Monday, May 3, 2010

Advise Please

We are still struggling to help G make the choice to homeschool next year. I thought we came to a point where she was comfortable giving it a try for 5th grade but then she second guessed herself and I backed off. She is wrestling with the choice. She wants to be in two places at once. Every day she checks the calendar and will ask about what L has planned. I cannot pull her out of school for every opportunity her sister has. I would like to, but the catch up work is too overwhelming at school. I am afraid that it also sends mixed messages to G, letting her believe she can have all the fun of homeschooling and return to school for the academics. I know she is enjoys her days in school. I know she likes her teacher this year. She has great friends. She is a A student in all subjects. So then why do I want to risk upsetting this?

Today G again asked me what she should do. I told her if she stays in school then every time she looks at the calendar or hears about a cool lesson or class L is attending she will always feel the “what if” feeling. If she tries one year she will know what it is like and if she does not want to continue on she can return to school. I told her it would be a shame to let fear keep her from something potentially amazing. I reassured her that I understood that fear and would help her work though it.

I thought the best thing to do was to back off, not let her fret about it for another 6 weeks. I thought we could make the final decision right before school ends, when the reality of 5th grade (different teachers, longer school day, increased homework, no snack) feels more real. I know that I need to make a parental decision and take this out of her hands. I just don’t know at what point to do that. Either way, she is going to have anxiety. It breaks my heart to see her struggle. I wish I had someone in this same situation give me advice on how to handle.


christinemm said...

In case anyone reads this who is not on the chat list I'm posting what I said earlier today here too.

Perhaps you could decide to try it for one year and make it clear to her
this is a one year decision --a trial thing and she can go back without any
strings attached if she is unhappy.

Every year you can re-evaluate if you will continue the next year.

I was going to say give it six months but honestly that may not be long
enough. The first year can be bumpy. Plus all of us have struggles with our
kids at various times during the year, so after six months you may feel it's
a failure when 9 or 12 months later it would be deemed a success if you had
stuck it out for that full year.

There are also cyclical things that many of us experience, like the hard
fall adjustment to the routine, the December holiday rush, and the January
or February cabin fever slump when kids can lose enthusiasm for learning. Or
spring fever and wanting to ditch lessons to play outside in the great
weather. This is all normal!

One mistake some families make is trying to make the decision to homeschool
as a forever thing. If I hear one more person with a five year old saying
their husband is worried the boy can't play high school football or may not
go to high school prom I will scream. Deciding to homeschool Kindergarten
does not lock someone into homeschooling until college admissions. LOL And
honestly, if my kids are still homeschooled in high school I will organize a
prom for the teens.

Anyhow perhaps some of your daughter's stress is that you have put the
decision on her. Nine year old's shouldn't have such a responsibility. You
are the parent, you make the decisions.

And emphasize that she can keep her old friends so long as they are worth
keeping! Offer to have the old friends over to play or for a sleep over or

I'm a mom to a 12.5 and 9.5 year old who have never been to school. I'm not
in your shoes regarding withdrawal but I have had my share of hard decision
making and parenting all these years.

Something else to ponder is what is the goal of school and education? Where
are the priorities? Are you truly alright with having access to certain
friends during school hours as the only reason to continue to attend school?
Are you wanting to homeschool for academic reasons or to access different
opportunities? Are those more important than MAYBE losing some old friends
(while making new friends)?

And maybe also a "what we know for sure" list and a "things we fear might
happen" list would help in addition to the pro/con list. The what you know
for sure list might outweigh the possible bad things. Known stuff should be
considered more seriously than the 'might happen' stuff.

Might happen: May lose old friends
Might happen: Will make new friends

Hope something here helps.

My blog

Jessica said...

Christine, Thank you again. I hope our paths cross as I am trying to make it to the Classical Group meetings in Monroe.

Valarie said...

I love what Christine said above. I've been in your shoes. Here's what we did and here's how it worked. The child I'm talking about is now in her third year of college so we have many years behind us to take a look at things.
When it was time for our eldest daughter to go to fifth grade we took a seriouly look at homeschooling. She was very much like your daughter. Her big concern was that she would be lonely. After many discussions addressing her fears, we decided to let the topic rest over the summer. I kept her enrolled in school for the fifth grade. The first day of fifth grade came and she went to school. The second day of fifth grade came and she left school to home school. She home schooled until high school and then she was ready to go back. Even when she went back, there was a lot of unschooling going on.
The transition between schooling and home schooling was not hard. It was just making the decision. We gave a lot of flexibility until the decision was made and then she knew she would have to stick with it for one year.
I hope that helps. I know she will make the right decision for her. Take Care.

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