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You have a lot of info there and you have really thought this through. It actually looks like you have two good options.   I'll be honest with you, I've never met a person with an ideal scho

In your situation, I'd be inclined to send them to public school in the fall and then reevaluate midyear.  It sounds like if it works out, it would be a great option for your family.  But if it doesn'

At least for the 13yo you may want to register now so he can pick his electives, foreign language (if applicable) and get the right placements for math etc.  They have to take him at the last minute b

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

How can a middle school have enough kids to offer multiple electives, and yet only have one English class? 

They've chosen classes, and I won't unregister them until the day school starts if I decide to do this.  

He's in a Special pre-AP English class. and 8th grade is the last grade in the school. So only 1 English class at his level.

Just like there is only one Geometry class in the entire school. (usually a class taken in 10th grade in High School) There are a lot of kids that take ALgebra I in 8th grade. But few that take it in 7th.

Edited by vonfirmath
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Just now, BaseballandHockey said:

Quite a bit easier than this year when I'm working 5 days a week, we have very little outside supplementation due to covid, and I was the primary facilitator of 2 kids who were in a much earlier and more intense stage of grief?  At least that's what I'm hoping. 

 

 

If you feel up to it, and the boys are keen, I'd keep on with homeschooling for a bit, and use it as a more manageable context in which to give the boys the chance to readjust to peer and teacher/tutor relationships post-loss, post-Covid.

It's also one less readjustment for you.

But my heavy bias against most schools, in terms of meaningful emotional, social and learning support, is a factor in my opinion, so grain of salt and all that. 

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I sent kid3 to public school starting in 7th and he transitioned beautifully. I had listened to a lot of the fear and warnings from homeschoolers—yet the ones I talked to who has actually sent their kids in jr high all reported good experiences. 
 

Personally, I would send them. It frees up bandwidth for you. They would have structure and friends to hang with. Also, if ds13 needs more support, you can up it in the school building and continue to afterschool him in that subject. He’s a few years out from graduating—get the kinks worked out now so that he is in a good groove by graduation.

fwiw, some of my kids are headed back to brick and mortar also.

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If you are looking at family time, for our family our kids do very little away from home after school.  We have plenty of family time.  
 

If you are wanting to do extracurriculars after school — then how will that work for family time?  
 

What are schedules like to allow for family time (or dad time or mom time etc)?  Does that time need to happen during public school hours in order for it to fit in and allow for activities?

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1 minute ago, BaseballandHockey said:

One thing to note is that I'm a public school teacher, although I won't be next year. So, I definitely don't have a bias against public school, or a view of public school that comes mainly from what other homeschoolers say.  

Yes, I shared that more for others reading in. 

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There is a model of homeschooling where kids are very busy with many activities in the evenings and then have their family time during the day time.  Does that seem like something you would like?  

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I think you are right to worry about that and it’s a good reason to homeschool or to look at prioritizing out-of-school activities to take less time.

Some kids really get a lot out of their out-of-school things, more than they get out of the school day.  
 

There are only so many hours in the day!  

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It looks like either way you are doing homework. Right? If you homeschool, you are fitting those hours around the 32 you are working. From what you describe, no one else in the household is doing that work. So—are you afraid that homework is going to take up more time than homeschooling? 
 

Therapy and extracurricular are kind of asides to this conversation—in either scenario they are either mandatory or discretionary. 

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Posted (edited)

I don’t know if this is about making things work best for the parents or for the kids.

For parents — I think look at that!

For kids — I think it sounds like there are so many things that could be good, but maybe not enough time.  I would list everything and talk about options and trade-offs.  
 

It sounds like sports are a huge priority, and also family time (or maybe time with parents?).  
 

How much of the sport need could be through public school — and not just add to more “busy and not necessarily time for family things.”  
 

I think for the sports part — public school could either make things much easier, or just not be enough and then there’s the need to add something outside school hours (which school sports may be anyways).  
 

I would wonder about that if sports is something that is a big time commitment.  

Edited by Lecka
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23 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I think the one plan I am not comfortable with is sending them and then pulling them if it doesn't go well. 

What are your parameters for "doesn't go well" ?  Have a baseline for that. Have a backup plan in case you need to pull them out is my suggestion. 

We are planning for DS to go to B&M school next year, he is only ever PS and the #1 reason he will be vaccinated. Our backup plan was homeschool by outsourcing a lot in case Virtual academy was not offered next year and no vaccines for kids his age. 

We also have homeschooling as a backup in case for some reason we need to pull him out for whatever reason. Pre-pandemic we would have never considered it, but now we have a just in case. We never, ever want to be in a situation like March 2020 where we were scrambling.

After the pandemic started, we hope for the best and prepare for the best. It includes being super flexible and considering or planning for things beyond our control. 

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I would try school in the fall.

For your younger son, it will provide the social stuff he likes.

For the older one, it will allow you to see how he does in a school situation before you need to make a decision about high school.  It will also allow both him and the adults in his life to figure out what sorts of things help him to succeed in a school environment before he goes to high school.  Far better that than figuring it out as a new ninth grader!

The other reason I'd go with school is that you will not be able to give homeschooling your full attention, and it sounds like you are the only adult who is willing/able to do the job.  I know that some people find that they are able to offload a lot of the homeschooling tasks to the student themselves as they get older, but that wasn't the case here.  I found that it got more and more time consuming.

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Posted (edited)

I would put the idea of "less than ideal" out of your head. There is no ideal, aspirations and hopes meet reality for everyone.

I was leaning towards saying keep them at home until you posted that you are certain you want them to be in PS for highschool. Where I live it is very hard to go  in at the 9th grade. Locally I'd advise anyone that wants to school hs to start them in the 8th grade. They will be screwed over in placement and choices for classes otherwise as they will be the last to get to pick classes as incoming new students. Also, the HS won't hardly pace incoming 9th graders in advanced classes. My one friend's son was at the same level of math as ds but he went in at 9th. She had to fight to get him in regular track, they wanted him in the remedial track. My son on the other hand easily got into the advanced math track at 8th and has continued on that track. Some electives such as band are also very hard to start in 9th. They build a big foundation in 7th and 8th and it is rare to start in 9th. Ds went in 8th but didn't decide to try band until 9th. We knew the band director and he let him try but he was out by the first half of the year as he was too far behind the other kids to catch up. I know this works differently in different schools and states but I'd want to talk to people that put their kids in at 9th to see how it goes for them.

If things are different in your area and it will be an easy and smooth transition to start in 9th I'd be tempted to keep them home another year and give them more time to grieve and grow and just enjoy that family time. I'd love to school mine in HS and hope that my younger 2 want to stay home but we'll see. Both of my older 2 went in at 8th. I didn't know about how hard it was to transition at 9th with my older one but he was at the point he really, really wanted to go to PS so we went ahead and let him. My daughter reached that point in 8th as well so she went in at the same time. All the drama that they talk about in middle school didn't affect my son whatsoever, he could care less about such things. He rolled into a friend group of an old friend from Scouts and it was pretty seamless. Dd has had some stress about girl drama but overall the positives have out weighed the negatives. Hs'ing is so rare here for older kids it is hard to find friends as you get older. It was the best choice for her. 

Edited by Soror
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Catwoman said:

Totally off-topic, but I haven’t seen you here in years, Pamela — welcome back!!!

Thanks! Life has been, and continues to be, crazy.  

Edited by Pamela H in Texas
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4 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

To be honest, I'm not sure what's best for the adults.  

 

It’s not so obvious, really.

This is how I ended up homeschooling while working more than full time launching a career when DH lost his job.  Due to the nature of my job, it was easier to get flexibility to teach in the mornings (when she learned best) than in the afternoons and evenings (when she would have needed help with homework if she was in BM school).  As awful as working 55 hours a week and homeschooling was, it was better than working 55 hours a week and needing to be completely AWOL with homework facilitation would have been.

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6 hours ago, Kanin said:

P.S. - Also, as a teacher in public school, I'd like to say that not all of middle school is horrible! There are many wonderful teachers, wonderful kids, and opportunities. Sure there is bad stuff, too, but I think it really depends on a particular school, and a particular group of kids. Sometimes there is just "that class" that's a tough crowd, but just as often, it's good. Middle school can be fun, too 🙂 

This. I always hear negative things about middle school, but I had a great middle school experience (better than high school and MUCH better than elementary school), as did my daughter.

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Wish I could meet you in person.

 

 

before I pulled my older children out of school, oldest was in grade 5.( profound dyslexia plus 2e) We were doing 3+ hours every day of me tutoring him. Eventually I realised that it would be less stressful for him if I did the tutoring of him during the day and allowed him to follow his interests instead of being frustrated in a classroom all day then coming home to more frustration .

 

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16 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I've never met another homeschooler in person.  I definitely don't have people to talk to.   

So.... that's interesting. I haven't been following perfectly, but what would your plan for friends for your kids be if you homeschool? Because I do think social needs are just as important as academic needs.  

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Just now, BaseballandHockey said:

We live in a neighborhood where there are lots of kids playing outside, public and Catholic mixed.  DS10 doesn't seem to have trouble joining in with them.  He knows all the kids his age, from school or summer swim or church.  Plus he's going to be playing on a soccer team that's the same kids 4 days a week year round. And there's a STEM center for homeschool, where I could put him classes a couple days a week.  They have lunch and recess midday.  I assume he'd meet some homeschoolers there.  And he is close to his same age cousin who he'll see at least once a week.

So you figure his good friends will be the neighborhood kids, is that right? Does he see them often enough to form tight friendships if he wished to? From experience in both preschool/kindergarten as well as homeschooling, I'll say that seeing the same kids all the time led to tighter friendships over here than seeing kids once a week. I'm currently working pretty hard to make sure we can actually have a tight group next year, which is why I'm thinking about it. 

 

Just now, BaseballandHockey said:

All the 8th graders from DS13's school will disperse, but my experience is that they still get together.  He'll also have scouts and maybe youth group at church, and many of those kids are kids he knows from school.  Plus he'll do some kind of group performance stuff.  There's a homeschool theater troupe he could try out for, and the music school we use has ensembles, and he wants me to find him a choir.  He'll also probably play a rec sport each season, but since the kids will change more frequently that might be as much of an opportunity to make friends.  

Same question here -- I'd want to think hard about who the kids he sees over and over again will be. I know that in NYC it was quite easy to make sure that one was surrounded by kids all the time -- urban areas have a LOT of activities -- but it was a lot harder to make sure that the bonds endured. 

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2 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Well not just preschool/kindergarten, he was in class with a bunch of them till fourth grade.  But he's also got good friends he never went to school with, because they were in public and he was in private.  So, he doesn't have to make friends.  He just has to keep them.  

Sorry, I meant OUR experience with preschool and kindergarten, not yours.

In any case, you're saying that he doesn't have trouble making tight friends, so being at home would work for that, because he could keep in touch with them. He's tight with those kids now and isn't having trouble with that? In that case, I can definitely see the appeal of homeschooling if you can manage it, since it seems so much better for him academically. 

 

2 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

But with sports he sees the same kids over and over.  

Right, if that works for him, then that sounds like a good way to make friends. When DH talks about his high school experience, he did manage to maintain his friendships from elementary school and middle school through extracurriculars -- it helped that he already had pretty tight connections. So that sounds like that would work. 

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4 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I also think that there's a good chance we'll want Catholic school for high school, and if so I think that pulling them midyear would look really bad from an admissions point of view.  

 

This is what gives me a bit of pause as to putting them in the public school this next year. It means more big changes in what has already been a very stressful year (homeschooling, public school, then Catholic school--a different one every year). I may be more influenced by my own personality here, which is exhausted reading about all the activities, because your schedule would stress me out; I aim for a more simplified schedule and lifestyle. I am not saying that is bad/wrong for your family--some people live for that! It just wouldn't work for us, so I'm not sure my opinion will be as helpful. But I would continue homeschooling next year, let them keep growing in their skills in a less pressurized environment, and then move toward the other schools after that. It sounds like 10yo would do fine in going to 2-3 years of public school, then the Catholic school for high school. But maybe 13yo would do better just having the one adjustment from homeschooling to Catholic school.

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

He isn't seeing as much of the friends as he might otherwise, because we aren't living at home right now, and when he is in the neighborhood his cousin is there and they've been playing together a lot.  But when he does decide to go play outside in the neighborhood he just jumps back in where they are.

Got it. That sounds pretty good, I think, although I'd personally want to gauge whether that was going to be enough or not. But it certainly sounds fine for a bit if you're planning to put him back in school... 

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Do they have a preference, other than staying together? 

My personal inclination would be for homeschooling in this situation. When there has been a lot of change and crisis and grief, I think that most kids do better with additional home and family time. It sounds like your kids have plenty of options for spending time with peers as well. 

It's a rare kid, homeschooled or in school, who does not have more than one less-than-ideal year. 

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When I look at your “in theory” schedules — I would think homeschooling would be a more desirable schedule.  
 

To me — I think if you did public school, I would drop everything after school but sports.
 

And I question if your kids will need tons of homework handholding and need tons of time for homework?

 

Maybe just living different places — but I expect middle school homework to be light and seriously making the transition toward independent work for high school.  
 

If what you actually have is homework-heavy and not nearly enough physical activity — then it just sounds like — it will fill up your time.  

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Posted (edited)

But is it possible your kids would be more independent with homework than you think?  Or actually qualify for an IEP?

And if your one son did qualify for an IEP, would it be good enough for you to say “it’s taken care of at school,” or would you, realistically, be supplementing a lot at home? 
 

 

Edited by Lecka
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If your son who needs a lot of sports time is actually going to be a struggling student in middle school, and there isn’t much physical activity through school, and he is likely to really need to spend time on schoolwork just to keep up — it sounds like a nightmare to me.

 

Your neighborhood situation sounds idyllic.  
 

Just to say — even if we had that, which we don’t, and never have, my kids would be the kids who didn’t take advantage of it, and just didn’t participate in it.  That is what I have meant that it is never as simple for me as just setting something up or providing an hour for them to go play.  
 

It sounds so desirable to me, though, I would want to keep time open for that.

And since that is your default — it is probably higher-quality social time than would be had during school hours.

But since my kids wouldn’t do it — what they do during school hours is higher-quality by far than what I have ever been able to make happen outside of school.  

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I think having one more year of brothers together, to have that bonding time, would be wonderful, but being at the same middle school in different grades isn't really "together". They'd barely see each other. I'd homeschool this year, let them have that extra family time. Also, 13 yr old would be the "new kid" the last year of school at the middle school, vs if you wait, and he starts as a freshman next year, where EVERYONE will be "new". I think that's a bit easier, socially. 

I also think maybe your family will benefit from more time together as you are still grieving. Everyone from Grandfather to you to your husband may get some extra joy seeing them more often. If they do public school plus sports plus scouts it just sounds like very little family time when everyone is still just trying to get by. If homeschool meant they would have no peer support or routine I'd feel differently, but with all you listed they will have both, with less time crunch. And if they are homeschooled and have a bad day, say on a particular anniversary or whatever, they will be with people that understand. They can spend some alone time in their room, or go for a walk, or get a hug from a sympathetic adult who feels the way they do. That grief will never be 100 percent gone, but they are still in the thick of it, so having this extra year to work through that rather than being in a classroom trying to control emotions, seems like a good idea. 

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Forgot to add, for older brother, can you make sure he is involved in the parish youth group, where he will be around some kids planning to go to the Catholic highschool? That way he will no some people when he goes the following year?

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20 hours ago, pinball said:

Bluntly,

i would be extremely hesitant to have any child start B&M schooling in middle school. 

 

Anecdotally, we started all 3 of my homeschoolers in ps 8th grade. Socially, one had a terrible time. They were also the kid that was struggling mightily to get along with people at home. Not sure any place was going to go smoothly for that kid. The next kid had a dream year. Like, unreasonably smooth. The following year, the high school transition was really hard for that kid. The friends that they made in 8th grade ended up at different schools in HS and 9th grade ended up being much harder than 8th. The last kid had a middle of the road experience. Looking back, I'm not sure I would have done anything differently.

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12 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Basically none.  DS10 wouldn't be eligible, there are no public school sports here in 6th grade.

For DS13, there is one sport per season, with a small team.  The majority of kids don't make the team.  I think he might run cross country after school for one season, but I'm not confident that he'd make either the basketball or soccer team. 

There is PE for part of the year, but my experience of public school PE is that it doesn't involve the kind of sustained exercise that my kids thrive on.  

I am actually surprised that people are talking about middle school sports as a thing in public school. I didn't realize they were a big thing in other places. 

 

Middle school sports are ‘cut’ sports here too, separate from PE class. Not all kids make the teams but at least two  sports are offered each season. It’s definitely not a participation activity.

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1 hour ago, ktgrok said:

I think having one more year of brothers together, to have that bonding time, would be wonderful, but being at the same middle school in different grades isn't really "together". They'd barely see each other. I'd homeschool this year, let them have that extra family time. Also, 13 yr old would be the "new kid" the last year of school at the middle school, vs if you wait, and he starts as a freshman next year, where EVERYONE will be "new". I think that's a bit easier, socially. 

 

I agree with this.  Oldest DD started public school in 8th grade and while she experienced absolutely no "middle school horrors", it was a real challenge to make any friends, despite the fact she is super outgoing and friendly.  It didn't help she was small for her age so everyone assumed she was either a 6th grader or 7th grader (and she was in a couple mixed classes with both 7th and 8th graders).   But other 8th graders pretty much ignored any attempts she made at trying to be friends with them, and she never met any other "new" 8th graders.  She found some acquaintances among the 6th graders, but it was hard to be motivated to make new friends among kids she wouldn't be in school with the next year.  As it turned out we moved in between her 8th and 9th year so it didn't really matter anyway.  But I think even for an outgoing kid it can be hard to break into established social circles in the last year in a school.

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

There are 19 Catholic high schools in our diocese.  The boys from his old school will be spread out across 7 of them, as well as the 6 public high schools that serve our area.  He'll probably know someone wherever he goes, between scouts and youth group and the neighborhood and sports.  He also makes friends easily.  His anxiety about going to public high school wasn't about making.  I think it was about the executive functioning piece, and about separating from his brother.  

I’m guessing where you live...and if  I’m guessing correctly, there is a catholic boys HS school that has a special program that supports boys with mild learning issues.

Would that help?

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15 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I wanted to thank everyone for their patience with me as I think this through. 

In case you can't read between the lines, I want to homeschool.  I like having my kids close.  They spent last night at DH's brother and won't be home till late, and even though I know they are in wonderful hands, I'm working all day, I miss them.  So, I'm probably making the problems with public school bigger in my mind as an excuse.  

We won't make a final decision until right before school starts, and will obviously involve the kids if we do, but there are things we need to sign them up for now to hold a spot.  

FYI I noticed your DS10 will be taking ALgebra I if you homeschool -- next year as a 6th grader. Around here you would not find a public school able to accomodate that in 6th grade (Well, they would -- but they wouldn't have math for the next two years for the kid). You might want to see what the situation is there if you plan to put him in schools. You mentioned a special magnet school -- see what the requirements are for getting him into it and start working toward those.

 

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