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My Modern Child and Classical HS'ing


Wind-in-my-hair
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I approached homeschooling from a secular perspective. I liked the idea of classical homeschooling for an important reason. Not only would it lay a solid foundation for college, but it would have my precocious 6-year-old reading and listening to real literature rather than babyish generic literature used in so many English classes for early elementary school. A child should grow up into the stuff he is learning; the material should not be brought down to him always, but should challenge the inquiring mind to stretch. 

 

Also, with so many modern re-makes of classics, from Pooh to the Hobbit to the Great Gatsby, it seems imperative to introduce my children to the originals before they encounter the video adaptations based very little on the intent of the original. So, classical homeschooling would help me and my kids come to know the roots of our culture, rather than just getting it all second-hand. 

 

But the downside has been significant: He is a modern child, a rebel.lately he has become more social. He wants to play endlessly in our inner-city neighborhood with the multitudes of kids, who, after returning home from their days at public school, seem to have nothing to do but to rejoin their peers and play for hours. And my son wants to be a part of it. Indeed, he is one of the most popular children in the neighborhood, perhaps because he has something to offer, being an articulate, creative and outgoing child. Either way, it is hard to say "No," since it is now a lovely spring after a horrendous winter, and since I have that guilty feeling of not getting him to socialize with other home school families. 

 

I have looked into sending him to a Montessori charter school in our area. This would have the advantage of allowing me to take a job with the hope of moving to a better neighborhood in a few years, and the income would support more hobbies that we could do together as a family. I have to admit that homeschooling has not made our lives a lot better, in terms of getting out as a family. We dine out far less often than we could if I were working, we cannot right now afford even a Y membership, and I really want to sign up my son for piano lessons before he is 8. 

 

Montessori might also fit his learning style, which is hands-on and independent. My trouble is in keeping him busy when lessons are done. He is not the kind of child that thrives with a pile of books and a lot of downtime; he always has to keep busy in a way that is both physical and mental. He could use more socialization in the context of group learning, so that he is not so attention-starved that he will do anything to befriend the neighbors and accept whatever shenanigans they throw out. 

 

 When I say he needs socialization, I mean he needs to learn how to get along with kids under rules and with set agendas. What use is it to train him to brilliance, if his allegiance is to the kids and their idle play?

 

Would it be better to have him in school, and then spend real, quality time with him as a parent, rather than impose my will on him all day until he is so tired that he lapses into buffoonery and runs to his tribe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Would it be better to have him in school, and then spend real, quality time with him as a parent, rather than impose my will on him all day until he is so tired that he lapses into buffoonery and runs to his tribe?

 

I think the last time I saw the word buffoonery used was 1992.

 

 

 

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I don't see why it's a problem playing the neighborhood kids after school?  My kids don't get to do that as much as they used to, but they still do it and when they were younger they looked forward to it daily/all summer.  My kids have always been popular with other kids.  I think because they come out with more energy and a slightly different perspective than their schooled friends.  I'm glad my kids have had exposure to many different personalities.  Obviously if there are huge behavioral issues as a result, those need to be addressed.  I also wouldn't assume dropping in your child into school, even a more specialized school, will be an improvement - my son went for 2 years at K and 1st grade to a school rated 9/10 on great schools.  It was not at all a fit for him.  Even high end private schools can have their issues. 

 

I don't think homeschooling is for everyone, but I don't see the intrinsic problem with your current set up.  I also think it's possible to give your child a very high quality homeschool education without chaining your child to a table for hours on end at age 6.  I would say we are secular eclectic homeschoolers with some classical leanings.  If 100% classical doesn't work for you, switch it up.  6 year olds are still little and high energy, even precocious ones.  My kids were reading at a very high level at that age and years ahead in math, but still needed/wanted plenty of running and social time.  They still didn't school for more than 2-3 hours a day and a very limited time of that was writing/output.  If you wanted to continue homeschooling I'd be looking for some social opportunities with homeschool families and some physical outlets - organized and/or less so.  My kids started music lessons at age 4 and 5 and that is a good outlet for a precocious kid too if you're a parent willing to help practice.   

 

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We dine out far less often than we could if I were working, we cannot right now afford even a Y membership, and I really want to sign up my son for piano lessons before he is 8.

I'm not exactly sure what you are asking with your full post, but have you checked to see if your Y offers sponsored memberships? The Y is a great place for exercise and socialization.

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I wasn't sure if it was sarastic or not either. 

 How is giving a child a Classical Education not a way for him to get out of the inner city?  Yes, it will take longer to earn an academic scholarship to college and increasing career choices than it will for the mom to find a better job and increasing her income.  Yes, many of us have to give up eating out-a lot us even in the suburbs gave that up when we started homeschooling. Most children would love to play all day with friends-that doesn't mean their wanting to is a sign of a badly chosen educational philosophy.   If he already had neighborhood kids to play with every day, how are is social needs (notice I didn't say wants) not being met?  Are you seriously suggesting sacrificing a quality Classical Education for hobbies and a charter school education?  Isn't a Classsical Education a great way to build a mind that isn't full of bafoonery?  If you don't like the bafoonery, then give your child increasingly quality things to think about in a Classical Education. Why join what you dislike? These are all things that made me wonder if the original post was sarcastic.

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I have looked into sending him to a Montessori charter school in our area. This would have the advantage of allowing me to take a job with the hope of moving to a better neighborhood in a few years, and the income would support more hobbies that we could do together as a family. I have to admit that homeschooling has not made our lives a lot better, in terms of getting out as a family. We dine out far less often than we could if I were working, we cannot right now afford even a Y membership, and I really want to sign up my son for piano lessons before he is 8. 

 

Montessori might also fit his learning style, which is hands-on and independent. My trouble is in keeping him busy when lessons are done. He is not the kind of child that thrives with a pile of books and a lot of downtime; he always has to keep busy in a way that is both physical and mental. He could use more socialization in the context of group learning, so that he is not so attention-starved that he will do anything to befriend the neighbors and accept whatever shenanigans they throw out.

None of us can decide this for you. You sound like you've thought about the pros and cons of the Montessori charter school vs. homeschooling. Can you actually get a spot in the school this late in the year? Is it a lottery? If you can't get him in, your choice might be made for you. If you can get in, you can try it for the year and reevaluate next year. Either homeschooling or Montessori might work out well and having more money from you working might make all of your lives better.

 

Good luck deciding on a path!

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Would it be better to have him in school, and then spend real, quality time with him as a parent, rather than impose my will on him all day until he is so tired that he lapses into buffoonery and runs to his tribe?

 

I think you've created a false dichotomy here, which makes it difficult to make an authentic choice.

 

You can choose to homeschool without "imposing your will" all day, at least not any more than a teacher would impose his or her will in school by creating an enriched environment and a learning routine.

 

A child can enjoy an intellectually rich learning experience at home and enjoy playing with other children in the neighborhood.

 

I find myself wondering if your expectations of your child are not quite age-appropriate? For a young child, even an intellectually advanced child, developmental needs must be met in order to create an optimal learning experience. I mean that kindly, and when you've got a bright child, trying to juggle all of the child's needs can be quite a challenge.

 

Cat

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Hi everyone, I am sorry for the confusing language. We are not having a good month at our house. I am not trying to be sarcastic in any way. I am just trying to determine if homeschooling-- any style be it unschooling, classical (classical was what I wanted to try first) or eclectic or Waldorf... is right for us at this point. I just do not have a good handle on discipline, and my son being only in Kindergarten does all his work in less than an hour. I do not have the extra resources or more importantly the personality, to plan lots of fun hands-on activities. I like to just stick to the books. This is just not my son's personality. He wants to explore; he is more mechanical. He is socially outgoing. I am feeling burned out at the moment, feel like I am losing control of his discipline and losing my own bearings, too. Perhaps we are in need of a break to rejuvenate ourselves and reconnect with the outdoors and the neighbors? Or do I truly need to look at alternatives to homeschooling? I am not criticizing classical approaches to homeschooling. Rather, I am trying to come to terms with the disappointment I am feeling in not being able to follow my dream of providing this type of education for him. It may just be that he belongs in school, and that our relationship might be improved if we just do the readings of classical literature and history on our own time, in a relaxed manner, after school. I am just really heartbroken and trying to figure out how, should I decide to let go of homeschooling, to proceed with dignity. 

 

He is a good kid-- he is truly independent and he works hard at his lessons-- we have come a long way since we began in October, but he is also bored, and I feel like I am losing him. He has confided to me that he wants to go to school, "so that I might make some friends." And in a neighborhood where we never know who our next neighbor is going to be, it might be good for him to have his roots in a school that he can grow with. It might be nice if I could meet some parents who are like me in terms of how they treat their children, because there are not many in my neighborhood I could be friends with based on what I see. We don't live in a horrid neighborhood by any means, but it really isn't where I want to raise my son, and I feel isolated and paranoid. All of these things are interfering with how well I can function as a home educator. It is that I may be identifying myself as someone who cannot or should not home educate. I was simply reaching out for support or sympathy because I had high hopes in the beginning of our school year, and even though we have made good progress in learning I am not confident that it will work for us. I am having mixed results and am feeling burned out, and cautious to hope I might still be doing this in a year. If you have been in my shoes or can offer any perspective, a kind word is all I am asking for. 

 

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I'm thinking if you are feeling burnt out after doing kindergarten then you are doing way too much. 5-6 year olds are wired for play and exploration. Seat work should be short and sweet and then get on to play and discovery. Get out in nature and explore together. In the evenings read quality picture books and start introducing longer chapter books as well. Find a few extra curricular activities for him and if you can't afford payed activities look into free things that are offered. I can't imagine letting a Kindergartener loose on the neighborhood, but supervised play with neighbors is fine. ;)

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Never base your decision to homeschool (or not) on only ONE year of trying it, unless there are extreme circumstances. You can check into a Y scholarship if you are low income, and I have no clue why you wouldn't want him playing with neighborhood friends in the afternoons? That is an excellent way for him to make friends and not feel isolated.

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I like Aimee's suggestion to look into the Y or other local youth clubs with good supervision as a way to make friends and "belong...." Also, would it be possible to make your home the neighborhood hangout for the nearby kids of whom you do approve? If you could come up with activities that your son's friends would enjoy with him and set those up at your house where you can keep an eye on things, you'd be keeping him busy AND helping him make friends locally.

Mechanical-type, boy-friendly activities with lots of motion and excitement -- if that's the kind of little boy he is (IOW, very normal :) ) he will not find all that discovery and adventure in school. That's not what school is about, usually. But it is very much what homeschooling is about! Just a matter of finding awesome stuff to do. It sounds like he has some potential local friends to join in the adventures after school.

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I just do not have a good handle on discipline, and my son being only in Kindergarten does all his work in less than an hour. I do not have the extra resources or more importantly the personality, to plan lots of fun hands-on activities. I like to just stick to the books. This is just not my son's personality. He wants to explore; he is more mechanical. Does he like to build with Legos, work with science kits, etc?  These are all activities he can do on his own. He is socially outgoing. It sounds like he has quite a bit of time to play with his friends after school.  Fwiw, my kids found that there was very little time to sociailze during the school day.  I am feeling burned out at the moment, feel like I am losing control of his discipline and losing my own bearings, too. The discipline problem is one that is independent of the educational method you use. Perhaps we are in need of a break to rejuvenate ourselves and reconnect with the outdoors and the neighbors? Or do I truly need to look at alternatives to homeschooling? I am not criticizing classical approaches to homeschooling. Rather, I am trying to come to terms with the disappointment I am feeling in not being able to follow my dream of providing this type of education for him. It may just be that he belongs in school, and that our relationship might be improved if we just do the readings of classical literature and history on our own time, in a relaxed manner, after school. In my experience, between homework and after-school activities, it is difficult to add in those extras after school. I am just really heartbroken and trying to figure out how, should I decide to let go of homeschooling, to proceed with dignity. 

 

He is a good kid-- he is truly independent and he works hard at his lessons-- we have come a long way since we began in October, but he is also bored, and I feel like I am losing him. He has confided to me that he wants to go to school, "so that I might make some friends." And in a neighborhood where we never know who our next neighbor is going to be, it might be good for him to have his roots in a school that he can grow with. It might be nice if I could meet some parents who are like me in terms of how they treat their children, because there are not many in my neighborhood I could be friends with based on what I see. We don't live in a horrid neighborhood by any means, but it really isn't where I want to raise my son, and I feel isolated and paranoid. All of these things are interfering with how well I can function as a home educator. It is that I may be identifying myself as someone who cannot or should not home educate. I was simply reaching out for support or sympathy because I had high hopes in the beginning of our school year, and even though we have made good progress in learning I am not confident that it will work for us. I am having mixed results and am feeling burned out, and cautious to hope I might still be doing this in a year. If you have been in my shoes or can offer any perspective, a kind word is all I am asking for. 

 

This time of year is tough for many of us.  :grouphug:  If your son is bored, ask him what topics he would like to study.  You mentioned that you were considering a Montessori school.  In a Montessori school, your son may get a couple of lessons from his teacher each week.  The rest of his time will be spent learning and working with the Montessori material on his own. 

 

Are there any organized after school activities that you could sign your son up for?  Even when my kids were in school, they met their friends through the after school activities. 

 

Are there any homeschooling groups in your area you could join?

 

 

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I can't imagine expecting a 5 year old to do "independent work."  What exactly does that mean? What do you mean by "Classical?"

 

What criteria do you have for being friends with someone in your neighborhood?  If people move in and out of your neighborhood are you expecting that the children in his classroom won't change?  How can that be even in a charter school?

 

If you have discipline issues, I think you (and every parent out there) is morally responsible for getting a handle on that before sending them into a classroom environment where some poor soul (the teacher)  will have to deal with the consequences of that times the number of students.  You'll still have to deal with it when you're home with him after work.  It won't go away if you send him to school-it will put it off on someone else.

 

Are you expecting a 5 year old to do more than an hour of academmics?  Why?

 

Do you really believe your son, after doing a full day at school somewhere else  will be attentive to afterschooling for history and literature regularly?  Sorry, but I think that's just piling on, which is why I'm very suspicious about afterschooling being effective and fair to children.

 

I think every homeschooler out there would call each school year one with "mixed results."  I thought I'd get my 8 year old through Simply Grammar this year.  Nope.  She doesn't understand verbal abstractions enough, so we dropped it and will start it again next year.  I though we'd get through SOTW 1 in first grade-nope.  It took us a year and a half. 

 

Everyone in every institutional setting and those of us who have been homeschooling for more than 6 consecutive months are feeling the burn right now.  It's spring fever season right now.  The end is in sight.  That's to be expected.

Whatever you decide to do for next year, you need to get a handle on any behavioral issues now.  There are plenty of resources out there to fit different parenting styles.  5 year olds need to be playing, building, exploring, and they need excellent literature read aloud to them on a daily basis while they play quietly with toys (search for threads on that.)  Everything else academic is optional.  Focus on those things and when they're going fairly smoothly most of the time, add in some phonics, writing letters and simple math games.

 

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My neighborhood in spring and summer can be stressful. Yes, he does go out and plays in the neighborhood cul-de-sac as young as he is. And he holds his own quite well, too, considering he is one of the youngest. I am pretty liberal as far as letting him come and go but still more watchful than most of the other parents. I will often patrol where the kids are playing, or sometimes listen from the porch. Last year a two-year-old ran around supervised only by her 12-year-old brother; and there are the tiniest of backyards so the kids have no choice but to spill into the street during their play.  That made me very paranoid. Last year I would call my son into the house if the little girl was out so that she would not try to run and chase him down the street, but this year, at the age of 3, she is not a big toddler but a little girl and now she holds her own well with even the much older children. It is just nerve-wracking because I practiced attachment parenting for my son's first years and he was not allowed to leave our porch without a hand-hold until he was well past the age of 5 and had earned our trust that he would not dash and dart between cars in the street like some of the other children do. So it is not as if I can relax at the end of a school day, and make dinner, while he plays. I must watch not only him, but his playmates, to make sure they don't became entangled in some game that will lead them out into the main road where the traffic is busier. (That is the sort of play that prompted me to use the word buffoonery.) When I talk about sending him to school and joining in hobbies with him after school it is because I would like to redirect him toward other communities, ones based on interests and activities rather than our geography. This is just to illustrate how a day can be more stressful than I bargained for. It is not so much because of homeschooling but other factors are causing the stress.

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My neighborhood in spring and summer can be stressful. Yes, he does go out and plays in the neighborhood cul-de-sac as young as he is. And he holds his own quite well, too, considering he is one of the youngest. I am pretty liberal as far as letting him come and go but still more watchful than most of the other parents. I will often patrol where the kids are playing, or sometimes listen from the porch. Last year a two-year-old ran around supervised only by her 12-year-old brother; and there are the tiniest of backyards so the kids have no choice but to spill into the street during their play.  That made me very paranoid. Last year I would call my son into the house if the little girl was out so that she would not try to run and chase him down the street, but this year, at the age of 3, she is not a big toddler but a little girl and now she holds her own well with even the much older children. It is just nerve-wracking because I practiced attachment parenting for my son's first years and he was not allowed to leave our porch without a hand-hold until he was well past the age of 5 and had earned our trust that he would not dash and dart between cars in the street like some of the other children do. So it is not as if I can relax at the end of a school day, and make dinner, while he plays. I must watch not only him, but his playmates, to make sure they don't became entangled in some game that will lead them out into the main road where the traffic is busier. (That is the sort of play that prompted me to use the word buffoonery.) When I talk about sending him to school and joining in hobbies with him after school it is because I would like to redirect him toward other communities, ones based on interests and activities rather than our geography. This is just to illustrate how a day can be more stressful than I bargained for. It is not so much because of homeschooling but other factors are causing the stress.

 

But not being able to to relax at the end of the day and make dinner while he plays, having to watch him and his friends and keep him safe -- that will be true no matter where he spends the school hours, right? He will come home from school to a busy neighborhood with pitfalls and too-small yards, so you'll have to watch him and his friends instead of relaxing or making dinner uninterrupted.

 

That part is just parenting. Evening interests and activities to get kids off the busy streets and into something wholesome and productive-- the Y, scouts, soccer, Boys and Girls Clubs, city recreation organizations -- these are for homeschoolers, too.

 

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I feel like some of us were snarky out of misunderstanding at the beginning of the thread, and some have been very scoldy and kind of mean as the thread has progressed :/ so I want you to know that I am on your side. I am raising four sons and we've lived in all sorts of neighborhoods with all sorts of challenges. I understand that sometimes you just look around and say, "This is not what I had in mind, and this will not be good for us in the long run." BTDT.

The Montessori charter that would free you up to work to move to a better location, have some money for activities -- that's not nothin'. It may be the solution, at least for now, if you know that you could move to a town or part of the city with more for kids to do. If that's what you end up doing, it's not "less than" homeschooling.

I hope it's helping somewhat to talk it out.

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This time of year is tough for many of us.  :grouphug:  If your son is bored, ask him what topics he would like to study.  You mentioned that you were considering a Montessori school.  In a Montessori school, your son may get a couple of lessons from his teacher each week.  The rest of his time will be spent learning and working with the Montessori material on his own. 

 

Are there any organized after school activities that you could sign your son up for?  Even when my kids were in school, they met their friends through the after school activities. 

 

Are there any homeschooling groups in your area you could join?

 

 

 

The reason I was considering Montessori is because they have all those great math manipulatives and building kits which I lack. And they do some formal phonics and handwriting each day, which is all I have been doing with my son so far. At our town's Montessori school the kids put together their own "contract" with the teacher in which they agree to spend some time on math, geography, and cultural studies each day in addition to the language arts lessons which are formally taught by the teacher and teaching assistants, based on ability rather than age in a mixed-grade classroom. The week includes Latin, art, gym, character development and music lessons and it offers after school intramural sports, clubs, and violin lessons, and as a charter school it would cost us nothing extra to send our child to it. It would be nice to try it for a year to see if he benefits from the structure being routinely implemented. As his mother I feel undermanaged and overwhelmed, unable to provide that overarching structure while keeping up with the chores and caring for my younger little one, too. Even if I were armed with the best of the best of resources it is hard to overcome what I am starting to see as personal limitations on my part. 

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I think you're being far too hard on yourself and on your son. He's five. He's just a little kid. You don't need to "do it all" or make any great strides into the realm of classical education with a five year old.

 

It sounds like you're already doing a great job of teaching him, but that you're a bit overwhelmed because the non-school hours of the day seem so long and he needs a lot of your attention.

 

I'm sorry to tell you that he's at an age where he's not going to be super-independent and that you won't have much time to yourself and that you will need to entertain him or find activities for him that will take up some of his time.

 

I honestly think you need to find a way to lighten up -- on yourself, more than in any other way. Homeschooling is a LONG journey and kindergarten is an incredibly minuscule part of that journey in the long run. I know it's hard to see it that way when you're just getting started, but I can guarantee you that in a few more years, you'll look back and laugh at the things that seemed so important. I know I did! :)

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It sounds like you have several concerns.

 

1. The neighborhood kids play outside, including in the street, with little supervision at young ages. You are concerned about your son because of this. I can't tell if you are worried about child abduction or being hit by a car. I also can't tell if you think these kids are a bad influence in other ways.

 

2. He is bored and you don't know how to keep him busy all day. I can't tell from your post if he is one of those kids with an intense personality that always seems to need or want "more" of everything.

 

3. He wants to play outside when you need to cook dinner and can't supervise him. You could alleviate this problem by cooking dinner earlier in the day or in a crockpot a few days a week so will be available to watch.

 

I think if you can give more specific information, we can be more helpful. I couldn't tell if your first post was sarcastic at first, but since you have clarified, I can see that you are just at your wits end.

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I feel like some of us were snarky out of misunderstanding at the beginning of the thread, and some have been very scoldy and kind of mean as the thread has progressed :/ so I want you to know that I am on your side. I am raising four sons and we've lived in all sorts of neighborhoods with all sorts of challenges. I understand that sometimes you just look around and say, "This is not what I had in mind, and this will not be good for us in the long run." BTDT.

 

The Montessori charter that would free you up to work to move to a better location, have some money for activities -- that's not nothin'. It may be the solution, at least for now, if you know that you could move to a town or part of the city with more for kids to do. If that's what you end up doing, it's not "less than" homeschooling.

 

I hope it's helping somewhat to talk it out.

 

Thank you for being kind! We need to do more as a family, to get outside the confines of our local neighborhood. I don't get why people are being so critical of the idea that maybe a charter school might provide a stepping stone to what we want and need. Usually people are so supportive, and I posted this in the chat forum specifically because it was personal. 

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As his mother I feel undermanaged and overwhelmed, unable to provide that overarching structure while keeping up with the chores and caring for my younger little one, too. Even if I were armed with the best of the best of resources it is hard to overcome what I am starting to see as personal limitations on my part. 

 

How old is your other child? Collectively we may be able to help you figure out: which expectations you have that may be unrealistic, ways to keep your oldest busy, which chores to eliminate or delegate, and ways to be more efficient with your time.

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Thank you for being kind! We need to do more as a family, to get outside the confines of our local neighborhood. I don't get why people are being so critical of the idea that maybe a charter school might provide a stepping stone to what we want and need. Usually people are so supportive, and I posted this in the chat forum specifically because it was personal.

Only you can decide what is best for your family. Homeschooling isn't the right choice for everyone, and if it's not right for you, I applaud you for having given it a try, but I also support your choice to choose a different option if homeschooling isn't what you'd hoped it might be.

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I don't get why people are being so critical of the idea that maybe a charter school might provide a stepping stone to what we want and need. 

 

Most people here would say homeschooling isn't the answer for every child for every grade. Most of us can easily imagine situations where school (of any type) would be the best choice for a child. People were probably reacting to the way you worded your first post: "buffoonery" and "idle play" were mentioned. You seemed very concerned about academics but then suggested school for mainly social reasons. I interpreted your post to mean, if it was serious (which I think it is now, but I didn't know then), that you were hoping sending him to school would eliminate his desire to waste time in "idle play" with the neighbors.

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It sounds very much like you are fine with "schooling" him, but that doesn't take much of the day, and you are at a loss about keeping him busy, happy, and safe for the rest of the hours of the day. He requires plenty of stimulation and plenty of discipline, which you are having a hard time providing, and you feel like the relationship is becoming oppositional from being together all day with little to do.

 

As a result, you have followed neighbourhood culture and allowed low-supervision outdoor group play, even though it makes you uncomfortable.

 

You are considering something completely different and wondering what it would look like to have him in a physical school for the day, like other kids (but better because it's Montessori, which fits his learning style).

 

Ok: no one can answer that, but we can help you think it through with some questions.

 

- Other than the 'cooped up with nothing to do' dynamic, do you feel that you are *successfully educating* him during your educational times -or- do you think he would be *better educated* at the M school. (Compare the quality of educations, ignoring what is going on during non-educational times.)

 

- Are there ways if relieving the "cooped up ness"? You may not naturally be the type to provide for his stimulation (at home or with outings) but you can't just not do it -- if you keep on at home, you will need to accept this as part of your job, and do it even if its not easy.

 

- Can you supervise the kids group? What makes you choose to leave them alone if you don't like it?

 

- Discipline: it's important that you find the techniques you need to make this work. His need for parental discipline is not over after the preschool years... It continues, and it's constantly changing. You need to keep up with this and learn what works for the two of you -- no matter which education plan you go with. (So, it's not a factor for this decision, unless he does not have the skills to be in a classroom.)

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It sounds like you have several concerns.

 

1. The neighborhood kids play outside, including in the street, with little supervision at young ages. You are concerned about your son because of this. I can't tell if you are worried about child abduction or being hit by a car. I also can't tell if you think these kids are a bad influence in other ways.

 

2. He is bored and you don't know how to keep him busy all day. I can't tell from your post if he is one of those kids with an intense personality that always seems to need or want "more" of everything.

 

3. He wants to play outside when you need to cook dinner and can't supervise him. You could alleviate this problem by cooking dinner earlier in the day or in a crockpot a few days a week so will be available to watch.

 

I think if you can give more specific information, we can be more helpful. I couldn't tell if your first post was sarcastic at first, but since you have clarified, I can see that you are just at your wits end.

 

 

The kids are just everywhere, and sometimes I feel like I have to play Mama to the whole block by default. That is the cost of him having his social life in our neighborhood. They are not "bad" kids but some do come from unwholesome households, so there is language I don't want him top pick up. You sort of know when kids are not very nurtured and they thirst for anyone's attention they can get, or resort to emotionally manipulating their peers, or they tell strange tall tales to impress you? It can be tough. The stress is in just not having anything to offer my son as an alternative to this in the afternoon. 

 

He is one of those intense, insatiable kids. He is only happy when his day is full to the brim with activity, and yet I have responsibilities that keep me from spending alot of time on outings and playing with him. He is one of those kids that needs to be tired out from activity, or else he is a challenge to deal with. He is not a good listener, always needing to be prodded; but when he sets his mind to a task, he can execute it beautifully. In other words he has trouble balancing focus and passion. 

 

I am at my wits end. My son's new motto is "I can take care of myself." But no, he cannot! He doesn't get himself dressed without prodding, nor can he remember to brush his teeth without prodding. True, he can do science kits designed for an 8-year-old without help, and he is learning to read and write when he couldn't before. But he still acts babyish from time to time. He is a popular kid; others love his sense of humor, yet he also bursts into tears if a balloon floats away into the air, or if he is denied a privilege he had his heart set on. This makes it challenging to have him at home, and I feel guilty that I cannot do off-campus learning every day with him.

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It sounds like his unusual moments if acting beyond his age have convinced you to label it "challenging" when he behaves normally and has the usual needs of a child.

 

If you can't play with him or attend to him as much as a young child requires, I would lean towards having him in another situation (a school or care setting).

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Thank you for being kind! We need to do more as a family, to get outside the confines of our local neighborhood. I don't get why people are being so critical of the idea that maybe a charter school might provide a stepping stone to what we want and need. Usually people are so supportive, and I posted this in the chat forum specifically because it was personal. 

 

I'm sorry my original post may have come off as snarky.  As someone that had a bright (labelled highly GT), high energy in school for 2 years I really don't think school is a magic bullet as far as discipline  is concerned.  Honestly, it felt like MORE working trying to advocate for him in the school system and do all their busy work.  Many homeschooled parents are struggling this time of year.  Including me.  I think my expectations 6 years into homeschooling are much more realistic than they were my first year.  My son sounds so much like yours - he was non-stop at this age. 

 

I was put off by the wording Modern Child and Classical homeschooling like those 2 things can't happily coexist.  My kids love Harry Potter, Dr. Who, video games, and their schooled friends.  They also have a classical slant to their home education.  They come in all shapes in sizes and their educations are unique to them.

 

If homeschooling needs to take a backseat, that is totally understandable.  I just wanted it known it can work for a variety of kids. 

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The reason I was considering Montessori is because they have all those great math manipulatives and building kits which I lack. And they do some formal phonics and handwriting each day, which is all I have been doing with my son so far. At our town's Montessori school the kids put together their own "contract" with the teacher in which they agree to spend some time on math, geography, and cultural studies each day in addition to the language arts lessons which are formally taught by the teacher and teaching assistants, based on ability rather than age in a mixed-grade classroom. The week includes Latin, art, gym, character development and music lessons and it offers after school intramural sports, clubs, and violin lessons, and as a charter school it would cost us nothing extra to send our child to it. It would be nice to try it for a year to see if he benefits from the structure being routinely implemented. As his mother I feel undermanaged and overwhelmed, unable to provide that overarching structure while keeping up with the chores and caring for my younger little one, too. Even if I were armed with the best of the best of resources it is hard to overcome what I am starting to see as personal limitations on my part. 

 

It sounds like you have a great option with the Montessori school.  I think you need to determine what you would rather do.  Would you prefer to homeschool, but are feeling overwhelmed about how to go about it?  If this is the case, many would be able to help if you ask specific questions. Or, would you simply like to try out the Montessori school and see how it goes?  There is no "right" answer, and whatever path you decide for next year is not set in stone. :grouphug:

 

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The kids are just everywhere, and sometimes I feel like I have to play Mama to the whole block by default. That is the cost of him having his social life in our neighborhood. They are not "bad" kids but some do come from unwholesome households, so there is language I don't want him top pick up. You sort of know when kids are not very nurtured and they thirst for anyone's attention they can get, or resort to emotionally manipulating their peers, or they tell strange tall tales to impress you? It can be tough. The stress is in just not having anything to offer my son as an alternative to this in the afternoon.

 

He is one of those intense, insatiable kids. He is only happy when his day is full to the brim with activity, and yet I have responsibilities that keep me from spending alot of time on outings and playing with him. He is one of those kids that needs to be tired out from activity, or else he is a challenge to deal with. He is not a good listener, always needing to be prodded; but when he sets his mind to a task, he can execute it beautifully. In other words he has trouble balancing focus and passion.

 

I am at my wits end. My son's new motto is "I can take care of myself." But no, he cannot! He doesn't get himself dressed without prodding, nor can he remember to brush his teeth without prodding. True, he can do science kits designed for an 8-year-old without help, and he is learning to read and write when he couldn't before. But he still acts babyish from time to time. He is a popular kid; others love his sense of humor, yet he also bursts into tears if a balloon floats away into the air, or if he is denied a privilege he had his heart set on. This makes it challenging to have him at home, and I feel guilty that I cannot do off-campus learning every day with him.

Not for anything, but your son sounds like a perfectly normal 5 year old to me.

 

Based on your posts, you are expecting far too much of him in terms of maturity and behavior. Of course he's going to act "babyish" at times -- he's still just a little kid!!!

 

I honestly think you need to reassess what you consider to be normal 5 year old behavior and maturity, because I don't think your expectations are at all realistic.

 

You have a very young child, not an adult in a tiny body.

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I'm thinking the neighborhood dynamic needs to be addressed separately from your education choices. The situation with afternoon/evening play is going to be the same no matter what school he goes to right? These kids are not home schooled I presume? If you think the charter school would be best then give it a try. I don't think the situation you describe reflects on a failure to homeschool at all. It sounds like typical 5 year old behavior mixed with spring fever. If the arrangement you have now is causing you undue stress than try changing things up. :grouphug:  Go to the park, join some activities, set some different family rules and expectations, etc.

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He is one of those intense, insatiable kids. He is only happy when his day is full to the brim with activity, and yet I have responsibilities that keep me from spending alot of time on outings and playing with him. He is one of those kids that needs to be tired out from activity, or else he is a challenge to deal with. 

 

You might want to post on the accelerated forum. Many parents there with gifted kids can relate to your predicament.

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I don't play with my kids-I'm an adult, not a child.  I will read to them though.  I'll let them help work along side of me.  I let them do that when they're 4 and 5 so they can do real chores on their own by age 6. I don't know any 5 year old who gets dressed and brushes his teeth without prodding. Every kid I ever met would cry at that age if (s)he lost a balloon. They all burst into tears when they are denied a privilige.  Kids cry sometimes. Yeah, kids think they're far more independent than they really are. 

 

You don't have to mother anyone's children but your own. I still have to supervise my 8 year old outside.  I don't know anyone who allows their 5 year olds to play out front in the street without some adult supervision. We invite kids over to play in our house or backyard, even when they're not being raised the same as our kids so I don't have to supervise as closely as I would outside.

Yes, out in life there will be people using bad language.  It happens at restaurants, in stores, with neighbor kids, etc.  We simply tell our kids that certain words and phrases are not be used because they're not appropriate or they are flat out rude and we explain why in age appropriate terms.   Even if you never let your kids play with the neighbor kids, they will hear it at school if you send them to one, from the relatives, from the neighbors, in afternoon classes with other kids, while channel surfing, etc.  Instead of going to extremem lengths to avoid it at all costs, you can just address it as it comes up or preemptively.

 

All children need to learn to entertain themselves to some degree every day.  Some kids can do it naturally and others have to be taught to do it.  It may take time, but you can provide your child with things to do in his room for whatever specified time he likes.  As another attachment parent, I get connecting with your kids, but that doesn't mean as they get older that they have the same immediate, constant needs that infants and toddlers do.  He can go to his room for a hour in the evening  to listen to music, color, build with legos, make stuff, read, look at comic books, play with action figures or cars, etc. while you cook dinner or just get a break from him. Is he going to cry about it?  Maybe.  If he does, you can still insist on it. He is not being abused if you enforce this in spite of his crying or complaining.  I wouldn't do that with an infant or a toddler, but 5 year old? You bet. You can even let him watch high quality videos of some sort and only use them when you need a break.  Nature shows are great for that.

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If I were to put my kids in school, I would strongly consider a Montessori school. Whether it is right for your family is something you will have to decide, but it sounds like at this point you are strongly drawn to that option. I think it sounds like a reasonable choice given your circumstances.

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It sounds like you have unrealistic expectations of your son. How you educate him doesn't really impact the fact that he is a 5-year-old boy and, as such, he will demand a lot of your attention and want to spend a lot of time playing. If you are looking to classical ed as a way to tamp down his natural personality and interests, I think you will be disappointed. Classical ed is not a means to create small adults.

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Is he an only child? I have an only son and while he wasn't overly outgoing, it was harder at 5. He was in private school for prek and K and I was still tired. 

 

I like to play with my child, we did nature study, built Thomas trains, did artwork, played with lego, stuffed animals, everything. We didn't have a neighborhood of kids at that age either, so I was it or we'd have get togethers. 

 

I do agree you need to separate the schooling and the neighborhood issues. The neighborhood will still be there even if he's in school. It's also hard to know how much leeway to give a 5 year old in a group. My house was the hangout for a while when he was older. 

 

The education is not something you have ruined. Please, don't be hard on yourself. But not everyone should homeschool, not saying you shouldn't, but if you chose to do the Montessori, it's going to be okay. It doesn't even have to be a final decision. 

 

We also did quiet time, where he'd have to be in his room for an hour each afternoon. Naps weren't required, but I got my peace and quiet and he had to figure out how to entertain himself - he did. 

 

Whatever decision you make regarding his education is not set in stone, and what is right for your family may change in a year or two. 

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 Rather, I am trying to come to terms with the disappointment I am feeling in not being able to follow my dream of providing this type of education for him.

 

:grouphug:

 

I get it.

 

You've got a great kid, a smart one. You want to provide him with the most AMAZING education you can. And your picture of a classical education and your child's developmental needs aren't meshing well. Some of my most challenging parenting moments have been when my dreams of what could be run smack head-on into the reality of the young people in my life. And I say that only a little tongue-in-cheek. It's hard when reality doesn't match the picture in our heads.

 

You're not failing him if you continue to homeschool. He's young. Even a classical education for a young one should look much like what you're providing: An hour(ish) of work that's challenging without being overwhelming. Lots of time to explore and play.

 

I have three wiggly, amazing, energetic, loud, sweet, bright, silly, rotten ( :P ) boys. (And 2 grown young ladies who had most of those qualities also.) On an off day, my 9 y.o. might still burst into tears over a lost balloon. :)  I teach them following a mostly classical model. It is a lot of work to find the right balance of activity that meets their needs, and I DO enjoy hands-on activities and finding ways to make it fun. It would be even more challenging if I didn't enjoy that, so I can see that you're facing a dilemma over how to fill your son's time and challenge his intellect and still meet his needs for movement and noise and exploration.

 

You've got some parenting and neighborhood challenges that really don't have so much to do with homeschooling itself, even though they're impacting your homeschool life. You sound burnt out and exhausted.   :grouphug:  In your shoes, I would take a break for a while to refresh yourself and focus on relationship. Instead of that hour of lessons, go to the library or the park. Read aloud as long as he'll let you. Or break up the schedule. Do 15 minutes of math and then go for a walk. 10 minutes of handwriting and then play a game. A short reading lesson and then read aloud to him. Something that breaks it up, followed by a fun relaxing activity.

 

A hour of Quiet Time was a lifesaver for me when my boys were younger. It took some training, but it was so worth it. They each had to sit in a quiet spot, alone. They could read, play quietly with toys, nap, whatever they wanted as long as they were quiet and didn't ask "When is quiet time over?" After about a month, they were asking for quiet time. They enjoyed that time of rest. I made myself a promise, too. I am a busy mom, but even with laundry, dishes, phone calls, etc. I took at least 30 minutes of that time for quiet time for myself.

 

And there is nothing wrong with putting your child in a Montessori school if you feel that will allow you to best meet his and your family's needs. It doesn't have to be forever, and it doesn't mean you've failed at homeschooling. You're clearly a good momma, involved in your child's life and education.

 

Cat

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You have a great resource right outside your front door - the neighborhood children!  Use it!  Put on shows, make movies, cook things together, do crafts, learn to knit, make forts from cardboard boxes, sing songs, read stories, help them learn conflict resolution skills, make comic books, hold bike races, build go-carts, scoop up a gang of them and go to museums /nature centers/free concerts.  It doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

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How old is your other child?  You said you have another.  What will this child do when you work if your other child is in the Montessori school?  Are you single parenting?  Married?  What does your spouse say about it all? 

 

I hear you on being burnt out - I feel that way right now too.   

 

I think you should sit down and list your challenges, though.  Prioritize them.  What about them really bothers you?  Also, list the possible solutions to them.  I hear you say some of your problems are:

Discipline

Living Location

Not a satisfying amount of money to spend on recreation

Long days with little kids

Burnt out

Neighborhood evening play

 

It seems like you have the Montessori school as a solution to the neighborhood problem.  The school might be a solution to some of your problems, but not that one, IMO.  

 

FWIW, with my busy child, things go better when I impose a little more structure to the day - so we do structure in things other than reading and math.  Structure doesn't have to mean sitting still - we read some, play math games, listen to audiobooks while coloring, etc.  Also, I do what I can to teach my kids to entertain themselves.  Don't feel the burden on your shoulders of needing to fill your child's mind and day entirely - let your child fill himself up some too.  

 

All the best to you.  The school sounds like a great one, if you use it.  You will not have solved a lot of your frustrations by choosing it, but you will have solved some of them.  

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I'm sorry my original post may have come off as snarky.  As someone that had a bright (labelled highly GT), high energy in school for 2 years I really don't think school is a magic bullet as far as discipline  is concerned.  Honestly, it felt like MORE working trying to advocate for him in the school system and do all their busy work.  Many homeschooled parents are struggling this time of year.  Including me.  I think my expectations 6 years into homeschooling are much more realistic than they were my first year.  My son sounds so much like yours - he was non-stop at this age. 

 

I was put off by the wording Modern Child and Classical homeschooling like those 2 things can't happily coexist.  My kids love Harry Potter, Dr. Who, video games, and their schooled friends.  They also have a classical slant to their home education.  They come in all shapes in sizes and their educations are unique to them.

 

If homeschooling needs to take a backseat, that is totally understandable.  I just wanted it known it can work for a variety of kids. 

 

This is how I feel about it, too.  You can strike a balance between Classical homeschooling and being a Modern Child.  We do it quite well at our house.  Letting go of some unrealistic expectations help, too.  No one can manage trying to do all things and be all things at once.  I've had both my kids in school, and it was a lot more struggle and worry than it was worth.  And the supposed excellent education of our highly rated school district wasn't there, either.  That said, there are some great programs that work great for certain kids.  You may want to give one a try and see how it goes.

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