I am homeschooling 3 boys (11, 8, 5 years with the new baby in tow). My 8 year old is emotionally immature and gets things slower. My 5 year-old is advanced for his age, and works well in group situations. I am considering sending my 5 year-old son to the public school Kindergarten for 3 hours a day, hoping to relieve a little stress and use that time to focus on the older boys with their studies, as well as take care of the baby. One hesitation I have is, if I allow my Kindergartner to go to school now and choose to homeschool him later, will it cause confusion if he wants to continue in the public school system and not want to homeschool again? Also I wonder if it may cause my 8 year-old to feel jealous, because he has expressed an interest in going to public school sometimes?
I sure understand your concern. It can be difficult with a baby to keep things going on an even keel. Right off, I wonder how you are doing things. Are you teaching those 3 boys together at the same time, in a unit study manner, where you read aloud or do hands-on things all on the same topic for history, science, art, etc.? That would give you the maximum benefit for the time you have. If your 5-year-old is advanced and your 8-year-old slower, they may well be able to do some of the same math and English with you instructing them together, simplifying even more. Are you limiting to a 9 AM to 12 noon school time, so you aren’t overwhelmed? Are you delegating a bit of the teaching of your 5-year-old to your 11-year-old. Big brother is a very influential person in a little boy’s life. Big brother could spend 30 minutes per school day, as part of his own leadership training, in reading to your 5-year-old or playing phonics games with him, thus giving you some time with your 8-year-old. Have you tried implementing “baby duty”, as both a way to bond your boys to the baby and train your sons, as well as give yourself some one-on-one time with each boy? Please come read on this website about how to implement these ideas:
As for your 5-year-old going to public school, I share your hesitation. Children are so very impressionable. They quickly learn, at the age of 5, a pattern and an attitude towards learning, respect or disrespect for parents, how much to depend on peer influences, etc. Public school is largely a social experience, rather than an academic experience. Many of those social interactions are not positive for a young one so tender. I believe that if can be confusing, and “addictive” to a child to be in public school, where a whole different set of standards reign. It is hard for them to come back to homeschool after being in a peer dependent social setting at school where you are told what to do and need not creatively think or take responsibility or even enjoy for your own learning.
If you are not involved in a support group where you sons can make homeschool friends, I would highly recommend it. When I hear children talk of wanting to go to public school, what I hear is, “I need to be around children my age”. If you fill that need, I believe that homeschool is the best option for educating your children. If you do not fill that need, their yearning for social interaction will make it difficult to homeschool and make the children always a bit discontented with it.
May I recommend: