To Homeschool or not to Homeschool?

Lisa - posted on 01/30/2013 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I have 3 kids 18, 14 and 5 years old. My 5 year old started kindergarten in the fall. He has been struggling. He still doesn't know all of his lower case letters, he has trouble with sight words and just works at a slower pace than the teacher wants. She suggested at the last conference that we pull him out and put in a Pre-K program. She continually sends work home saying he didn't finish it in time. I am considering home schooling him. He is very bright, I just think he needs a little more attention. Thoughts?

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Lashay - posted on 01/31/2013

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Ladies I am in the same predicament also. My daughter was behind and she is in the 3rd grade. I do not like the no child left behind act because they just promote my daughter even though she didn't know half of the work given. My son on the other hand is 5 but works on 1st grade level, but the teachers in preschool kept him as a "student assistant" so I pulled both of my kids out started homeschooling December of last year... It may not be for everyone but to make my children get the understanding of their work, it's a sacrifice I will make.

Tracey - posted on 01/31/2013

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Kids mature at different rates, but the vast majority of schools are set up like assembly lines. There is nothing wrong with maturing at a different speed than other kids. Remember how some kids walk at 7 months and some walk at 15 months? Or some potty train at 12 months and others are still working on it at 4? It's like that. It's a matter of certain part of the brain and certain muscles maturing at different rates, and a child *should not ever* be given a reason to feel badly about himself because his natural rate is different than others around him. Holding him back a year will definitely do that, and so will keeping him there and making him stick to the program.

Especially with a smart kid. Your son sounds just like my son at his age. Because I went ahead and homeschooled him, he was able to work as fast as he was able to on skills he was good at, while we waited for his muscles and brain to mature a little. At 8, his handwriting looked like a 3-year-old's, but he was reading at a jr. high level and was writing a novel on the computer--he could type just fine! His handwriting at 16 is still a bit rocky, but I've seen many a doctor with far worse. :-) And he aced the writing and verbal sections of the PSAT (the prep test for the college entrance exams required in the U.S.) He has never been made to feel bad about his handwriting and when he was old enough, he started improving it on his own.

One thing that he did do, that your son might do, is learn at variable rates. Sometimes he'd take forever on something--struggled with it for weeks or months--and then suddenly it would click, and he'd jump far ahead. He *never* has learned at the plodding, even pace that most schools teach at, especially in math and reading. He is actually doing college work now at 16. I can only imagine how he would have been handled in the average school and even in many of the good ones.

Tracey - posted on 01/31/2013

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I wouldn't worry about anything socially, seriously. My kids get all kinds of contact with other kids on a daily basis. My son went to *two* proms last year, a large homeschooling one plus one at a public school (he was "the date"). He plays football on a non-conference team; my older daughter is a cheerleader for it. Some of his best friends are foreign exchange students from Saudi Arabia, Denmark and Japan (so there goes the "but they don't learn diversity" claim). He's twice been elected club president for one of his clubs. He's started a cash mob for our town. My daughter went to an international dance competition final at age 10, taking a week in Manhattan with a chaperon because I couldn't go (really broke my heart to miss it). Both have been asked to apply to Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch (so they don't look weird or awkward--Google Hollister's hiring policy). Most people, far from thinking they're "weird, unsocialized homeschoolers", assume they sit with the jocks or cool kids at school--except they don't go to school.

Studies show that homeschoolers tend to be *better* socialized, not worse. They learn how to behave from older people instead of kids their own age who are still trying to figure it out themselves.

Sure, you'll still run into the awkward homeschooler. Know what? You'll also run into awkward kids at government schools and private schools, too. It's not caused by the setting, and the difference is that other homeschoolers won't try to make them feel bad about themselves for their personality differences.

Molly - posted on 01/30/2013

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I homeschool my children and it's not for everyone. There are different reasons for doing it and yours is a reason some people would agree with (child not moving at the teacher's pace). Is there a chance he could get a different teacher in that grade? It may be that the teacher is going at a pace that is just not good for him but another one will be okay. My five year old HATES handwriting but is ahead in other areas. Because we homeschool, I can change the times we do certain activities (like "you don't get to do x, until we practice writing letters"). I can also see what she is having trouble with without asking a teacher to focus too much on one child out of 15+ kids in a class.

I had a time with my middle school daughter when she was in elem. school because she didn't finish work in time. It turns out that a particular subject was the culprit and after falling behind in that her momentum would just go downhill for the rest of the day. I also discovered with a friend's child that a particular school's method was great....unless your child was new to the school in a later grade. So all the kids who were taught by the same pre-k and K teachers were fine. Her child who started at the school in the 1st grade was deemed "behind" but it was that he couldn't get used to that teaching style.

All this to say that it may be a need for a different teaching style (new teacher, homeschool, extra help at home, etc) but I don't think sending him back a grade to pre-K is definitely the answer.

Dolores - posted on 02/02/2013

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I homeschooled my son from Kindergarten to college. While I recognize it is not for every family it is a good alternative for many. It was amazing to me, when we first made the decision, how many resources/ support groups/ curriculums were available to homeschool families. Get online find some people in your community that are schooling at home and start checking out what is available near you. Then make your decision. Remember this doesn't have to be a forever decision. We made our decision one year at a time for the next year.

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Chaya - posted on 02/09/2013

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Being a homeschooled kid, I can't recommend it. You need to go with your gut instinct here, my issues will not be yours.
Your child may need more attention, he may be bored, he may have dyslexia or he may need glasses , you can start by asking him where he has the problem.
I can't recommend anything except explore all options. The real problem may be that the teacher is incompetent. I realize I'm adding a lot of scenarios, but the failure may not be yours or your childs.

Loretta - posted on 02/06/2013

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I loved homeschooling my older girls until they were in middle school. I'm hoping to do the same with my youngest who is just 3. Not only would your kindergartener get more attention at home, your teaching could be geared toward just him. My mother was a kindergarten teacher and I taught preschool for several years and I am a little appalled that the teacher would suggest holding him back. There is a very wide variance for children at this age and many children who seem to lag behind in reading actually end up learning very rapidly once they click into it and often soar ahead of children who started earlier. This happened to my oldest. She showed very little interest in learning to read her kindergarten year and I was concerned that maybe my homeschooling her was letting her get behind. Somewhere between the middle and the end of the year, she got very excited and started learning like crazy. She was reading at a 5th grade level by summer. I could go on and on about all the benefits we found from homeschooling, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Whatever you choose, your little one is lucky to have a mom who believes in him. I'm sure he will do well in life with that start.

Christie - posted on 02/01/2013

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Oh its called a Education Advocate, I was dumbfounded because the school had not told me about this obviously they make sure the school is doing what is right for your child and for you. best of luck

Christie - posted on 02/01/2013

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Possible IEP. I went through the same thing also I highly strongly firmly suggest, an advocate for your child. if you live in Pennsylvania, I know they are free. even after 6 years...LOL

Tracey - posted on 02/01/2013

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Amber, from what you're saying, you have a very high IQ. It is *normal* for us to have the times you describe without the "normal" filter, because our normal isn't others' normal. There is a huge homeschooling community online for people whose kids fall outside the statistical norm. Before this (during the days when you were growing up) it was very difficult to connect with each other and identify what our common experiences are. You just described one. :-) I wouldn't ascribe it to being homeschooled. That community has been a tremendous help to me. When I was a kid, my dad in particular punished me and made me feel very bad about myself for personality traits that are part of having a very high IQ. I was public schooled, years ahead of my peers (but bored to death during class), had had no problems making or keeping friends until one bully decided to make me her target and recruited a bunch of people to help her. When I found the online group for homeschooling people like me, it really opened my eyes. I'm raising my kids far differently than I was raised because of it.

Holly - posted on 02/01/2013

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i dunno know i read to my kids every night, and they didn't get it until kindergarten... I still read to them for about an hour each night, which they LOVE (8 and 9 yo) and then they read to themselves... perhaps they would have gotten it with out the teacher's help... I don't know... but my youngest, after she learned, she was reading books such as the classic Alice in Wonderland the summer afterkindergarten year. My oldest is just now begining to LOVE reading (she reads Emily Windsnap, if you have a girl about 9yo, those books are so neat, as well as the Monster High chapter books).

Sally - posted on 02/01/2013

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Teaching a kid to read is actually very easy. The schools tell us to read to our children and answer their questions about letters and words to "help" the teachers "teach" our children to read. The implication is that they have some magic tools we couldn't understand. In reality, if you read to your child and answer their questions (our "helps" to their "teaching") almost all children will figure it out for themselves between the ages of 3 and 12 with most of them getting it between 5 and 9. Schools will try to force all children to do it the same way at the same age which will bore the quick learners and frustrate the slow ones. Even worse, forcing kids to "learn" things at a different rate then their natural abilities is the fastest, easiest way to make them hate reading and learning. By middle and high school most kids are quite capable of learning by themselves with minimal help from you.

Holly - posted on 02/01/2013

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i wouldn't personally home school... i don't know how to get kids to begin to actually erad, i don't know how to do that... i can teach simple math skills and i can teach recognition of letters numbers, colors, shapes.... I can teach beginner spanish words, such as shapes colors numbers... but when itcomes to teaching kids how to put the letters together to make words... i do not knwo how to teach that concept. if you can, more power to you... i do agree that some kids need more one on one to teach them things. so i do agree that this may help him in the early stages of his learning, and if you can manage to keep home schooling him through middle and high school, that would be great

Kristy - posted on 02/01/2013

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As a homeschooler, I think it was the best decision I ever made. My son has ADHD tendencies, I waited until he was 6 to start him and he is flourishing. It takes way less time for me to do his schooling per day than he would be in the classroom, plus if he is not understanding something, I can take the extra time to explain it or teach it in a different way. He is in first grade now and is writing in cursive and reading very well.

Sally - posted on 02/01/2013

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Every kid earns differently and unfortunately schools can't work around that. If he's struggling at school and his teacher can't help, he can't do any worse at home and will probably do a lot better.
Besides, teaching is a lot easier than the public school system wants you to believe. Most of what they do that we're not trained for is administrative paperwork and crowd control. You won't need either of those at home. In fact, when you cut the administrative and crowd control and tailor the lesson to the child's learning style, you can cover a week of "school" in 2-3 hours. That leaves tons of time for the museum or park or learning stuff he's interested in that they don't have time for in school or that he'll actually use in the real world instead of forgetting it right after the test.
Also, homeschooled students tend to do better in the real world than their conventionally schooled counterparts because they've spent 13 years in the the real world while the "normal" kids were sequestered with a limited number of people their same age and socioeconomic status. As the general public is starting to notice the real differences (instead of the stereotypes) between home and conventionally schooled kids, colleges and employers have begun to court us because we (on average) waste less of their time and resources.

Rebecca - posted on 02/01/2013

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Lisa I was in a similar position with my son who is now 9.

I wish I had sent him to Pre-K instead of keeping him in his Kindergarten class.

My son has a September birthday. I did a lot of supplementing him after school to help him keep up with his peers.

My son is the one comparing himself to the other students. I realize now that the teacher wasn't trying to be mean when recommending us sending him back to pre-k. We too considered holding him back at the end of the year but he was so excited about going to first and staying with his friends.

I'm not against home schooling and will do so if and when the public system stops meeting his needs.

Amber - posted on 02/01/2013

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Homeschooling is great but I feel even today at 28 yrs old I have problems interacting with people for long periods of time and I still have problems occasionally with things comming out of my mouth without a 'normal' filter. If you should decide to homeschool perhaps see if they can do part days in school with the other kids so they can develop normal interactive conversations with children their own age.

Oh I was homeschooled because the K teacher yelled at my grandmother (guardian) because I could read above a 6th grade level and was already doing double digit multiplication on the chalkboard on the second (and my last) day in school.

Sophie - posted on 01/31/2013

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Have you considered looking into any alternative schools? My daughter goes to the local Steiner school. This is not something that we would have thought of looking into, but if we didnt send her there, we would have had to sell our house and move as we are zoned for some quite rough looking schools. Once we'd looked into the philosophy, we quite liked it as my daughter is quite sweet natured and its a very kind and attentive environment. Its quite different from normal schools in that they let the kids be kids for a little longer than regular schools. Kids your sons age are encouraged to build on their imaginations through play. The teacher also spends a lot of time encouraging the children to build relationships with each other. There was one little girl in my daughters class who was quite pushy and bossy, but by the end of the year, she was the one who was looking after the smaller kids and making sure they were included in activities. They dont start reading until around 7 and are very attentive to the childs individual pace and needs. There is a strong focus on art and imagination. They encourage the parents to be very involved in the school. I think there is a wide variety between different Steiner schools, thankfully ours is reasonably academic once they get a little older, but I think some of them can be a little hipppy trippy - it depends a lot on the area and the parents involved. Might be something to look into if your wanting something more personal for your son, but its not for everyone. Good luck, hope you find something that suits your son.

Lisa - posted on 01/31/2013

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Hi! I was in the same boat last year:) I have 3 boys, one is in 6th, one in 4th, and my youngest is the one that brought homeschooling to the table:) Last year Ben was in 1st grade, and just not able to keep up. He was not able to finish work, could barely write, and had a very hard time with reading comprehension. We decided to hold him back in first and repeat the grade at home this year. I used connections academy and we were able to complete first by Christmas! It allowed us to really focus on his weaknesses. We are now doing our own curriculum for the rest of the year, touching base on second, and really hammering away at his weaknesses. The plan for now is to send him back to our regular school for second in the fall. There are definitely pros and cons. It was a necessity this year, but overall, if the kids are thriving and doing well, I think socially regular school would be my top choice. At this point, wherever God leads is where we'll go. Making decisions per child per year:) Sorry if I rambled! Blessings on your decision! PS..I don't regret it for a minute:)

Lisa - posted on 01/31/2013

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Thank you for the input.... I have really stepped up the work at home stuff. I am a stay at home mom and we work a little before/after school. We also have a conference on the 7th, so we will see what she has to say then. I left his first one in tears. I know he is trying so hard, and he is really smart too, I just hate to know he is struggling. Our other thought was to keep him in school and if he isn't on pace by the end of the year have him repeat K next year. His Birthday is in June so maybe he needs another year of maturity. I would rather him stay and be challenged than to go back a year now and maybe not be pushed as hard. I do volunteer alot in the classroom and see the other kids and work one on one with them. Some are quite a bit more advanced than him and some are the same or even behind his level. I keep hoping it will click. We'll see. If she keeps pushing for us to pull him out, we may just homeschool or see if they can try another class. Thanks Again !!!!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/30/2013

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I would never home school personally. But if that is the avenue you need to take, do what you need to so your son can learn. maybe if you catch him up, he can go back to school.

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