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Homeschool vs Public School...AGAIN


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I need advice. I can't seem to get this whole education thing right. 

 

I started to homeschool my son in K because he was very far ahead of the school in our area. K went well. 1st was ok, and started getting harder near the end. I was pregnant with my third then, and was due in August. (one year ago). I took two months off after she was born, and then we began again for 2nd grade. And it was torture. I was very depressed. He hated everything. He complained about school all the time. I went through three different spelling programs and two RLA's, and started doing history just how he wanted. No improvement. I was spending all day fighting with him and trying to get him to do anything. Finally in February I enrolled him in public school, the same local one I knew was deficient. But I didn't care. I couldn't be around him all day everyday any more. (Note: we were in a co-op one day a week, but because I spent it in the nursery with my dd3 and ddbaby and a bunch of other such littles, it was not all that much of a break.)

 

We cannot afford private school. The public schools in my area do not work with homeschoolers at all. We live in OK, and unlike people I know in other states, we do not have the option to attend part time public school. There is a blended school in our area, but they did not accept us based on our religion differing from theirs (long story). We are on the waiting list at the only charter school in the area that is any better than our local school.

 

So, here we are, with DS8 enrolled in 3rd and DD4 SO EXCITED to get to go to half day pre-K. And yet....

 

It's day three, and already I am face to face with all the reasons we quit. 

1. our school is weirdly ok with TV in the classroom. Way too much for my taste. (Though when they stay home, I often let them over watch, so maybe this is something I just need to accept.)

2. Group punishments. My son said they all missed lunch recess two days in a row (the second and third days of school!) because some people were talking. Heaven forbid they SOCIALIZE at school. 

3. They only get ONE recess a day! They're there from 8:30-3:30, and they get one half hour recess. 

4. Sub-standard education. Obviously.

 

Now, I know a lot of this is my fault. My dislike of public school was very apparent when my son was in K, and he absorbed the attitude. I think he may also be depressed, just like me, because he is very negative most of the time. This is one of the reasons I sent him to school.

 

Reasons I sent him to school:

1. I was spending all day yelling at him. He was driving me crazy. 

2. He was way behind in his work. (Mind you, this was still ahead of the schools in our area, but he was not getting work done on his own level.)

3. I am still depressed. I'm on medication, seeking a therapist who works with me, but it's slow going. I thought being away from me might be healthier for him. 

4. He is so social. He wants me to be with him ALL THE TIME. I thought he would enjoy being with other kids. (So far, he hasn't really. But at the end of last year, he did get more into this aspect.)

5. He wants to play team sports. He is on the school football team now, and he loves it.

 

SO, now that he complains about school everyday, what do I do? Because he complained about school everyday when he was homeschooled, too. Most likely he needs some other kind of teaching that I don't know how to give. He is very energetic, possibly undiagnosed ADHD or something. He loves to do things out loud, whereas I need to write everything down. He hates sitting at a desk and "focusing," whereas I can't get anything done without it. I know public school (and a very mediocre one at that) isn't really solving all these problems. BUT WHAT WILL????

 

In other news, my daughter is so smart. She reads one vowel words and taught herself to write. She is so unlike my crazy off the wall son. I feel I could homeschool her no problem. But she really wants to go to school because she loves to play with other kids. So for now, half day is great. She plays for two and a half hours, comes home, and I teach her things. Not sure what will happen next year. 

 

If you actually read all this, you must be either really bored or...I can't think of another reason you would read all this. ;) But if you did, for the love, what should I do?

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I'd leave him in school and try to after school to make up for the academic deficiencies. If homeschooling was hurting your relationship and he was getting less and less done, I wouldn't expect it to be better now. I'd give this year time. If he grows to really hate it and starts begging to homeschool, I would reconsider. However, if he is just complaining about school, just as he complained about homeschooling, I wouldn't be too quick to bring him home.

 

I would not get too set in a decision though. I would remain alert to his state of mind and if I believed school was becoming too negative of an experience, if it endangers his mental health in any way, or if you feel you could make homeschooling different this time for some reason, I wouldn't hesitate to change the decision.

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I don't know if this will help, but I found this book really helpful with learning to reframe things with my DD: http://www.amazon.com/Danish-Way-Parenting-Raising-Happiest-ebook/dp/B00R6PIXOW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1440110631&sr=1-1&keywords=the+danish+way+of+parenting

 

Everything was not quite right for her--homeschooling was not quite right, but the programs I signed her up for were not quite right either. Not that everything always has to be positive, but that there's always something positive that can be found in a negative situation. And then when you start to look at things that way, the attitude toward whatever situation you choose improves. That probably doesn't make much sense, but it really helped my kiddo find a way to be more positive and it cut way down on the complaining!

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This school sounds horrible! I never EVER heard of schools having TV use during school time in either state I lived in. I NEVEr heard of group punishments at all! Yes I've heard of the only one short recess thing back in FL but not where I live now. That is unbelievable.

 

But, it's still a question of what's better for your own son. Assuming you are depressed, and not getting out much and arguing every day, then perhaps school is still the better option.

 

Assuming you are doing a little better now and you can teach ds to be more cooperative and balance between making things more fun and interesting and also having clear consistent rules and boundaries, then being home sounds better than this particular school.

 

It's really up to you and your own abilities and resolve at this time in your life. ((Hugs))

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I have always heard that a child that is acting out a lot, or one who is defiant, is a hurting child. Please dont take this the wrong way because I struggle with depression and anger and yelling, too, but it seems to me he is learning to be negative from you. :/ The times when I am joyful, and encouraging, peaceful, kind, and just less stressed around my daughter (who is almost 7), the more compliant and joyful she is because when I'm negative and angry, so is she. I think that sending him to ps is not going to help his character any, it may only make it worse. The book "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids" by Laura Markham has been oh so helpful to me.

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By TV, what do you mean? Like, PBS type kid education shows? Documentaries? Snippets of things from online to break up the lessons? Whole episodes?

 

It sounds bad, but I can tell from your post how much is filtered through your dislike. I think either option could be okay, but if you bring them home, you have to work on you. As in, figure out a way for you to be happy and enforce what you need without being miserable or borderline abusive with yelling. Because, while the school sounds not good, what you described of your homeschool sounded possibly worse.

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By TV, what do you mean? Like, PBS type kid education shows? Documentaries? Snippets of things from online to break up the lessons? Whole episodes?

My friend took her daughter out of school after the school eliminated recess and choice time in kindergarten (kept the 7 hour day + lunch). By Friday the kids were so fried that they would watch movies. The first Friday they watched Shrek. This sort of movie watching is vastly different from a movie on volcanoes in Iceland.

 

That said, if you are depressed, you need to focus on dealing with that. Things weren't good at home before and there is no reason to expect them to be different. 

 

My friend did substantial work to change the school (they even got a new board elected) and got the recess (in addition to 20 minutes for lunch) reinstated. Her daughter went back to school the next year and loves it. My friend has also told the teacher that her kids do not do homework in first grade and just throws away the packet each week. Since her kids are in school so long, she doesn't believe they need work at home.

 

ETA: In SWB's session about burnout, she told us that children only have one mother in their life but can have many teachers. She said if your teaching gets in the way of interacting as a mother, you need to outsource the teaching. It really sounds like teaching him got in the way of mothering from what you wrote above. My friend's kids (above) go to a substandard school and are not challenged. However, she gives them much freedom to explore at home and they are more creative and interested in the world than almost any kid I've met from the $26K/year private school many kids in our community go to.

 

Emily

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Health and safety come first. It sounds like your successful treatment is a prerequisite for considering returning to homeschooling.

 

It may be that he could use a short dose of therapy also.

 

Meanwhile, you might look into whether your school district has written policies about the things you're not liking about the school. Mine, for example, does not allow taking away recess as a punishment.

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Great feedback from everyone. I absolutely agree that he is learning to be negative from me (which makes me hate myself a

little more. Wheee!) Anyway, I hope to start therapy again in about two weeks. Maybe I can find out if there is a school counselor he can see for free.

 

The main thing I'm getting is, maybe instead of just freaking out about what he tells me, I can find out how much of it is accurate and then work to change the things I don't like. I don't really know how much tv they watch or in what capacity. I don't really know how often they lose recess. I just need to find a way to talk to the people at the school without being accusatory or alarmist or just plain rude.

 

I think I'll make a list of all the things he says that are bothering me. Then I'll try to find out how much of it is true and his much of it is my son's negative filter. Maybe I can volunteer at the school. I'll try talking to his teacher and maybe the school counselor.

 

And as far as after schooling, he had already agreed to do additional grammar work. And I bet if I added history, he'd be psyched.

 

Thank you for the support. Any additional ideas are welcome!

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I think digging in deeper to see what is really happening at the school is a great idea.  I also think volunteering at the school might be a good idea as long as you don't make it one more thing to drag you down.  You need time to heal yourself.  Work on that.  Definitely, in this scenario  it seems to me that you are making a better choice in leaving the kids in school for now.  Don't feel guilty for not homeschooling.  Work on you.  You matter, too.  And their mental health is not going to improve if you are struggling yourself.

 

And try as hard as you can to indicate positive feelings about them being there, even if you don't feel it inside.  I don't mean lie.  Just don't act like you are ready to pull them out any time things seem bad to you.  Don't act like "See, I KNEW that place was bad" whenever they share something from school. Be neutral, if not upbeat, when they share what they have done at school.  Try to focus on any positives.  In fact, you might ask them each day for a bit if anything interesting/fun/exciting happened and write those down, even if they aren't academic.  Help them AND you focus on any positives.  Also, make it clear to yourself and your kids that you are committed to them being in public school for this year (baring something awful happening).  It might help all of you if you weren't waffling back and forth.  And if you do suspect ADHD in your son you might consider an evaluation.  Counseling at school may also be a good idea, as you mentioned.

 

Hugs, OP.  I wish you and your family all the best.  

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I think you need to get healthy first. Focus on that for awhile. Just on that. I bet in a few months of being healthy everything starts to look more clear. Give yourself time. Do not beat yourself up. Depression is real and not your fault. Get well.

 

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I think digging in deeper to see what is really happening at the school is a great idea.  I also think volunteering at the school might be a good idea as long as you don't make it one more thing to drag you down.  You need time to heal yourself.  Work on that.  Definitely, in this scenario  it seems to me that you are making a better choice in leaving the kids in school for now.  Don't feel guilty for not homeschooling.  Work on you.  You matter, too.  And their mental health is not going to improve if you are struggling yourself.

 

And try as hard as you can to indicate positive feelings about them being there, even if you don't feel it inside.  I don't mean lie.  Just don't act like you are ready to pull them out any time things seem bad to you.  Don't act like "See, I KNEW that place was bad" whenever they share something from school. Be neutral, if not upbeat, when they share what they have done at school.  Try to focus on any positives.  In fact, you might ask them each day for a bit if anything interesting/fun/exciting happened and write those down, even if they aren't academic.  Help them AND you focus on any positives.  Also, make it clear to yourself and your kids that you are committed to them being in public school for this year (baring something awful happening).  It might help all of you if you weren't waffling back and forth.  And if you do suspect ADHD in your son you might consider an evaluation.  Counseling at school may also be a good idea, as you mentioned.

 

Hugs, OP.  I wish you and your family all the best.  

This is really important. Kids really pick up on their parents' feelings. If you don't like the school, your child will mirror that in an exaggerated form (especially if he thinks he can get a reaction out of you).

 

I did this as a kid. We had a youth group pastor that my parents considered very anti-intellectual. They talked about that a lot and I totally disrespected him. Now, as an adult, I look back at some of the books he had us read. They were really hard. They are the sort of books adults read and wrestle with, and I read them at 14 because of him. He could play baseball, yes, but he wasn't anti-intellectual. I just echoed my parents' opinion. 

 

Emily

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I think you need to get healthy first. Focus on that for awhile. Just on that. I bet in a few months of being healthy everything starts to look more clear. Give yourself time. Do not beat yourself up. Depression is real and not your fault. Get well.

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

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I'd leave him in school and try to after school to make up for the academic deficiencies. If homeschooling was hurting your relationship and he was getting less and less done, I wouldn't expect it to be better now. I'd give this year time. If he grows to really hate it and starts begging to homeschool, I would reconsider. However, if he is just complaining about school, just as he complained about homeschooling, I wouldn't be too quick to bring him home.

 

I would not get too set in a decision though. I would remain alert to his state of mind and if I believed school was becoming too negative of an experience, if it endangers his mental health in any way, or if you feel you could make homeschooling different this time for some reason, I wouldn't hesitate to change the decision.

:iagree:

Also keep in mind some of us just like to complain, often called venting.  He may just need you to listen and commiserate. As for you 4 y.o. I'd let her stay as well but start looking for a co-op that would fit her social needs for next year if a full day is too much.  

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