Crystal - posted on 02/05/2010 ( 41 moms have responded )
I have a 21 month old son. When I was still pregnant we decided that I would stay home with him and work on my books and poetry. Things were tight, we got a lot of flack about it (still do) but it was okay. Now, I have a freelance writing job, things aren't quite so tight, and we still get a lot of flack. But we have a happy little boy who has never been sick, and according to his doctor, is ahead of the game in everything. I work with him all the time - he knows 1-3, knows all the vowels and a few letters, knows his name, animals, some colors. Personally, we think we're doing well with him.
Here's my problem - and I figure if anyone would understand it'd be you guys. My mother is totally for us not putting him in daycare/headstart/public school. She hated it, and his father and I hated it. My husband dropped out as soon as he could and got a GED - no matter what, the public school system decided he was just like his brother and from day one he was marked a troublemaker. Didn't matter he didn't cause problems or that he was a straight A student. I hated it because I was bored. I wasn't allowed to take AP classes because I was considered too poor a fit for college, even though I kept a 4.0 all through school (and into college.) My mother in law and the rest of my husband's family think we are HORRIBLE parents.
What can I tell them to get them to back off? It's now getting to be friends as well.
Since I don't work, I'm called lazy, pathetic, etc. Even though I work from home and care for our son.
Since he's not in daycare, we're being told he's behind. And he's not being socialized. That he'll develop hangups and be anti-social and have mental problems. (Even when we're visiting the SIL and he's playing with her 4 and 6 year old.)
We don't want to do pre-k/headstart. We can't afford it, for one thing. But we'd make sure we did if we honestly thought it would benefit him. I didn't go to pre-k, and his dad didn't. We're fine. Supposedly he won't learn any of the social skills he'll need later in life. But we can teach him all his ABCs, etc, and were planning on enrolling him in the pre-k gymnastics class at the Y, and we take him for story time and to the park often.
As for school...oh boy. I hear nightmare stories all the time from parents at the playground complaining that they can't stand the treatment of other kids to their kid, about teachers, about curriculum. Now, I know teachers have a hard time - but how can anyone effectively teach 30 or more? But when we mention we're going to homeschool - to anyone other than my mother and grandparents (who trust my judgment) we're sick, we're horrible. We've been called pedophiles for wanting to keep him at home. We've been told we are robbing him of the school experience, keeping him from making friends, and planning to ruin his life. That he'll (again) have mental problems and hangups and be a very unhappy child and teen. And when he's a teen, out of control.
One of the biggest things seems to be socialization. Here's our plan - Let him participate in things such as gymnastics and martial arts. Play little league. Things like that. Go to the playground. Play with the neighbors' kids. We're planning to take him to the nature center and museums. I've heard there are things for home school students (though in Northeast Georgia, I've not heard of much!) but we honestly feel we can do better than tossing him in a public school.
So what do I tell these people who are actually loud enough they are making us doubt ourselves, and our ability to teach him? They are not people who are going to turn to books, and they credit our son being about to count to 3, etc, not to me, but to TV...which we do not even have. We watch disney movies with him, we rent Bob the Builder and such sometimes, but most of the time is spent looking at the bird nest outside, playing, etc. No one is listening to our arguments, and we're starting to feel like we're in the wrong and isolated.
He's our first child - and thanks to complications, probably our last. I'm hoping he won't want to go to public school, but I'm not sure how the future will turn out.
Am I right in thinking that we can do better for him?
Will we be stifling his social growth and denying him "the school experience" whatever that is? My friend told me I was selfish for planning to deny him the chance to hang out with friends. What?
Are activities like gymnastics and martial arts classes good enough? Things like Boy Scouts and volunteering with his parents once in a while on things like gathering toys for tots (when he's older of course).
I have a visual disability. I cannot drive. There's a good chance that when I'm 40 I'll be totally blind instead of almost totally on my right side. There is a transit thing here - not for tiny ones like he is now but it will work for older ones - that will take us anywhere we want to go in the county, as long as we are heading back home around 3. But honestly, I think we'd be fine with that, and if his class runs over, there are taxis and other parents around. Surely someone wouldn't mind taking us home in exchange for five or ten dollars for their trouble. Yet I'm told that because I have that disability I can't teach him, even though I can see fine with glasses - I just can't use one eye, I don't have enough depth perception to drive, and get vertigo when driving. Does that really make me incapable of being his teacher?
My husband works 36 hours one week, 48 the next. Every other weekend off, etc. These people complain about that. Saying that our son won't have the proper structure with my husband's alternating schedule, etc.
I saw today that there is an online charter school in GA. A public school free for him to attend, that sends supplies, and there'd be a guiding teacher and I would be his learning coach. Is that a good idea? I'm not sure how it works, but could I say we'd be attending something like that and convince them it's a real school?
Or is it better to buy books and curriculum somewhere and do it on my own? But then how do I know that people who are questioning us won't be proven right that I can't do it because I won't know possibly what to teach?
We're at a loss. We don't want to do public schools, pre k, or daycare in anyway. If our son is anything like both of us, he'd be fine with some time (such as karate class) with kids, and then time away from them. As it is now, we're still sticking to our plan for him, but I just wanted some ideas as to what we could say or do to get people to back off, and if we're doing the right thing.