Homeschooling or to Know?

Updated on January 07, 2009
S.S. asks from Cedarburg, WI
25 answers

I have three children...the oldest will be 5 next month, a boy. He's extremely smart and individualistic...that coupled with the fact that my husband and I both were bored throughout school has made us discuss homeschooling since he was born (we're open to it for all three of our children). He's also a bit socially awkward (don't know how much of that is normal for his age) and will sit and focus on something he's interested in for hours at a time. With that said, he won't sit and learn to write or read with us at all...he just gets frustrated and gives up. Despite that, he's learned how to read quite a bit...I think just through us reading books together...or osmosis. :) And yes, he does get out socially with friends in town at story time and a gym class...and play dates.

I know I'm rambling, but I just want to give you all a good picture of the type of child he is. I'm so afraid to make the decision to send him to school either at our church or in our town (of Cedarburg, so we have excellent public schools) and then find out it wasn't right for him. Or to decide to homeschool him and find myself overwhelmed having two other children at home. This seems like the most serious and drastic decision as a parent thus far...everything else seemed like common sense to me for our children.

Any advice from anyone on either side is welcome and appreciated! After all, it takes a village...

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the responses I've received thus far...some great suggestions! I should mention that both my husband and myself have all of the core classes completed required for education major...before we both switched our majors to we're fully aware and equipped on how to teach elementary children (I have also worked as a temp in a school district). Also, my son has anxiety problems due to him understanding a lot of thing but not being old enough and mature enough to express his he just thinks and worries. Also, I'm unsure about the current view of socializing children that a lot of parents hold on to (having their children stand up for themselves and such) rather than what I believe to be true socializing (more of a more mature definition of the term). I wonder if it wouldn't be appropriate to homeschool my children until age 8 or 10 when they can more truly socialize...and just have them around their friends and in gym and art classes until then. Just some more rambling thoughts...

More Answers



answers from Milwaukee on

Oh, what can I tell you, S.. Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice and commitment, it involves everyone in the house. It is so much more than just a form of educating. That's one reason why some people are so dead against it, and why others love it and wouldn't live any other way. It's something only you can answer. There is no perfect answer, either, to anything. If your children are in school, then you miss not being there for the moment when they "get" something and their faces show it. If they're home, you feel like they're missing out on great school field trips and friendships and activities. Either way, you feel you're missing out on something. The thing to do is to remember that whatever you decide, you can always go back to the other. If school is not for him, yet, then do homschooling for one year. Or, try homeschooling for one year, and then school next year. Most of the homeschool families I know, including me, make the decision on a year to year basis. You do what you feel your child needs and works for him. There are diehard homeschoolers out there that would never allow their child in a classroom, and there are traditional school people out there who think that homeschooling is for someone afraid to cut the apron strings. Only you know your child. Hopefully, everyone's input will help you know what is right for your family. Pray before any decision, pray and God will put the answer in your heart, and you'll know it. Never worry about disappointing friends or family, and never worry about what friends or neighbors will think: you do what God puts in your heart. True friends will stay true, whatever your decision. I'll pray for your peace of mind. Enjoy your beautiful family. Life is an adventure...

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answers from Minneapolis on

Only you know what will be best for you and your child. You can always start out with what you feel is best, then change later if you need to! I would, however, recommend a book that I've found very helpful and that my mother-in-law, who is a former schoolteacher, recommended. It's called "The Way They Learn" by Cynthia Tobias--a very easy read, but offers helpful points to help your children learn, regardless of whether they go to a school or are homeschooled!



answers from Minneapolis on

I've been homeschooling my my daughter, but I put my son in a Montessori charter school for kindergarteren (he is more stubbern and makes learning difficult for his sister. I think homeschooling is the best way to go if you can. Start connecting to other homeschoolers and find out what they have to say, is there a homeschool coop in your area? Mache (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) has their convention in St. Paul in April. You can get a membership with them they have emails they send out with activities and a mailer with a lot of good advice.

Minnesota law says that you don't actually have to register your child as a homeschooler until the age of 7 so this is a great year to try it out. There are many good books in the library, I checked a few out myself when I started, about homeschooling.



answers from Omaha on

Hello S.,
My advise would be have your son attend school. My twin girls are in 1st grade. I did volunteer in their class weekly so I can tell from experience that your son will not be bored. School is not the way it was when I was in elementary school. Since as you said you have a good school district then it should be like the school district my children go to. In school they have learning stations, center times, gym class, music class and do fun and engaging activities for the kids to learn. They are expected to learn alot in Kindergarten alot more than I was when younger. Besides the academic reasons, you said your son was socially akward then this is a reason to provide your son with the opportunity to develop those social skills with peers his own age. Play dates and gym classes are fine but limited in time but being at school all day gives him a much better opportunity to improve on his social skills. I would strongly recommend for you to check out your schools program, talk with the Kindergarten teachers and observe a class for a while before you make any decisions. Remember school now a days is very different than when we were young so don't make the decision based on what your experience with school was. My girls are never bored in school. All three can't wait to go to school in the morning. Granted when it comes to May then maybe they are a little excited for summer otherwise they always say the day was great when they get home from school. Just a little to think about. Good luck with your decision.



answers from Minneapolis on

First of all, try to let go of the fear you feel facing this decision. What is the worst that will happen with pursuing either option? It will be apparent that it's not working for your son and your family, and then you will be free to pursue the other option. Either choice is completely "reversible".

If you are curious about homeschooling, go for it. That is the only way you will know if it works for you or not.

Your concern about having it be really hectic at home with 2 other kids is valid, but keep in mind that you will not need to spend ALL DAY teaching your son. While he'd be in school from 8:00 to 3:00, any homeschooler will tell you that you will not need to be spending that big of a portion of the day teaching your son. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can pause to work on areas of difficulty or interest, and then breeze through others. Also, you can teach your son at the times that are convenient for you. Perhaps in the evening or on the weekends when your husband is home will be best. (I've made certain assumptions about your husband's work schedule.)

Also, I don't know what the "compulsory" age is for starting school in WI, but in MN it is 7 years old. So, if that's the case in WI, you have 2 more years to make this decision. Perhaps if your son is having trouble doing "book work" at this point, waiting a year might be a good option.

Good luck to you. We are considering homeschooling our son when it is time. Feel free to send me a private message if you'd like.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,

Big decision with school choice deadlines coming up. Is he in preschool right now? What do his teachers advise? If he isn't in a program right now, I'd move mountains to get him in one...even if it's piecemeal: dance, music, art, and reading time. I would also pay attention to the fact that he might be resistant to mom or dad teaching him. He may need to spread his wings a bit and have contact with other caring, trustworthy adults who can nurture his reading/etc. My youngest daughter is socially behind...not hugely, but her confidence could be better in terms of engaging in play/initiating play, etc. We have her in a private kindergarten that is half day this year. In May, she turns six, and we will repeat kindergarten in the fall which will be a full day parochial program. I have interviewed public and private and parochial teachers and principals and not one of them has recommended that a child who is academically ready but not socially at their age should go on to kindergarten...i.e. hold the child back if they are not socially ready. Think also long term. Do you want him to be the youngest in his class when he gets his driver's license, has to make decisions that his older peers may be ready to make, the whole dating is a whole lot easier to hold a child back at this stage than to damage their self esteem and have them repeat a year when they're in first, second or third grade and/or you have to watch them struggle socially for their academic lives.

Here's another thought. Home school him over the next year and then send him to kindergarten the next year (2010). That way you'll know if you're up to the juggling act and if the dynamic is right between you and him with homeschooling. Try not to take it personally if it is not the right is what it is.

I would also interview as many programs as you can to find out what they will do to challenge your son academically. What do they have in place to challenge students who are 'gifted'. Does that explanation fit with what you and your husband are looking for? Are there some after school programs for him when he's an older student that would also give him academic (and social) challenges: chess club, destination imagination, science programs, etc that he could plug into. Be sure to look beyond kindergarten and into the upper grades for what the school program can do for him. That will give you an indication of whether they're prepared for gifted learners and how they are prepared.

You might also look to see what exists for gifted kids in your community. For example, here in St. Paul there is the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth. (Check out their website as a resource and as a pallet for what they are doing for gifted students. They've been around for a very long time and have incredibly knowledgeable staff: Holly Lindsay would be a good person to talk to for resources on the web, conferences for parents of gifted children, etc.) Holly Lindsay is the coordinator of the program. She could put you in touch with folks to help nurture your journey with your son. She may even have some resources for home schooling the gifted child.

I hope that helps. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with some of the other moms who say the best way to know is just to go for it! We have been thinking a lot about this as well, but my sons only two. I have to say homeschooling today is a lot different than it was even 10 years ago. You aren't neccessarily doomed to be an inept teacher with all the resources and other people doing it now. Plus with the different coops and groups your kids can get plenty of social interaction, including different teachers.

Don't let anything but your own gut feelings guide your choices for your childs education, you know what your child needs better than anyone. And don't let his reluctance to learn from you discourage you. He just may respond better to a different teaching style.



answers from Minneapolis on

As a previous public school and charter school elementary teacher, I can see the advantages of "regular" and home school. The question is, "What works best for your child and your family?" Only you can decide that. I'm glad to see that you are really trying to make the best educated decision.

You may also want to look into charter schools in your area. They are free and usually have very small classroom sizes. And, depending on the emphasis they "specialize" in, it could be the best fit for your child. The charter school I taught in didn't have any text books or worksheets. Everything was taught in a thematic, hands-on approach. The class sizes were 12 students and multi-age (another plus!). It was great for students who really needed individualized instruction and who learned best with hands-on instruction. Not every charter school is the same, so you will need to do your homework.

Good luck and as another person mentioned, you can always change your mind. (Just don't change it often and stick with your decision for at least half a year....unless it is clearly a BAD choice from the get-go.)



answers from Minneapolis on

I have not homeschooled, but I have neighbors who do. I have two boys in public school, one in an elementary magnet. I have a tough time getting my boys to do their homework so I personally do not think homeschooling would be a good option for us. My boys also love the social aspects of school. They are also gifted in math and I am not so I don't think I could meet their needs in that subject. Every child and family has different needs and you have to figure out what would work best for you, but if you have concerns about his social skills I would think school would be helpful and homeschooling might actually detract from working on those issues. Play dates and periodic classes do not provide the same social interaction as daily school. Some of those social lessons can be painful, but important for later in life. This is a very isolated example and for those who homeschool I'm not saying all or even most homeschooled kids have this issue, but my neighbors who are homeschooled behave like little angels when their parents are around, but don't seem to listen well to other parents in the neighborhood when they play in other yards and can be downright mean and exclusionary with other children in the neighborhood. I know they participate in scouts and organized sports so they are getting some social interaction. If you are worried about your son being bored maybe you could make sure you find a school with a good gifted program or find a magnet school with a theme that interests your son. As many others have said, no school decision is final. Whatever you chose if it isn't working out you can change your mind. Perhaps you can read a book on emotional intelligence or learning styles to see what style would suit your son best since ultimately that is what is most important in your decision. Good luck. We had to decide whether to start a summer birthday boy in school or wait a year and I know it was one of the toughest decisions I've ever made as a parent and although I appreciated hearing other people's stories I didn't want anyone who didn't know my child to tell me what to do so I know it can be a sensitive issue.



answers from Omaha on

Hi S.,
I applaud you for taking such a vested interest in your children's education choices! I have not researched home schooling curriculum extensively, but as a former elementary teacher of 13 years I have worked with home-schooled students in my classroom. In my experience, the majority of students that transition to a school setting struggle mostly with the social component of school. Because home schooled kids aren't with a whole group of students every day from a young age, it seems harder for them to acquire these skills. I am not saying it is impossible, nor am I saying the other children won't welcome him/her. It just seems these skills do not come as naturally as a child enrolled in school from kindergarten or preschool. Again, this is just what I have observed in my years of teaching. It sounds like you have incorporated many social outlets for your child so this may not be an issue for you.

Secondly, I have taught in two different states and in both the home school curriculum does not seem up to par compared to the curriculum followed by the public schools and I know testing standards are not as regulated as public schools to monitor growth and progress. Having said that though, I think this is where the parent can make a substantial difference by incorporating real life experiences along with the curriculum materials. For instance, I run a home-based business and other consultants that I know often home school their kids and have them help with the business. It is a wonderful way to expose kids to things like marketing, advertising, budgeting, math and organizational skills, etc. The kids see these skills being applied in a meaningful way even at a very young age.

I guess the best advice I can give you if you choose to go the home school route is make sure your children get a lot of outside experiences that tie back into the skills you are teaching them. That will help keep your children engaged in their learning and on track with students that do attend school. I would also see if there is any kind of support group or partnership with your local school district to help you align the skills you teach at home with the skills taught at your child's grade level.




answers from Duluth on


You will weigh all of the options and come up with a decision based on what best meets your son's needs. The best thing of all, is that whatever you can change your mind at any time. So...if you start out homeschooling and see that it just is not working, you may decide to have your son go to school and vice-versa. I do think that being with a diverse group of individuals offers us life lessons that reach far beyond academics. There are lots of kids that are socially awkward...some will stay that way...some will not. Being immersed in social situations may be helpful. I support both homeschooling and traditional schooling...and have known MANY that have done an incredible job at homeschooling. I had considered it very seriously at one point (son with advanced academic gifted program). It can be frustrating, but if you have options such as "school of choice", etc., then you can hand-pick the school that offers the best options. In Wisconsin, if that is where you also have the option of online schooling, which is the same curriculum that is in the schools. If you do go the public route, I would recommend having your son tested for giftedness in 1st grade. The results may be helpful in assisting you advocate for your well as providing insight for the teachers as to some ways to "tweak" your son's academic program. We live in a rural area with no gifted programming, but our elementary school was able to come up with a plan to address our precocious reader (7 years ago when he was in the 1st grade). Keep in mind that homeschooling will not expose your son to peers in the way that traditional schooling will...and most kids learn social skills by observing and interacting with peers. Be thankful that you have options...this is not a make or break deal, as I see it.

Finally, since you mention your son is socially awkward, one thing I wonder is if you are concerned about protecting your son from social situations in which he may get his feelings hurt. That would be normal. One of the hardest things we often have to do as a parent, is to get out of the way and allow our kids to have life experiences...for better or for worse...and be there to support them and help them sort out feelings if things don't go so well....then allow ourselves to have the courage to continue to sit on the sidelines and allow the child to work through it...discomfort and all.

In closing, if you do go the public route, and your son is tested as gifted, you will have to be your son's advocate. It is often up to the parent to be assertive (not aggressive) in making sure that the school responds to his needs. (I am a past special ed school social I know both sides...and you will have to be on top of things...not demanding...just ensuring that your son gets his needs met.) Bear in mind that gifted kids can be at-risk kids...they have certain intensities of emotion that others do not...and can be at risk for anxiety and depression, due to the fact that can think things through to the "n"th degree. A great website is Hoagies Gifted and Talented site. LOADS of great articles and support.

Best wishes...sorry this is long.

Let us know what you decide. of 3



answers from Wausau on

In wisconsin a child is not required to attend kindergarten. If you feel that you want to try homeschooling this year would be your best bet since you don't have to turn your hours in to the state.

But in Wausau the kindergarten class has the option of attending a Montessori school, free (i think). And that might be a great option for you if you are able to swing the cost of it. Its a learn at your own pace and most schools go up through the 5-6th grade.

H. - who was homeschooled as a child and no I won't homeschool my own children.



answers from Green Bay on

Hi S.,
I have been homeschooling my son all his life, he is now 14. I am also president of our local homeschool group. There are many people in your situation who have homeschooled just fine. Also at age 5 he just may not be ready to read, many, many children are not. Feel free to contact me I have much information.
Peace and Prosperity,
Homeschool Mom and home business owner



answers from Duluth on

I'm a public school teacher, so obviously I'm biased. :) I'm sure that if you're dedicated, your child will do very well as a home schooled child. I have little doubt that home schooled children do better academically than public schooled children, on the whole (with one notable exception...I have seen a number of children pulled out of the public schools because the school "didn't understand" their child--and what the child needed was structure and caring parents who occasionally bothered to set some basic limits, not removal from the only structure they have. I'll trust this is not your situation.) That said, most kids that I've seen re-enter the public schools (usually at the high school level because that's when parents get to the point where they're over their heads, at least in some subject areas), I see two things: one, the student is not prepared in all subject areas (it's hard, as a parent, not to cater to what your child loves and is good at...and what we're good at. If you and your husband are intelligent, you will naturally focus on academics in your household.) and two, the student is not able to deal socially. You have said your child gets out and socializes, but it's a very different thing to have to deal with a teacher you don't like, a student who harasses you, or choosing whom to associate with. Your child's circle of associates gets much, much larger in a school setting, and the only way to learn some of those skills is to be thrown to the wolves. (I'm watching my four year old do this in many frustrating influences!) All that're worried about boredom. IF you choose to go public schools, find one with a good gifted program and see if your child qualifies. Try not to be obnoxious, but be involved. I had a teacher friend once who said, we have sooo many kids, I hate to tell you this, but the squeaky wheel gets the oil and it's true. If you're willing to homeschool, seek to help in the schools. You'll be teaching your child about community and tolerating others who aren't as smart as he is (which is very hard). I resented for 12 years having to teach the other kids in my classes (sometimes I was better than my teacher at explaining things...) and lo and behold, I'm a teacher. And, it's not like you can't do the exciting, enriching things you'd want to do with your child regardless of him being in a school setting. Good luck with your decision; it's a tough one!



answers from Duluth on

those are good reasons to homeschool. i was also BORED out of my mind in school.... and i figure you cant guarantee what your child's personality is going to lead him to do with that boredom. its my experience that the bored kids get into the most trouble. :P i wasnt a trouble maker but ive seen it.
also, my husband and i were both unpopular, and although every experience we've had made us the kind, considerate people we are today, i still have a lot of pain from those experiences. my sister was the uber popular one, and shes still angry for the fact that after high school she found out how many of her 'friends' were really friends. you know? socially, high school sucks, and emotions are always high there :P

socially, your son sounds a lot like me, im STILL awkward - to the point where my mom always thought i had aspergers (a high functioning form of autism) and though ive never been diagnosed, or treated, for autism of any kind, i do see a lot of the symptoms in myself, both now and as a kid.
i guess its something that did NOT in any way disable me, im a very happy wife and mom, and i run my own small in home child care, once in a while usborne books busienss, and thinking of doing some photography business also. so its not anything to worry about really. i manage, and i also LIKE to be more ... introverted. i would MUCH rather be with a few good friends than a whole ton of fake ones. i would much rather do things on my terms... i never needed to take homework home, but i much preferred to do my homework while listening to music, so i chose to take homework home :P
point is, socially, there are options, and maybe even requirements these days, for social interaction. theres scouting, church groups, even groups of other homeschooled kids. if you have close family, theres that too. just going to the nearby mcdonalds is a joy for any kid, and if you havent noticed, kids will usually play with any other kid around :P

you mention a church school? that would be a great option. usually kids that are sent to a church school are better behaved than others, however, its not a guarantee. i think a church school education would be great for any kid.

what i would suggest is to look for other homeschooling parents. maybe go to their house a couple times, see what they do, and the requirements for homework or tests, etc. (i myself would like to do this in the near future - my son is only 2) see what homeschooling in action is really like...
after all, you may hate it :P
anyway. good luck. its a hard decision, im trying to make it as well. remember, it is probably possible to send him to school, then decide to homeschool him later, and then send him back to school after that even. its not a big deal i dont think. i know a mom in our area who did that with her kids. didnt like something and so she pulled her kids, homeschooled for a couple years, and then they went back to school later.
it all depends.
good luck!



answers from Green Bay on

I'm not a teacher, but I'm still against homeschooling. Generally folks who homeschool don't have the education necessary to teach their children in the first place, and a school environment teaches other lessons that can't be learned at home.

Being in school gives children their first steps toward independence, and the ability to put into practice the lessons you are teaching them. If they aren't faced with choices they will never learn to make them on their own, and they can't make those choices with mom/dad looking over their shoulders.

They don't learn how to deal with new situations and new people at home, and don't learn from those situations because they don't happen at home.

It's also very hard for most parents to enforce a schedule, homework, etc... on their own children in terms of schoolwork. And long term it's nearly impossible for a parent to be able to teach the depth and breadth of subjects necessary for a well-rounded education. That you and your husband were bored throughout school should not be the basis for a decision on your children's education, as there are plenty of programs in schools and ways to deal with boredom if you are persistent about it.

And being bored in school is a lesson in and of itself, as adults we are often bored with our tasks/jobs but are still required to do them. Learning to do what it is necessary even if it's boring is an important life lesson on responsibility that isn't going to be learned if you never have to experience it.

This is not the most serious and drastic decision you can make as you can always change the decision at any point.

Perhaps the change in environment would encourage him to write/read; seeing other children doing it might pique his interest and desire.



answers from Minneapolis on

S. -

I firmly believe that there is not any one type of schooling and/or curriculum that is right for every child. My dd was in public school to start with. She did pretty well for the first two years, then things got awful. She is a very bright girl, reading since 3 yrs old, but was miserable in school all of a sudden. Getting more involved and getting a different teacher the next year helped, but she was not thriving or successful. A few weeks into fourth grade, we made the tough decision to pull her out and switch to homeschooling. She really did not like it, but academically she was very successful. It took three of us, myself, my husband and my mom, to work with her, but it was worth it. After a year, a small charter school opened in our community, and we decided to let her try it. She was there for three years, and we all loved it. She thrived, academically and socially in the small setting that allowed for individualized learning. She has now graduated to another charter school, but is currently under homebound instruction (the school sends a teacher to her three days a week)due to some health problems. My advice is to look really closely at the curriculum and structure of any school you consider, and also to meet with his potential teacher ahead of time as well. There are a ton of different homeschooling programs and curriculums out there, too. Homeschooling requires a huge commitment, great time management, and the ability to separate school time from home time, but can be worth the effort if it meets your child's needs.



answers from Lincoln on

You said it takes a village. I am curious, do you have a village? It sounds to me like you and your husband are doing most of the work here. I personally would not feel up to the task of schooling one child while caring for 2 younger children on my own.

Although I have heard good things about homeschooling from others, I am not sure I am all for it. I believe public and private schools are improving in their efforts to keep all children challenged and interested in learning. Thankfully they are doing a better job now than when I was young.

Perhaps you could try visiting the schools in your district, then weigh that against what the parents of homeschooled children in your area have to say.

Researching this information will help two ways:

1. You will have a better grasp of the options and make a more informed decision.


2. Doing some serious research will take time, which will give you a grasp on your time constraints. In other words, if you find you have plenty of time and energy to do the research then you have time to do an excellent job in homeschooling your child.

All children are different by nature so I cannot say definitively. I have had my 4 year old is constantly around different sets of adults and children (we have many friends from church, work and other orginizations). She is absolutely the most social butterfly I have ever seen and she has the best time with all people, therefore home schooling is not an option for me as it would make her miserable to spend every day without peers.

In the end you know your child and your know you abilities and the choice is yours.

The best of luck,



answers from Des Moines on

I know you have quite a few responses, but wanted to add a couple of thoughts.

First, from some of the things you wrote about him not wanting to sit and read/write, and because of your younger children, my initial reaction was that you should try out public school first and see how he likes it. As others have said, the decision you make now is not permanent or irreversible. And, it could be the right decision now, but your needs/situation may change later. As with a lot of parenting decisions, there is no "perfect" right answer. The answer is different for different kids (and parents).

Because of what you mentioned about your feelings about your school experience and because you feel he is brighter than average, I think you should check out a book called Losing our Minds by Deborah Ruf. It discusses parenting gifted children and making a variety of educational choices on their behalf. I would suggest that you talk to the school he would potentially attend and find out about their gifted program and if they provide testing and when. It may be beneficial to have him tested yourself (if they do not) to see where he falls on the spectrum. By identifying his strengths early and helping him in those areas, you may be able to make his school experience more fun and tolerable than yours was. Or at least you may find out something that will make your decision easier for you.

As for socialization, I think it's important to remember that, as with many things in a child's development, their skills are built up through a series of tiny steps. Things that don't seem like "true" or adult socialization to you could be important learning opportunities for him. I don't think it's something you can hold off on until they're 8-10.

Final thought: remember not to let your negative school experience color his view of it. I'm reminded daily that although our children have a little of their parents in them, they will not always do what we expect or make the choices we would make. They are their own little people and our job is to help them figure out their way.

Best of luck to you!



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S..

I had some similar concerns about my son - he's bright, can be very focused on a particular task, often very resistant to being taught by me, sometimes socially awkward, and has a strong perfectionist streak that prevents him from trying new things (like writing) because he doesn't want to fail.

I knew from trying to teach him in Sunday School that homeschooling as a primary option was not going to work for us. He's now in kindergarten at a private Christian school that is academically challenging, and small enough that he gets plenty of individual attention. Prior to that he was in pre-school for two years - but it probably took a year and a half of that for him to really get comfortable and open up.

I'd recommend getting him into a pre-school program soon if he isn't already - if nothing else, the teachers will be able to help you make this decision because they will see him in a classroom setting and be able to identify his strengths, weaknesses, and needs from a more objective position. But he'll also get some classroom practice and a chance to build his social skills in a safe environment.

Of course, no matter what you do you'll be homeschooling in one way or another. We still do experiments, projects, etc. Even just following up on homework has a homeschooling element. Don't worry that it has to be an either/or.

Good luck!



answers from Milwaukee on

S., when we were considering homeschooling (always considering it, but the three are in school now), I joined the Milwaukee Area Home Learners yahoo group. Being on the listserv helped me form some ideas. Also, the group has monthly meetings in Ozaukee County so it would be convenient for you. I was also able to email and speak with other homeschoolers and that was helpful as well. As the other poster said, it is really up to you how you want to do the home schooling, it can be traditional books or more of the "unschooling" approach, which is more guided by the child's interest. There are some great websites addressing these issues. With three kids in school (ages 9, 7 and 4.5) I can certainly attest to some problems that make me often feel homeschooling would be great. In Wisconsin compulsory education starts at age 6 and you would have to simply file a form with the State by October 15 of the year your son is six to indicate you are homeschooling. The law requires you instruct 875 hours per year (I believe my husband and I meet this with our kids being in school!) and there is no strict guide as to when this needs to be done (for example you can do it in the summer and weekends and evenings). Good luck, I do not have the exact websites but if I come across them I'll send you a message. Also the group on yahoo is "MAHL"



answers from Minneapolis on

Have you considered Montessori? Many of the Montessori day cares also so elementary school (similar to having your child in a charter school). They're structured to allow the child to learn at his or her individual pace and to spend time focusing on his or her individual interests. It may be a good option for your son, but if it's something you're interested in, make sure you start looking now. Most of them have waiting lists and they can be hard to get into if you procrastinate.

I don't have any advice to give on homeschooling itself though. I have an Elementary Education degree myself, but I know there are a great deal of problems with public schools if your child isn't "average". Just look at all your options, charter/montessori/public/private/etc., and see which one seems to fit your son the best.



answers from Minneapolis on

I am a homeschooling mom of 2 (well, actually 4, but 2 I am currently homeschooling.) Right now I am homeschooling my 5 and 4 year olds. (They are both doing K just to make it easier.) I was REALLY on the fence about what to do and had a lot of concerns about both pulic schooling and homeschooling. Like you, I didn't want to make the "wrong" decision. Even though I have chosen to homeschool, I don't really have advice for you about which one to choose. I love homeschooling, but am not anti public school. What I do want to tell you is some advice I got when I was trying to decide. First of all, it's just Kindergarten! Nothing you or the school does during that year is going to scar him so much his entire education will be ruined. Secondly, whichever decision you make you CAN change your mind. Try one (whichever you choose) for a year and if it just isn't the right fit for you or for him, then switch the next year. (If it is REALLY not working you can even change your mind midyear.) I know it is a big decision, but try to relax. Take it one step and one child at a time. (Remember what you do for one you may not necessarily do for the others.) My final bit of advice - if you choose public school be very involved and if you choose homeschool make sure he has "social" outlets as well to learn to work with other people. I know I didn't really give you an opinion on one side or the other, but I hope this was helpful. If you do have specific questions about homeschooling I'd be happy to tell you what I know. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I know there are LOTS of fantastic homeschooling programs out there for you to choose from, so you have lots of options if that is what you choose to do.
My son is very advanced academically and is one of the oldest in his class, so we were afraid he would be bored in regular school (my husband and I were). However, with my son's and my personalities, we know homeschooling would be a disaster.
We ended up putting him is a Science, Math, and Technology magnet school (he has that kind of a mind) and supplement his learning at home. Yes, the Kindergarten reading and math parts of school are WAY to easy for him, but we practice reading things he's interested in at home and are teaching him more advanced math.
He is learning multiplication (he understands the concept and can multiply single digit numbers in his head) and how to add large numbers (3+ digits) on paper (he works out smaller sums in his head). He also writes stories and works out pages of math problems on his own.
We take the time to explain how things work and why. Last night at dinner, my husband was teaching him about nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
He also watches very few movies, but watches certain PBS Kids shows almost daily (Sid the Science Kid in one of his favorite) for down time and learns a LOT from them.
We also put him in a chess class after school (something he was interested in) and he has really taken off with that.
We are really happy with our decision. Sure, Kindergarten is easy for him, but 1st grade will be more challenging. We just view this time as a warming up period for him to adjust to school (there have been some anxiety issues to work through), socialize (his favorite part of school is making friends), to have a life away from home and learn to deal with things on his own without Mom or Dad. He's come a long way in those respects and misses school when he has a long break.
As much as I love my 6-year-old, I have a toddler and another baby on the way, so I enjoy the time that he is at school. It gives me a much needed break from his constant activity, and chance to shift my focus to other things.
Two boys are exhausting- I can't imagine what three will be like, and I can't imagine squeezing homeschooling into our already crazy lives. I just don't have the energy that other moms do to juggle a dozen different daily activities. BUT, if you are one of those organized super moms, go for it! Only you know what is best for your family.



answers from Minneapolis on

As a school teacher--I am mostly against homeschooling. And not just because I am a teacher! I have seen children who have been homeschooled, both through my second job and those who have entered public schools after attempting homeschooling. Children who are homeschooled often lack skills in certain areas. Generally parents are better at teaching in certain areas and then the other subjects aren't taught as well or as much. I also see social differences in children who have been homeschooled. I see difficulty in dealing with others, especially those who are not like the individual. I think social issues are one thing children need to learn to cope with as one day they will be in the work force and have to do deal with all kinds of people. It is a process begun when young to learn these skills. I would say try public school-you can always change your mind. It could be difficult for you to teach him not only with 2 other children but also because he does not sound very willing to learn from you. Sometimes children need their parents to be more of a parent not a teacher. My youngest daughter went through the same thing about learning her alphabet. We ended up having to send her to preschool as she wouldn't learn from us.

Whatever you decide I wish you the very best--and unfortunately the decisions only get harder.

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