March 14, 2008,
J.W. asks from Jefferson, WI on March 11, 2008
Homeschool Vs. Preschool
I have a wonderfully spirited 3.5 year old little boy. As a former school teacher I was always impressed by the students who had been homeschooled as children. I've always wanted to do this with my own children. After having my second child in September, I suffered from a moderate ppd. The depression is under control, but our son is driving me crazy at least once every day! In the last few weeks the whining, the tantrums, the strong will and opinions have totally taken their toll on me. I'm wondering if he's bored with me? Would preschool be better for him? We have playdates about once a week, but we don't know anyone in our direct area. I'm starting to doubt my homeschooling decision. I guess I was just interested in opinions. I don't think he suffers from social interaction, that's not my concern, I just wonder if he's bored from being home all winter and stuck inside because of a new baby and a very tired mama. When we talk about preschool he says he would be sad if I wasn't there. What to do? I forgot to add that he's always been wonderfully, sweet and affectionate towards his little brother. He's never been aggressive towards him at all.
So What Happened?™
Wow! I'm sincerely appreciative of everyone who wrote in and spent some time to help me out. I am so grateful for everyone's experience and perspective. With all of the responses, the three things that hit home the most were these: Winter Blahs, normal 3 year old behavior, and do some research. Hubby and I talked and we're going to make sure that I get some real "me" time alone away from the kids. That was not helping being cooped up all day together. Second, we're going to research more activities that our son can do on his own with a teacher like art or music class. Third, we're committing to doing more outdoorsy things together as a family (which will be easier since it's getting nicer out.) Lastly, my heart keeps pointing to homeschooling. I'm not opposed to preschool or school, it's just that homeschooling feels right for us. However, I'm going to make a greater effort to supplement his activities with outside lessons (sports or arts) and I've even met a really nice lady who runs an in-home daycare who is happy to take him once a week while I run errands for an hour. It's a happy compromise. I really am so happy I posted here, it was my first time on this website and I'm blown away by how helpful everyone has been. God bless and thank you!!
L.B. answers from Hickory on March 12, 2008
I think we are all bored with being home all winter :)
Try it for a month - it's not something you have to stick to if you or he doesn't like it. It will give you the answers you are looking for one way or the other :)
T.D. answers from Omaha on March 12, 2008
I always wanted to do homeschooling too but i suffered PPD too with my oldest child..maybe try sending him to preschool to see if the whining and temper tantrums stop.. He could be also jealous because of the new baby even though he is nice and caring and loving to his brother and I dont think he is bored with you..Give it a try at the preschool amd see what they say or do
L.P. answers from Minneapolis on March 12, 2008
You can do it! You won't feel great about it all the time, but you will see how wonderful it is when you interact with others who are not homeschooling and have to deal with behaviors that you don't have to deal with yet.
I have homeschooled 5 of my 7 kids so far, and later put them in public school. I was not patient all the time. I wasn't calm all the time. I wasn't even a good teacher all the time! But in spite of ME, they learned a lot and do well in school. We never had the attitudes that they are entitled to everything they want, they never had the "but she gets to do it" sass, and the threats of turning you in to authorities for discipline (and I mean any kind of discipline!!!). Then there is the language and hatred for parents that kids come home with.
Watching my family deal with those things in their kids was so hard! I'm sure there is a way to limit all that even without homeschooling in the younger years, but it is much easier just to raise them without the 'tude.
I'm sure you know that boys do not learn like girls do. Some do, but mostly boys need different direction. You could try researching some unschooling sites. We did a lot more of that than sit down books, and I believe it makes a longer lasting impression in kids' brains. They "know" what they learn because they learn it in context as they need to learn it. We invested in cable TV, too, and watched science shows all the time. They loved Animal Planet more than any cartoon! My 18yo even knows the things he learned back at 5yo about animals and volcanos and things like that.
We studied what they were interested in and worked at making that fit in with different areas of learning, such as reading books about it, writing a story about it, making up word problems for math if we could. (Like a volcano, how hot is it? What if it was only half as hot? How hot would it be?)
Your son is younger, but you can still do this. Put the baby in a sling or wrap and head out doors. Count sticks or birds. How many jumps from here to there? Get his energy out!
It is the nature of the beast for him to drive you to exhaustion and hair pulling at his age. Set aside a time for you so you have something to look forward to. Like a girls night out. It doesn't have to cost anything. I meet with some friends in our church basement and we just play games and talk until 1 in the morning! But we can't live without our night out.
2 moms found this helpful
M.E. answers from Madison on March 12, 2008
I think all kids are bored right now from not being able to run around outside as much. Even the ones that go to preschool. As it gets warmer it will get better. Kids will also always drive you nuts once in awhile even if they go to school. That is part of the "joy of parenting". It sounds like you both really want to do the homeschooling but you want to be sure you are making the right choice. If that is what YOU want to do then it IS the right choice. It sounds like you have your hands full with having the two kids at home and just need to give yourself permission to relax and lighten up. Remember to have fun and make memories.
I taught my kids how to use the computer at a young age and found that there are a lot of really good educational websites for kids. My kids have loved them for years because they can have some variety and I love that I get a little extra time for myself while they are busy. Some of the sites even have books and worksheets you can print. My kids loved feeling like they were doing "big kid homework". Some sites are better than others but I will just give you them all so you can see what your child likes. I hope this helps.
Teacher's Resources (The pay sites have free samples)
Other interesting sites to look up how schools compare to other schools and find out their statistics and test scores.
1 mom found this helpful
S.S. answers from Milwaukee on March 12, 2008
Hi J.! First of all, do you mind me asking where about you live? If we're close, perhaps we could get together with our kids, because I'm in a similar situation.
My husband and I are planning on homeschooling our children until they are in about 2 or 3 grade. My son is now 4 (and I have a 22 month old daughter) and he, along with me, is just so tired of winter! I truly think that most of what you're describing is winter blahs! But I don't think it's a bad idea to try to get him out of the house more either.
I have our children signed up for the free story time in our city twice a week (both age groups) and on other days we visit other close-by libraries to play in their kid sections where they meet new kids and play with different toys. And this fall I'm going to try to sign them up for other activities to keep them busier next winter so we don't have a repeat of this winter! We should have some more extra money by then...we too just moved and are getting all situated!
I wish you the best of luck and meant what I said about getting together if we live close enough to each other...I'm new too and am trying to meet other mothers with similar interests.
Enjoy your day!
C.H. answers from Davenport on March 13, 2008
He is bored. I have a four year old exactly the same way. Every mom I talk to tells me as soon as they go to school, they get that other interaction with children, recess and running around, it wears them out and they enjoy it. I know my son is a whole different person outside the home than inside. I believe it teaches them better boundaries on how to act and what is acceptable because you know as well as I do they don't always listen to us. I understand your wanting to home school, but as one parent to another, I would let him attend school. I bet it would do you both a world of good.
S.K. answers from Minneapolis on March 12, 2008
I am also a former school teacher who once contemplated homeschooling my children and have had dozens of friends and acquaintences who have done it.
My advice would be to really take a good honest look at homeschooling before continuing to do so. Almost without exception, the people I know who have done it had no idea what kind of a commitment was involved long term. Remember, when you teach school there is someone else in the building to handle cleaning, cooking, administration & finance, purchasing, specials like PE, computers, art, etc. When you are home, you do it ALL. And you have a new baby to take care of.
Almost without exception, the dozens of people I know who homeschooled had children who quickly fell further and further behind in one way or another. Most fell behind academically because the parent didn't present a full curriculum or didn't move quickly enough or the parents just got overwhelmed with the time commitment and often wouldn't do anything that day or would do less than an hour a day. Many kids had other problems that are solved with public school (kids had trouble in large groups, learning from other adults, separation anxiety, independence and responsibility, etc.) If children were going to stay children forever, I guess this wouldn't be a big deal. But our role as parents is to prepare them to become fully functioning adults in society.
I know that there are big problems with public school. It is not a perfect system. But there are just some things that children learn there (good things, I mean, to help them prepare for adulthood) that can't be duplicated well at home. And this area has a comparitively good school system.
What I do for my kids is plan supplemental "homeschooling" type activities when my children are not in school / preschool. We go do LOTS of field trips to different places in the area. We also attend events sponsered in the area. Example: last night we went to a "meet the instrument" class at the library where kids got to experience the brass section of the orchestra up close, ask questions and help play the instruments.
I also plan some educational vacations. Example: Last year we spent several months studying pioneers and the history of our religion. Then we went on a trip to a tourist town with deep history in our religion that had lots of restored buildings, reinactments, educational videos, time period dress, pioneer pretend play, craft demonstrations, etc. We even stayed the nights in a pioneer cabin. Next we are planning a trip up to Duluth where my husbands ancestors are from to take a "family history educational vacation." When we go to Mexico this summer for my brother-in-law's wedding, we are going to tour some ancient Aztec ruins and are starting to study those now.
I look at what the public school system can't or won't teach and that is what I focus on most in my teaching. For preschool, I have done "Joy School." It is a moms co-op, so I teach my own child one week in six, but they get the "away from home" benefits, too. And the curriculum is wonderful. I never could have written anything so good. It focuses on self development and joy through learning things like respect for body and earth, service and sharing, family unity, goal setting, etc. If you are interested, their website is www.valuesparenting.com .
If you would like more information on educational things to do in the area - there are a TON - please email me.
P.S. - Don't get me wrong, I am not "anti-homeschooling." I just think the commitment is often taken way too lightly and it is often not in the family's best interest.
T.I. answers from Minneapolis on March 12, 2008
Hi! I also have a 3.5 year old, very active little boy. I am amazed at how physical he is. He is not interested in small motor activites or even playing with toy for that matter. We have a great two day a week preschool that seems to really help. He is so much better when he gets home! It is also amazing for me to have those hours with out him. My guess is your little guy would miss you at first then settle in and love it!
I said the same thing about homeschooling my kids, too, then I had them and said: No Way!I love them but they do not learn best from me.
Hope you get some rest!
M.M. answers from Davenport on March 12, 2008
Like you, I am a former teacher, now a therapist), and I have made the well researched decision to homeschool my 3 yr old as well. Of course, we have not officially started the "schooling" process yet, though as most homeschoolers believe, our children are learning every moment. We toured all the best preschools including our church preschool and motessori, but it just wasn't right for our family. I don't know where you live, but I know that the long winter here in Illinois has made us all stir crazy. And with a new baby, it can't be easy right now. I just want to encourage you to give it some time and go with your motherly intuition--you know what is best for your child. Best of luck. M.
S.P. answers from Minneapolis on March 12, 2008
Look into a good, quality AMI Accredited Montessori School. I think you will be incredibly surprised and impressed. It will be great for all of you.