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Is it better for kids to go to an inferior school or receive inferior homeschooling?


pinkmint
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I feel like that is what I am asking myself right now. 

 

We live in a school district where it is easy to make homeschool look appealing. The best this area has to offer is "well I guess it could be worse" in terms of schools to choose from. 

 

I want very much to homeschool. I am on board with all the reasons why it's a good idea. At the same time, I find myself overwhelmed with a toddler tornado, tired and depressed a lot of the time, expending all my energy just to do life basics like keeping the kids clean and fed, and living in a cramped home in a low-income neighborhood to name a few things. 

 

So I guess back to the question... if you had to choose between sending your kids to a very sub-par brick and mortar school, or keep them home when you can almost never bring yourself to do real actual table work with the kids what would you choose?

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I would keep them home.  And I did almost zilch actual table work with my kids at those ages. 

 

But I was never depressed either, so take that into account.  I had things that were distressing me from time to time, yes, but I would have had those things in my life whether I had been hs'ing or not.

 

Are you wanting to be around adults more, maybe even getting a job - or something like that? 

Edited by _ ?^..
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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

If it were me, and again this is just me, I would be inclined to send to school because if I am not able to do it regularly at home, they are likely to at least encounter math, reading, spelling, and rudimentary writing on a regular basis. I would then try very hard to time it so my toddler is either in a safe play place with toys or in bed at a certain point before supper so I could sit and look at or assist with homework, or try to shore up some basic concepts that my kids might be struggling with. Afterschooling for an hour can go a long way towards adding value to an education without taking on the burden for the whole process. I would try to make a bed time routine that included reading good literature.

 

Whatever decision you make, I hope you can find peace with it.

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I think it depends on the age, the kid, the personalities, the expectations of the parent that are causing it to seem like or be "inferior" schooling - both for the school and the homeschool environments.

 

Basically, I don't think there's a single right answer here. I think sometimes having a kid home even though you can't meet all your ideals and goals is much better. Some kids thrive with a small dose of schooling and a lot of time for free play or, in the case of older kids, to pursue their own interests and projects. Other times, school is better - and some "bad" schools have great teachers or are "bad" for reasons that won't apply to your kid or are important for some metrics but not ones you'll ultimately care about. 

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I agree that the answer isn't straightforward.

 

I think if you are wondering about this, you should give it a try.  You can change your mind if it isn't working.

 

Or let go of what you think homeschooling is supposed to look like.  I think learning can happen without it looking exactly like a traditional school.  It's easier when everyone just cooperates and you get stuff done, but until then embrace the chaos. 

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Depends on the child.  Some kids aren't successful in b&m school.  Most are.  In your situation, I would send my oldest child to school (next year) if I had no reason to believe he couldn't survive there.  The 5yo, maybe, maybe not, depending on what else you have on your plate.

 

My kids are in B&M school, and I see many benefits for them.  I think it's generally good for kids to learn from multiple adults with different learning styles and to spend time with a variety of other kids.  The varied stimulation / changes of scene kids get at school is also good.  All of these can be difficult to substitute at home, especially if you're feeling worn out.

 

It's not ideal at a marginal school, but I'd try to make the most of what the school has to offer, and use the energy I conserved to fill the gaps somewhat at home.

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I have read some of your posts and I think we are in a similar situation! Well, not 100%, but I also live in an area with poor public schools and have a toddler at home. I cannot manage the home and schooling right now. I am seeing a psychiatrist this week and know living here and trying to juggle things has taken a toll on my mental health. We are anticipating having my son take a placement test this summer at the private school which we can barely afford (I'll start working part-time the few hours a week my husband goes into work late so he can watch the toddler while I'm at work those mornings). And we know that if we send him to the private school this year we probably can't afford to do it the next year and will be back to square one. The tuition goes up after the first year.

 

I would consider after schooling if that's possible. So maybe send the kids to the public school, then try to do some after schooling with them where you can? Or maybe just helping them with homework you can see what they need help with. I'm not sure but I feel like from reading your post that the public school by you might not be too terrible.

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You are dealing with a lot from other posts I have read.  Perhaps try school for now.  Don't sacrifice your own mental and physical well being on the alter of the idea of homeschooling if you don't really know yet even if the school truly is bad or would be a bad fit for your children.  It might actually not be as bad as you think and your children would be getting at least some math/reading/spelling, etc.  If it turns out to be really bad, not just mediocre, then you can always pull them out later.  Give yourself time to help yourself then reassess.  Seek out ways to improve your own situation and work hard to implement those.

 

And if it doesn't work out, you could pull them and just focus on 15 minutes of math or mathy games plus read alouds and some phonics each day.  The rest could be life skills for now.  

 

And right now you could be helping your kids with life skills anyway to take some of the burden off of you.  Pick one thing to work on.  Keep it as positive and upbeat as you can.  Teach your oldest one how to unload/load the dishwasher, for example.  Walk them through what you do and why (personal preference, how the machine runs, or whatever).  Then have them do it with you.  Then they do it with your guidance and support.  Play music and sing songs while you work.  Make eye contact and smile at them if you can.  Focus on each thing they do correctly or at least better than last time.  Praise specifics.  Keep it positive.  In other words, make it an apprenticeship and go through training, but also make it a positive bonding time if you can muster the energy.  Just focus on that one skill.  Once they are really solid and can do it completely on their own (give them days or weeks to really get this down, depending on the child) reward them with a certificate or a mini party or something.  Tell them they are now a journeyman.  Now you have a journeyman helper that can assist you and that hopefully will see the chore as an accomplishment, and a useful skill, not a punishment or pure drudgery.

 

ETA:  Sometimes schools with less than stellar reputations are actually quite good.  

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

If it were me, and again this is just me, I would be inclined to send to school because if I am not able to do it regularly at home, they are likely to at least encounter math, reading, spelling, and rudimentary writing on a regular basis. I would then try very hard to time it so my toddler is either in a safe play place with toys or in bed at a certain point before supper so I could sit and look at or assist with homework, or try to shore up some basic concepts that my kids might be struggling with. Afterschooling for an hour can go a long way towards adding value to an education without taking on the burden for the whole process. I would try to make a bed time routine that included reading good literature.

 

Whatever decision you make, I hope you can find peace with it.

 

This is how I would decide, too.  If I couldn't provide the basics, I'd send my child somewhere that could.  In fact, the year the youngest was born and was horribly colicky/never sleeping/baby demon I did send my oldest off to school.  He went to a place that couldn't give him p.e. and rarely science and well, it was not a good school.  But it was right for us, for that year.  Until things evened out at home, he needed to go somewhere to be educated on a daily basis.  I got to be fun mom, packing cute lunches and taking him out on the weekend for field trips that I would have been too exhausted to even try during the week.  He got to grow a bit and learn to deal with others' expectations.  The next year, he came back home.  I do not for one second regret sending him to a subpar school, because it was MUCH better than the education he would have received from me.

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I did send my oldest to the brick and mortar public school for two years because I was way too exhausted and babysitting was too costly. However the B&M PS was a safe place and my kid had a great time there other than boredom during academic time which he was good at quietly entertaining himself. He enjoyed PE, Music, Art and whatever hands on science they did. My youngest was poopy and pukey and in a stroller until he was nearly 6 because he could fall sleep while walking so having only him to take care of from 8am to 2:15pm was a relief.

 

For us at that time, it was a choice between the free public school and me going back to work to pay for possibly better private schools because I was just exhausted whenever hubby worked past 9pm. On days he could reach home by 6pm, he helped.

 

The actual academics wasn't an issue for us for my kids at the ages of your kids right now. We could do the 3Rs over the weekend and no bookwork on weekdays without worries. School safety in general and school bullying was what we were worried about. Luckily my oldest was big for his age and fierce, and bullies looked for softer targets.

 

For my emotional health, it was better than for my oldest to go to school for k and 1st. In hindsight, he could have stayed all the way to end of 5th without issues. The assigned middle school has "management issues" so we wouldn't have sent him there. My youngest is easily distracted and would have needed afterschooling if we kept him in school after 2nd. He is also my chatterbox so better for us to wear ear plugs at home then for him to annoy teachers at school.

 

In general if both are inferior, might as well stay home. Save the headache of getting the kids ready for school, packing their lunches and picking up the kids. However if you feel your emotional health might benefit with sending them to school for the short haul, then an emotionally healthy parent (regardless mom or dad) is better than a depressed one. It is something each family have to weigh for themselves since our circumstances are all different.

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We always had to be careful with money when the kids were younger, and I was fine with what that meant for us - rarely eating out, lots of used clothes and toys, looking for cheap and free activities, that type of thing. 

 

However, financial security is very important to me. The thought of struggling to pay the bills is very stressful to me, also not being able to replace shoes as soon as needed, the kids not being able to do any paid activities, that type of thing. 

 

We were lucky and managed all my personal requirements while homeschooling. However, if finances had gone south, or we couldn't do those things and also have some savings, my kids would have been in school in a red hot minute. Better a working mom than an anxious and depressed mom, which is what I would be with financial worries. 

 

In your case, I would probably send them if you can get a job, any job that pays for daycare plus some extras for bills. Or a job that can be done while dh is home to watch the baby (and older kids still go to school). If things get better, you can reconsider in a couple of years. 

 

I don't think that much table work is needed at 7 at all, but lots of active play and hands-on learning are. iirc, your neighborhood makes outdoor stuff problematic, and a mom who can't bear the thought of table work is often not a mom who feels like guiding free time and providing other kinds of learning opportunities (but only you know that in your own case). 

 

Speaking more generally, I have come to think that kids are often better off in a subpar school in lieu of subpar homeschooling. (Note: I am not saying that a lack of table work alone makes for a subpar homeschool). It seems to me that many people are very good at convincing themselves that their kids spend their free time far more constructively than they actually do, and that it's very easy to let one derailed year turn into two and three and more. 

 

In a school setting, they are getting at least some formal instruction pretty much every day. They are meeting new people, encountering new ideas, getting out of the house.  A kid who lives in an enriched and engaging environment with plenty of opportunities to explore and learn may thrive with little or no formal schooling, but if that's not what's happening, I think they should at least try school. 

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That is a hard question, for me, die-hard idealist that I am. I don't homeschool to do an inferior job. But I am also fortunate with public schools, so even if I sent a kid to PS here (hasn't happened yet), I believe they would get a decent education. (Speaking only of *MY* own kids; I can't speak to yours.) I also live near some outstanding public libraries, so even if I didn't have two nickles in my materials budget, I could still hack out a pretty good homeschool program with library trips.

 

Having said that, I have homeschooled through some rocky days and some difficult arrangements; things were not easy when all my kids were small. There were times *nothing* got done but listening to a Spanish song cassette and reading E.B. WHite before naptime and bedtime. We survived.

 

Do you sleep well? Do you feel like you have a good routine that works? Do you have any chronic health issues? Because any/all of those detractions can make it hard to parent at all, let alone homeschool.

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I have no idea what's "better" but from what you've said, I would send 'em to school during the day and then unschool/homeschool/afterschool as much as you. It can be easy and fun and enriching. Don't stress yourself out either way. They're gonna be OK.

 

1. Regular library visits. "Tuesday is library day and then we're going for frozen yogurt."
2. Strewing: lots of books, a music player they can control (anything from an old clock-radio to an MP3 player loaded with audio books), construction toys (blocks and/or boxes of modular junk from the Habitat for Humanity Restore), art supplies.

3. Outings to parks, nature centers, shopping malls, festivals, factories, etc.

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Thank you, everyone. 

 

I realize my perception may be skewed. I don't know. People tell me I'm doing a good job but I don't necessarily believe them.

 

When I say the schools are inferior, I mean lots of kids who are out of control. That's what I've heard from teachers who I've met around here. Yes, the schools get poor ratings, and no I haven't seen what it's like first hand but that's my understanding. I've heard the kids in these schools have lots of behavioral issues. My own experience with public school was awful and my concern about sex, drugs, gangs, bullying etc is real. 

 

For what it's worth I'll try to briefly describe how my days are: I want to say for one thing I do deal with depression and low energy but I don't flop around the house crying in my bath robe with dark bags under my eyes all day. I get dressed in real clothes every day, tidy up as much as I can, gently push my kids into a daily routine (things like teeth brushing, bed making, breakfast, vitamins) and try to be kind, caring and smile for them.

 

Since our neighborhood is not nice we go to a park almost daily. I try to teach them along with whatever we're doing each day and answer their many questions that come up. My son is fascinated with railroad crossings and I make an effort to go one minute out of my way when we're out so we can cross the tracks hoping the train will come by. 

 

I read with them occasionally. My goal is to do it daily. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. They play Starfall and learning games a few times a week. I or DH sit down and do our boxed curriculum with them (5 and 7 year old) a couple times a week. We randomly do things like M&M math when I feel up to it (it's a booklet where you count, divide, categorize M&Ms... as you can imagine, they are pretty eager to do that one). 

 

There is a large portion of the day that the older 2 spend in pretend-play mode, both together and separately . They seem to really enjoy it and be good at it. There's some days where there's a lot of youtube kids (it has content filtering) happening on the ipad and some of it is mindless stuff that I can't really justify like watching a lady play with Shopkins etc. Baths and meals take up a portion of the days. Me trying to maintain order with dishes and laundry takes up a portion of the day. Sometimes I turn on upbeat music that I like and we dance or blow off steam as much as we can indoors. 

 

Most days my energy crashes pretty badly in the early afternoon and I take a nap and/ or lay down for 2 hours or more. The kids are always safe and if I have to choose between laying down and tending to their needs I will always help them. But there are times where it seems like there's nothing but kids shows on Netflix and youtube, me laying down because I can't do anything else and the house being trashed. 

 

What makes things extra hard is that we have basically nothing in terms of extended family support. It's a depressing combination of geographic distance, difficult, fractured relationships and not being like-minded (hostility towards homeschool etc) as well as trying to have a decent life for DH, myself and our kids on a single income household that is probably lower than anyone we know. 

Edited by pinkmint
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Well, fwiw, you've kind of described my life when my kids were little.  Low energy, trying to stick to a routine, getting the kids outside for part of the day, napping with them, our days revolving around baths and meals and naps, my trying to stay ahead of the clothes and dishes, dancing with the music, NO family support (or even family nearby), barely scraping by financially, etc.  Only I used Bugs Bunny videos instead of the things you're using, and I probably did less actual schoolwork with mine than you're doing.  And my kids also played alone or with each other every day, sometimes trashing the house. 

 

I don't know what to tell you except that it got better for me as the years went by.  My kids got older, I found my groove with the hs'ing, and the finances eased up with every move (different job) we made.  Only my dh was never as helpful as yours seems to be. 

 

I hope you find some peace.  :grouphug:  

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Long term, you might think about school as a better option. However, what you describe sounds beyond fine for such young kids. You could be doing a million more things and there would still be more you could do. There's always more you could do. What you're doing now seems fine.

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I would continue to homeschool. I wouldn't want the outside influences, hassle of packing lunches, getting the kids up and dressed, etc. Sometimes there is a "circle the wagon" season of life and homeschool. I've just been thru one. We took 2 years to get thru their math books. :( Simplify your life, read good books while snuggling with your little ones, and take care of yourself.

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Thank you, everyone. 

 

I realize my perception may be skewed. I don't know. People tell me I'm doing a good job but I don't necessarily believe them.

 

When I say the schools are inferior, I mean lots of kids who are out of control. That's what I've heard from teachers who I've met around here. Yes, the schools get poor ratings, and no I haven't seen what it's like first hand but that's my understanding. I've heard the kids in these schools have lots of behavioral issues. My own experience with public school was awful and my concern about sex, drugs, gangs, bullying etc is real. 

 

For what it's worth I'll try to briefly describe how my days are: I want to say for one thing I do deal with depression and low energy but I don't flop around the house crying in my bath robe with dark bags under my eyes all day. I get dressed in real clothes every day, tidy up as much as I can, gently push my kids into a daily routine (things like teeth brushing, bed making, breakfast, vitamins) and try to be kind, caring and smile for them.

 

Since our neighborhood is not nice we go to a park almost daily. I try to teach them along with whatever we're doing each day and answer their many questions that come up. My son is fascinated with railroad crossings and I make an effort to go one minute out of my way when we're out so we can cross the tracks hoping the train will come by. 

 

I read with them occasionally. My goal is to do it daily. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. They play Starfall and learning games a few times a week. I or DH sit down and do our boxed curriculum with them (5 and 7 year old) a couple times a week. We randomly do things like M&M math when I feel up to it (it's a booklet where you count, divide, categorize M&Ms... as you can imagine, they are pretty eager to do that one). 

 

There is a large portion of the day that the older 2 spend in pretend-play mode, both together and separately . They seem to really enjoy it and be good at it. There's some days where there's a lot of youtube kids (it has content filtering) happening on the ipad and some of it is mindless stuff that I can't really justify like watching a lady play with Shopkins etc. Baths and meals take up a portion of the days. Me trying to maintain order with dishes and laundry takes up a portion of the day. Sometimes I turn on upbeat music that I like and we dance or blow off steam as much as we can indoors. 

 

Most days my energy crashes pretty badly in the early afternoon and I take a nap and/ or lay down for 2 hours or more. The kids are always safe and if I have to choose between laying down and tending to their needs I will always help them. But there are times where it seems like there's nothing but kids shows on Netflix and youtube, me laying down because I can't do anything else and the house being trashed. 

 

What makes things extra hard is that we have basically nothing in terms of extended family support. It's a depressing combination of geographic distance, difficult, fractured relationships and not being like-minded (hostility towards homeschool etc) as well as trying to have a decent life for DH, myself and our kids on a single income household that is probably lower than anyone we know. 

 

 

It sounds to me like you are doing fine under the circumstances.

 

I suggest adding as much in audiobooks as you can, getting them as you can such as library, interlibrary loan, Librivox (all the former would be free if you have free library priviledges, or at least probably pretty inexpensive), or buy used, use Audible, etc.  if necessary, but that obviously will cost more. That way you can all be read to while other things are happening or they can be read to while you are napping. If you have to buy audio books, choose long ones if possible.

 

And look for good age appropriate educational documentaries on Netflix.

 

Can you start a vegetable garden? That might be a good thing for health for everyone, some food to stretch budget, and would be a great learning experience too. 

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At your kid's ages, I would just let go of expectations and enjoy my littles.  At that age, we just did a tiny block of reading, writing, and math.  Then we played and ran and did "field trips" and went to the library and just had fun.  My kids barely sat to do school work at those ages and still ended up quite ahead of grade level. 

 

That said, if you just need a break and need to make B&M school work for a while, I think that is fine too. 

 

I just wouldn't make that decision because you aren't getting much structured work done with very young kids. I know more than one homeschooler who got frustrated when their kids didn't jump on all these curriculum based plans they had lined up.  Kids that play hard and are immersed in a enriching environment just learn whether you plan it or not. 

 

I will also say my oldest went to kindergarten and first.  With a bright quirky kid, I found it less work to homeschool in a relaxed way than to jump through all the school hoops - homework, projects, fund raisers, crabby kid at the end of the day, behavioral issues, etc.

Edited by WoolySocks
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If the safety at school is suspect, I'll keep kids home. For reading, the scholastic DVDs that hubby and I borrowed from the library helped since I do not enjoy read aloud.

 

It is the scholastic storybook treasures series

https://store.scholastic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SearchCmd?catalogId=16551&langId=-11301&storeId=11301&krypto=rcSfgIN3m8M4Bn32WaEwJfnPW3xckQGUZKDMWS%2FudjaqSwjrGYzIfLC%2BMF5qa6xLGEIj0nSTX7PyNuNBjlm1fbCi1BRopK9gZh6BiB%2BDSOMJsqOcPXJGAHStHPQF2MqO8kxQRimZN8GfVOaHsuP1FQ%3D%3D&ddkey=http%3ASearchCmd

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I think that sounds fine. Can you switch some of the TV to educational stuff? heck, my kids learn a ton from Sid the Science Kid, and like things like Unlikely Animal Kids, Dogs with Jobs, Rock the Park, and a few other nature type shows. Add in Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts, etc and they learn more than you think. Then do reading a few days a week (apps count) and math 4 days a week. Some of those days could be weekend days. 

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Thank you so much. I really need to hear "that is normal" sometimes. Or even "you're doing fine considering everything".

 

Homeschooling can feel like such a huge, life overtaking choice even when the kids are all fairly little. It feels like all the "normal" kids are in school 6 hours a day and I have to prove that we're doing something so impressive in those 6 hours besides being at school and we're just not. But maybe it's just a different ballgame altogether.

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Thank you so much. I really need to hear "that is normal" sometimes. Or even "you're doing fine considering everything".

 

Homeschooling can feel like such a huge, life overtaking choice even when the kids are all fairly little. It feels like all the "normal" kids are in school 6 hours a day and I have to prove that we're doing something so impressive in those 6 hours besides being at school and we're just not. But maybe it's just a different ballgame altogether.

Kids are in school 6 hours a day because that's how long it takes to do the basics with a class of 25-35 kids. In my house, the basics take 2 hours (2nd grade), and that's a pretty rigorous curriculum and a kid with ASD and ADHD. Sure, they do other educational things the rest of the day, but mostly, they play. PreK with my just turned 5 years old DS2 takes 10 minutes if he cooperates, 20 if he's refusing to cooperate.

 

If you think sending them to school will help you, then send them to school. But don't send them because you think you need to educate them 6 hours a day. (For the record, DS2 is going to public K next year for many reasons. One of those reasons is that I need a break so I can be the best mom for him. My other two will stay at home. I'm not thrilled with sending him, but I think it will be a good experiment. At the very least, we'll find out how the schools are from the inside.)

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For me, it depends on in what way the neighborhood schools are subpar.  

 

What you are doing with such young kids doesn't sound that bad.  On the other hand, you don't (probably) want to be in the same place 3-4 years from now, when the oldest is getting ready for middle school and will need more comprehensive education.

 

If you put them in school/daycare, could you get a job (feasibly) that would allow you in a year or two to move to a better neighborhood with better schools?  Even if you're just making an extra $500/month, that should cover the extra rent for a decent/good neighborhood.  By then your toddler would almost be in K, too, so you wouldn't have to worry about daycare costs.

 

I think that for *now*, while your kids are young, it is not a crucial issue whether the schools are not great (5 and 7 year olds are not generally dealing drugs or having sex, even in the worst schools) and it is not a crucial issue whether your homeschooling is super double plus amazing or just sort of piddling along.  

 

In a couple of years it will matter more, but at that point you will have more options (especially if you start planning now by acquiring some skills or certifications, to the extent possible).

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I will say that out of control kids can be a real problem even in early grades. My son's 1st grade classroom was a nightmare. Kids literally climbing the walls, being disruptive, etc. One child had to be physically removed from the classroom (carried out) multiple times a week. My son was also bitten by another child at that school, something I expect in preschool, not first grade! It was not a good experience for him. And it was a "good" school! 

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It depends a bit? If you mean inferior academically that's not such a big deal for me, but if it's inferior in the sense that bullying isn't in check and social situation is really nasty I'd go with home over school any day. Unless the home situation is really really nasty like abusive.

 

That said I totally get as a mum needing a mental health break and it doesn't have to be a forever decision. Also if you aren't planning more babies the toddler stage is short and life gets easier again. My youngest is four now and it's getting easier.

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So I guess back to the question... if you had to choose between sending your kids to a very sub-par brick and mortar school, or keep them home when you can almost never bring yourself to do real actual table work with the kids what would you choose?

 

I remember your post from last summer in which you were basically feeling the same way. So it seems that things haven't really gotten better for you. Is that accurate?

 

For that reason, it may be worth it to send your kids to school in the fall. You seem to be depressed and overwhelmed. Your mental health needs to be a priority for you.

 

That said, what you have described of your days sounds pretty normal for a homeschooler with kids that young. Some people have formal school lessons at those ages (I did, but a lot of my friends didn't), and some are more of the "let them play" mindset. I think either is fine. The one thing that is concerning is that you want to do more but seem unable to make it happen.

 

You have about four months before your kids could go to school anyway (unless your district does year-round school). Here is what I might try in your situation: Register the kids for school. Then, if you aren't confident that you really want to send them, try to get more of a schoolish schedule going at home over the summer. Make a checklist of what you want to accomplish during the day, and really commit yourself to sticking with it. When my kids were 7, we did school 4 days a week for about 2 hours. I found it worked best for me to get it done first thing in the morning, right after breakfast. Then it was done and not hanging over my head. We did history (reading form Story of the World, History Pockets), science (mostly just reading science-related books we got from the library), math, and writing. If you try to commit to 8 hours a week of working with your seven-year-old (the five-year-old can tag along for free), and you feel by the time summer ends that you are making progress, and you don't want to put the kids in school after all, then you have at least the beginnings of a solid plan. I wouldn't worry too too much about academics until the year your son would be in fourth grade. By then I think it's time to ramp it up a bit. By then your toddler will no longer be a toddler, and that will make a huge difference. The toddler years are hard.

 

And btw, my kids had quiet time in their rooms for 1 1/2-2 hours every day until they were ten, so there's no shame in you taking a nap in the afternoon.

 

Have you been able to connect with other homeschoolers? Ask your librarian if she/he knows any homeschooling families. Chances are, the local homeschoolers are well known by the librarians. Have you been able to find free, kid-oriented activities through your local parks system? Can you get a scholarship to the YMCA? If so, you could work out (which would probably help with the depression) while the kids were in the childcare room, and then you could take advantage of the activities at the Y.

 

Best wishes.

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Both DH and I are ok with not having more babies considering everything... so I think remembering that the toddler will grow less wild and crazy soon is a good thing to keep in mind. I want to enjoy his toddler-ness too and not be sitting impatiently waiting for him to grow up. So he screams and tries to trash anything in his reach when I attempt to accomplish something with the older kids. I guess this is within the range of normal for a 2 year old. 

 

If I seem like I keep struggling with the same type of thing, it's true. Some days are better than others. I am hesitant with how much I should share but I guess I just want encouragement from time to time. Maybe one day I will never have times of being distraught and unsure about homeschooling but maybe not. 

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What you are doing at home with the kids sounds fine to me. But I've found that I'm really a very poor judge of what is best for other people. I am a reasonably good judge of what is right for me. Now that might sound kind of selfish, but really, it's all I've got. I simply do not possess the ability to look into the future, however much I squint at it.

 

So I would challenge you to look at what life is for you right now, and not to worry so much over whether life is everything you want for the kids. What can be done, at this moment, that would make life better for you? Your situation is so much different than mine, but I know that I have certain requirements that I really, really want to have met every day to help me function better as a mom. And I've been down the depression road, and that's an awful trip, because nothing really makes sense in that landscape. 

 

If it helps you to take a nap in the day, then do so and have no guilt about doing it. Think of how you would feel if I told you that the toddler really needed a nap, but I was going to force him to stay up and do his picking up, and his pre-school activities, and make him eat dinner with the family rather than let him take a nap because those things were too important for him to do before he rested. I'd deserve to get blasted for such a suggestion! You take your nap; you need it. 

Read aloud? Audiobook. And let me tell you, some of the readers do a lot better job than I do. You go lay down.

House a mess? Who cares? If you do, then make it a goal to do just one thing a day, and when you've done that, the house is clean. Regardless of whether everything is or not. You've done your part to combat entropy for one day.

If you love going to the park every day, do so. If it stresses you sometimes to do that, then don't. There were days of depression where brushing my teeth was a major accomplishment. Do not expect every day to have the same amount of energy available. One good day could be followed by an average day, or a terrible day. So have ideas of what you can do on each type of day. Good days might be school and the park and an afternoon rest with a read aloud. Average days-maybe just school and laundry and a nap. Bad days might be documentary on the insect kingdom, peanut butter sandwiches and a short nap in the morning and a longer rest after lunch.

 

It may help you to have the two oldest in school. It also might be a headache in and of itself, getting everybody ready in the morning while the toddler isn't helping, and then having to help with homework in the evenings when that starts to happen. I don't know if it would be right for you. And really, that's what you can do. It's great to be thinking ahead to what everybody else needs, but if your own needs are suffering in that situation, then whatever you do isn't going to be the best thing. You have to take care of yourself first.

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Maybe one day I will never have times of being distraught and unsure about homeschooling but maybe not. 

 

I hope this is true.

 

FWIW, I had a terrible time trying to homeschool my oldest child (now 22). I finally put her in school, and it was the best choice all the way around. I felt like a failure at the time, but it worked out in the end.

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Mama, from your description later in the thread, I think you're doing fine!  Especially if inferior school means behavior and classroom management issues -- I would not want my children in that sort of environment if I had any choice. 

 

I have definitely had seasons where I haven't been able to do as much with my children as I would like, or as I think is ideal, usually because of pregnancy or tiny babies.  It's okay.  Especially when they're that young.  

 

And there are a lot of good educational TV shows.  My kids adore Wild Kratts, and they have learned a TON about animals from it, and more importantly, they have an appreciation for animals that goes beyond just knowledge.  They like Bill Nye too, and I hear there are Magic Schoolbus videos.  

 

Audiobooks might be a great choice.  My boys like Magic Treehouse, Pooh, Henry Huggins, etc.  

 

You might also look for the Classical Kids and Beethoven's Wig CDs.  The latter is sillier, but both introduce kids to classical music.  

 

There's also Storylineonline.net, which has famous actors reading picture books.  I sometimes put that on for the little guys.

 

But whatever you do, don't stress too much.  At least not yet.  I would focus on trying to accomplish one table time thing each day, just one.  And when it is a solid habit, then add a second one, and so on.

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We are sending DS to K next year at our neighborhood school, which is kind of meh, but conveniently within walking distance (even for a K'er). This is for several reasons:

 

1. I am the main "educational supervisor" for homeschooling, while DH is the main day-to-day supervisor of the children because I'm out of town at work M-F. This is working okay for the middle schooler; I doubt it would work so well for a kindergartener.

 

2. DS would be a constant distraction making it less likely DD would get much done in the way of learning if he's home all day every day.

 

3. DH needs to be able to do HIS schoolwork (he's a grad student and a lot of his classes are online but still require study and time). School = free child care. It's full day K.

 

4. DS is very sociable and would be bored out of his little skull home all day every day. Which would lead to more of #2.

 

5. DS finds DD's tantrums (mood disorder issues) stressful and needs a break from her, too.

 

6. It's Kindergarten. I'm not worried too much about how much he does or doesn't learn; he's already ahead of the curve going in.

 

IF we run into socialization problems because of school, they're not likely to be any worse than the negative stuff DS already picks up from his sister.  :001_rolleyes:  We will re-evaluate as we come up to middle school.

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I've read a lot of "your child is 7, you don't need to do much" type posts in this thread. Here I am kinda freaking out (telling myself not to) because of the list of things in the second grade scope and sequence at this school we might send ds next year for third. I'm seeing what we missed and trying to check off items. Most of it is not crucial stuff, though.

 

I think nowadays there's a huge range of what is taught in second. It can vary so much from school to school. Likely you are hitting the main points, though.

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I've read a lot of "your child is 7, you don't need to do much" type posts in this thread. Here I am kinda freaking out (telling myself not to) because of the list of things in the second grade scope and sequence at this school we might send ds next year for third. I'm seeing what we missed and trying to check off items. Most of it is not crucial stuff, though.

 

I think nowadays there's a huge range of what is taught in second. It can vary so much from school to school. Likely you are hitting the main points, though.

 

There's often a big gap between what a school says it teaches kids and what kids actually end up learning and retaining into the next school year.

 

My kids are in a good school, but they never get much past the middle of the math book or the early chapters of the science / social studies books.  Ultimately it doesn't matter by the time the next school year starts.  Somehow the school manages to get good test scores.

 

I think if reading and math are solid, the rest will be OK.

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I think for kids your age, what you are doing school wise is fine, you could probably make some little changes that might make you feel better about it.

 

FWIW, here we homeschool grade 1 and 2 about an hour a day, less for K.  I think ps tends to be long for kids that age, even if it is a pretty good school.

 

If the school was a nice place - safe, caring - I would have no problem though sending thenm if I needed to for may sanity, to learn basic reading and writing, or for serious economic reasons.

 

Past that and academic concerns start to play into it for me, less so at first, more later.  THough once kids get older still, they may be able to make a lot out of even a mediocre program, if they are motivated.

 

 

 

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Thank you, everyone. 

 

I realize my perception may be skewed. I don't know. People tell me I'm doing a good job but I don't necessarily believe them.

 

When I say the schools are inferior, I mean lots of kids who are out of control. That's what I've heard from teachers who I've met around here. Yes, the schools get poor ratings, and no I haven't seen what it's like first hand but that's my understanding. I've heard the kids in these schools have lots of behavioral issues. My own experience with public school was awful and my concern about sex, drugs, gangs, bullying etc is real. 

 

For what it's worth I'll try to briefly describe how my days are: I want to say for one thing I do deal with depression and low energy but I don't flop around the house crying in my bath robe with dark bags under my eyes all day. I get dressed in real clothes every day, tidy up as much as I can, gently push my kids into a daily routine (things like teeth brushing, bed making, breakfast, vitamins) and try to be kind, caring and smile for them.

 

Since our neighborhood is not nice we go to a park almost daily. I try to teach them along with whatever we're doing each day and answer their many questions that come up. My son is fascinated with railroad crossings and I make an effort to go one minute out of my way when we're out so we can cross the tracks hoping the train will come by. 

 

I read with them occasionally. My goal is to do it daily. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. They play Starfall and learning games a few times a week. I or DH sit down and do our boxed curriculum with them (5 and 7 year old) a couple times a week. We randomly do things like M&M math when I feel up to it (it's a booklet where you count, divide, categorize M&Ms... as you can imagine, they are pretty eager to do that one). 

 

There is a large portion of the day that the older 2 spend in pretend-play mode, both together and separately . They seem to really enjoy it and be good at it. There's some days where there's a lot of youtube kids (it has content filtering) happening on the ipad and some of it is mindless stuff that I can't really justify like watching a lady play with Shopkins etc. Baths and meals take up a portion of the days. Me trying to maintain order with dishes and laundry takes up a portion of the day. Sometimes I turn on upbeat music that I like and we dance or blow off steam as much as we can indoors. 

 

Most days my energy crashes pretty badly in the early afternoon and I take a nap and/ or lay down for 2 hours or more. The kids are always safe and if I have to choose between laying down and tending to their needs I will always help them. But there are times where it seems like there's nothing but kids shows on Netflix and youtube, me laying down because I can't do anything else and the house being trashed. 

 

What makes things extra hard is that we have basically nothing in terms of extended family support. It's a depressing combination of geographic distance, difficult, fractured relationships and not being like-minded (hostility towards homeschool etc) as well as trying to have a decent life for DH, myself and our kids on a single income household that is probably lower than anyone we know. 

Well, in my opinion , this sounds great. They are young children of 5 and 7. Going to the park regularly to play, being read to , playing learning games like Starfall, and a little bit of formal curriculum adds up to perfectly ago appropriate learning. Plus you walk through life with them and answer their questions as they come up.

 

Keep homeschooling is my advice. You are doing fine.  :grouphug:

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There's often a big gap between what a school says it teaches kids and what kids actually end up learning and retaining into the next school year.

 

My kids are in a good school, but they never get much past the middle of the math book or the early chapters of the science / social studies books.  Ultimately it doesn't matter by the time the next school year starts.  Somehow the school manages to get good test scores.

 

I think if reading and math are solid, the rest will be OK.

 

In my case it was stuff like "tell time with roman numeral clock" (which is easy to teach, but not something that occurred to me to include as it wasn't in our math). Also, I've noticed recently that different schools have different requirements about mult. facts learned in second grade. I had no idea that sometimes kids are expected to know times tables up to five before entering third grade. Thank goodness or Times Tales. We're zipping through them.

 

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In my case it was stuff like "tell time with roman numeral clock" (which is easy to teach, but not something that occurred to me to include as it wasn't in our math). Also, I've noticed recently that different schools have different requirements about mult. facts learned in second grade. I had no idea that sometimes kids are expected to know times tables up to five before entering third grade. Thank goodness or Times Tales. We're zipping through them.

 

 

DS started learning multiplication in grade 2. But he's a bit ahead of the curve.  They have NOT spent as much time on multiplication in grade 3 as I expected though! Lots of time spent on place value, went into divisions. More solving problems. Interpreting from the paragraph what was needed and then doing the math. Some fractions. In fact, we are now at the end of the year and I realize my son is not solid on his multiplication facts. He knows how to derive them and can figure them out one way or another. But the almost-immediate recall needed to use that data in further... he's not there.

 

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Our school (using Singapore Math In Focus) did a little multiplication in 1st grade, a little more in 2nd, etc.  I don't remember exactly where they were at the end of 2nd.  I am sure they needed to multiply multi-digit numbers (e.g. 65x24) in 3rd.  And do long division also.

 

My kids are 9 (finishing 4th grade) and one of them still has to use her fingers for some addition facts.  For some reason, she remembers multiplication facts better, but doesn't have them all memorized.  She uses her fingers to divide also.  Imagine how long it takes her to do operations with fractions with different denominators (and then reduce the result).  It would be great if it were automatic, but she manages to do OK.

 

We have been drilling the "facts" for years now, but this kid has memory problems and I can't fix that.  She makes up for it in hard work.

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Based on your further-information post, OP, in  your shoes I probably would not send the kids to school.  You're doing fine. I would, however, want to maybe get to a doctor and try to get to the bottom of your low energy/depression and work on improving your health if you can.

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I think sending the kids to your local school would cause MORE work for you.   A school like that can cause damage to your kids that you would have to put a lot of effort into correcting.  If your kid is actually scared while in school, frontal cortex learning won't happen.  

 

Don't "They" say that homeschooling Kindergarten should take about a half-hour and 1st about an hour?  

 

Have you looked to see if your library has a subscription to an audio-book library?   Mine has some kids books.   You could make listening to audio-books together as an early afternoon activity.   They can color or lego or do something else quiet with their hands while listening.   I think if you add that onto what you are already doing your homeschool wouldn't just be better than the B&M school (which I think it already is) to superior to an excellent school.  

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Both DH and I are ok with not having more babies considering everything... so I think remembering that the toddler will grow less wild and crazy soon is a good thing to keep in mind. I want to enjoy his toddler-ness too and not be sitting impatiently waiting for him to grow up. So he screams and tries to trash anything in his reach when I attempt to accomplish something with the older kids. I guess this is within the range of normal for a 2 year old. 

 

If I seem like I keep struggling with the same type of thing, it's true. Some days are better than others. I am hesitant with how much I should share but I guess I just want encouragement from time to time. Maybe one day I will never have times of being distraught and unsure about homeschooling but maybe not. 

 

I always read your posts with interest - you caught my eye from when you first joined the forums.  I think everything you wrote in this thread just sounds normal for a mother with three young children.  OK, so you deal with depression.  But you don't sound like it's debilitating to you and your family.  And your kids sound like they are thriving under your care.  And it sounds like you are moving forward with plans, little improvements here and there, etc..  You come back here and ask for encouragement any time you need it.  We've homeschooled through some pretty tough times, too.  But each time, for us, continuing was the best choice.  I don't regret it.  Hang in there!  And a note about another thread of yours - it's fine to take afternoon naps.  Don't worry right now about WHY you are tired - just sleep.  It's tiring being a mother of little kids!  :D

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One thing I would consider is clarifying what you are trying to accomplish, and how. 

 

Lots of pretend play and park time with occasional reading and activities can work, but if that was my approach I would ditch the expensive boxed curriculum so it's not sitting on the shelf making me feel guilty. The two approaches do not have to be mutually exclusive, but boxed curriculum costs way too much for most of us if it's not going to be a near daily focus.  

 

Reframing is powerful. If you truly think it is worthwhile for the kids to spend much of the next year playing and reading and such, then own that and commit to it. You will feel better and more positive if the kids are at the park all afternoon intentionally, rather than because "damn, I couldn't get it together to do table work today." And getting rid of the distraction of curriculum you aren't using will help you come up with additional ways to set up incidental learning. 

 

Now, having said that, I do think I would still consider school in your situation, or rather, what I perceive as your situation, bc obviously I don't have all the details. I would consider school if I could get a job, bc your finances seem quite shaky, and a source of ongoing stress for you. I don't see how the overall situation is going to change without an additional source of income. Certain aspects will change, such as the toddler getting older, but not the overall financial situation. You would have to decide if you're okay with that as well. 

 

 

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DS started learning multiplication in grade 2. But he's a bit ahead of the curve.  They have NOT spent as much time on multiplication in grade 3 as I expected though! Lots of time spent on place value, went into divisions. More solving problems. Interpreting from the paragraph what was needed and then doing the math. Some fractions. In fact, we are now at the end of the year and I realize my son is not solid on his multiplication facts. He knows how to derive them and can figure them out one way or another. But the almost-immediate recall needed to use that data in further... he's not there.

 

 

Interesting. I know I said it once already, but I do think Times Tales is very helpful. We watched part 1 last week and part 2 today. Ds has already learned several times tables. They don't cover every mult. fact, but a good few up to 9. The list of which facts are covered is on their website.

 

Our school (using Singapore Math In Focus) did a little multiplication in 1st grade, a little more in 2nd, etc.  I don't remember exactly where they were at the end of 2nd.  I am sure they needed to multiply multi-digit numbers (e.g. 65x24) in 3rd.  And do long division also.

 

My kids are 9 (finishing 4th grade) and one of them still has to use her fingers for some addition facts.  For some reason, she remembers multiplication facts better, but doesn't have them all memorized.  She uses her fingers to divide also.  Imagine how long it takes her to do operations with fractions with different denominators (and then reduce the result).  It would be great if it were automatic, but she manages to do OK.

 

We have been drilling the "facts" for years now, but this kid has memory problems and I can't fix that.  She makes up for it in hard work.

 

I might have dyscalculia which I think has something to do with my ability to retain numbers/facts. But I don't know. Never been formally tested. I did fine in math classes so long as I wasn't called on to answer a mental math ques. Just a little slower with some things. In many cases calculators were allowed so it maybe didn't slow me down all the time so long as I knew what I needed to plug into the calculator. It's possible she has dyscalculia. The book Two Plus Two is Not Five (addition facts up to 18) has been very helpful. I mean, I'm an adult that didn't learn all her math facts well and it's helping me. I recommend it.

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Are you getting enough sleep at night? When I don't get enough sleep, I get terribly depressed. Even if you're napping, maybe you need more nighttime sleep. Just throwing that out there. I've found that the less sleep I get, the more depressed I get. And weirdly enough, the more depressed I am, the less I want to sleep at night. I'll stay up from 11 to 1, just sitting there feeling terribly, terribly sad. But if I can finally get myself to bed and get enough sleep for a week or so, the depression is gone.

 

If that's oversimplifying it, then ignore. I have a nurse practitioner friend who has people come to her constantly for depression and when she prescribes more sleep, they get better. It's the first thing to look into.

 

Can the toddler go to some sort of preschool next year? If it's for 2 hours or so, you could get the bulk of the 3 R's done with the older ones while he's away playing. I'd keep the olders home and see if there's a safe place for the youngest to go for a couple of hours.

 

And if it's not sleep, and there's no where for the toddler to go, I think you're wise to realize he'll get older and things will get better with him. He'll get more used to the idea that there are times when he's not the center of attention.

 

And from what you wrote, your day sounds fine with kids those ages. I agree with someone else about having the 7 year old have a steady diet of math. Make math for the 7 yo the first priority each day and then go from there.

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