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Do You HomeSCHOOL?

Woodjie is moving on to elementary school next year.  I begged his preschool teacher to please flunk him!  I'm worried about his going on to school.  So I have a lot of questions on the "meet the staff" night.

The program they want Woodjie to attend is one of those "push the kid into the regular class as much as possible and get him away from needing extra/expensive help" types.  They start out with lots of help... and then... slowly... back away.  By the end of the year, the kid should be in regular ed "with some support" which of course varies from kid to kid.

Way cheaper than the $60,000/year academy they ship some of the severely autistic kids to... and way better for the kid in the long run.  If he makes it.  In theory, everyone wins.

But I have some concerns.

First off, the kid doesn't read or write.  He can write his first name with a lot of prompting and the last three letters take up about half the page.  He can count to ten.  He recognizes letters but refuses to write them.  "You have to wait," he says, holding up his "stop" hand.  I've been waiting a long time.  So I think the little guy might have a lot of trouble keeping up.

One of the teachers from the severely disabled-type program I went to check out told me her program is not for Woodjie.  Really, don't worry about it because they frequently see children who don't even know their letters entering kindergarten in regular education.

You're kidding.  How could they not know their letters?  They really should be reading and writing a bit by then, don't you think?  I mean, most kids should, right?

Ohh, well, she told me, some parents just never send their kids to preschool or day care.  So they don't get exposed to reading and writing.

?!! My children are "exposed" at home to reading and writing... but please tell me you don't picture my 10-year-old homeschooler as not knowing his letters...

"Ah, but you homeschool," she told me.  These people don't.

What on earth to say to that??  I think I asked about field trips or something.  Have you heard of "bean dip?"  On the MOMYs board, when someone talks about how it's a bad idea to have so many children or homeschool, you just remark about how GREAT the bean dip is!  Additional comments about fertility/homeschooling lead to your going, mmmhmm the bean dip is awesome!

So anyway.  I guess I'm glad my son won't have this lady for a teacher next year.  But I'm thinking more about this... do most teachers really think children have to go to school to learn?  Or have they been pretty good at hiding their distaste for people who don't use daycares and preschools around me until now?  When non-daycare/preschooled children show up "behind" in their kindergarten classrooms, are the parents considered lazy until proven otherwise?

And here's the real question: why do I care what they think?  It does bother me that someone might think that I'm just a lazy parent who never cracks open a book, and therefore my children have trouble with language.  Maybe I am just an elitist snob and want to be known for my bookishness and it's a pride issue.  But I don't know.

The ladies who run the program Woodjie will likely attend seem nice enough.  One of them was Elf's kindergarten teacher years ago!  And Elf had a lovely year in kindergarten.

If you have an extra prayer to spare, please pray for Woodjie's kindergarten placement!  For various reasons, I don't feel homeschooling is the best choice for him right now.


  1. (((Hugs))) Feeling all ruffled myself by some American dork's stupid comments on Homeschool abuse ~ like it never happens in schools right? And kids never get shot at there either? Prayers indeed.

  2. "Do most teachers really think thta children have to go to school to learn?"

    I don't think it's the teachers who think this. I think it's more a case of them being resigned to the fact that a lot of parents don't bother to help their kids along with beginning skills such as letters, numbers, even colours. Many children don't go to pre-schools or kindergartens either.
    This is not to say that all parents who keep their kids out of pre-school etc, don't bother. Lots of us, myself included, read to the kids, help them learn their letters etc even to write their names. My eldest didn't go to pre-school or kindy, but she started grade one knowing letters, numbers, colours and shapes, she could count to one hundred and write her full name. She also knew left from right and that we had names that weren't just mummy or daddy.

    The thing is, many parents don't bother with any basic skills teaching because "they'll learn it at school". This is a shame, but what can you do?

    1. Wow... "they'll learn it at school." That's sad. I find the schools encourage this mentality most especially in the math field, not so much with general reading though. :(

      But I think you might be right.

  3. Honestly, I don't think it occurs to a lot of parents to begin educating their children before it's 'school time'. So many seem to let it fall to the schools to not only teach the children reading and writing, but also manners and morals.

    Am praying for Woodjie. I know how hard this has been for you and how much your little blonde boy means to you. You've done a great job with him, and I pray the school does equally as good a job.

  4. My parents own a daycare with a pre-k program and while they teach the kids to read and write they only expect them to be able to write their name and to be able to read a few words because many parents don't work with their children at home and when those that attended a pre-k program enter kindergarten they are getting a repeat of the previous year except that they may get to start becoming better readers as in our school district they give individualized attention to the kids when it comes to reading.

    Now I also nanny and the girl I nanny for is not quite 3 and she already knows her left from her right, can count to almost 20(mixes up some of the teens), can recognizes all the letter, knows her shapes and colors, could read a bit but we had not been focusing on that so she lost it, now she cannot write and we were trying but she didn't want to, but now that is in a program we are hoping she will want to do more now that there are other children doing it too. And that was not all me that was her parents as well as she has known left from right since she was 1. So not all parents not work with their children but it is sad the many that don't.

    Sending good thought for Woodjie and his kindergarten placement.

    1. CherryBlossom, it sure sounds as though this child is naturally intelligent in addition to having lovely parents AND a good nanny. That's one lucky kid. :)

      The writing though might be a physical coordination issue and will probably resolve itself soon I imagine.

  5. You know I can tell you right now Woodjie's gonna have a tough time in school. Ben did...he was a real late bloomer. Some kids just are...some don't bloom until they get out of school were they are made to feel stupid, lazy and crazy. But somehow, they have what it takes for success. That's my prayer for Woodjie. He's a real late bloomer. He's gonna save up all that good stuff!

    I think you are wise to want to wait. Schools just like to pass kids on, that "with their peers" thing. I had a friend who was held back 2 years in school. I thought maybe he was "slow". Turns out, working hard means a LOT and he's a millionaire. Can't judge a book by school success or failure, thank God. I hope the same for my son! least a job....

  6. I'm probably going to say something really radical. From a Charlotte Mason paradigm, the preschool time is for growing, playing outside, playing inside, getting out and about in the community, and really short INFORMAL lessons. If the child is not interested in reading, it may very well be that they need more time to develop. It is great to have all that stuff out for children who are ready to read. Some kids are not quite ready until six or later. Pushing those children too hard when they are not ready creates the habit of frustration (Pamela melting down at the age of six when she saw pencil and paper because she wasn't ready to write.) For those children, I think it is far more important to read aloud to them wonderful books that give them the longing to read so that, when they are ready, the desire to read helps them persevere.

    I heard the most intriguing last night from a pastor who is guest preaching at our church. All he was interested was sports. He is probably in his 70s so this was before standardized testing. When he reached 10th grade, some things happened that gave him a wake up call. His parents switched schools and, for the first time, he had teachers who inspired him to read. He said it wasn't until 12th grade that he truly learned to read. Before that, he got by. We know that happened in the past and, even in our No Child Left Untested system, it still happens.

    He is a Ph.D. :-)

  7. I'm with bookworm on this one. Why is it the parents' job to get the kid started reading? I'm so old that I grew up at a time when it was normal for kids to start first grade with no particular literacy skills (I certainly did). That's what first grade was for. I don't think it was a particular problem; when kids are ready to learn to read, they can pick it up pretty quickly, it it's taught well (and that's another issue!)

    If the schools are good for anything, they should take responsibility for teaching kids, instead of complaining that the parents didn't do their job for them.

    I posted on my blog about Laura Ingalls Wilder, who didn't start learning to read until she was at least 7. She barely knew the alphabet at the time.


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