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  1. #1

    Default Making homeschooling work with a high-activity child

    A period in our family in which we had to be away from home a lot in order to accommodate renovation work ended recently. We spent a few days and nights with friends, and then spent a few weeks in which we slept at home, but basically needed to leave at 7:30 and return at 5:30 or later, M-F. We spent whole days in the children's museum, and days driving around between libraries, the swimming pool, gymnastics class, and playgrounds. I was miserable from the lack of breaks, and I felt sorry for my four year old for having to endure all that time in the car.

    Now, we've been back to normal for a couple of weeks, and my kid is flopping around asking what we are doing, where we are going, etc. We have some personal and financial issues we are having to deal with, so this isn't a great time for me generally, but even on the best of weeks, I could not deal with having to provide outings, constant attention, and/or "big fun" activities with friends all week long. At this age, my child does not accept structured academic work, though we do read a lot and do unstructured activities that lead to learning. We also have plenty of toys for plain old play, which I thought my kid enjoyed. I offered to set up way to swap out old toys for new ones (by selling on Craig's List or trading with friends), something I hope will help, but this doesn't seem to be the ultimate answer. My kid really does want play dates, or fun outings, all day and every day. This week, we have three play dates and one pool outing for just us, but it isn't enough. I can provide a little more than this when some of our personal difficulty is over, but not enormously more.

    I am preparing to homeschool starting in kindergarten, and my reasons are based on the merits I see in homeschooling, itself. I started reading about homeschooling after stumbling upon a book at the library, and it seemed SO much better than my public school experience (even though I went to highly-rated schools) that I just knew I wanted to provide it to my child. Other than being someone who takes to unstructured learning, my kid doesn't have any qualities that scream "homeschooler." Homebody: no. Difficulty in social situations: no. Unusually high or low intelligence that requires a more specialized approach: not really, though I think both that my kid is brighter than average, and that all kids benefit from a specialized approach.

    Are some kids just not candidates for homeschooling? Or am I reading too much into the current situation, and is real homeschooling (at age five and up) likely to be different and better?

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  3. #2

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    He's 4. 4-8yo boys are very wiggly. So no, it's not that he's not a good candidate, he's just too young for school! but young enough to wiggle and just be a wee sprite. So be a sprite's mom and put off the idea of homeschooling for a while.
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  4. #3

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    Thanks. While we're "homespriting," how can I meet this demand for activity without losing my mind?

  5. #4

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    Hah! Buy a trampoline, maybe?
    Im a homebody myself, and get weary if I go out of the house too many days any given week.
    Maybe think of it like ice cream: Yes, of course they would love ice cream with every meal, and if you went several weeks with ice cream every meal, they will ask for that for quite a while afterwards. BECAUSE ICE CREAM!
    You were entertaining your boy like he was on vacation - its perfectly normal for that not to be 'normal life'.
    Hes not going to get that sort of diversion and stimulation at PS, for sure.

    Bribe yourself to go to a playground three mornings a week. Bring a book. Keep an eye on him as he plays, either by himself or with a found 'friend for the day'. Reward yourself with a mini indulgence there, or save it for after you have accomplished all three days of the chore. A Starbucks absurdly priced drink, take-out an order of vietnamese egg rolls, eat those bake-at-home cinnamon rolls that you know arent really healthy.
    That is the sort of bribery I use, at least. Just telling myself I had to do it wasnt enough motivation.

    And dont shoot for daily activities out of the house. That would be exhausting for everyone but TFZ!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
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    My DS5 is ...um active. I imagine he would be in all sorts of trouble if he had to sit in a kindergarten classroom. He also does stream-of-consciousness talking all day long, so while he might not be the ideal homeschool candidate (i.e. drives me nuts), he's certainly not going to fit the public school mold. Most days I do feel like I am going to lose my mind. I don't know if that's avoidable.

    He started with that "What place are we going?" around age 3-1/2 and still asks. We try to get out to do something everyday. Free stuff: parks, bookstores with train sets, farmer's markets or farms if that's in your area, taking walks around the neighborhood or indoors at the mall, check for maybe a store in your area that puts on kids events hoping that you'll also buy something lol, library activities or just hanging out there, have a picnic for lunch outside...

    As far as homeschooling with more structure in kindergarten - it helps us to start the day with exercise. We try to do this unless we have something active going on in the afternoon. We hit a park early, ride around on scooters in the driveway, play in the yard, do a Cosmic Kids Yoga video (YouTube), or do exercises together before we start learning. Whatever it takes to get the wiggles out so he can focus for a little while. We also have a kids rebounder inside, so when he is going nuts I tell him to go jump. We really only do 1-2 hours of school and very little is table work.

    If yours is like mine, he might really benefit from having a more rigid structure to his days - that doesn't mean structured, sit-down work necessarily. Morning music time, tv at the same time everyday, reading time at the same time everyday, play with mom time, help with cooking time, play by myself time, etc. My DS loved that. I think it gave him something to think about and look forward to. I used to make special bath time for him at night. It took extra effort, but my dh works evenings and about 6:30 was my breaking point. I'd put food coloring in (dollar store) and change out the plastic toys we had hanging around. Bonus, all the toys are clean. He would stay in there for almost an hour some nights.

    Hope that helps. Good luck!
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at TheHomeschoolResourceRoom.com.

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    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
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    That's funny AM. I must have opened this before you posted. Yeah, I don't understand how people stay in the house. It's so hard to be home and everything gets so messy. I get so annoyed because I'd rather take them somewhere they can entertain themselves than have them looking to me for entertainment all day long. Then at the end of all that the house is trashed. Ick
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at TheHomeschoolResourceRoom.com.

  8. #7

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    TFZ, I hope you know I meant it nicely. Maybe its an introversion / extroversion thing?

    I had two big days out of the house this week... a day driving to LA, and another driving around the county with just DH. Both nice days, but I could probably stay at the house through the weekend without going anywhere except to restaurants, and be perfectly content.

    My mother in law is very extroverted, and keeps a full schedule too.
    That Life Desire about travelling more, and she suggests about going somewhere interesting and unique twice a month - thats about my speed right now. I think I can manage that.

    For OP, I think starting out homeschooling (and pre-homeschooling) is stressful and worrisome enough, without trying to recreate who she is to accomodate a kid wanting daily ice cream. Just wait til the misery starts of trying to find a local "homeschooling" group that is compatible, or forcing oneself into participating in conversations with the other moms at (sports, karate, other kids classes) just so a playdate can be arranged.
    I so dont miss that age. *hugs*

    ETA: I could also be really projecting.
    Last edited by alexsmom; 08-25-2016 at 05:04 PM.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  9. #8

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    I really appreciate these encouraging replies. Alexsmom, you are really meeting me where I am. Thanks. I need to do more taking a book to the park. I am usually roped into play, which I feel fine about providing, but THEN, when we get home, I think, well, this is my break, and the sprite does not agree. After all, we haven't played with all these toys together all day. Maybe making my book break the same as park time, would relax me enough to provide more activity at home. I'll need to think of good rewards for myself, too.

    TFZ is the mother my kid would really enjoy! If everything we liked to do weren't so spread out, I wouldn't mind doing a daily outing that didn't take up the whole day. It always seems to take up most of the day somehow. The local park (and a book!) would qualify. I also like the idea of structure. The sprite might not agree, but I am actually already trying to find ways for that to happen. Our evening book time is pretty much all we have that is the same every day.

    I do see the plus side of some outings, where everything is set up for us and I don't have to be creative. I think I'm just tired of driving. Luckily, being at home doesn't lead to a messier house. It's worse when we are gone all day. When we get home, we just have time to make a mess and not time to clean it up before dinner.

  10. #9

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    I'm an introvert and parks are HELL. Books make it not too bad. It sounds crazy, but we have a yoga ball he sits on when he gets bouncy. Bought a little one for him and he loves it. Also, if he gets really twitchy, I put him on the Wii. He hops around like a crazy person waving the wand around and gets some of his energy out and I get a break for a few minutes.

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Making homeschooling work with a high-activity child