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Feeling a bit out of my depth...

(7 Posts)
whatawally Thu 11-Sep-08 14:24:13

I am home-schooling my 2 dds (6 + 5).

I have another dd who is 2.

When we first began home-schooling I was very structured- everything had it's place and I timetabled lessons.

I soon found out that this wasn't working for us, far too much pressure to get things done on a certain schedule. Especially with a baby demanding my attention.

So we switiched to a more autonomous style. And have been realy enjoying it, we've done projects on dinosaurs, the human body, anything they like really.

But I'm starting to feel a bit pressured to get them to catch up with children their age at school.

DD1 can write quite neatly and spell a certain amount of words, she can also read a few words, tho I doubt she can do as much as children at school because I like them to come to this naturally.

DD2 is a whole other ball game, she finds writing extremely difficult, cant spell or read any words yet. But has a keen interest in arts abd creative things.

Dh and I expose the girls to a whole heap of things and we have fun. We try and teach them about the world around around them and are usually always out and about doing nature related activities.

So they have learnt a lot of things since home-schooling but not the fundementals of reading/writing/arithmatic.

As I said tho i'm starting to wander if I am giving them the best I can. I'm 10 weeks pg with no 4 and have had such severe headaches and nausea that we've only been able to do the bare minimum for weeks.

When the baby comes along it'll be another demand on my time.

I may just be hormonal and this may pass in a while. But I cant help but wander if I should send them to school, tho this would make me sad.

I know the life of a home - educting mum is full of ups and downs.

What do you think?

SmugColditz Thu 11-Sep-08 14:29:17

as you're asking for an opinion, I'll give you mine ...

I think you should send them to school, and see if they like it. It would make YOU sad, but it probably won't make THEM sad, and I don't think you should make every decision based purely on YOUR feelings - you should take theirs into account too. YOu don't know how they will take it if they've never been, and babies and toddlers are extremely demanding, as you know. This could possibly work beautifully for the older girls OR the younger children, but I think you are going to be pushed to give all of them the attention they deserve and in the format they need, especially with 2 under 5.

onwardandupward Thu 11-Sep-08 15:33:15

Let me get this right:

you're happy with an autonomous style of HE

but you're feeling anxious about having 4 children to juggle in the near future

and you're feeling under pressure to be at the same level as school children (self-imposed or from well-meaning friends/relatives? Makes a big difference to your best response!)

and you are crazy pregnant hormonal lady (I am not. I am in the second trimester, and I am currently super-rational and super-energetic pregnant lady, so I can feel a big smug and superior. I could have written a similarly anxious post about doing nothing but lie around all day going "urgh" for weeks on end, and positively encouraging all the activities which require no parental assistance up until, ooh, about 2 weeks ago. You know it will pass )

Looks to me as if "So they have learnt a lot of things since home-schooling but not the fundementals of reading/writing/arithmatic." it's the reading, writing and arithmetic which is worrying you.

Not all schooled children are forging ahead with those skills aged 6 and 5. Montessori schooled children wouldn't be doing them yet, and nor would Steiner ones. Even the ones in NC-following state schools will have been exposed to these things in quite an intensive way, but does every 5 and 6 year old read, write and do arithmetic confidently? I doubt it!

One of the glories of the path you are following is that children can learn what they are interested in learning at the time they are interested in learning it and in the style they are interested in learning it with. And in some things, they are going to be streets ahead of their schooled peers, and in others they will be streets behind. And that's fine! It all averages out in the end - they'll be reading and writing and arithmetising brilliantly and confidently and joyfully when they are ready for it.

If you can cope with concentrating that long, how about a reinvigorating browse at the sandra Dodd and Joyce Fetteroll websites? Or a reread of Terri Dowty Free Range Education (which I was reading on the train the other day and Burst Into Tears because the stories were just so beautiful and life-affirming and knowledge-affirming), or maybe send a similar post to the Early Years HE yahoo group (link from Muddle Puddle) where 45 other women will say "oh I know" in suitably supportive Cybil from Fawlty Towers style, and remind you that this indeed will pass.

Don't worry about the "send them to school" advice you're likely to get here at MN unless that's something on your family's radar anyway. wink

whatawally Thu 11-Sep-08 15:58:05

Thank you to you both,

onwardandupward- That's the kind of answer I needed. The pressures are entirely self imposed- nobody else has said aword. And I do suspect it is a lot of hormones and extreme tiredness at the moment.

I just need to sit back and rationalise. DD3 will be 2.8 years when the next one arrives in April 09 an dwill be doing her 15 hours a week at nursery when she is 3 + 4. So will alliviate some of the demands.

And dh is leaving his current employment in April/May to do something less well paid but also less time consuming, which means he will be more available for either educatig the older ones or babysitting the younger ones.

I've used the argument before that I dont need to push my girls into reading and writing as schools do. And i'd rather they learnt to love reading at a pace they are happy with.

I think you just need to ignore my pregnant ramblings.

Feeling much better now, tho am sure I will more then likely have a few more niggles until I start getting some energy back and stop feeling so sick.

Thanx again.

Smugcolditz- I can entirely see your view and believe me I would not keep my children home merely for my own feelings (tho I realise I didn't explain that in my first post).

I am of the opinion that if there was a small, good school where we live I would be happy to send them. Unfortunately for us, we have 3 schools in our town and non of them have particuarly good reputations. Mainly bullying issues and over-crowded classrooms.

DD1 is a timid little thing and has speech problems, I feel she would be an easy target in one of these schools (tho I have never inferred that to her at any time).

And whilst dd2 is uber-confident, gregarious and full of life she struggles with formal work and I feel I can give her a more gentle approach at home.

Thank you for your insight tho.

onwardandupward Thu 11-Sep-08 16:20:51

Maybe what you actually need is a really good brainstorm about non-energetic ways to keep your girls occupied and stimulated while you feel like death warmed up. You would get an avalanche of replies on the early years HE list, because so many of the mothers who post there have been there done that with HEing through pregnancy.

(there is a lovely lovely essay called something like "lessons of the leg break fairy" in the Free Range Education book which might be just exactly exactly exactly what you need to read right now. the HEing mother there had badly broken her leg and was therefore unavailable for thrilling trips and rumpus for a couple of months, but the principle is the same )

Litchick Thu 11-Sep-08 21:13:01

That's a great story - hadn't she just started and had huge plans but broke her leg? Then when she got better she realised her boys had learned loads.
A friend of mine wrote one of the chapters for that back - tis very good.

lilyfire Thu 11-Sep-08 21:32:06

onwardandupward speaks wisely. have recently started he'ding my 5 yo. Have 2yo and a baby. When 2yo is asleep it's all easy as the baby just feeds, or is cuddled. Find it so much harder when 2yo is around (throwing paint, sabotaging our books). So if you've coped with the 2yo, then having a baby and 2yo at nursery (and older and more sensible) will be easier in some ways. I find I always forget how exhausting pregnancy can be and spend my whole pregnancy thinking I'll never cope, without remembering will have so much more energy when baby on the outside. You could go and read a few HE blogs by mothers with 6 or 7 children to cheer yourself up. Also just think about how much fun it is getting everyone up and ready in time for the school run every morning with a two year old and a newborn.

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