would it be easier to homeschool him?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by familyof5, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. familyof5

    familyof5 Guest

    I have a 16 year old who has not been going to school like he should despite my best attempts to get him there. He has a speech impairment and this makes his school work even slower than the average student. I was told by his teachers he's more than capable of doing the work but it seems he doesn't even want to try anymore. We have given him pep talks at home, his teachers have given him pep talks, etc and nothing seems to work. I've began to wonder if I should just homeschool him. He's asked me to but I don't know if I have the knowledge to teach him. Also he would be missing out on his social life too. Does anybody have any suggestions or knowledge for me? I would appreciate anything.
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    family, I've always considered school to be "respite". A break in the day from our children.

    in my humble opinion, I think you need to research the underlying cause of your difficult children school refusal. Something more is going on....homeschooling won't change that.

  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! I agree with TimerLady. You need to figure out why he refuses to go.

    With the speech impediment does he get extra help at school? Does he have an IEP?
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    hi! I have and do homeschool my kids at times. My older two have been homeschooled at different times for varying reasons.

    In your son's case I really think you need to figure out what is going on before you tackle homeschooling. What is his speech problem? Is is simply saying the words, or understanding them, or in some other part of the speech problem? Has he ever been tested by a neuropsychologist for learning disabilities, executive function problems, etc...? I strongly suggest you have him fully evaluated before you make this decision.

    If you decide to homeschool, please look into the various online high school programs. Many states offer these free of charge. Your son might also benefit from an alternative school or vocational program, depending on his interests.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree you need to figure out why he won't go to school, but soon (now, probably) he will be old enough to refuse anyway and legally you can't insist. The problem is NOW, postponing things while you try to find out, probably won't help in the long run. Keep digging, but I would begin to make enquiries about alternatives. That way you can present him with the range of possibilities and get his informed input into the decision.

    Are you US-based? Do you have access to any correspondence courses? We've found correspondence school to be a really effective way to manage learning at home. In Australia in the situation you describe, there would be access for your son to the state-based correspondence school.

    Something else we've used, and home-school parents in our area have used, is an internet based mathematics course. For us it's A$99 a year, for 24/7 access to the software. That's a lot cheaper than the licence to another type of computer-based Maths coaching which I will not name for fear of lawsuits (we got quoted $10,000 for that system). The program also has other bells and whistles which can help.

    With correspondence, the school is elsewhere and all you do as a parent is facilitate. With home schooling, you have to come up with the curriculum and make sure he does it. You write he reports, you explain his outcomes.

    At 16, he is able to take considerable control of his own education. A rule we brought in when difficult child 3 spent so much time home from school (due to extreme anxiety, we found out later) was "school work during school hours". This meant that if he was home from school, even if he was home because he appeared to have a gastric problem, he still had to do schoolwork. The only way out was if he was so sick he wanted to just sleep (which meant he really was sick!)

    A kid who is even a little bit motivated, often does a great deal better studying at home. You will need to work on him to maintain appropriate social interaction, but if he goes shopping with you, for example, and helps you - he will be learning how to interact appropriately in this environment, which he will need later on. Social interaction at school is vastly over-rated. When else in our lives will we be expected to sit in a room with 30 of our age-equivalent peers, with one older person in authority out the front calling the shots? School teaches you to get on with other kids, when you're a kid. But when you're an adult, you use different skills.

    Anyway, that's my opinion. Home schooling ties you to your child fairly closely, but it needn't be in an authoritative capacity, necessarily. You need to have confidence, you need to be someone who actively seeks out and works on what has to be done. But there is a lot of stuff available to help you.

    I'm wondering if his school phobia is due to bullying out of control. In which case, taking time out could help him regain his emotional strength to possibly return in a year or so, emotionally stronger and also older, into an older group who hopefully are more mature.

    Anyway, just my couple of cents worth.

  6. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    The Jurys out on this debate ~

    I home educated my children for 6 years - when they were all younger. As far as being qualified - as has already been stated - there are MANY resources to help. On-line classes - satelight schools - dual enrollement with a Jr or Community college.

    I LOVED home educating my children -

    HOWEVER ~ Now that they are older - my oldest complains that I sheltered them too much and I often wonder if that is the cause of some of their "city dog let out on the country" lifestyle now.

    I go back and forth - My #5 child has asked to Home school but he will be a Sr and being Home Schooled when he graduated kept from oldest from being accepted full time in the Navy. Another topic!

    I agree - there may be another reason he wants to home school - only you can decide - if being qualified is your only red light - I would consider all the options.

    Good Luck ~
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Yes, been there, done that.
    I would consider a couple of things.
    1. Partially homeschool him. It is not that easy to set up, but really appropriate in many ways. Have him attend one or two classes at the school back to back and then pick him up or arrange for someone to take him home. This way he gets some social interaction and wont be out of the loop. But, he wont be overwhelmed by school...he'll get some relief.
    2. Do some sort of formal program with him...one that is certified. You can probably google for such a program. It will probably be on-line. If there is a subject that is too hard for you, hire a teacher to help. You might try to get a teacher from the local school. He or she will know what your child should be doing.

    HOWEVER, I would NOT let this be an on-going thing. Continue or start therapy. Look to transition after one year back into the school system and if necessary, take some Special Education classes. (Re-read Timer Lady's post)

    You could also use the homseschool year to spend more time with speech therapy. All of this would be part of giving him more confidence to return to school.

    You need to make sure your life is not kids, kids, kids. Not meant to be this way....just was NOT! Hang in there~
    Lasted edited by : Apr 12, 2010
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm with you, Nomad. Except that in this case, at least for now, continuing to keep him at school if he's being bullied there, could be making things worse, because a partial attendance makes him stand out and seem even more different, it could make him more of a target. If he's being bullied then keeping him at school in any way will NOT be healthy social interaction. At least not right at the moment. There are other, often far more effective and long-term useful ways, to ensure appropriate social interaction. School is actually the most unnatural social placement there is.

    However, he also has to learn to face his demons, whatever they are. So I would re-establish good learning practices, give him some breathing space, then when you and he feel he is ready, try the partial route perhaps but get him back into mainstream classes in one form or another.

    It really is important to pinpoint the source of his problems. If it's bullying and he's not coping, then remove him. But he has to learn to cope eventually. It just may need to be in steps small enough for him to handle.

    This would also benefit from a therapist involvement too, to help identify the problems as well as to give him the appropriate skills.

  9. We had 10 beautiful years thanks to Homeschool!!!!!!

    There is no cookie cutter solution.... Cynthia Tobias Ulrich has written awesome books for students and their teachers... http://cynthiatobias.com Every Child Can Succeed and The Way They Learn were tremendously helpful for me... but they also help for traditional classroom settings.

    I began homeschooling when my kids were younger. I'd suggest getting in a good home-school support group. Review the support available in your community, and compare to your needs with your child. There is really not a "one size fits all" solution.

    "unschooling" worked well for our kids and they all went on to honors programs. Terri Camp has a book that inspires educators to ignite a fire for learning instead of trying to fill a bucket... very encouraging... http://www.homeschool.terricamp.com

    Some students do very well with a firm structure.

    I don't know what kinds of behaviors your are dealing with... but homeschool could be an awesome opportunity for both of you... "regular school" can also be a much needed respite. You know your family best.... I'll be praying for you!
  10. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I am a huge advocate of homeschooling for many reasons. I plan to do it with my baby diva some day.

    HOWEVER, please think long and hard before doing so with a difficult child. Although public school is not the ideal situation for my difficult child our experiences home schooling were awful. This is of course just what happened at my house...

    *difficult child has some oppositional issues. This made managing moods and behavior very hard. I had the *ahem* "distinct pleasure" of being the parent AND teacher. Trying to keep difficult child focused and working on school projects and being mom to enforce rules and chores later was just too much. He ended up resenting the situation and myself very much. He and I get along better if I am JUST Mom.

    *My difficult child in particular thrives on routine, even if it is things he dislikes such as bedtimes, school etc. The sudden change after so many years of school structure caused him stress. He just couldn't deal with a more relaxed, success vs. grades set up. I focused on mastery vs. grades and he just could not deal with it. The lack of grades (to avoid failures and their label) made him angry because he saw no clear goal. That was a teaching style choice on my part though. I could not get a public schooler to unschool.

    *Lots of extra hours in the day for him to drain my precious emotional reserves.

    *My difficult child does have socialization problems. Though we had things such as scouts, 4H etc. it wasn't enough. He has habits of avoiding social situations so it became easier for him not to make the effort. He was isolated. That was the single determining factor that turned the tables toward public school. Even if he is a shut in outside of school he still has guys he shoots hoops with at lunch, even if there is nothing else. It's as close to haelthy as he is able to manage right now. Losing that would be a huge step back for us.

    There were advantages, he did gain ground academically. He went from being behind to getting ahead. All that was lost when he returned to public school though. The school allows him to slack and work beneath his abilities.

    I have seen homeschooling go well and I have seen it fail miserably. I have an extended family member who was a difficult child that got homeschooled due to some issues. He is now 25, never had a job, has NO friends, never leaves his mothers house unless he is forced to and is generally just an unhappy person. He is a mess. He had an ulcer because kids bullied him so much in junior high. Now he is literally crippled socially. Kids are cruel. I got bullied too. It's a painful life lesson we all have to survive. The world has mean people, it's just an ugly fact of life. If our kids can't overcome this hurdle how will they cope with a mean boss or rude neighbor some day?

    Could your difficult child benefit from some counseling to help deal with social anxiety, maybe also get some coping skills for stress etc.? Is it possible that some of your difficult child's worries make the situation feel worse than it may be? My difficult child has one of those personalities that attracts bullies, I know how it goes. In his case he had to learn how to behave in a more socially acceptable manner.

    Then there are those brilliant homeschoolers that get full rides to a university.

    Homeschooling has incredible benefits but you have to weigh your difficult child's particular quirks/behaviors and decide what is best for difficult child's long term needs not just what makes them happy in the short term. It may work for you...

    Summer break is very soon. Had you considered doing a trial run to see how it goes before making an official withdrawl?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    When I partially homeschooled our daughter and she encountered foliks who thought she was different because of this, she told them that she often had McDonalds for lunch or I made her a home-made lunch. She also told them she finished school at least one hour before they did and rarely had homework. This shut them up and FAST! They were envious of her homeschooling. If they didn't like it her after that, it was for the "usual" reasons.
    The time we partially homeschooled her were the best years by far. She learned the most by far and she kept her social skills intact. AND especially since in our case the school was very nearby and it was convenient for us, it allowed me a few ours each morning to be alone and have some peace.
    I'm not against homeschooling per say, but I really don't think it should be a way of life. I think that our kids should learn to "deal" with what is going on in the schools and make adjustments as necessary. That is what life is all about. And if the academics are weak then parents might consider supplementing with a tutor.
    Of course there are exceptions...extremely bad schools, religious reasons, very sick children, etc. But generally, I think it should be simply a temporary situation to re-establish equilibrium and moms should be free to move forward, explore their own interests, careers, etc.
    Lasted edited by : Apr 12, 2010
  12. familyof5

    familyof5 Guest

    The speech therapist at the school doesn't think he needs speech therapy anymore. Yes, my son has an i.e.p. but it seems rather useless. Sorry I haven't responded to this thread sooner. Been struggling trying to get him to go to school at all. He went one day last week and then refused to take his backpack or any school supplies. I'm tired of fighting with him. It's like an endless battle. We've tried taking things away from him but he sneaks them back. What did I do to deserve a child like this?
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What do you do when he sneaks them back? Give up and let him have them? Give him a consequence? Often with boys his age there needs to be some form of physical labor as the consequence. Even if it is just digging a hole, filling it in and digging another one. It is a large part of the puzzle to what has helped my son renounce much of his gfgness. Make him scrub the floor with a scrub brush, scrub a wall, the tub and toilets, whatever.

    If he is sneaking on the computer, take the keyboard and mouse and lock them up in your room when you go to sleep. Take the game system and lock up the cables, or all the games.

    What does he do when he is home all day? If he sleeps and you are home, make LOTS of LOUD noises. Even if you have to get earphones for yourself and sit and bang on pots and pans with a wooden spoon. Does he have tv or radio or ipod in his room? Take them away. Take everything away unless he goes to school. Wants the tv?? Go to school and get it back for the afternoon. Skip ANY school and lose everything. Does he care about his clothes? Take them away. Get him seven outfits at a thrift store. Ugliest stuff you can find that fits the school dress code. Lock the other stuff up in a rented storage unit or friend's garage. This includes shoes. One pair of cheap shoes. If he wants clothes he likes? He can have them back after he has gone to school every day and made up all the work he has missed.

    Does he lock himself in his room? Take the door away. Heck, put a deadbolt on it and lock him OUT of it. Tell him he can sleep on the floor outside his room until he EARNS his room and all his stuff back. Make sure the window is locked.

    When he sneaks stuff he is challenging you. Step back and look at it like a challenge. If you were a teen, what could your parents do to make you want to behave? I know a parent who's son behaved HORRIBLY in front of his grandma at a special dinner. They ran into the girl this kid liked at Walmart the next day. Dad put his arm around son - looked friendly but was to keep the kid in place. Then said LOUDLY "Did you find the Spiderman underwear you just HAD to have? And how is that rash on your crotch? Is it still all red and sore?" The man had a voice that carried like you would NOT believe. The whole store heard him.

    Of course the boy was furious and embarrassed and everyone in school heard about it. Dad told the boy that if he embarrassed him again in front of someone he cared about it would just get worse. Being mostly a easy child, the boy shaped up.

    At almost the height of his gfgness my son would STILL rein it in if my husband said "Barney song". husband told him once that if he acted out and embarrassed us or his sibs in public then husband was going to sing barney songs over the intercom at school - dedicated just to him. The ladies in the school office even used it - they already said they would let husband do it!

    Those are things that may motivate him. You KNOW him. You know ALL his buttons. Time to start using them to get him to dance to your tune. Talking to him, pleading, bargaining the typical ways, typical discipline are not working. Time to change tactics. Have some FUN with it. NOTHING rattles them more than if you ENJOY what you are doing. Heck, if you like opera, or chanting monks or whatever,play them at home when you want to calm down or feel energized or whatever. For my son, he HATES country. It is so AWESOME because we live in Oklahoma. MOST of the stations play country. So in the car I would listen to what I liked. Or play it at home. If he was saying nasty things to me then I SANG to him. My difficult child hears with perfect pitch. I am tone deaf. Even as an infant he would cry if I sang. I chanted lines from books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom instead of singing. If he said ugly things to me I sang with the radio. Or sang whatever I wanted to say.

    Sadly, one of the tricks to dealing with a difficult child is making them uncomfortable and unhappy enough to comply with what you want. They can be happy and comfortable when their actions are making YOU happy, or relatively so.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL Susie on the Barney songs.

    Jamie still tells stories about the day I showed up in his class in my raggedy old pj pants, sleep shirt, hair a mess after his teacher caught me in my car. Seems Mr Jamie had been acting up like the class clown and not doing his work appropriately.

    So I walked into his room, looking atrocious, got right in Jamie's face and asked him if he had a problem. Did he need Mommy to come sit with him in class everyday? I would be happy to do it looking just like this! Jamie was slinking further and further down in his seat...lol. He whispered...NO. I said...Oh good. Are you going to shape up and act right for Mr. X? Yes ma'am. Ok Good. Now if I get another call from Mr. X I am going to come in here and whip your butt in front of everyone do you hear me? Yes...good.

    And I walked out.

    Jamie still remembers this and he was in 4th grade. Guess that is why he was mostly easy child.
  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My unfortunate habit of singing with the music in the grocery store was a great motivator for Miss KT. If she started acting up, I grabbed a can of PAM or something similar for a microphone, and really let it rip, complete with facial expressions and hand movements. It still works...I was dancing and singing "Top of the World" at the top of my voice in Kmart last week.

    Seriously, though, if your son isn't listening to you now, sneaking stuff etc., do you think he would listen to you about his schooling? Miss KT wanted me to homeschool her, and I flat refused, and I'm a teacher. The last thing I wanted was for her to be velcroed to my butt and fighting with me 24/7 about doing her schoolwork, and that's exactly what would have happened. Trying to help her with homework was bad enough, and I finally had to stop helping her, unless she behaved like a civilized person. You could try it for the summer if there's a subject he needs to make up, and see how it goes.
  16. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I am homeschooling one of my daughters because she is chronically ill and can't manage school. I can tell you it probably will not be easier to homeschool him. It could still be the best thing for him. I agree with the suggestion to try it over the summer. Pick the subject that is hardest for him and see how it goes.

    I have had to get a tutor come to help with my daughter. We also have classes for "homeschoolers" in my area. Around here, it is possible to homeschool your child by getting others to actually do the teaching. It seems like there would be lots of opportunities for socializing but we haven't been able to do that so I'm not sure how that would really work out.