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Meadowlark

What are the benefits of homeschooling just in the early years?

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I've been thinking about this lately as I'm contemplating sending my little ones to school along with the big ones. One of my friends recently said "Well, if you're planning to send them in 4th or 5th, what's the point in homeschooling before then?" 

 

It really got me thinking. What do you think the benefits would be for the child to homeschool K-3 for example, but then go to public school?

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Learning fundamentals such as reading, writing, and arithmetic at their own pace, in a lower pressure environment. I think kids can quickly lose their love of learning in these years.

 

Delaying needing to sit still at a desk for extended periods of time. More play-based learning.

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Depends on the kid and the school and the family dynamic.  

 

Locally schools are moving more and more towards developmentally inappropriate clerical seat work for hours on end even with 4 year olds.  Homeschooling during that time would give your children a chance to spend more time learning through play, developing necessary skill sets at their developmental pace, and having more time for bonding, fun read alouds, cuddle time, etc.  Not having that time in the early years to learn through exploration and play can, IMHO, be damaging to brain development.  Instead, in many schools they are primarily fed info to then regurgitate, instead of developing stronger critical thinking and problem solving skills.  This isn't true for all schools, though.  

 

School is hours long and not all schools recognize the inherent need for physical movement and unstructured and structured play in the early years.  Some focus entirely on memorization of facts and preparation for standardized tests and lots of seat work.  Physical development can be hindered as well as brain development.  

 

Again, though, this is not all schools.  Some have terrific programs.  And some kids do better in a highly structured environment in the early years.  And some thrive on outside instruction and time with other children.  

 

What would your goals be for homeschooling?  What would your goals be if they attended a brick and mortar?

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Well I will say that when my dc are out with others, I consistently appreciate that they had the careful attention to discipline that being home allows. My ds is pretty off the charts with behavior, and EVEN SO, my ds is more compliant (in general) than many kids I see from the ps. Like I'm not meaning to compare,but I'm just saying. No way would I let my ds' behavior fall to anyone not as committed as I am to getting him to a place of understanding appropriate, pro-social behavior.

 

So if you have a school situation that is nurturing and kind and committed and carries over like you would, maybe it's no big deal! Like whatever is making you think they should just all go when they go is an issue and real and something to be concerned about. Maybe it's time. But that's what would matter to me at that age. School in the earliest years, like K4 and K5, is discipline, discipline, discipline. So if they're nurturing a warm, responsive, caring environment and will follow through like you'd like to see, there's no issue. It just all depends. But I wouldn't hesitate to be picky. Those are really important years!

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Yeah, our ps locally doesn't even teach reading, only word lists. No way in the world I'd let that school teach my dc. But the school one district over teaches just fine, has OG tutors, the whole nine yards. So it all depends on the school. Could be lovely or could be detrimental.

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My mom kept most of us home until age 8; it gave us a lovely, peaceful childhood with little stress and a great deal of time for play and exploration and being read to.

 

My memories of those early childhood years are truly idyllic. When we did go to school, we were curious and eager to learn and not already burnt out and indifferent as many classmates seemed to be.

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What everyone else said, really. 

 

Something stuck out to me when I was teaching (in a school, so not my own kids): The kids belong to the parents until middle school/late elementary. (Involved) parents at that age want to know everything we are doing in school. There is a huge struggle for the teachers and parents to communicate effectively. After elementary school, they start to be able to be in charge of their own education a bit more. Older students can be more responsible for their assignments and due dates, etc.

 

I figured, skip the middle man, and I'll teach the lower grades myself. School for the lower grades always strikes me as some sort of insane plot to get all of the kids in full day day care. In ten years, full day preschool for 4 year olds will be the norm. I do plan to homeschool high school though.

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The best analogy I've seen is hothouse plants - nurture them inside, gradually ease them outside until they are ready for true maturity, independence and productivity.

 

The benefits for K-3 homeschooling, IMO, in no particular order:

 - better sleep

 - better meals

 - going to the bathroom as needed

 - less missed school due to sickness (generally less sickness period)

 - delay the peer effect so many kids are subject to

 - build closer family relationships with parents and siblings

 - individualized instruction for foundation skills in reading, writing and math

 - more exposure to the real world; less segregation with only age-mates

 - more time to impart your family values

 - build a family culture that values learning

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One big positive for my kids has been lots of time to bond with grandparents, great grandparents and other relatives.

 

We don't have any family locally, but my kids have developed close relationships with relatives across the state and across the country because of the freedom homeschooling allows us.

 

Any time we want, the kids and I can pack up and drive two hours and spend time with my parents.  We can spend a week with them without the kids missing any school.  Last year the kids and I tagged along with DH on a business trip and stayed with my aunt in Florida in the middle of February.  In a couple months we are going to take a road trip down to celebrate my MIL's 70th birthday...none of her other grandchildren will be there because they all have school.

 

Hopefully my children will be lucky enough to have living grandparents into their adulthood, but that is far from a guarantee.  Therefore I see a lot of value in building those bonds now, while the kids are young and visits don't have to be juggled around outside classes or work schedules.

 

Wendy

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I love hearing these prospectives! A couple of thoughts come to mind:

 

OhElizabeth-I really have no idea if this is a responsive,  nurturing/play-based school. I did visit last week but what I came away with was quite a bit of chaos and pretty big class sizes. For example, if I put my shy 6 yr. old in first grade next year, he'd be one of 27-28. I just hate that. I know he would get devoured because he would barely say boo. 

 

Wendy-I am putting my older kids in school, so we will be stuck to that school calendar so I wouldn't have the flexibility that you spoke of. 

 

Maize-that DOES sound just beautiful how you described it. 

 

Did I mention I'm having a c-section the last week of July? So just another thing to consider. You all are convincing me that I could possibly do this though...hmm.

 

Edited by Meadowlark
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I love hearing these prospectives! A couple of thoughts come to mind:

 

OhElizabeth-I really have no idea if this is a responsive, nurturing/play-based school. I did visit last week but what I came away with was quite a bit of chaos and pretty big class sizes. For example, if I put my shy 6 yr. old in first grade next year, he'd be one of 27-28. I just hate that. I know he would get devoured because he would barely say boo.

 

Wendy-I am putting my older kids in school, so we will be stuck to that school calendar so I wouldn't have the flexibility that you spoke of.

 

Maize-that DOES sound just beautiful how you described it.

 

Did I mention I'm having a c-section the last week of July? So just another thing to consider. You all are convincing me that I could possibly do this though...hmm.

Maybe you put the 3 yo in preschool a few mornings a week and keep the 5 and 6 yo home? That depends on your finances and the proximity of the school to you. You could do school with the 5 and 6 year old in an hour or two and let them play the rest of the day. Or if the 3 yo is relatively low maintenance, keep all three home.

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It really depends on the kids and you and their bent. IMO elementary school is the most fun if you live in a good school district. Middle school is horrible no matter where they go. High school totally depends 200% on the kid :)

 

Elementary school pros;

Fun class parties

Hands on activities

Group learning

Fun of coming and going

Possible money for IEP if needed

More time for you to get housework done

Enjoy the routines of seasons and events such as all the class parties for valentines, black history, saint patrick, etc.

Opportunities to join the band and sports at no cost to you

 

My dd's best friend was in one of the best school Distructs in the country (Los Altos Ca) and it was wonderful. She always had many events to look forward to and even invite us to. She took clarinet starting in 4th grade and the school went till 6th grade which was very healthy. She was a language ambassador for Russian, helping new Russian students assimilate and the school was safe, cheerful, full of decorations, awards, cute posters and student art. The staff was in So kind and friendly even when I had to pick her up a few times, saying sweet things to my homeschooled child, and walking me to the place where she was. Elementary school in the US Can be a wonderful place to be. But even at the BEST schools it's not a fit for every child, or every situation and the schedule does impact your entire family's life :)

 

Pros to elementary homeschool:

More sibling time

More snuggling

Less illness

More time to get better when sick

Less hectic Lifestyle

You make their friends

More time to absorb your own values

Learn at their own pace

More time for imaginative free play

More time to develop their own hobbies and talents

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Some of my reasons:

- more time for play (and still have time for afterschool extracurriculars)

- if they are slow to read, no stigma or pressure to take a little longer

- if they are advanced no busywork and wasted time

- ability to incorporate more games and hands on learning

- ability to pursue interests and rabbit trails, making learning more interesting and engaging

- no homework

- time to ensure to my satisfaction that they are reading well. they won't be lost in the system, sliding by.

- time to ensure to my satisfaction that they form every letter correctly. teachers don't always notice incorrect strokes in a large class if the letter looks fine. this is easier to correct early.

- can de-emphasize the need to write sentences, paragraphs and stories early on (in Kindergarten and 1st) taking a slower approach that lets their hands slowly grow strong enough to do all that writing

- more time with me while they still want hugs

 

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Personally I would keep kids home all the way through because there are so many benefits at each age all the way through high school.

 

 

Some to the big ones I found for the early years are:

 

-reduction of school anxiety and the pressures of a classroom.  Kids need to develop a love for learning or at least a tolerance for it that can get squashed if there is too much pressure on them

 

- able to have the material meet them where they are at.  There is such a large range of normal development in children from grades k-3.  Having them at home means they will not get pushed along when they are not ready or bored if they have mastered something.

 

-flexibility in how you learn.  You can change your days up, do more field trips and hands on learning, drop curriculums that are just not working.

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The system (imho) expects too much of littles and not enough (academically) of older students. keeping little ones at home allows you to keep their education developmentally appropriate. Not to mention all of the snuggles and discoverign the world and reading beautiful books and playing and using their imaginations......

 

Older kids are really fun too though! I love the discussions we get to have now and I love that dd has time to pursue the things she loves and has a talent for.

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The system (imho) expects too much of littles and not enough (academically) of older students. keeping little ones at home allows you to keep their education developmentally appropriate. Not to mention all of the snuggles and discoverign the world and reading beautiful books and playing and using their imaginations......

 

Older kids are really fun too though! I love the discussions we get to have now and I love that dd has time to pursue the things she loves and has a talent for.

Yes, and therein lies my problem. I feel like I could send the youngers and then have those great discussions and projects with the older kids...OR I could send the olders and have the snuggles and 1:1 reading/math time with the youngers. But I feel like (esp. with a new baby coming) that I can't possibly do both. As it is now, without baby, I am getting done the basics and the basics only. We do science as a hit or miss and history is embarrassingly Liberty Kids for the time being. I started that when I could basically not even function during the 1st trimester...and I just haven't gotten the stamina back to continue our history program. By the time I get the reading lesson done and sit down with each of them to do their core subjects, there is just minimal time left and minimal energy. If I can get a good 20 minute read aloud session done after lunch, and have them read for an hour, that's about all I can handle. I just feel like I can't possibly give everyone the education they deserve.

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Well you really started the thread saying you plan to send the two olders.  So, I would stick with that plan regardless of what you choose for the youngers because that's what you seemed to think was best.

 

As far as the youngers, have you toured the school?  Have you looked at the school hours and expectations?  I would get a feel for this particular school. They vary so much by district or even within districts, and I think physically going and getting a feel, a vibe, looking at the walls, the decorations, seeing how the kids look- do they look happy coming out at the end of the day?  Are they all fighting and angry, and bouncing off the walls?  Or do they seem happy and talking, chatting, playing?  

 

Personally, I think your older kids would be probably very affronted by staying home while the little ones get to go out into the great wide world every day. My kids would have had a conniption in that scenario.  :)  So, even on that point, I would make the decisions separately and not go back to lumping them all together.

 

For a five and six year old all they need is play dates, park days, math, phonics, handwriting and read aloud time.  And maybe library story time! :) and whatever other free/easy to do activities you can get to with the baby in tow.  It's not that hard school wise so you just need to go look at the school and see what you and they think about it.

 

 

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When my oldest went to school in K and 1st, I was struck by how the school got most of her "best" time. I got her for the morning rush out the door, afternoon decompression, and then the rush to get through the bedtime routine by a reasonable time. I'm glad to have time with my kids when we're not rushed and they're not tired out.

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On Monday mornings, my DD takes violin lessons with a top musician at the local university. She takes ballet and art on Friday mornings. My local ps is failing. They barely teach reading, let alone Latin or Middle Age history. My 3rd grader knows what the Magna Carta is. How many publicly schooled 12th graders can say the same?

 

I recently had surgery and left DD with my son. On the kitchen table, I made a list of school work to complete. She completed the assignments without prompting and by herself. She doesn't normally self teach but did so for a couple of days.

Edited by Heathermomster

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This is more or less what I've done with my eldest.  She homeschooled for P to 5, and this year for grade 6 went to ps.  We decided to enroll her for grade 7 (the beginning of jr high here) for the language opportunities, and for various reasons it made sense to start tis year.

 

I think we've actually seen a significant benefit.  Dd has had no real issue with the content, even in the one area were we expected some differences.  But she has had far more time to persue her own interests, study music seriously, get outside on nice days, and play, over the past 6 years, than the other kids have.

 

She knows she loves history, even though it isn't taught in elementary school here and se thinks social studies is stupid.

 

She was able to move forward at her own pace in the first few years especially, without stress.

 

I think as a 5-7 year old she would have been really overwhelmed by the class size and length of the day at ps.

 

She seems more self-posessed than many kids - not that she doesn't care at all about peers or what the school teaches, but she is mature enough now to put those things in perspective, while at a younger age I think that would have been less the case.

Edited by Bluegoat
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About the pros and cons of sending olders - I agree there are some nice, great things about homeschooling olders.  And I've also been in a position trying to balance a the  older child's more demanding educational needs against that of younger kids, and found it hard to do both well.

 

What I've felt is that there are a few key things that make me inclined to send older ones to school rather than the younger: the first is that they seem to have more skills themselves to make the classroom experience work for them; the second is that they really are ready to have a larger social experience beyond the family; and the third is that at that point, the school starts to be able to provide some things educationally that are beyond my ability to provide.

 

The reality is for us that the ps probably will be a little too easy for my dd through middle school.  My compromise will be doing some summer schooling with her, while I have less to prepare for my youngers.

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I've been thinking about this lately as I'm contemplating sending my little ones to school along with the big ones. One of my friends recently said "Well, if you're planning to send them in 4th or 5th, what's the point in homeschooling before then?" 

 

It really got me thinking. What do you think the benefits would be for the child to homeschool K-3 for example, but then go to public school?

Opportunity to lay infinitely stronger foundation, with less stress.

 

At first we kept them out because our oldest son was immature for his age at K and we wanted him to be successful when he started, but now seeing his progress in relation to his peers, I do not trust the local public schools at all to teach my children well during the vulnerable time so we make sure that all my children master all the basics at home.

 

Academics are very important to us and at home we can and do lay strong foundation. My children may go to English speaking public school in later grades, but locally, grades K-3 is when all foundations for literacy and numeracy are laid and after that students are expected to use that foundation going forward,

 

My friends kids in the local public school their parents spend extra on tutors and Kumon so that he can learn to read and do maths well. Kids are in school for 6 hours and then need lessons to learn all the things that they did not learn correctly, or were not even taught in school.

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I have remediated hundreds of students who have guessing problems from learning sight words in K and 1st grade. If your local school teaches more than a dozen sight words in K and 1st, I would keep them home. Reading is such a foundational skill, and it takes a lot more work to unlearn bad habits than to just teach it right from the start. Here is my sight word page explaining in more detail and how and why to teach all but 5 of the 220 Dolch words and 100 Fry instant words with phonics:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/sightwords.html

Edited by ElizabethB
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Are you sending them to school just because of the C-section? Please don't if that is your only reason. You can work your school schedule around your recovery time (been there done that). Maybe have a friend or relative come and help out for the first few weeks.They will learn so much more at home and be so much happier. You will treasure all those memories later on. Your children will be able to read and do math at or above grade level. Which is more than most public schools can say. If you want the socialization aspect, could you join a good co-op or church group? :001_smile: 

Middle school is the worst time to introduce your child to the public school, it is a "kid-eat- kid" setting.  :eek: Ask almost anyone about their middle school experiences- very few people have good memories. If you have to put them back in, wait till high school. If you don't have to, don't send them.

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Are you sending them to school just because of the C-section? Please don't if that is your only reason. You can work your school schedule around your recovery time (been there done that). Maybe have a friend or relative come and help out for the first few weeks.They will learn so much more at home and be so much happier. You will treasure all those memories later on. Your children will be able to read and do math at or above grade level. Which is more than most public schools can say. If you want the socialization aspect, could you join a good co-op or church group? :001_smile: 

Middle school is the worst time to introduce your child to the public school, it is a "kid-eat- kid" setting.  :eek: Ask almost anyone about their middle school experiences- very few people have good memories. If you have to put them back in, wait till high school. If you don't have to, don't send them.

 

I'm sorry, but I think it is obvious that the c-section is not THE ONLY reason she is considering this change.  Also, your over generalizations about public school (and home school for that matter) are extremely biased and not at all reflective of all people or all schools.  I have some lovely memories of middle school and some awful memories of high school (though pleasant ones as well).  Lots of people on these forums (and elsewhere) send their children to school at some point, and even more send their kids to public schools for their entire education  :eek:  

 

OP, I've got nothing useful to add other than some hugs and virtual support.  You've got a full plate, but it is obvious you are a thoughtful and involved parent, so your kids will likely be absolutely lovely no matter what you end up choosing.

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If you arecoming at it from the Waldorf point of view, one reason would be because by then your childs Outer Shell will have started to grow. Children under 9 don't really have this, so stuff that happens before then can really hit them hard, and stay with them (even subconsciously) throughout life. If they have built up their confidence and "shell" at home, they are more ready to handle the enslaught of cliques and remarks at school later on, and with  much more balanced emotional health too. :)

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They will learn so much more at home and be so much happier. You will treasure all those memories later on. Your children will be able to read and do math at or above grade level. Which is more than most public schools can say.

This is a broad and unjustifiable assumption. Some kids do indeed work above grade level at the public schools, and plenty of homeschooled kids are at or below grade level.

 

Not every child is happier at home.

 

The great privilege we have as parents is that of mentoring our individual children in whatever path we determine to be most beneficial at any given time to the child as well as to the family as a whole. The needs, desires, and opportunities of each family member should be weighed and thoughtful decisions made among the available choices. Fortunately most decisions are not permanent in nature--we can always re-examine and reconsider a decision in the future and make adjustments as necessary.

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This is a broad and unjustifiable assumption. Some kids do indeed work above grade level at the public schools, and plenty of homeschooled kids are at or below grade level.

 

Not every child is happier at home.

 

The great privilege we have as parents is that of mentoring our individual children in whatever path we determine to be most beneficial at any given time to the child as well as to the family as a whole. The needs, desires, and opportunities of each family member should be weighed and thoughtful decisions made among the available choices. Fortunately most decisions are not permanent in nature--we can always re-examine and reconsider a decision in the future and make adjustments as necessary.

:iagree:

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Avoiding labels and stigma just because they aren't doing things at the same rate as everyone else. (I had one dyslexic and one who learned to read age 9)

 

Delaying formal learning, so they can follow their interests and be self-directed in their learning.

 

Building a stronger relationship with your kids. You don't have to like your kids to homeschool, but spending a lot of time together and learning to live alongside each other really showed me their strengths and weaknesses and taught me a lot about myself. I had the chance to observe their emotional response to situations that I would have missed if they had been in school, and at times to encourage them to deal with situations better. It taught me to be a better parent.

 

Mental health - keeping their confidence and self-esteem intact long enough to develop a strong sense of self and a respect for others. It means, imo, that they will be stronger to deal with any challenges they might experience when they do go to school or college, and less likely to simply drift with peers out of fear of not being accepted.

 

It helped make my relationship better with my kids as they went through their teens. I feel I know them better (and they know me). There is a mutual respect and trust that I think I could very easily have lost if I had put them in school when they were young.

 

A strength in the face of authority. I want my kids to question adults and to feel entitled to say 'no' to them. It will be the thing most likely to keep them safe from abuse and/or bullying. School encourages absolute compliance and obedience. I'm not sure either of these keep children safe.

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8Arrows4theLord I am glad you started this thread. (Negativity is very easily scrolled past). The gentle reassurance from so many who have responded has buoyed my resolve to help my little people have the best possible start that I am able to give. I appreciate everyone's insights and the different perspectives that have given so much food for thought.

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