Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Forum: Sending Your Child to School

Don't worry, the home school interview is still in the works, and you'll see it soon!

Today's forum is about sending your child to school. After having a child under your protective wing for so many years, sending him off to school--be it public, private, or charter--is a big deal! And for some of us, it's a bit anxiety inducing.

We want to know...

Did you feel anxious about sending your first child to kindergarten? (I am in knots about sending Henry in the fall, but I work myself into knots over most things, so I'm not entirely alarmed about this, but still curious to hear from other mothers).

If your children attend public school, how would you describe your family's experience with education in the public schools? Have you ever considered or tried alternative options?

My concerns about sending my son to school have less to do with academics and more to do with moral issues and negative social pressure. I realize that in kinder, the extent of this probably won't be much worse that an increased exposure to potty talk and maybe some lame cartoons. But down the road, the social pressure increases and so do the consequences. What have been your observations around these types of issues with your school-aged children? And how have you dealt with these things as they've come up?

Did you notice a change in the overall attitude of your child when he/she first went to school?
How did the routine change affect your child? Was he more emotional/tired/needy? Or did school provide him with a new place to achieve, feel successful and bloom?

Did you notice changes in the overall family dynamics in your home, specifically sibling relationships, when your children started school?

Please feel free to bring up other issues surrounding this topic in the comment thread. We would really love to hear from moms who have experience with school aged kids as well as moms who are yet to enter that phase of family life. One of our favorite things about Bloom is hearing your insights and perspective, so don't hold back!


Anonymous said...

The first time I put my oldest son on the bus for kindergarden, I realized that I had just entrusted the life of my child to a bus driver that I didn't know. I didn't even look at her face! I walked home with tears streaming down my face, even though the school is only 5 minutes from my house.
My kids go to a public school. When we were shopping for a house, we first school shopped. I have a lot of confidence in our school and I volunteer there weekly.
One thing that bothers me is the things my children hear from other kids. I think that is a problem everywhere though. During the election, I had to explain o my 7 and 9 year old boys what abortion was..not on my list of things to explain to them at that age. A child on the bus told them, "Obama lets moms kill thier babies". This is my biggest challenge with school.

jeanine said...

Our school system includes pre-K. Our Kindergarten is full day and I felt my son would need some kind of transition from nothing to all day school. So this year he started pre-K.
I felt the normal anxiety that I think every mom feels. He was so excited to start school though! I have watched him blossom and grow in confidence this year. He already knew most, if not all, of the academics before starting (letters, numbers, etc) but mostly needed the socialization. He has grown so much!
One thing I've noticed is that he's very grumpy after school if he doesn't get some alone time. I usually try to provide some time where he can just look at some books or play without his little brothers. If he can get just 10-15 minutes then it usually prevents some major meltdowns.
As far as sibling relationships I think they've improved (if that was at all possible! My boys have always gotten along!) I'm so proud when I bring my younger boys to school and William (my oldest) proudly tells his friends "that's my brother!" Or when he tells me "James is my friend that lives at my house"

Sally said...

Well, I actually looked forward to the day that both of my oldest started school. I enjoy the time we spend together as a family on the weekends, but during the week I enjoy the break I get while they are at school and I know they enjoy it too. Whenever school gets canceled or they have an extended break they are always anxious to get back. We definitely have to deal with the not so great things they learn there, but I also firmly believe that kids learn valuable life lessons about how to deal with different situations at school. The kind of stuff they can't learn at home.

Charlene said...

Interesting question! We live in Oregon, not Utah, so our experience is probably a little different than others.

I have an 8 year old and a 2 year old. I did not have a problem sending the oldest to preschool, but when Kindergarten came around, I was a mess. I cried after dropping him off at his new classroom, and wondered what the world would do to my sweet, innocent child.

I got over it by volunteering in his classroom every other week. My husband also volunteered on the weeks I didn't. That helped a lot to see that structure for children is a good thing in a school setting. It also let me gauge how advanced my child was, and helped me to know what to work on with him at home, his weaker areas.

We did notice he was more tired, probably from using his brains, so we set a stricter schedule at home, with concrete bed times. That helps. So does a nap each Sunday after church to set him up for a new week.

He's now in 2nd grade, and loves school. I had some of the same concerns about peer pressure, kids being mean or potty mouthed, etc. I think it all comes down to communication with your child. He feels safe to ask us what things mean that he hears on the schoolyard, and we answer without getting upset or angry. I do ask him where/why he's asking things.

Only once has he come home with a bad word. I explained what it meant, and asked him if he'd ever heard mommy or daddy use that word. No! So, I told him he shouldn't use it either.

It's funny, I thought he'd be coming home with lots of sexual based questions, but he hasn't. We have begun "the talk" with him, since he's been baptized this year, and he still doesn't really get it, or it isn't that important to him (not yet!) I would have thought he'd hear things at school from other kids, but he hasn't.

Now, my experience may vary, since our second child was born while #1 was in Kindergarten, and they didn't have any relationship away from him being at school. And, possibly because my first is a boy, he may be so into expending all his extra energy running around on the playground, maybe he hasn't been influenced too much yet.

Have faith, volunteer, pray and keep open communication. Teach your children to be leaders, have compassion for those being picked on, and I'm sure your school experience will be awesome.

Melissa said...

We are a public school family mostly because my husband and I were public school children and that's just what we figured we'd do with our kids. I am also a credentialed elementary school teacher and taught in public school. I really think public school has it's advantages. The kids being away from home and more independent, being able to bond with a teacher, and making new friends outside of the neighborhood or church circles. Recently, with class size increases and budget cuts, I am falling out of love with public school administration and the State of CA. Our teachers are doing their best, but nothing I've seen in the last five years makes me anxious to return. But I digress...

When my oldest turned 5 and went to kinder, I was excited and grief stricken all at once. Excited because school is such an adventure, and kinder is so fun for them. The grief came because it hit me like a brick wall that there would never again be anytime at home, just her and I with no schedule and all the time in the world. I panicked. I cried after leaving her and came home to write a letter to her. In it I poured out my feelings about letting her go, my guilt over possibly not having done enough with her while we were at home, and my grief about her not being at home with me anymore. One day, before her little ones go off to kinder, I'll let her read it. :)

Fast forward to the same child in 5th grade. She struggles with attention and organization and some of her teachers have been great. Her teachers, except one, have worked with us to find what works for our daughter. But you HAVE to be involved and proactive if you want things to happen. If you have a child who fits inside the box, public school is for you. If they struggle at all, or if they are particularly gifted, public school can be a challenge. No matter how much we speak about differentiated curriculum, the reality is that there are 30 kids and you have to teach to the core or norm. Recently, a friend of mine began home school. I cannot believe how great the curriculum is, and it's PROVIDED by the State of CA. ?!? I will talk more about this when we talk home school, but I am flabbergasted that our public school can't have this great curriculum. At around the same time, by oldest was out sick for several days. We collected homework for her everyday and completed it at home. What shocked me is that it was the same amount of work that always comes home. This leaves me wondering what she does in school all day??? My youngest is also a little outside the box in a positive way, and I wonder if she's being challenged?

I have never liked the muck they pick up at school, but my girls learned some not so great things before they entered public school from their very own cousins and neighborhood friends who had teenage siblings. In that respect, I guess they're going to get this new and unpleasant information somewhere, so I can't diss public school for that.

I've probably confused you as to my feelings about public school. The bottom line is that it can be great, but it can be challenging. No matter what, I'm convinced after these years of experience so far that all I can control is what goes on in my home. We talk through the yucky things that happen on the playground, celebrate the good, and I stay uber involved in homework and volunteering in the classroom. I advocate for my children no matter what and take an active part in their public education. I'm not sure what the future holds. I don't know if I could be at home and be their teacher. For now, we'll keep moving forward with the public school system and celebrate its merits. :)

Katie said...

Oh man, I am a HUGE advocate for the public school system. Obviously if you live in an area where the district is particularly bad and they classes huge, other options are a must!

In my opinion my social butterfly of a first grader is in heaven. She has loved school since day 1. Sure it was hard when she first started and it was more about my not being ready to let her go than anything.

It has been a joy to watch my girl grow and learn and make friends of all shapes and colors. She has really blossomed it school.

At some point you have to let these kids grow up! Am I thrilled that Jolie is obsessed with Miley Cyrus and iCarly? No, but she is going to grow up no matter what you do! It is so good for them to cast out on their own and get the opportunity to be themselves without mom always being there.

And now my Lucy is going to start kindergarten next year and she can't wait! It will also be good for her shy personality to have to make friends for herself separate from her sister.

Anyway, I am pretty opinionated about this. I really don't see the appeal of homeschooling, but that is just me. To each his own.

Good luck with your decision!

jeanine said...

ditto to Katie.

Jenn said...

My kids haven't arrived at the age of school yet but "I know someone who" has a boy who's birthday is July. They felt the need to hold him back before starting school so he will be 6 before he goes. Now there is talk that because Kindergarten is not required, maybe they will keep him home another year and start him right into first grade when he is 7. And let me say he is not in anyway lacking in development. He is fully capable of attending school. I, like Sally, belive that kids learn important life lessons and social development at school and it is selfish to keep your kids home for the sake of your own nerves. Though there may be tough times and things you will have to unteach them, they good things they do learn are so important.
I also think that if your child sees your hesitancy and worry it will affect them and possible determine how they feel about school. If you get excited about it he/she probably will too making the chances of them enjoying school much greater.

Sarah said...

My oldest just started kindergarten this year. He barely misses the school birthday cutoff, and I had actually tried to get him in early last year. I just really felt like he was ready, but they don't budge in Texas!

I think a lot of the experience has to do with the teacher. That's a scary idea to me, but we have been very fortunate because my son loves his teacher. I think it helps that her son is a kinder student in the same school. My son comes home excited every day. I don't know that it's super academically challenging, but it's kinder, how academically challenging is it supposed to be?!

I'm not saying that this will always be the case, but for right now I'm loving our public school experience. The one thing I don't enjoy however, is the amount of fundraising that goes on. It seems like every week my son comes home excited to "win" prizes by raising money. I wish they'd pick one thing, or at least tell us at the beginning of the year how much fundraising they plan on doing.

Mary said...

I don't have any kids, but I attended public school, except for the third grade. For some reason, second grade was kind of hard for me, and me and my mom just decided it would be best to try home schooling. I have some really good memories of that year. But after the year, we both felt it was time for me to go back to public school. Looking back, I think it was kind of amazing and so important to me that my mom valued my opinion so much and was able to give me what I needed.

Kate said...

Take my comment for what it's worth. My oldest is 2 1/2, so we have a while before we start the school thing. But it doesn't stop me from researching and thinking and talking with my husband about what we want to do.

Here's what I think Em about the moral issues and social pressure. Whether it be homeschool, public school or private school our children are eventually going to hear/see things we don't want them to. They are going to be pressured to do things we wish they wouldn't. Like someone said, from their kids cousins and neighbors before school started. It will happen. Our whole adult session of stake conference was about pornography. They said these days it's not a matter of if but when our children will be exposed. And I know this isn't about that, but if we're honest, it's ALL OVER schools these days to a frightening degree. I won't lie, it scares me. Not to mention the potty talk and other not so desirable behaviors they may pick up. But what I picked up most from our stake conference was to have faith and to be very, very diligent in teaching our children. We need to have the faith in our children that they will choose the right after we've done all we can do to teach them how they need to react to things they will be exposed to. They gave some wonderful examples (stories) in our stake conference of kids who acted how I hope my children will. It is possible to raise respectful, loving, strong, happy, moral children in today's world. We just need to be faithful, diligent parents. Because it is a different world out there from the one we grew up in and the things going on in schools are very different too. And faith is a hard thing to have sometimes when we want to hold onto our kids with white knuckles and protect them from everything we can. Unfortunately I think that will only backfire. They need to learn to be independent and learn to make their own decisions with our guidance.

So did I totally go off topic? It's just something I've been thinking about so I hope I got my thought across the way I wanted to. Can't wait to see what other mom's who have kids in school have to say! Great topic!

Honey said...

I have three kids in public school: grades 3, 1 and kindergarten (with two more kids at home). They've all done really well and thankfully we live in a great school district.

I think no matter how many kids you send to kindergarten (or a new school) it's ALWAYS nerve wracking. Will they adjust? will they make good friends? I think being enthusiastic and excited for their first big, independent steps can really help their confidence and start them on the right foot. Of course they're going to be exposed to different influences and opposition, (isn't that why we're all here? ) but we can't keep them little forever - as much as we might try :) We have to believe and have confidence in ourselves that we've taught them well (and continue to teach them) to make good choices on their own - without Mom and Dad around. BIG steps for child and parents. I'm all for GREAT public schools.

Bloom said...

Just wanted to pop in and thank you for the thoughts you've shared. I appreciate hearing about your experiences.

Katie - you're right, we do have to let kids grow up. I recognize this as a weakness of mine - wishing we could hold on to the "little, innocent, unstructured, simple phase" just a little longer. I appreciate your example of facing each new phase with courage and optimism.

Jenn - you make a great point about being careful about how we talk about school and not projecting an attitude of anxiety or fear to our children. I know Henry is especially perceptive to things like that and I need to be careful about the feelings I convey. Thanks for the reminder.

Sarah - it does seem like so much of the school experience rides on the teacher - a little unsettling if you get a dud, no?

Kate, I agree with your comment completely. We can't shelter our kids from unfavorable influences forever - all we can do is teach and prepare; that thought's been in my mind all week and has really been emphasized to me in a few quiet moments.

I think greater faith and lots of teaching/loving influence at home will help us all take courage and feel confident in whatever choice we make for our childrens' education.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts - I really appreciate everything that's been said.

Sarah H said...

My twins are in full day Kindergarten in public schools. I love it, and so do they, though I think one of my twins would do better with half day, because he says the days are long. I miss them some days, but I really like my break during the day. We live in a great school district. Their teachers are great and they are learning so much!
I agree with the commenter about the fundraising though. Too much!

Mrs. Small House said...

My oldest starts K this fall and I still waver a bit on the decision, mostly for academic reasons. He already reads chapter books and can do basic addition and subtraction. My niece was the same and became the "problem child" and has struggled in school since. Like everyone else has said, he's going to learn the "potty stuff" from somewhere anyway (but it doesn't thrill me there's f-words written on the plaayground equip!) But I met my son's future teacher and felt like she would be a good match. Bottom line: we're taking it one year and one teacher at a time. After a lot of prayer I know we'll spend some years homeschooling and some public schooling. I think the key is to not stress about it and trust your instincts with your kids.

Heather said...

My oldest is only 2 1/2, but my husband and I have already talked about this. I feel like the public school system can be good, but in a lot of ways is quite broken. Also, it terrifies me that my children will be exposed to such garbage, really long before they are ready.

Can I protect them forever? No. But I also feel kids these days are WAY, WAY too young to be learning and hearing the things they do and it's my job to protect them from it the very best I can. Call it the mama bear in me. These are my babies. Yes EVENTUALLY they will be exposed, but letting them so early just because it will eventually happen just doesn't sit well with me.

It's so confusing to know what is the best decision and I am intrigued to hear more on homeschooling. I think it is so important to teach our children respect, kindness, and deep values of what is right and to be secure in it. I also really like what Melissa said.

Jules said...

I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old. The oldest started kindergarten this year. He has a June birthday (he'll be 6 in June) and is one of the youngest in his class. We were very worried, as his preschool did not think he was ready socially but would be bored academically with one more year of pre-K. We are sending him to a private Catholic school. (The same one I went to as a child!)

We had him enrolled in the public school down the street from us (no more than 15 or so houses down) but for many reasons changed our minds at the last minute.

I am thrilled we did. The program is from 8-3. It is rigorous, but reasonable. The public school in our area gets out at noon instead of 3. But, our public school doesn't provide P.E., computers, language, music, or religion to their kindergarten class. The school my son attends does.

I was so very, very worried on that first day of school. My main concern is how my very sheltered, emotionally immature son would do in a class full of kids who were older than him. He has done wonderfully, and is on the high honor roll. More importantly, he has matured and blossomed more than I imagined. He has many friends and is soaking everything up like a sponge. What a relief!

Could it be the school? Sure. Could it be just a coincidence? Would he would have been this mature on his own? Sure. All I know is that I am very happy with my decision to send him to school...but that doesn't mean that I don't miss him terribly and wish I could keep him at home with me all day. Hah! :)

I have noticed some sassy talk coming back home, but that could be the age.

I know that he is now truly the "big brother" to his younger brother. My oldest now acts more mature and has taken more of a teaching/guiding role with his younger brother.

One thing I have noticed that I don't like...I forget my oldest is only 5. Sometimes I feel I expect too much of him, while I treat his brother like a baby.

Monica said...

My little boy starts Kindergarten this fall. He will go to the public elementary school just a few blocks from our house. We live in a VeRy white community; Christian is adopted and African American. At the Kindergarten Roundup we just went to, he was the only African American there. I worry if I have taught him how to be strong and even though he may not see others that look like him, he is still as important and special as all the other kids. Have I taught him all he needs to know to survive the questions and comments kids can make? I am going to be on the PTA Board so I will be at the school, but I also need to realize that some things he is going to have to learn on his own...I am still in denial that he is old enough for Kindergarten. Then my almost three old will be in preschool three days a week. What in the world am I going to do with myself? Guess it's time for another one!! :)

becca said...

I am a mom of five children ranging in age from 16 to 2. I have a degree in elementary education but have chosen to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to share some thoughts.

1. I cried everytime one my kids left for their first day of kindergarten. I think it is a normal reaction most mothers have. My heart would ache for the passing of time and how fast it goes. I still feel a happy sad emotion each time my oldest to youngest does something new, this week it was my oldest getting her drivers license. Going to school is the first real change we have to deal with in our child's life. And yet how I love to watch my children grow from each new experience. How fun it is to see their shining happy face as they share what they have learned at school that day. One of mine will be starting school this next year and my heart and emotions are already kicking into gear.

2. Remember how you felt as a child in school. Were you happy? Did you adore you teachers? Where you excited for each day of school to get to be with your new friends and do all the exciting things big kids get to do? Think about your overall experience in kindergarten and elementary. Kids are strong and most adjust well to new things and grow from new experiences. I loved loved loved school. I loved to learn new things, play with friends at recess,library day, class plays, etc. I remember how excited I was in first grade to get to eat lunch at school.

3. Ask yourself as a mom would I really be able to teach my child at home? I have tried to teach my kids piano and it didn't work so good. Sometimes kids will do things for other adults that they won't do for their own parents. Is your child the kind that will work with you? Some of mine are and some aren't. Are you the kind of mom that is organized enough to truely give your child the best education at home? Some of us would be better at this than others,even though we may be wonderful mothers. Home schooling when you have one or two children may be a lot easier than it will be if you plan on having a large family. Children with learning disabilities may do better at home or school. Depends on the child.

3. How long would you home school for? Kindergarten through 12 is a long time. Teaching a kindergartener would obviously be easier than a 12th grader. Middle school would be a hard age to enter the public school system, it is about the hardest time of a child's life. If a child hadn't had a lot of experience dealing with others this may be hard for them. I have known some parents who waited until their children were in high school for them to merge into public school and they seemed to do great. Again it depends on the child.

4. Would your child develop the skills needed to understand, work with, and adjust to other children if they are taught at home? You can have play groups and some families do get together as groups to teach their children at home. Being on their own for a few hours a day may help children develope skills they need to do well in life. Being at home on the other hand can keep them from being exposed so soon to certain things.

5. I don't think there is a right or wrong choice. Remember each family, mom and child is different and what works best is different for everyone. You can always try one way of learning and switch to another if needed. Just the fact that moms put so much thought into this decision means there are some lucky children out there who are very loved.

Abbie said...

All these comments! Awesome!

I love what is being said. Every family is different and you just have to do what works/is right for you. So true!

We live in a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE school district, so we've decided to homeschool for now. I'm not sure how long we'll do it or how long we'll live where we live, but there is a great network in our area for homeschooling. But honestly, i don't know what I would do if we lived in a good school district. Would I send him to public school? I think I would, but the more I've researched and really listened to my motherly instinct about my son, the more I know what I'm doing is right for him. So, maybe no matter where we lived I would do homeschool. Maybe I'll do something different for my daughter. There are lotteries for different schools that we could try and a bunch of (INSANE) tests we can give our kids to get them into different schools, so who knows? We'll see. Right now I am really learning that our babes were sent to us for a reason. We know in our motherly hearts what is right for them and we shouldn't judge other mommas.

PS I loved public school kinder! Loved it! Then I had the WORST 1st grade teacher. She was awful. I cried every single day. I got sick all the time. It was horrible. It took me about 2 years to finally love school again. Isn't that crazy? I love learning, but she squashed my fire and it affected me for a long time (still I get a stomach ache when I think about her). So, what was said about getting a good teacher is HUGE, I think.

Oh my goodness, I am sooo rambling. Thanks for the therapy session:)

Doty Family said...

Hmmm, this is the first time I have commented. But this is an intersteing question.

I have a lot of faith in the public education system. Not necessarily the system, but the wonderful teachers who love to teach and do it for very little pay. You have to know they love it. I am very involved at my son's school. I volunteer on the PTO and I also go into the class room. I think you can make a better opinion about any school, by volunteering and see what really happens in the class rooms. It drives me crazy when parents complain about the school, but are unwilling to be involved. Being involved will only help your child excel at school!

I think your teacher can make or break your love of school. We had a awful Kindergarten teacher with my oldest, but it was her first year teaching. The kids loved her, me not so much. The next two teachers have been amazing.

There are hard things about school, though. My 2nd grader has currently been going through some tough times with being bullied and he has been having some emotional problems from that. I don't feel like I should pull him out of school, because I think he needs to learn how to deal with this now, because there are alway's going to be those kind of people in life wherever you go. And he is doing much better the last few weeks, because we have been talking to him and teaching him coping strategies.

Children need to learn to be independant of their parents. They need to learn how to cope and how to follow rules. They need to learn how to deal with other children and adults. And school, whether it be charter or public can help with that.

I could go on and on, but it is tough. Take it one day at a time and be involved and volunteer. Then if you see something you want to change, you can help make that change happen.

Banana said...

To answer your questions, YES, to all of it!

My oldest started Kinder last fall and I was so anxious! I toured the school and spoke to other moms who had kids there, I was comfortable with our decision, but I still cried every time I dropped her off for the first week (and through the day too).

I was homeschooled so sending our daughter to school was a big deal, sending her to public school was a huge deal! But we were very happy with the school, and I believe it is as good or better than many private schools. We live in the Bible-Belt so the mindset is pro-Christian and there is a large military population so the standards are high for behavior and academics. That being said I worry a lot about the influences from the other students, but I believe this is a concern with ALL schools. (I was in a private Christian school until 3rd grade and sex was a regular topic discussed on the playground.) We have decided to take it one year at a time, and re-assess as needed.
We did notice an attitude change, both good and bad (pretty much everything you mentioned). It does make me sad that most of my time with her is at the end of the day when everyone is getting tired and grumpy, and I often don't see her at her best, but the baby stage could not last forever and as much as i would like to go back and keep her with me all the time I know it is time to step back a little. For me I really think it is normal (emotional) growing pains and has more to do with life changing than just school.
Family dynamics did change in several ways. My oldest two are 16mo apart and really close, so my second one really missed his sister during the day. But now our 2nd and 3rd children have become really close and it is also really nice to get some one-on-one time with our 2nd when the 3rd one is napping. And when our oldest is home we kind of have to re-learn how to be around each other, this adds a bit of tension to the family, but after a day or two we are back to normal, and she jumps back into our routine. (I loved spring break!)
I have found so many good things and so many bad things about sending our daughter to school! But if I had decided to homeschool (and I still might) my list would be just as long. There is a lot of sacrifice in any decision, and this is just the decision that is right for us, for right now.

Nikki Douglas said...

This is my experience. This is long but I feel I should share it. I was all for public school, could never see myself doing home school, my child did awesome in preK & K, but then 1st grade hit. All day school started. This teacher is strong on staying on task while learning & there’s not a lot of room for creativity in the same way preK & K are. BUT I know it's not supposed to be the same. The kids are getting older & growing up. This teacher expects her students to be responsible for themselves so there is not a lot of communication with parents about what is due when or what should be happening at home other than a "here's what we did this past week" newsletter. Kind of like a wake-up call that "okay you're in real all-day school now so learn to sit still & listen & follow directions." This has been a hard transition as my daughter doesn't remember the directions or due dates at the end of the day & really doesn't feel like talking about them with me when she gets home from school. She's only 6! She feels like it's one more thing she has to do, one more on the list of choices that's being taken away from her. Her homework if she wants to do it takes 30-40 minutes about four nights a week, 90 minutes if she doesn't feel like doing it and I have resorted to rewards like TV and dessert and friend time if she'll just do her homework. (So this makes time for sports or dance class really hard.) Now I realize she has to learn that she doesn't always get to choose what she wants to do or always get her way, but for her I am considering how to make this transition more gradual so it doesn't turn off her love for learning & exploring before that window is closed.

I loved school & I got a lot of satisfaction from doing well in school. My daughter doesn't get satisfaction out of completing the homework or getting stickers or even being on time to school. She has turned into an attention-seeking student almost in a disruptive way. So maybe this means she isn't a good fit at this time for public school. This might also be because she isn’t being challenged enough. But it has taken 6 months this year to feel like I can work with the teacher instead of her getting defensive when I try to ask about what's going on--helping the teacher realize that I value her opinion & trust her views of what's going on in school more than my child's since my child tends to either exaggerate what's happening or not talk about it at all (can we say dramatic!). I really like the curriculum she is teaching & I think she's teaching the subjects well. It's how she's relating to my child that I think could be the issue. If I had know this was coming I probably would have sat my daughter down at the beginning of the school year & laid out some expectations teachers might have & that I have & brainstorm about what to do if school gets boring or if you don't like what's being taught, etc.

So home school has crossed my mind. But I also know that next year is another year. Next year's public school teacher could be just the personality my daughter needs. Then again I also am not looking forward to starting all over again with relationship building if it takes 6 months each year. I would love suggestions on what former & current teachers wish parents would do more or how to approach teachers better so brick walls don't go up from the start.

If anyone has something to share, I'll be watching this thread or my email is nicolebdouglasgmailcom.

Nikki Douglas said...

P.S. I heartily agree with helping out in the classroom. That helps so much with understanding how your child acts at school & you can meet their friends to get a sense of which friends you might feel comfortable with letting your child go over to their house & such. However, it's not always feasible if you have young children & no family close by to watch them during the day. I help out when I can but (& I can understand why) this teacher doesn't want occasional parent help--you have to start out at the beginning of the year with a regular schedule of helping. So it's hard. Anyone have ideas of how to work this out?