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View Full Version : Help me think this thru, please...



Jennifer in TX
08-30-2009, 09:33 PM
I am leaning toward having my oldest two (2nd grade and K) take one class at the local elementary school - 40 minutes/day rotating PE, music, and art. My 2nd grader would have her class at 10:25 and my Ker would have his class at 11:05. Before committing, what issues should I be thinking through??

Here is what I have:
* PS attendance requirements
* Impact to hs status, if any
* Daily driving schedule
* Outside of class requirements (homework, performances, etc)

We live in TinyTown MN.

LindainOK
08-30-2009, 09:50 PM
Do you have a hs support group to do these things with? or maybe a couple of other families and organize your own activities. From your list of considerations, mandatory attendance would make me say No. We enjoy spontaneous outings with Dad when his schedule allows. And then there are extended family needs that occasionally arise. Just my personal two cents.

Jeni
08-30-2009, 09:57 PM
I thought about the same thing when my oldest two were those ages. ;)

You also need to think about how long it's going to take you to get everyone dressed and ready to go everyday to be there on time.

Here's about what it would look like at our house: You didn't mention how far away the elementary school is but if say the school is 15 minutes away and I add a 10 minute buffer for getting the kids in and out and walking them to class and signing them in at the front office so we need to be on the road by 10am. If I need to be on the road by 10, then I need to start getting myself ready a little after 9am and start getting the kids ready by 9:30 so that if we have to hunt for missing shoes or someone spills something on their clothes at the last minute, we have time to compensate. Class is over at 11:45 which means it will be close to 12:30 by the time we get home and settled for lunch. Then we have to do lunch and get the little ones down for their naps. Clean up after lunch. If we got a good start to the day, we got a little school done before we left in the morning and now we have to finish the rest of it. I've still got housework to do before dh gets home and I have to make dinner......

Back when I was trying to make this decision, I thought to myself, I really don't like doing this one day a week for dd's ballet, why do I want to do it 5 days a week? Not to mention are you going to drop them off and come back or wait for them? What can you do to fill the time? Is it worth it to leave them there? Meaning will you have enough time to get any little errands done or will you have to turn around and come back as soon as you leave?

To me, in the end, it just wasn't worth it. I like being in control of my time too much to let the PS even have a tiny smidgen of it. :lol: I do know people who have done it and liked it. I guess it depends on your child and your goals. ;)

ETA: I also wouldn't want to give up doing PE, art and music at home. Why do I want the PS to get to do the fun stuff with them and I have to be the mean momma/teacher who makes them do reading, writing and arithmetic? :lol: That's just me though. ;)

Nancy Ann
08-30-2009, 10:15 PM
Everyday?

I personally would be unable to do that everyday, it would drive me nuts. I really don't like leaving our home during the week more than one time. It just disrupts our day so much. I suppose you would have school time in the afternoons after lunch. You could make a routine out of it if you didn't mind getting everyone ready and out the door everyday to go to class.

Heather W
08-30-2009, 10:21 PM
Having had a child in ps for a time, I would not consider doing classes there.

For me it has to do with a vision I have for my school. It does not include stuff going on at the school.

Whatever class they will take for 40 minutes is really only a 30 minute AT BEST class. That's IF:

they all come in on time
they all behave when they arrive
they don't need to get ready for the next thing at all
the teacher is present and there isn't a sub
testing isn't going on
an assembly hasn't turned the schedule around
the aides are there to work with the kids who need them
there isn't a trip to the nurse for lice check
there isn't something special going on for that class or grade at that time or that interrupts that time
there isn't a field trip that day
there isn't the school pyschologist going in to the class to talk about personal safety, AIDS, or controversial topic of the week
yoga is saved for a different time slot
it isn't after specials, lunch, recess, or before any of them
the scholastic book sale hasn't rolled into town
the PTO is not doing it's fundraiser


Consider the impact on the rest of your homeschool day. I know for myself, if I have to leave it is very difficult to get back into our routine and most likely school is over for that day.There is nothing going on at the school that is worth the transportation and disruption to our day alone.

Not only did I once have a child in school, but I have done the preschool thing with kids after I started homeschooling. I would NEVER do it again and our last preschooler is not going to the cute little Christian preschool. It. was. not. worth. it. And that was an excellent preschool- I had J4 on the waiting list when he was 2 and he got priority because his three older siblings attended. Would NOT do that again.:no:

I would offer alternatives and I will if you'd like to hear some, but for now I'll just say it sounds good, but the reality will be irritating. Just my .02

More of my .02 on the matter of being home more (http://heartofthematteronline.com/keeping-the-home-in-homeschool/).

Robin(CA)
08-30-2009, 11:09 PM
I haven't read the other responses, but off the top of my head I'm wondering, "why would you want to do that?" I think it would completely disrupt your entire school day since it falls right in the middle of your morning and I'm wondering if you and the rest of the kids would have to sit in the car and kill time while they're in class . . .:unsure:

I know my kids don't need an outside pe class (if I were worried about them getting exercise I'd sign them up for a sport or go on a daily walk or bike ride) and for music I would much rather sign them up for lessons with a professional than have to work around the public school schedule.

DD in IL
08-31-2009, 12:21 AM
Find a support group or start one if you don't think you can't do it on your own. Private lessons would probably be more productive as far as music and art. As far as PE, I agree with Robin. I wouldn't want to get them in the PS system until I was ready to enroll them full time....just my 2 cents, feel free to make change.

Jennifer in TX
08-31-2009, 07:07 AM
Thank you for the responses.

I live in conservative TinyTown MN (pop 1500) in the middle of bean and corn fields. The closest support group is over an hour away. We are one of two homeschooling families in town (the other has older kids). We live one mile from town which = 1 minute down our little gravel road. Our local elementary school is tiny, no more than 25 kids per grade level. Not all of them are charmers, I'm sure, but my kids won't get lost in the shuffle. Everyone in town already knows us. :lol: Tinytown, ya know?

Our academic schooling happens in the afternoon while my littles nap, so taking a morning co-op class (kinda the same thing) is perfect for us. I will run dd in at 10:25, stay at the park, library, or run errands with the littles until ds goes at 11:05. Then, dh will pick up ds and bring him home.

I am hoping that other activities cancel this class period sometimes so it would cut down on our running. :)

Our TinyTown doesn't offer kid activities during the school year, so we won't be running around in the evenings.

Thank you for the list of cons to think about.

WendyW
08-31-2009, 10:47 AM
We live in "Middle-size Town, MN" and have been doing this for YEARS. Obviously it's been a good experience for us or we would not continue to do so. Both boys started in 1st grade, so have now been involved for 9 and 3 years, respectively.

Our reasons for choosing to do this:

1. Our budget is too tight to allow for music lessons, and I am NOT musical in any way. A ps music class suits us very well. They cover such a wide variety of activities and expose them to much more than I can/will. We have not had any problem with inappropriate songs.

2. PE at HOME, is simply NOT the same experience. The large group play and types of games are a whole different realm.

3. Our boys are not sports fiends. They have no interest in doing community sports; I have no desire, or budget, to pay for them. PE class introduces them to the basics of all the major sports.

4. The possibility is always there that our kids will one day need to be enrolled full time. If that occurs, they will already have friends in school. At the very least, they will be familiar faces. My kids will not be "that strange kid that used to homeschool"- they will be a friend.

5. My kids receive speech therapy through the school. The therapists have been very good about scheduling them in conjunction with their PE/music class, so it's less running for me that it could be.

6. I WANT the exposure to the PS. More precisely, I want THEM (the staff) to be exposed to US. I want them to see that homeschoolers are "normal". I want to have conversations with the teachers, and for them to see a homeschool mom as a colleague, not as a weirdo.

Potential problems noted by others above:

Scheduling: working around the school schedule can be a pain. Especially with two kids in two schools. But, anything I signed them up for I would have to work around that schedule. Every year, once I find out the school schedule, I then set up our day to work around it. As for "having" to be at school when homeschool opportunities come up, at the elementary level, we just skip the ps class. I take them to fit MY needs, and I don't give a hoot about their attendance records. I just let the teacher know ahead of time not to expect them the next day.

Badly behaved kids: Actually, the worst kid we have had to deal with, has been one of our fellow homeschoolers. There have been minor problems over the years, but I see them as life lessons.

Field trips/book sales/special programs or other things that change the schedule: This has actually been our biggest issue. The school is AWFUL about keeping me informed of changes. I have learned to stay on top of it. Some of the teachers have been better than others about it. The testing schedules for all the standardized tests has been the biggest hassle. Even when it's a different grade testing, it sometimes rearranges the schedule for everybody's PE/music.

Drop-off/pick-up: Because I am in the building daily, the office staff gave me a permanent visitor name tag so I do NOT have to sign in/out at the office every time I'm there. This is a HUGE help! Ds does not need daily sign-ins because the office simply assumes he's there for the arranged time unless they hear otherwise.

Our method of dealing with the exchange is that the child goes to the classroom of the class he attends the specials with. I do NOT take him to the gym/music room. This is because the classroom teacher is ALWAYS on top of any changes, and because the gym class will meet in different places depending on various factors. It also allows me a bit of flexibility in drop-off time. If he shows up a few minutes early, he just slips into the room, and listens to whatever they are doing. (I find out the teacher's schedule at the beginning of the year- if they have "health" or some other potentially undesirable subject then, I'd be more careful. Usually its a snack break or read-aloud time.) By 3rd grade, I just drop the child off at the curb, and they take themselves in. Younger, I always walk them in, just in case of changes that we were not told about. By 3rd grade the child knows the routine and school well enough to take himself to the office and ask questions if the class is missing.

At pick-up time, I wait at the music/gym door and remove my child as the class files past. Often I have a few minutes to converse with the classroom teacher as we wait for the children to be released. I have enjoyed this chance to get to know the teachers. I give the teacher instructions at the beginning of the year, that if I am not there yet, the child can wait in the office, or at the front door, depending on the child's age.

Overall, it has been a positive experience, and I plan to continue doing this as long as our kids homeschool.

ETA: I just realized I did not talk about most of the things YOU listed as concerns!

* PS attendance requirements: At the elem. level, I don't worry about it. We are there every day unless something else takes priority. They are enrolled for MY convenience, and I don't give a hoot about their official attendance records. I do give it more priority in middle school/high school.
* Impact to hs status, if any: In MN, the state law allows for it as part of homeschooling, so it should have no effect on your status. In 9 years here, there has never been any inkling of my status being different in their eyes than any other homeschooler.
* Daily driving schedule: Will be a pain. I try to use the time for other errands also. I have now had kids in all 3 levels of schools, and the furthest one from my house is only 2 miles, so it's not much of an issue. I have learned to set a timer after breakfast/lunch to remind us it's time to get ready to go!
* Outside of class requirements (homework, performances, etc): Usually a music program each spring, but it's always been during the school day. "Homework" has consisted of maybe 2 worksheets in all 5 years of elem school. In middle school, my ds was in band, and those programs were at night.

Nancy Ann
08-31-2009, 07:24 PM
If you feel you can handle the schedule of it and do school time in the afternoon than that is the only thing I see as a negative and if it's not for you it may be a good thing for your family.

I live in a very large area and there are tons of programs to do but I just don't think all that stuff is necessary. We do cubscouts and have a park day with other homeschoolers 2x a month and I think that is enough. Our church does not have other kids. So my son will interact with other kids once or twice a week at most. I dont have a problem with it but I know I get "LOOKS" from other parents so I keep my mouth shut about it! :)

I am surprised in even small town they do not have a Cubscouts and Brownies or Girl Scout Troop. Many times people from surrounding areas will get together to form a group.

Jennifer in TX
08-31-2009, 11:09 PM
Our method of dealing with the exchange is that the child goes to the classroom of the class he attends the specials with. I do NOT take him to the gym/music room. This is because the classroom teacher is ALWAYS on top of any changes, and because the gym class will meet in different places depending on various factors. It also allows me a bit of flexibility in drop-off time. If he shows up a few minutes early, he just slips into the room, and listens to whatever they are doing.

At pick-up time, I wait at the music/gym door and remove my child as the class files past. Often I have a few minutes to converse with the classroom teacher as we wait for the children to be released. I have enjoyed this chance to get to know the teachers. I give the teacher instructions at the beginning of the year, that if I am not there yet, the child can wait in the office, or at the front door, depending on the child's age.

Overall, it has been a positive experience, and I plan to continue doing this as long as our kids homeschool.


Thank you for the real life experience! I signed them up today, and your comments will be very helpful in navigating through this. I hadn't even though about how to extract the kids. Geez. Luckily our school is small enough (and everyone knows everyone and everyone's business) so I am sure the kid transfer will be pretty smooth after the first week. I am fortunate that in our small town I can leave the other kids in the van out front of the school while I do drop-off/pick-up.

Jennifer in TX
08-31-2009, 11:26 PM
I am surprised in even small town they do not have a Cubscouts and Brownies or Girl Scout Troop. Many times people from surrounding areas will get together to form a group.

Our little elementary school includes kids from three towns! The extra stuff doesn't happen because we don't have enough kids and the kids we do have live on farms. Farm families have limited time for kid activities and they are usually located pretty far from town. Well, I should add that we do have a few 4H clubs in the area, which makes sense given where we live. All the kids' other activities are scheduled during 6 weeks in the summer when the town sponsors summer rec.

If I think about it too much, I can get pretty down about the kid situation in this new town of ours. We love, love, love living here. But, it's difficult being a family with young children in a dying town of, well, senior citizens. Interestingly, I have never felt as welcome, accepted, and loved as a family. My children bring smiles everywhere we go.

Nancy Ann
09-01-2009, 11:32 AM
It sounds like there are alot of positive things about where you live. Socialization is completely over-rated and it sounds like your children are living in a very healthy community with people who like each other and know each other. That is extremely valuable!! Something that is deeply missing where I live.

My husband lived in a small town and he has very fond memories and misses the community closeness that is so hard to find now.

Jennifer in TX
09-16-2009, 10:40 PM
Just wanted to give a quick update. My kids are in their second week of public school PE/art/music. So far, the experience has been wonderful. The kids love it, and I think they will learn something. They are finally meeting other kids - a task which has been difficult since we moved here 7 months ago.

Thanks again for all your thoughts on the topic!

Barb Cash
09-17-2009, 05:43 AM
:clap:

Robin(CA)
09-17-2009, 10:51 AM
So glad it's working out for you! :clap:

laurie in ok
09-18-2009, 10:47 PM
So glad it's working out for you! :clap:

:yes: