Preschool, School, Homeschool… *headdesk*

150x106 Preschool, School, Homeschool... *headdesk*
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I’m pretty sure Vista’s therapists think I’m a complete flake.

We’re having to make the dreaded preschool decision for this fall.

And when you have a special needs kid, it’s not as easy as just picking one and going.

First there’s finding a place that will take ‘early entry’ (take them when they’re three instead of four).

Then we have to find a place that takes kids who aren’t potty trained yet. And that little criteria pretty much eliminates every preschool in our area unless Vista has an aide. Which at this point isn’t a given.

So at this point we’ve put her name in at both school boards (public and catholic) in the off chance she does get an aide.

But now I’m sort of backpedaling. I’m not convinced that putting her in preschool this fall is the right thing for her after all. She’s going strictly for the socialization aspect, but are there better arenas for that?

This past week of seizures has really made me reconsider. How are other kids going to react to a child who acts one way for a month then has a few seizures and has a complete personality change? Aide or not, other kids don’t react well to that sort of lashing out.

And Vista’s birthday party on the weekend was another event that made me rethink this whole preschool decision.

There were about 10 kids there (ranging in age from 2 – 10). These were good kids. Well behaved kids. Kids who weren’t wild and screaming and acting like idiots. Kids with LOTS of parental supervision. Ten kids is a VERY small preschool class. Only one school, in a small town south of us offers a class of that size.

And Vista lasted one hour with 10 kids before the meltdowns started. Before the pouting defiance started. Before she was miserable and overwhelmed. To the point where we didn’t open presents at the party because it would have been too much for her.
To the point where she didn’t even eat a piece of the special no-cheese pizza we ordered for her or her birthday cupcake because she was so stressed.

She latched on to her BFF, Gracie, as soon as she arrived and wouldn’t let her out of her sight. But Gracie isn’t going to preschool next year. So who would be Vista’s anchor in the sea of toddler chaos?

As much as Vista needs the socialization and to learn how other kids her age play, how much is she really going to get out of it if she’s completely overwhelmed with the situation?

So maybe we’ll keep her at home for another year and let her be a kid for a bit longer.

And maybe we’ll throw schooling right out the window.

More and more people out here are moving to homeschooling, sick of the bullying that goes on, sick of the substandard education that’s provided as a result of over-worked and under-paid teachers.

And Vista with her follower copy-cat mentality, poor coordination, but bright mind would be a prime target for bullies. I know. I was too. It ruined my early school years. I don’t want my child going through that.

What a choice. Schooling, socialization, bullying, questionable education vs homeschooling, butting heads, and losing my sanity.

Which would you choose?

 Preschool, School, Homeschool... *headdesk*
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39 Responses to Preschool, School, Homeschool… *headdesk*

  • I kept Noah home (home schooled and private therapy) until he was six, and even then school was a HORRIBLE adjustment. He regressed emotionally and failed as miserably with academics as he has at home. Three years later he is thriving and I adore his teacher.

    If Vista’s health is a concern, I say keep her home another year. She can socialize at play groups and playgrounds. And if the seizures are under control, then you can try school next year. Preschool for three year olds is totally optional to me.
    .-= Jenni Williams´s last blog ..Graduation =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Jenni Williams,

    That’s really what I’m thinking. There are playgroups and stuff we can get involved in for the socialization piece. And we can get an aide to come to the house to work with her a couple times a week (but not to go to school with her. go figure. different government pot of money), so that’s the way I’m leaning right now.

  • Beth says:

    We opted for homeschool. Ben is bright, spunky, and a little shy. He’s also a kinesthetic learner, which makes him a nightmare for the school system. Better he learns without humiliation how to sit, in my opinion.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Beth,

    That’s another concern of mine. Vista is just NOT an auditory learner, so are we setting her up for failure with just that aspect by sticking her in the school system.

  • Mandi Bone says:

    Evie goes to our local MRDD school for her therapies. She is in what they call transition class. She goes 4 hours a week. I thought she would do horrible. I thought she would hate the kids and the routine but she is doing great. She has even said more words since going. Is there a school where she is not the only super cool kid? I am hoping that she gets to go there for preschool but it is up to our school district to choose.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Mandi Bone,

    The only places like that we’d be driving over an hour into the city to get to. Not an optimal situation.

  • 3 is little for any kid. If you can keep her home one more year I would. There will be less stress when more things are settled, like potty training issues. Revisit it later and just enjoy having her with you.
    .-= Korinthia Klein´s last blog ..A Memorial Day Note =-.

  • Lisa says:

    I wish I had answers for you. I wish there was an easy answer. I don’t know what I would do because I’m not in your situation. However, I can try to offer up a few suggestions. Is it possible to put her in some classes like dance or gymnastics or something that are not parent child, where she would be able to interact with other kids, get a chance to see how other kids play, get that socialization aspect without having to do preschool just yet. Maybe if she does those types of classes for a year and then starts preschool next year she would be that much more ready.

    Like I said, I don’t know what the right answer is. I’m here for you and hoping you find the solution that works best for V.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Making Memories =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Lisa,

    We did try gymnastics with her. It was a complete failure. She refused to get involved and refused to touch any of the equipment. As for dance, I have the least coordinated, cannot follow directions kid around, so that would be… interesting. lol
    They do have some playgroups, like a beginner playschool, that runs for an hour once or twice a week, that I think I’m going to check out.

    Lisa Reply:

    @Jenn, I hope that playgroup thing works out. Getting the socialization without the added pressure of preschool right now may be the best thing. Keep me posted.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..The Waiting Game =-.

  • PsychMamma says:

    We opted out of preschool, and J has thrived at home. I have no regrets. I haven’t done any structured homeschooling (she’s 4), but try to work learning into all kinds of daily things.

    We’re in basically the same boat that you describe with J for kindergarten. She’s still tube-fed, which will set her apart, her lung issues make her tire QUICKLY & she still takes 2-4 hour nap in afternoon, & her SPD leads to being overwhelmed & melting down easily.

    I’m not too worried about her socially. She’s never met someone who didn’t instantly become her friend. Shyness is a non-issue. We also have lots of playdates & interactions w/other kids. I lean toward homeschooling. Hubs is convinced homeschooling creates weirdos & is pretty strongly opposed. My big fear is that J & I are very like personalities & frequently butt heads. I don’t know if she would listen/learn better w/someone else in charge. I also fear that I will go insane. Ha! Ultimately, I know I could do it, and it’s what I really think would be best for J. Only you & Bil can really know what’s best for V. I’d say listen to your gut, but if you’re like me, that sucker is hard to figure out!

    Maybe what we need is live-in nanny/tutors…..
    .-= PsychMamma´s last blog ..Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder & Pronounced Muscle Weakness =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @PsychMamma,

    I think I just figured out the answer. You move in next door and they can do their homeschooling and therapies together. When V’s frustrating me, you can deal with her. When J is frustrating you, I can deal with her. And they can socialize the hell out of each other. Total win – win.
    I. Am. A. Genius!

  • PsychMamma says:

    Following up on Lisa’s comment, we have J in a yoga class now. The thing that has been eye-opening for me has been that she argues and tries to boss the instructor there. Same with therapy. This tells me that maybe her bull-headedness is with EVERYONE, & being away from me doesn’t make it better. It has also helped me see that after one hour of that social interaction and work, she is exhausted. A full day is probably just too much.

    Any kind of classes you could get V in might help give you more data to help you feel confident in your decision.

    Much live, sweets. These decisions are so hard.
    .-= PsychMamma´s last blog ..Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder & Pronounced Muscle Weakness =-.

  • PsychMamma says:

    Much LOVE. Gah!! Fracking iPhone tiny keyboard!!!
    .-= PsychMamma´s last blog ..Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder & Pronounced Muscle Weakness =-.

  • Stacie says:

    My son is 8 and he can’t handle being in a regular classroom even with the class size small. He would melt down at the thought of going to school. I am seriously thinking of homeschooling him next year but our in home counselor is against it and who knows what she might try if I do home school. GRR I wish I could be of help with your decision but your little one reminds me so much of my son now that I don’t have answers!

    Jenn Reply:

    @Stacie,

    That must be so frustrating to not be able to do what you know is best for him because of what someone else might do. :(

  • Beth says:

    I would keep her at home another year, but I also understand wanting her to go. Ezra will be home all year with me and then may go to preschool when he is 4, I am so scared of the germs lurking everywhere!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Too Long To Tweet =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Beth,

    Yeah, I can’t say I blame you on that one. And really, do you want to be bringing all those germs in with a new baby in the house.

  • Nicole says:

    Honestly, we are trying to figure out finances so one of us can stay home and homeschool the Poptart until she’s 7. At least.

    If you can keep her at home, keep her at home. There are other ways to socialize her. There are classes – hell, even something like private swimming or skating lessons, or maybe Gracie wants to take some semi-privates with her?

    Or listen to what your gut says, and not someone who sent you a box of stuff from the loonie store :)
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..GTT: Books =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Nicole,

    So, question… what’s making you want to homeschool her. And why until she’s seven?
    I’m just trying to figure out what makes people lean one way or the other. :)

  • Lu says:

    I wish I had a great answer for this. But I just don’t. Pre-school has done some amazing things for Mason, but honestly I wish I could just keep him home…maybe not all days, but most. I agree with letting her be a kid as long as possible. I think get her into some things you think she can manage. Instead of pre-school maybe you can find a some kind of “teacher” to come twice a week for some learning activities. It would be cheaper than full time pre-school probably. If you could find the right person.
    I wish I had a better answer than that. HUGS
    Where the hell is Mary Poppins?
    .-= Lu´s last blog ..I posted! =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Lu,

    We do have the option of having an aide come into the house to work with her, so I think I may just do that. I just can’t imagine her being successful in preschool right now and I want school to be a positive thing.

  • Steph says:

    I have a 10 year old who has asperger’s. We tried preschool at the age of 2 and then again at 3, and neither worked. We opted to homeschool and it worked out WONDERFULLY! Plenty of social time with homeschool art lessons, sports, library groups, and a co-op, but all sporadic enough that he did not have to deal with large chunks of stress for too long at a time.

    He just started regular school this past year, and he is one of the most social kids there. If we had tried any earlier, he would have been too stressed to manage, I am sure.

    Good luck in your decision making! :-)

    Jenn Reply:

    @Steph,

    That’s really interesting to hear. Thank you for sharing that.

    What made you decide to stop homeschooling and put him in the school system this year?

    Steph Reply:

    @Jenn, Oh, please don’t laugh at the irony of this. I write for a homeschooling magazine, plus I have my own curriculum company. Work started taking over my life to a point that I knew something had to give. We needed the money, so I decided to put my 2 boys in school (after discussing it with them first, to be sure they felt ready).

    Now life is calming down a bit, and so I can (if I decide to) bring them home for next year. Our small school system is very good, though, so it is a hard choice. I am leaning toward bringing my 10 year old home, just because he concentrates better in the quiet environment.

  • Michelle P. says:

    Hum, I’m not sure. I know that Malcolm wouldn’t have been ready for preschool last year, and may not even be ready this year. And he’s what you’d call neurologically normal. I’ve met lots of folks that do homeschooling around here, and there’s some really good options out there. Can be very good for the right kids, and lots of local support.

    Other options for socialization, the local pre-school gymnastics at the rec centre takes non potty trained kids (~45 mins per week). At 3 she can start swimming lessons, ditto (swim diapers work wonders). We had the little ones in daycare one day per week. They’re ok without potty training, but then she may be with a lower age group.

    Hey, if by some stretch of the imagination and I don’t have to go back to work next fall, maybe she can come here and socialize with my kids once per week. Although they’re pretty wild and crazy!!

    Jenn Reply:

    @Michelle P.,

    Yeah, I plan on swim lessons with her again. She loves the water.

    And your kids aren’t that wild. I would say their more…busy. lol

  • I could write a book on this. We put Dylan in preschool at 2. Mainly because I had a doctor tell me he would never be able to function in classroom with other children. He did very well for two years where the structure was loose, then he went to K3 and K4. K3 was our absolute worst year, but we were also going through a lot of changes, including get med dosages right. K4 there was a rigid structure for four hours a day until pick up and he did quite well. The teacher had a very balanced classroom between work, play, and engaging the kids. The classroom size was also small (10 kids) and by then our meds were well adjusted. K5 and 1st grade he did well in a small private school setting but he absorbed a lot of bad behaviors as much as good, got bored, starting showing out and so we pulled him out to homeschool. Now, I will tell you what our shrink and developmental ped told us. He said kids with SID can have melt downs and behavioral problems for two reasons: too much stimulation and not enough stimulation. When Dylan was in a traditional classroom there just wasn’t enough stimulation, thus he began to act out, get agitated, etc. Homeschooling seems to be a good fit and balance for him. It’s not easy, but it beats going up to school every day for some problem and your kid being made fun of or treated differently for being the “weird one”. Which is what we experienced those last few months of first grade.

    If this is incoherent forgive me, I’m sick and medicated.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Kim @ Beautiful Wreck,

    That’s really sad that they were already picking on him in first grade for being different. Kids just don’t get to be kids for very long anymore, do they.

    Do you find you have to adjust your homeschool schedule to deal with the SID (shorter work, less/more structure?)

    Kim @ Beautiful Wreck Reply:

    @Jenn, The first year I didn’t and that was a mistake. We live and learn and then eat crow. Mornings are good for us. We have a structured morning, and loose afternoons. If we have a horrible meltdown I just give it up. There is no use is wasting the energy to make it happen. It just makes things worse and I get bitter. Since I have adjusted my attitude, amazingly things have gone very well. I have to remind myself of why I wanted to homeschool all my children, and what works best for each one of them. This is not a contest and I am not competing against traditional schools. This is a hard concept to get away from. I could talk about this forever.
    Also, my son does excellent in social activities and out in public now that I have some margin of control and it isn’t forced. Much different than when he was in school.

  • Becky says:

    i totally think homeschooling would be awesome for y’all. you know vista better than anyone. and you’re so patient and understanding. no one else will be as awesome as you are with her. and if you’re like me, you’ll be paranoid and worried the whole time she’s gone. who needs that? there’s tons of things for homeschool kids to do too with other kids.
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..A life is beautiful kind of weekend =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Becky,

    Me? Patient and understanding? Bil’s going to laugh hysterically when he reads that. Yeah, I wish I was more of both. And actually that’s one of my big concerns with homeschooling V is that I do have a low tolerance level sometimes when she gets frustrated.

  • Carol (@kaseandannasmom) says:

    I didn’t put either of my kids in preschool (I’m a teacher, and paying for dayhome + preschool made no sense, plus finding a dayhome that could transport them to preschool was difficult). Now, my kids aren’t special needs, but they have never lost anything by not being in preschool. Take it one year at a time.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Carol (@kaseandannasmom),

    That’s interesting, especially from someone who’s a teacher. I find a lot of the pressure we’re getting to put her in preschool is from the ‘professionals’. Meh, whatever. She’s my kid not theirs.

  • It’s so hard. I found a small in-home preschool that Blythe and I both fell in LOVE with. She did great, at first.

    But now, I don’t know what’s going on with her head, but she’s back to getting headaches and having trouble sleeping. Coinciding with that, is her sudden hatred of preschool. She’s happy to be there for 45 minutes or so, if I’m there watching her, but not if I leave. She’s regressing in all areas, right now, and it makes me wonder if putting her in preschool (also for the social interaction) is the best idea.

    For her, she needs to be in her comfort zone. It’s been 6 weeks of going to preschool two mornings a week, she got comfortable, but now that she’s regressing, it’s no longer a comfort zone. How many times will that happen? How long does it take for her to feel “at home” somewhere other than home, and is it permanent? Who knows, really. And is it really worth putting her (and me) through all of that?

    It’s a tough call. I wish you, PsychMamma and I lived near each other and we’d have our own little preschool, and trade off teaching so the other two could go get coffee and put our feet up. Wouldn’t that just be awesome?? :)

    I hope you’re able to make a good decision for Vista, and you know, if one thing doesn’t work, try, try again till you find the right fit. *smooches*
    .-= Andrea’s Sweet Life´s last blog ..Food vs "Food" =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Andrea’s Sweet Life,

    *sigh* Psychmama and I were talking about that. The perfect homeschool full of our special need princesses. But you would totally have to move up here because my respite worker is beyond awesome and I’m not giving her up. lol
    Seriously, though, how amazing would it be to all be there for each other and to bring in the village mentality to help raise our girls.

  • Melissa Palmer says:

    Whatever you choose to do Jenn, it isn’t set in stone. If you go with pre-school and she doesn’t cope well, you can always take her out and try something else.

    As parents, we tend to want to find the perfect, permanent solution, and we forget that we can always change direction if need be.

    Having a child in the family that has been home schooled for years, I can say that she has some difficulty in social situations and at 15, still has a hard time with more than 4 hrs worth of work. Eventually, she will have to work/cope in the world with everyone else, and she is going to find that very difficult.

    There is my two cents – for what it is worth!

  • Susan Lemons says:

    Hello,
    As a homeschooling mom of 4 and a former preschool teacher, I also would encourage you to “homepreschool” and later, homeschool. The home is the only setting where you can be sure that your child’s every need–academic, emotional, physical, spiritual, and yes, social–are being met.
    Putting children into preschool for the sake of “socialization” is vastly over-rated. Socialization is either good or bad. Most children pick up more bad behavior than good in the preschool setting. Besides, social skills can be taught, like any other skill (mostly manners, etc). It would be better to choose one or two special friends for “play dates” or for co-operative learning (get together a couple of times a week and do art, music, etc together–or just play!)if you really want your child to be around other children.
    I have lots of information about homepreschooling, homeschooling, and links with information about socialization on my blog, http://www.susanlemons.wordpress.com .
    Blessings,
    Susan Lemons
    .-= Susan Lemons´s last blog ..Why I’m so Adamant About the Importance of Readiness =-.

  • Kellee says:

    I don’t think I would choose anything right now. I think another year could really make a huge difference for her, and you can continue to socialize her on your own. Are there any co-ops in the area that you can join?

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