expecting will happen. Fortunately we know lots and lots of homeschoolers, so I could say "We'll get to spend more time with x, y, and z, who you already know and like." 



#17 xahm

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 08:53 AM

With one week down my daughter has adjusted well to the practical aspects of school (wake up, lunch box, etc) but is asking to home school. I asked why she wanted that, and she said, "because I can learn more at home." I think she's being honest, but she might also be clever enough to know that, "because there are better snacks at home" wouldn't tug at my heart the same way.
The teachers said that the first two weeks are transition weeks, so no decisions yet. Maybe they'll learn more soon.
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#18 RoundAbout

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 04:26 PM

We homeschooled PreK-1st and then my son attended an accelerated/gifted magnet school (top 2% for cognitive abilities in a major US city) for half of second grade. What made us go back to homeschooling was he started constantly getting into trouble for goofing off and turning into a bit of a bully because he was bored. Also having some anxiety because of the constant testing and timed assignments. It was not awful and we could have worked with the school, but we were not super impressed with the program and knew homeschooling worked just fine. He attends an after school program now from 2:30-6:00 several days a week with public school kids for socialization and learning to deal with a diverse group of kids. Everything has been smooth for a while.