Decompressing from public school

I would love some input on or about decompressing from public school. We will begin homeschooling for the first time starting in January. My 3 boys are in 4th and twins in 2nd grades.

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I can tell you what didn’t work well with my kids. We started last year in the Fall (2014) at the beginning of the public school year. At the time my kids would have been starting 1st and 3rd grade. Even with the summer off beforehand, the change was very difficult for all of us. I tried to just jump right in, and met resistance to most everything I tried. It wasn’t the way they did it in school, it was too easy, too hard… Nothing seemed to suit them. The one thing that both kids really liked was Story of the World, which involves me reading to them from the text and then lots of fun crafts and activities. I think maybe starting out with just one fun thing - completely different from school - may be a good way to go.

The other thing that really saved us, was that I bought a bunch of new toys for my son to play with, since he had developed and “allergy” to anything resembling school. I bought Legos (which we had never owned), Magformers, and Cube-a-Maze. I spent a lot of money, but it was worth every penny to have something to occupy him while I worked on a bit of academics with my daughter (she is a school girl through and through).

I wouldn’t bother trying to do any academics, unless you have a child who really loves that. Maybe just read books together, take up geocaching or archery, buy a metal detector and a book to go with it and learn how to use it. There is a lot of science, math, history, and enjoyment of nature with any of these activities. You might be surprised how you will be able to tie things into activities like this later when you focus on academics again. It can make math, science, history lessons so much more interesting and meaningful. My kids love watching the TV show Brain Games, How it’s Made, and Wild Kratts. They learn so much from them. Board games are great, too. There are so many things you can do with them that don’t look anything like school, but they will still be learning. Possibly more so than they would doing traditional school work.

This year is quite different. We are working more as a team and I see great progress for both of my kids.

I hope I haven’t rambled on too much, and I hope this helps.


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I absolutely agree with Sandi! We started homeschooling this fall with two first graders and a kindergartener after the pulling the first graders out at the end of their kindergarten year. So we had the whole summer off but it was rough - we had a death in the family, we moved, etc. When we started school back up, about two weeks later than our local school district, it went well for about a month and a half and then we bombed. They didn’t want to do the work, didn’t want to sit, complained, whined…etc. The problem was that I was trying to recreate school at home with lots of worksheets. I’m not sure what I was thinking, since that hadn’t worked well when they were at public school, lol!

We took about a month off. A month with no expectations, where I gave them complete freedom over their schedules during the day. My only rules were that they needed to complete their chores and they couldn’t go over their screen time allotment. They had the best time just having freedom and being kids and playing.

We started back and now we are coming at it with a different approach. Less (or no) sitting. Lots of hands-on activities. We cook and bake. We take lots of trips to the library and snuggle on the couch to read. We follow their interests, which seem to be very science based, and I find a lot of ideas for science experiments on Pinterest. The Five in a Row series has been lots of fun for us, too, since we all love reading aloud and looking at the book’s illustrations. We go more slowly with it - we spend about two weeks on a lesson instead of the one week that is recommended.

I would say just follow your children’s lead. We are homeschooling because we all feel like this is the best thing for them, so just pay attention to their cues. If school isn’t going well for the day, try packing it up and doing something fun together.

I hope it goes well for you! Remember it is a big transition for them AND for you so be patient! Good luck!

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Slow and easy wins the race. Being type A this was difficult for me. I pulled my son out of 2nd grade near the beginning of school last year and his 8th grade sister a month later. He didn’t mind, she did.

We live in a very remote area so finding things that involved other “kids” has been a challenge for us. My daughter really resented not being with her friends. So that may be something to consider for you or it may not pose a problem at all.

You may hear a lot about your child’s learning style, but you need to consider your teaching style. For example, my kids really like doing crafts. I hate them. So I try to strike a middle ground (sort of). I enjoy reading aloud to them and have actually found sometimes reading aloud IS our school day. So while I’m reading they are free to play with legos, kinetic sand, thinking putty, color, draw etc. Not too much mess and plenty of movement and creativity for them. We also have found that cooking with mom is another “craft” that they enjoy.

Boys: like @susand2006 we physically move around here. My son cannot sit for very long. Your boys may handle sitting better, but beware. Sometimes I literally have to close my eyes because if not I may end up with motion sickness.

I agree with the thoughts from @susand2006 and @sahmcolorado don’t kill them with worksheets and take some time to be a family and get to know each other. Find out what makes your kids tic. Don’t stress over not doing school for awhile they will be just fine, and probably the better for it.

Some suggest taking a month off for every year a child has been in public school. We did take time off, but I did not let my daughter hang for 8 months. We did take probably from Oct- Jan off. Then slowly started with math, a history read aloud, and some science, only because they wanted science. That was all.

Thank you all for weighing in! I should add that we will be doing this under the guidance of a public charter school. The kids and I will meet with our Educational Coordinator for the first time next week to choose our curriculum and set up lesson plans. They will be able to attend enrichment classes twice a week at the school site. I have no idea what the expectations will be at the start of all of this, other than knowing we have to follow common core standards (which I hate, but have accepted for now), and we will be expected to reach goals and accomplishments within an allotted time frame. I have no idea what the goals or the time frame is at this point. During our orientation, another mom, who has been doing it all on her own until now, said the best piece of advice she got was not to expect anything the first year. The thought of no accomplishments gives me anxiety and knowing we have to follow the public school standards freaks me out! It’s all so overwhelming. I know it will all work out, just hate the unknowns. I like to gather all the information before I make decisions, and this is one my husband and I have stepped out in faith on. I know our Lord is with me, so that does give me some comfort, but AAAHHHHH! Haha!