Hi! My name is Melissa and I would love to homeschool my 5 year old son. I have yet to convince my husband but deep inside my heart I really want to homeschool our 5 year old son. Since he has started kindergarten his confidence has decreased immensely. He went from an outgoing, talkative, confident child to a withdrawn, terrified and paranoid boy. He's even regressed in reading, writing and math. He is constantly worried about "silly thoughts" such as shrinking, turning into animals, getting lost, having a curse put on him ....its non stop worries. He is being bullied by kids (boys and girls w/hitting and even spitting) and is too scared to defend himself. He is so terrified of breaking the "rules" and getting in trouble by the teacher and he cries every single day we drop him off at school. I've met with the teacher, principle and counselor and all seem to think that there is no problem once he is at school yet the teacher admitted to documenting anytime my son cries at school. They seem to be more concerned with defending themselves (especially teacher) then my son's mental health.
My mother and husband feel that since our son is an only child (no cousins) that he will be missing out on socializing skills. They say that learning to deal with bullies is part of life and that I am being overly protective. Both think I will end up handicapping from dealing with difficult situations and that I should trust that he has to learn how to believe in himself and stand up for himself.
I want to be real prepared in order to convince my husband and mother that homeschooling is worth giving it a shot. I would like advice on where to start as far as books with curriculum. The other concern my husband has is that he is not a christian. He was raised muslim. He believes that my son should learn about both religions. Is there any non-christian homeschooling material out there?
The whole world is out there as homeschooling material! My suggestion would be to send for a variety of homeschool suppliers' catalogs, and decide at your leisure. But don't wait until you have materials before you start!
I realize that sounds strange, but for at least the first couple of months, you'll want to take it easy on "academics," and just let him have a safe place to be. How far behind can you get at five years old?
Go to the library, find books to read to him and with him without pressing him to read any more than he wants to. When he feels safe, his skills can take off again. Same with math skills. Play games, make patterns, bake, but don't "do math" for a while, until he wants to start up. Then, again, you'll see his skills take off.
Good luck! Come to one of our park days and he can socialize with many different kids--different ages, different religions.
For encouragement and food for thought for your family, think about gardening as it relates to dealing with your son. We all seem to understand that we need to plant seeds and water and nourish them, and watch over them carefully for them before they begin to grow and sprout. We all seem to understand that new shoots, saplings, and other just-emerging plants are extremely tender and need to be protected from the elements. They may need to have netting put around them or may need their tender stems and stalks to be supported by a wooden stake. They may need to be started indoors and then planted outdoors when they reach a particular stage. It might be necessary to check them every day for certain insects and diseases that may destroy them before they even make it to maturity.
We would never argue that those plantings should be left alone so they can be strong and grow better on their own. We tell ourselves that we need to help them along, help strengthen them so that they can grow and get stronger. As they grow and we actually see the stalks get sturdier and thicker and we see the leaves get stronger and we know the roots are growing deeper, we progressively remove the netting, the wooden stakes, etc., and allow them to grow more and more on their own. We can look at someone's farmland or garden and tell how well or how poorly they have taken care of their plants.
How much more valuable and tender is your son? Doesn't he deserve at the least the care that a farmer or gardener would give a tender corn plant or a rose bush? My children (who are now 11, 8, and 5) were all very clingy when they were younger and I was repeatedly told to just make them go there or do this, or they would never leave my side. I did what felt right for me which was to wait and let them feel more secure in themselves by using me as an anchor as they moved forward to more independence and confidence. I couldn't completely understand what was going on in their little minds anymore than they could tell me exactly what they felt when they would choose to sit by me rather than do what all the other children were doing. It worked out because they are now very confident and secure children who (gasp!) have no problems being social with children their age as well as those who are younger or older --or even adults. (Research shows that homeschooled children are much better at this than those who "socialized" in the school setting, by the way. And that they are overall more sociable, too.) I truly believe that had we not allowed them the freedom to "grow into themselves" they would be totally different children.
Did you know that true socialization should be done by parents and not peers? Socialization is the process by which culture is learned. Do we really want our children to learn their behavior, values, norms, and morals from children their own age?!?!
I know this is a long reply, but I really want to encourage you. Hang in there! I'll be praying for you -- for real.
I agree that we should protect our children & keep them as close as they need in they're young years. My kids have all been rather clingy at times, but now as they are getting older, they are very social...can you be too social? And the cool thing about HSed kids is they actually can socialize with people of all ages, not just other kids their age.
I wish your family the best of luck. You should definitely hit a park day, I think even without your son, if need be, just to gather info & get support from other mothers. And the best thing is that if Hsing doesn't work, you can easity re-enroll your son in school.
Adam (12 y.o.) Allison, aka DD (10 y.o.) Ian (7 y.o.) Jason (5 y.o.)
Hi ladies, I'm using my husband's work computer to respond real quick. Just wanted to say thank you for replying. Wazbim, I think I will print out your reply and use it to not only convince my husband and mother but tape it up on the wall and use it as a reminder of why I choose to homeschool.
Better get off this computer. I'll be back soon!!
ps I am going to take Diane advice and allow my son to just feel safe for a couple of months. His learning before school was effortless. He was never pressured and that is why I think he's forgetting so much stuff at school.
Great advice everyone!~ I would like to add my little two cents, over the years I have met several families with reluctant Dads. I would suggest starting now, do it in th evenings it is really more of a lifestyle than educational choice for us...... sometimes if they can see it in action such as attending some functions or parties where he can meet other Dads and see other families it takes away the unknown. when we started 10 years ago, we had just moved to a rural area in VA, the schools were moldy and undesirable, there were no other options for us really we went to a park day and I saw a 16 year old boy with his baby brother in a sling and I was hooked! It clicked, my husband was always supportive knowing I am a little OCD and over think and research everything but we gave it a year and decided we would re-evaluate at the end of the year..... ten years later here we are.
We just started using time4learning they are an online program which works especially well for visual learners and children with processing issues, it is all games, it is month to month so you can cancel at anytime, also I have picked up learn at home at costco, it is a complete years curriculum which is also secular and about $8, so you can get your feet wet and not spend a fortune, anything the schools use you can buy yourself we use a mixture and there are a ton of resources!~ Best wishes Tina
I can relate! The best thing you can do (as previously written) is to hit a park day...and bring your camera. Take pictures of your child with the many other kids and show this to your husband. I promise you he will see that socializing will not be a problem and that is his main concern. I am the Mom to an only and have a husband that had the exact same concerns, this helped soooo much. As for your Mom, remember she mothered you, you are your son's Mother. You have to get your gumption up and let her know that you appreciate her caring but you have to make the decisions you feel is best for YOUR son. You are stronger than you think you are and it is apparent from your post that your senses are attuned to you child. Trust nature, trust yourself and I wish you strength and best wishes. Hope to see you at park day soon.