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View Full Version : How is my day? Not so good, actually



Snoopy
03-25-2010, 01:37 PM
We have 5 kids in public schools (3 in high school, 1 in middle school, and 1 in elementary school) and I homeschool our youngest. At the beginning, I wasn't sure how long I would be able to homeschool because I am not a patient person and this was the big unknown for me. So I always left the possibility of Noah attending p.s. one day open. I committed to homeschool through elementary school. Recently (in the past couple of months!), I have come to the realization that while I'm not against public schools, I do think that homeschooling Noah is probably the best option. I decided that indeed I was capable of homeschooling through middle school, and even perhaps through high school (with some help in some subjects!). But after 4 years of homeschooling and adamantly wanting to be a homeschooler, Noah told me this morning "You know, mom, I think that maybe I want to go to school next year."

He's not unhappy at home. He's not bored. It's just that he started watching "Sid the Science Kid" every morning and darn it if they don't make school like so much FUN. So I explained to him that it was his decision but that school is NOT like a TV show, especially since Sid in in what? PreK or K? But my kid had questions for me that led me to believe that he'd been thinking about this for a while: "How do kids know what classroom to go to and when?", "How long is the school day?" (he should know that one since we drop off his sister and pick her up almost every day!), "What work will I do in 3rd grade?" (mostly what you've already done up til now and you're in 2nd grade, kiddo!)...

My daughter is in 5th grade in a wonderful magnet school (math and technology). The only way to get into that school is to be grandfathered in because of a sibling currently attending OR to apply for a spot via a lottery and the deadline is on 3/31. If Noah were to go to school, THAT is the school I would want him to attend. So I told him he needed to take a couple of days and think about this seriously and let me know his decision. In the meantime, I emailed the school's principal and asked if he even had a chance of being grandfathered in (since my daughter won't be at that school next year).

When he told me this, I felt my heart rate rise a little, like when you hear surprise bad news. I kept my composure and asked him questions about what had led him to say that (it really came out of the blue!). But when it came time to email my husband at work to let him know of this new development, I just broke down in tears (Noah was in a different room so he didn't realize it). I'm more upset than I thought I would be. As a matter of fact this feels like... I've been laid off a second time!

Not only am I worried about his possible transition into p.s. (Noah can be shy, will he be OK with kids who've known each other for several years?), but I'm at a loss to think of what I will be doing with myself. Will I get a job? (Oh, Noah! You DO know that if I get a job you'll have to be at school ALL DAY until about 6:00 p.m., right? No playdates with friends, no watching movies at lunchtime, no field trips, no educational game day, no more seeing your homeschooled friends unless it's on weekends...). If I get a job, my highschoolers, who depend on me to pick them up after drill practice and band practice and what not, will have to either find other transportation or not go to their activities. If I don't get a job... what then? And what about the little homeschool support group that I created? And what if he doesn't like school after all and wants to be homeschooled again but I have a job? All those thoughts are twirling in my head.

You see, I'm a pessimist by nature. The glass is always half-empty. This is a self-protection mechanism because if the worst doesn't happen well it's a good surprise and if it does happen then at least I was ready for it. I just never expected the kid who begged me to homeschool him to come to be at 8 years-old and tell me he's ready for something else.

Of course we shall survive. He might decide against it after all. Or he might decide after x number of months or years that homeschooling suited him better. I hate the uncertainty.

Ever since he's told me this, he's been in a GREAT mood. I mean, he's constantly saying that he's feeling "amazing" and that he's having a "great day!" and I'm feeling worse and worse. I'm sure he's not having a "great day!" because of the fun science project we did this morning or the funny video he watched online about rocks and minerals or because he only had 1 mistake on his math worksheet. I'm almost hoping that my other kids will come back from school today with some horror story that I will encourage them to share with their little brother.

camaro
03-25-2010, 03:58 PM
I sort of know what you feel like, Nathalie. We've had a couple of occasions when Mitchell has said he might like to go back to school. I'm pretty sure it's because he misses playing with other kids. Gymnastics has started again and soon he'll be into HS swimming lessons and after that baseball (if there's enough kids to make a team) so I think he'll be happier. Sadly there's not too many of his friends left at school since most have moved away. In fact he would be the only kid in his grade if he went back so I'm not sure how much happier he would be. I find it troubling that he has moments that he wants to go back, though, so that's when we probably need to consider other things to make homeschooling more fun/interesting/whatever. I've thought lately that once the streets in town dry out maybe I should take the boys in with their bikes so they can ride around with the other kids in town.

I felt sad, too, when he first mentioned maybe going back. I felt sad for him and myself, too. Was I failing as a homeschool parent? Will we lose our relaxed lifestyle? I would dread going back to rushing kids out the door to catch the bus and rushing home from wherever to meet them when they get home. But so far Mitchell has decided he doesn't want to go back to getting up early and staying at school all day in a hard desk instead of sleeping in, doing school work on the couch in his pajamas until noon then spending the rest of the day building Lego guns and Tinkertoy helicopters.

Fortunately Noah is sticking it out the rest of the year. That's plenty of time for him to change his mind.

crstarlette
03-25-2010, 05:03 PM
First of all, I can get pretty Fing emotional about homeschool too. It's a big deal to me that my kids stay home because it's what's best for them, but also because I am personally so involved in it and would, at this point, feel lost without it.

Maybe your son could shadow someone at ps for a few days? I don't know if that would help or hinder, but it may answer his questions so he doesn't want to go just because he's curious, and also show him that school means sitting down quietly and doing your work for several hours.

hjdong
03-25-2010, 05:33 PM
It can be really hard to hs an only, which essentially you're doing. I've really struggle over the past 3 years to find enough/appropriate/fitting social sitations for James, who is very social. He never gets enough. He just started at a charter here (homeschool kids) with classes 1/2 a day once a week. He's taking only electives. Next year, he's planning on taking a full day. We have a deal that he can take 2 days if he takes non-elective classes as well. So far, he has no interest in the non-elective classes and no interest in going any more than that.

Do you have anything similiar, where he can "wet his feet," so to speak? James likes the kids, likes the interaction, but likes to homeschool still. For him, and me, it's the best of both worlds.

Good luck and hugs.

Topsy
03-25-2010, 05:36 PM
oooh, I LOVE crstarlette's idea. I'm doubting that in our weird ps system here locally, that would even be allowed, but the theory behind it is terrific! Instead of building up school in his head, or imagining it a certain way, he would have a frame of reference and a point of comparison. That sounds like such a good option when faced with a huge decision like this. It would definitely be better than him committing to it, you getting a job, and then he seeing that school isn't all that and a bag of crackers.

Sending out virtual (((hugs))) because I know what an emotional investment all this is, and having your kiddo dismiss it out of hand and only choose to see the greener pasture has to be incredibly disappointing. Here's hoping time and thought will make it really clear to both of you what is best. Peace!!!

Topsy

ginnyjf
03-25-2010, 08:22 PM
Everyone has already had such good advice, I don't have much to add except a sympathetic pat on the back. *pat*

This is one of my biggest fears; that we'll get started and it will be a wonderful fit for both of us, but something will make Zack feel like he's missing out. Does your public school system offer summer school classes? If so, perhaps he could attend and then he would see the other side of the coin. I think we're programmed naturally to idealize what we don't have.

Snoopy
03-25-2010, 09:32 PM
Thanks you guys, I really needed this :)

To address specific suggestions/questions: hjdong, no, we don't have any charter-type classes for homeschoolers (that are non-religious) locally (I live in a small town of 5,000 people). I think the closest one would be about 45 min to 1 hour with tolls, in Orlando. The way our life is structured (with having to take my p.s. daughter to school and back because there are no buses serving her school) and my high-schoolers' activities, it's just not feasible. There is, however, an "After School Science Club" that is starting at a local nature preserve, once a week for 90 min, in April. I have been planning on registering him for this and it's not specifically a homeschoolers' club. But there are few spots available and we cannot pre-register so I guess I'll find out at the first meeting whether he's "IN" or not. It's about 30 minutes from my house and I should be able to make it work for our overall schedule without too much fuss.

It's interesting that you say that James likes to do the electives with the charter kids but not the non-electives. Noah likes being around other kids to play with, not so much to do WORK with, which is why I was trying to organize a co-op in my own local group. As a matter of fact, we're going to a museum of minerals tomorrow since we've been studying that subject and our more "relaxed" homeschooling friends are coming too. I warned the mom that I wanted Noah to be able to concentrate on the museum instead of just goofing off with his friends because he sees them purely as play friends, not "co-students", since we don't do anything educational together (another issue I complained about in the Teachers' Lounge forum yesterday). If he is around other kids, he wants to play. I think most kids are like that though, don't you? But he usually doesn't crave the social contact so much that he would be willing to do something that doesn't interest him just to be around other kids. Noah is also the kid who resists any suggestion that I might have about him joining in on an activity until I make him do it and then he discovers that he loves it (or not). I don't think that he finds homeschooling boring at all, if you saw my calendar, we are going on field trips very often (once a week on average, sometimes more), we have park days, he attends a homeschool p.e. class every week at our local gym with a bunch of other kids his age, we go to plays and concerts, etc. I think that crstarlette is right, it's the lure of the show making it sound like school IS as much fun and relaxed as homeschooling (although we don't unschool so it's still pretty structured for him albeit not nearly as much as it would be in p.s.) and he doesn't realize that being in school means you sit in your chair all day and have to be quiet unless you're called on.

When he asked me how long the school day was, my (biased) answer was: "From the time we drop off your sister until the time we pick her up, which means ALL the time you do all your work at home, plus ALL the time you get to watch a movie while you eat lunch, plus ALL the time you get to play until the time it's time to get her plus ALL the time in the car driving her to and from school (i.e. enough time for him to read 4 chapters of Percy Jackson because her school is in the next town over). Plus, if I have a job, ALL the time you now spend playing around on the computer or video games or at the playground all the way to dinner time." I did explain that he would get a 30 min lunch break (10 min of which are spent standing in line to go to and from the lunchroom) and about a 10 minute recess. That's a whole bunch of time and I think that gave him a pause. What might "save" us is the fact that he REALLY likes to be able to kick back at lunchtime and watch a video while he eats his lunch. Can't do that at school.

It's interesting that you suggested he shadow someone at school, crstarlette and Topsy. The school principal called me this afternoon and told me that Noah could start as early as May 1. I shot it down immediately because I have already enough trouble accepting the fact he might not be homeschooled starting in August, so I'm NOT sending my kid there in May. Nuh-uh. He told me that technically Noah couldn't be grandfathered in since my daughter won't be a student there next year, but that if I handed the paperwork to him personally, he would see to it that Noah would have a spot in 3rd grade there next year. That was sweet of him (all my other bio kids have been through that school so we've been at that school for 10 or 11 years now) and assuaged my fears a little. I KNOW that school. I KNOW many of the teachers. And it's a very good school. But we need to let him know by next week because he needs to assign the available spots for next year to those who entered the lottery. I told Noah he needed to tell me his decision by Monday and we would go from there. I had already started rethinking my position of NOT letting him start there in May, when I read your suggestion about shadowing, crstarlette. If he does decide to go to school, maybe I will have him start in May. His sister will still be there and can watch out for him, it'll be the end of the year so not much work is being done in school at that time (the FCAT is behind us) and we'll have completed a lot of our homeschooling for this school year by then. And if he decides, after a few weeks (school ends on June 11) that he doesn't want to continue, it won't have disturbed our homeschooling much. So I'm mulling this in my head.

Like David, my husband thinks that this is going to blow over and that by the weekend Noah will have decided to continue homeschooling. What frazzles me so much is that he has never ever had any interest in going to school, as a matter of fact he has always been adamantly opposed to going to school. Ginny, you're absolutely right: grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And thanks for the pat :)

MikeHigginbottom
03-26-2010, 09:39 AM
Like David, my husband thinks that this is going to blow over and that by the weekend Noah will have decided to continue homeschooling. What frazzles me so much is that he has never ever had any interest in going to school, as a matter of fact he has always been adamantly opposed to going to school. Ginny, you're absolutely right: grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And thanks for the pat :)

Yeah, I think Ginny's right here. Most adults get sucked in by the greener grass so it's got to be hard for kids not to succumb as well. But I guess, as far as Noah's concerned, if he ends up going to school and ends up enjoying it and wanting to stay then obviously that's what's making him happy. And surely that's a good thing. The trick for parents of course is to translate the happiness of our kids into happiness that we can experience as well. It's especially difficult when we see them finding more happiness in the things we don't provide than in the things we do provide. Other than putting our own feelings to one side and revelling vicariously in their joy I don't know of an easy way to achieve this.

Snoopy
03-26-2010, 08:22 PM
if he ends up going to school and ends up enjoying it and wanting to stay then obviously that's what's making him happy. And surely that's a good thing. The trick for parents of course is to translate the happiness of our kids into happiness that we can experience as well. It's especially difficult when we see them finding more happiness in the things we don't provide than in the things we do provide. Other than putting our own feelings to one side and revelling vicariously in their joy I don't know of an easy way to achieve this.

How true. However, Noah would be happy watching dumb cartoons and playing videogames all day and while I would be happy that he's happy, certainly I would want something better for him too :) I don't have a problem with him going to p.s. if he can go to my daughter's magnet school, but I guess I'm mourning the fact that my youngest might not be home with me any longer and wants to fly with his own wings. Intellectually, I know I'm overreacting to some extent, but emotionally I just can't help feeling sad and a little disappointed in his newfound interest.

That being said, we talked about it a little this afternoon and he's now leaning towards not going. Whether he wants to go or not, I've been asking him what his thought process was so I understand where he's coming from and he said "I thought school would be fun but now I'm thinking that I don't want to be there all day!" So maybe he'll want to homeschool another year. I'll get his final thought on it on Monday and we'll go from there. The Monday deadline is because I would support him going to p.s. at that magnet school my other kids attended but not our local p.s. because I feel that I can provide a better education than that school. Now I guess I need to make my homeschool more FUN. Would it help if I sang like the teacher on Sid the Science Kid? lol. Another recent post of mine was about relaxing the way we do things a little and letting Noah find the love of learning... I'm thinking that if he decides to continue homeschooling, I should definitely take this episode as a wake-up call that he's finding our schooling somewhat boring. Yet I don't want to compete with an unrealistic expectation of what school is (as depicted in that show!) either. I really wish he COULD shadow his sister for a day without registering at the school to see what it's like. I'm guessing that insurance-wise, that's a no-no since they won't even let me volunteer at the school if he's with me.

He enjoyed this past week, though, because we did hands-on activities with rocks and minerals and he really was interested in that. I think the "hands-on" part if what he really liked (and that's my least favorite part usually) so if I am more diligent about making sure that we have plenty of hands-on activities going on, he'll enjoy it better.

Anyway, thanks for all the encouragement and the support. You guys are awesome!

dbmamaz
03-26-2010, 10:35 PM
Snoopy, I keep feeling like I should say something . . .but its so hard for me to relate! I really dont like home schooling much - i do it because my kids need it. They are both SO much happier home schooling, and dont want to ever go back . . . but I would LOVE to be freed from this job. I admit, the teens after school is an issue, tho . . . satisfying part time jobs are really hard to find. I'm sure it will work out in the end, one way or the other!

Snoopy
03-26-2010, 11:29 PM
Oh Cara, I'm sorry to hear that. My first year of homeschooling was pure hell. I was homeschooling my then 5th grader son and Noah (who was only 4 but learning how to read and write), and the 5th grader and I had a MISERABLE time. We both couldn't wait until he went back to p.s. for 6th grade. I even had myself a little dance the 1st day of school of the following year because he wouldn't be home all day hating the fact that he was homeschooled. I think that, had I kept him home for 6th grade, I would have had a nervous breakdown. The beginning is HARD, especially when they've been to school before because I don't think that 1 year is enough to "unlearn" all the bad stuff they've learned there (patterns of behaviors).

MikeHigginbottom
03-27-2010, 04:20 AM
Now I guess I need to make my homeschool more FUN. Would it help if I sang like the teacher on Sid the Science Kid? lol. Another recent post of mine was about relaxing the way we do things a little and letting Noah find the love of learning... I'm thinking that if he decides to continue homeschooling, I should definitely take this episode as a wake-up call that he's finding our schooling somewhat boring.

Honestly, I find it difficult to believe that anyone's homeschooling could be more boring than school. Even if Noah never, ever leaves his workbook covered desk all day and he never, ever gets any input in terms of what he's studying; even then, it can only be [I]as[/I ]boring as school. Don't beat yourself up over this. The fact that you're posting here shows how passionate you are about his education. I don't think this is anything to do with your 'failure' as a home schooler really. I don't think Noah's considering what he has with you to be broken in any way. I think he's maybe seeing that he's different from his siblings and wants a slice of the pie they're getting. And I also think a large part of it is just that grass is greener thing. From what you've said he sounds like he's already having doubts so he's obviously got a good head on his shoulders if he's able to analyse stuff like this already. As long as you let him take the lead here (to a reasonable extent at least) I think it will all work out fine but I think this is something he's got to feel he's had the option to explore.

Anyway, I'll have to go now. That $10 psychology degree certificate I got off eBay needs a polish.

Snoopy
03-27-2010, 11:53 AM
That $10 psychology degree certificate I got off eBay needs a polish.

LOL, I think you got your money's worth :) Wait, that sounded like a diss. I meant, it's very good advice, money well-spent! Thanks.

dbmamaz
03-27-2010, 01:07 PM
Thanks, Nathalie, I really cant call it pure hell . . . really, the boys are pretty good. It doesnt help that my 17 yo daughter has been in various crises/drama the entire time. It does feel like a HUGE learning curve for me, learning to be a teacher (or even just be responsible for their education) for every subject for a teen and a 6 yo. I cant teach them together, they are too far apart, so I'm being pulled in several directions all the time. And the disparity between what I want ideally and what I seem capable of makes me nuts . . . well, thats always been the case, but its even more so with home schooling. Hopefully it will ease up some.

camaro
03-27-2010, 03:08 PM
Oh, yeah, I can certainly attest to the fact that the first year can be difficult. It's made me dread when Matthew and Michael are "full-time". Being preschool age I haven't worked with them that much but when I do, I feel like I'm run off my feet going between them and Mitchell. But I'm glad I have this first year a little easier to prepare me for it. I'll know better what might work for each of them and hopefully (pleasepleaseplease!) Mitchell will be able to work more independently.

While I type this they're all happily painting a cardboard castle I helped them build this morning. They're happy and quiet...with paint...in the kitchen...ummmm...I better go check on them!

hjdong
03-27-2010, 08:00 PM
I agree that this isn't a reflection on your schooling, especially if he is already changing his mind. Once the decision is made, I would make clear to him that this isn't a decision that can be made and re-made constantly.

Good luck.

crstarlette
03-28-2010, 07:02 PM
I really wish he COULD shadow his sister for a day without registering at the school to see what it's like. I'm guessing that insurance-wise, that's a no-no since they won't even let me volunteer at the school if he's with me.


If you're really interested in this then you should at least ask. Shadowing is not something I made up; it happens all the time. It used to happen at schools I went to when I was a kid and I've heard of it happening in schools in other states and even other countries. It's pretty normal. Often times a family will go on vacation and the children will shadow their friends or cousins (or whomever) in school for the week.

Snoopy
03-28-2010, 08:42 PM
Thanks, crstarlette. The principal of the school was ready to have him start as of May 1st. Although I shot him down when he proposed it, I was actually reconsidering. It would have meant that Noah spent a month and a half in school, long enough to decide whether he wanted to continue next year or not without impacting our homeschool too much (if he decided to come back to homeschooling in the fall). However, this point is now moot. Noah just told me he decided to continue homeschooling and we have an understanding that he will be homeschooling through the end of 3rd grade (he is finishing 2nd grade right now), as many of you (and DH) predicted. Still, I'm glad we had the discussion and I'm thankful for everyone's support here, it meant the world to me to hear what you all thought and your suggestions. Thanks to all!

CroppinMom
03-29-2010, 06:55 PM
Nathalie-

I am so glad to hear that Noah decided to stick with homeschooling next year! I'm so glad that you were able to post here and talk to us. It is a huge resource to have others who are in the same boat to talk with - even if only to hear someone say "I'm sorry. That sucks!".

We had a lengthy family meeting in our house, just last week. Dave & I sat down with Matt to review our first year as homeschoolers. Since I was about to order next year's curriculum I wanted to be sure we were all on the same page before spending that kind of money. When faced with the option of going back to ps for 5th grade, Matt was most unimpressed. Even after I made it very clear that, barring unforseen circumstances, there was no going back until after next year. I'm not sure if it was my amazing teaching skills or the attraction of sleeping in & doing math in pj's but whatever it was - it did the trick for this year.

Snoopy
03-29-2010, 09:20 PM
Kim, that's awesome! I'll bet it was your amazing teaching skills :)