Help and Advice?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2006
Help and Advice?
Sat, 10-27-2012 - 10:22pm

We have a completely average, boring 5 year old.  He started kindergarten in August, and I swear, he has never been so sick in his life!  Plus, he broke his collar bone a week ago, and even after specifically asking that he not participate in either recess or PE, he managed to trip and have another kid fall on top of him in PE class.  (We even have documentation from his ortho, stating that the fall contributed to his bone being more dislocated.)

The school district we live in is not exactly the best, even under ideal circumstances--his kindergarten class has 24 (TWENTY FOUR!!) students, and our district report card is...  Well, pretty awful.  Our first parent-teacher conference was last week, and though his teacher seems very nice, the "checklist" we went over was almost exclusively stuff that he knew before he went to school.  We did sign an IEP for speech therapy, but I think we'd still be able to get speech therapy, even if we homeschooled?  (We live in Illinois, if that makes any difference.)

Right now, the biggest problem would be logisitics.  I am a full time student, and my husband works weird shifts.  However, given the fact that we no longer feel like we can really trust the school to provide the supervision our son needs, it looks like homeschooling might be the route we are forced to take. 

What are the steps that we would need to get that started?  I'm positive we can provide a full kindergarten curriculum, (well, except for speech therapy) and we can solve logistics issues.  I just really need to know what sorts of things we would legally be required to provide to the district to prove that he's getting an equal (or, hopefully, better) education.

A few other notes:  We live in a very small, rural, conservative community.  No one homeschools.  I suspect he could probably just come to "big people school" with me (I'm in a science field, and most of my department has met and enjoyed/tolerated him) a few days a week, stay with his dad a few days a week, and maybe stay with his grandparents a few days a week.  Though this would make giving him a set schedule impossible, would it still be feasible?  Is there a "best" curriculum?  Ideally, I would like to do something a bit more classical, and more math/science based.  We had looked into The Well Trained Mind when he was a toddler, but my husband was worried that he would "miss out" on school.  Now, after the first two months, we have come to the realization that school might not be the best choice.

Sorry this is so long and rambling!  I had just imagined that we would start kindergarten, and everything would go swimmingly!  I never thought we'd have to scramble to figure out how to homeschool after school got started because we simply cannot trust his school.

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Avatar for vegiemama
Community Leader
Registered: 01-06-2000
Mon, 10-29-2012 - 2:49pm

Hi Erika.  I'm sorry that kindergarten has already proved to be frustrating to you, but I'm glad that you're open to considering various options.  I pulled up this summary of Illinois laws and it looks like getting started wouldn't be too difficult.  Because he's already been enrolled in school, I would send a registered letter to the school (so that you have proof that it was delivered and signed for) and keep a copy of any and all correspondence with the school.  The letter only needs to state that you're withdrawing your child from that school.  You don't have to state that he will be hsed, unless you want to.  

As for curriculum and timing...hsing doesn't take 7-8 hours a day, especially for a child his age.  I spent usually about 1.5 hrs a day with my kids at that age, unless we had a more involved science or art project and even then we rarely exceeded 2 hours.  As long as your school is fine with his presence, which it sounds like they are, I don't see why he couldn't accompany you.  He might enjoy doing some of his schoolwork while mommy does hers!  

We have odd work hours and schedules too, so I can sympathize with that part of it.  We've always been able to make things work though...and trust me, he won't be young forever, and the time will come when he will be more independent, and/or able to stay home by himself alone sometimes, etc.  I miss my kids being little but I also enjoy the freedom I have now that they're a bit older!  

I hope you'll make this your "homeschooling home" and hang out with us.  Don't forget to come play at recess time every day Smile

Homeschooling mom to DD15 & DS11

CL of Homeschooling, Signature Showcase, Ectopic Loss, and Fertility Charting

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2007
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 1:42pm

Hi Erica,

Welcome to the group.  So sorry to hear about your challenges.  Homeschooling was something that I was working towards when a situation sent me out of the schools earlier, too.  I was able to dual-enroll for speech therapy here in Iowa.  My insurance did not cover speech therapy IF the schools offered.  I went with my son once a week for 20 minutes and got to know the speech therapist and it went well.  I could see what to do at home(making progress WAY faster) and she loaned me things which was helpful. 

And at home your child can be so much more than "Boring and Completely Average".  At school, if you child isn't in the "talented and gifted" program or the "special" needs program then nothing is really individualized.   I have experience with both and bluck is all I can say to both of them.  

Right now you are motivated by what you DON't like about the ps's but as you get going you will discover all the reasons why you will love homeschooling.  And life isn't a brick building.  Your child still can play with all those kids.  Seriously look for a homeschool group nearby, though.  I drive about 30 minutes once a week to one.  There may be people out there that you don't know about.  Check for state homeschool lists through yahoo groups and ask!!

Gotta run to piano.  Welcome.



iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2012
Thu, 12-13-2012 - 3:02pm

Hi, Erika.  When I started working outside the home part-time, a friend recommended Time4Learning.  It's an online learning site.  My dd loves it.  She has access to 3 different grade levels in 4 subjects.  It keeps a record of her work and grades, which makes record-keeping a breeze for me. I only wish I had found it earlier because I would've used it with my other kids.  Erika, at age 5, you don't need to spend more than a couple of hours a day reading, writing and a little bit of arithmetic. For writing, you can have him do some copy work.  As he gets better, you can begin dictation. Through this you can teach spelling and a little grammar (punctuation). The best thing you can do for your son is foster a love of reading.  I believe T4L has sample lessons you can try.

And as for support, have you contacted your state homeschoolers organization?  Someone posted a link above....They may be able to give you contact info on a support group close to your area. 

I hope this helps.