Have you ever wanted to just homeschool?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tinamarie1, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I swear, its only 3 weeks into the school year and difficult child has been bullied, threatened (today 2 boys told him they were going to the principal and telling him that difficult child said he was going to blow up the school), has teachers that segregate him in the classroom. I already feel completely warn out and burnt out over school. Every year I get to the point where I just feel like I want to homeschool him. He is not in a loving, caring environment where they care about him learning. I feel like that is what he would have if I homeschooled him.
    What is the big thing holding me back? My lack of knowledge and not believing in myself that I am smart enough to do it. I scraped by in school. I always took the easiest classes. I have 2 years of college, but didn't finish. and that was a long time ago and I feel like I don't remember most of it.
    You guys that homeschool, did you feel this way? and am i correct in thinking i can't teach my son when i barely remember most of it myself?
    I am also afraid that I will put him behind if he decides he wants to go back to public school at a later date.
    oh and where would i find opportunities for him to be around other kids?
    i just don't want to mess him up academically or socially.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't have been able to stand having M home all day! There was a really interesting report on CBS Sunday morning this week about homeschooling programs available to parents, though. I thought it was great. Maybe if I had known about those options (and had enough money to feed us on husband's income only) I would have considered it harder all those years ago.

  3. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    For us personally, no way, she likes school.

    For others, I'd tend to say no because you need some time away from these kids to try to gather back some sanity!

    If you do choose to homeschool, I know there are programs that help enrich the kids education and get them together with other homeschoolers. I think they tend to add more activities so they get to hang out with other kids.

    But if your child is no happy in their school, why not change schools? Find a charter school that fits your child. I have a friend who's son was being bullied and she transferred him to the Waldorf school (we have one in the public system). We have our daughter in an "alternative" school where the parents are required to put in up to 16 hours of work a month (usually work in the class 1-2 days plus some extra jobs from time to time, it's more like 10 hrs). This means there is an extra parent in the class most of the time which helps the teacher teach better, and allows the extra adult to deal with issues if they come up. It helps build community and helps us see who those problem kids are and confront them directly if they're doing something like bulling. We are Parent-Teachers while on duty.

    For a short term solution, offer to volunteer some time in your child's classroom (coping, cutting things out, organizing the next days work, etc). I can guess the teacher would love some extra help and you could see how things are really working out.
  4. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I have been volunteering at the school as much as they will allow it. I am allowed up there on Fridays to do folders and whatever else the teacher needs.
    I am also room mother.
    I just talked to difficult child and he is hysterical because the principal has told us that IF he said that he was going to blow up the school, it is a terrorist threat and to be taken very seriously. He also said that he tends to believe these boys because he has known them all of their elementary lives and they appear very "non threatening". I took that as he thinks MY son is threatening? Because he doesn't know him and because he is much larger than these other boys....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I am so tired of seeing difficult child hurting and he can't concentrate on school with this kind of garbage going on.
  5. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I am homeschooling difficult child 2 this year for health reasons. We are not able to participate in these but there are lots of opportunities for social activities/field trips.

    In my city, there is an email list for homeschooling parents with activities and resources.

    From that list, I found out about a "school" that meets one day per week for homeschoolers. I signed her up for writing there because I was not comfortable with grading her writing and I thought she would be more motivated to write for someone else.

    There are also coops that you could sign up for. I'm thinking you might have to help with teaching in some of these. I have seen some that it looks like you just pay for books and supplies and/or a small fee.

    I have noticed that the kids at this homeschool class are very polite. I have also seen some that appear to be difficult child's. I have heard that homeschoolers are very accepting of differences. They are never far from adults so I think that helps.

    There are lots of resources available to use to teach. I haven't found it to be a problem remembering the material. It is all spelled out in the books I use. If she asks a question that I don't know, we look it up on the internet.

    I am surprised to find that I am enjoying homeschooling.

    I do have the same concerns about where she will be when she goes back to a regular school but for us, there really is no other option right now.
  6. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    Until this year, I home schooled all 3 difficult children who are at very different academic levels. It's really not hard at all. Most home school curricula will walk you through step by step. You don't have to be "smart" or know/remember alot from your own school years.

    I've used Saxon Math - which was great. Very little input needed from me at all.

    I've used Switched-on-Schoolhouse (but didn't install the Bible curriculum) and the kids really enjoyed that. (It's computer-based, so I didn't even have to grade anything - the software does it automatically. I just "assigned" various things & the software did the rest. The kids couldn't "move on" to the next assignment until they completed the first, etc.)

    I've used secular textbooks that I ordered directly from Pearson/Prentice Hall and McGraw/Hill (two of the biggest public school textbook publishers.) Those took a little more work from me in terms of setting up lesson plans. But even with those, there were companion websites for each of the textbooks. The websites had video tutorials to help explain tougher algebra concepts, video clips of historical re-enactments, etc. that really helped me to "teach" the kids the tougher stuff.

    I've also used unschooling methods and unit study methods. It really doesn't matter what method or curriculum you use, none of it is really hard. Nor does it take a great deal of effort - not even with difficult children (provided they have a good routine & get to have some say in little things here or there.) I used to let the kids pick "electives" each year - subjects they wanted to learn more about, or I'd let them decide if we worked on chemistry, biology, etc for their science stuff. I learned that letting them help pick and design their own school environment really did alot to help motivate them.

    With difficult child 2, I often struggled to get him to apply himself. Heck, there were some days that he just dug his heels in and didn't want to work on schoolwork. That's when I tried some unschooling methods. I stopped worrying about the books and assignments. Instead, we spent time watching Discovery Channel, or History Channel, or Animal Planet - whatever "educational" kind of programming that caught his interest. We spent many a day (and night) on the couch discussing politics, the Cold War, how things were made or discovered, what types of animals lived where and why, all sorts of things. Half the time, difficult child 2 didn't even realize that he was learning. He just enjoyed the one-on-one time & getting to talk with Mom like a real grown up conversation.

    I know that for me and my family? I wouldn't have traded the last few years of home schooling for all the tea in China. And I could have still done it, even if I worked outside the house. In Georgia, the only requirement is that the kids complete 4 1/2 hours of instruction for 180 days a year. We could have had "school" in the evenings, the mornings, or whenever I wasn't working. So the idea that you have to stay home to home school your kids really doesn't have to be the case, depending on the laws in your state.

    If you want to know more, or have questions, feel free to PM me.
  7. BoxieLady

    BoxieLady New Member

    6th grade was torture on me with my son. 7th grade wasn't much better. In October of 7th grade I pulled him out and homeschooled him. He (we) did very well...and it's been 18 years since I was in school. He is back in public school this year and while I am ready to throw my hands up and jerk him out, I keep remembering that I need time away from him and he from me.

    Homeschooling wasn't "TOO" bad, but wasn't too good for us. For those who have done it from the beginning, it works. It was draining on me to deal with him 24/7.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    No. Never. Miss KT and I are like oil and water, and it would not have been a pretty sight having us home together all day, every day. Getting homework done was difficult enough.

    Rather than homeschooling, is there another school he could transfer to that might be a better fit for him?
  9. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    for about 5 seconds, until I realized I would end up in a padded room within a week!
  10. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    For years homeschooling was suggested to me by nearly everyone who knew of all we had to cope with with difficult child and school. I resisted HARD partly becuz when she was younger, I had my hands full, difficult child is my oldest child, I had a son who was special needs for other types of difficulties and I had an ill husband and I worked LONG hours out of the home as our sole financial support. I was only sleeping 3 hours a day due to how much fell onto my shoulders, already. Things continued to get worse in spite of involvement with a huge number of resources here for difficult child. I continued to resist homeschooling or unschooling, and things just kept getting even worse. Part of it was classmates, part school policies etc and part my difficult child herself.
    I further continued to resist becuz then I got incredibly ill and was immobile for a few years. Eventually, my difficult child was diagnosis'ed with PTSD from her school experiences and it came to light just HOW traumatized she had become...hr panic attacks got much worse, her agoraphobia became extremely severe, and it finally affected her so intensely, we tried homebound, but, our school does not DO homebound well. I finally wound up homeschooling her.
    Very shortly after I began tohomeschool my difficult child, my son had a severe injury and missed most of a school year. DUe to his disabilities from before his injury, he already performed academically 3 grades or more below classmates and I was not getting very far getting him help at school. After his injury. his school refused still to provide him proper and appropriate help with his original issues or the new ones related to his injury. When I started tohear rumbles of y son being placed in an ED BD program not becuz of any behavior issues, but becuz of his low academic status, I pulled him out of school.
    We do not use any curriculum from anywhere. Our state does not require us to. Becuz of some learning disabilites my son has, we have found that we are somewhat nontraditional. My son attends many different types of scenarios - spends time at our courthouse monthly, participates in various volunteer organizations learning a wide variety of important skills. He spends time with different people at their jobs learning, computers, auto mechanics, heating and air conditioning, he goes shopping with me and does a lot of math work, and he has become very involved in some major home renovations, with the planning, purchasing, and the actual work. He plans all our trips to all our long distance doctor appts and maps out different routes, plans our breaks from driving, plans where we will stay, researching and finding the best deals etc for hotels and such He tracks our mileage, plans our routes, watches the gas prices for best price, calculates MPG for us. ESTimates how long the trip will take etc. He has become involved recently in budgeting, financial planning, and knows how to write all the monthly bills out. He did the research for deals for internet, cable tv and our home phone service, compareing plans and rates among different companies and wrote up the comparisons into a proposal to offer to me, LOL to sway me to get the services he wanted most at the best prices. LOL. He made a to scale map plan of our home complete with all the nooks and crannies for new carpet, and soon will be helping lay it. This past week he assisted a plumber to replace some water pipes. He is fascnated by the History channel, and the Foodnetwork and has begun to plan meals and shop and cook, and can calculate how much a meal costs per serving.
    We have practiced his spelling by haveing him do our text messageing for us, LOL. Sounds strange but, it works GREAT. He has also been learning how to write programs and is trying to crate a new computer videogame.
    Since we began homeschooling or unschooling or whatever it is we are doing, he goes with me nearly everywhere and often I make him write about it, why we did what we did etc. Most days when easy child gets home from class, she does her homework with my son at her side and she shows him what she has done at school and engages his help in her homework. LOL. Since I am also working with difficult child on her GED, my son always sits with us for that material too, and he often helps difficult child with HER studies for her GED. Many times he seems more able to help her learn than I am.
    I used to be certain I needed a break from my kids. What happened when I began to have the 2 kids home more was I found they became much calmer, life settled down incredibly, and I found that the time and energy I used up tending to school issues when the kids were in public school was far more time than I require for education now. Our entire family is MUCH happier, things are so much calmer, more peaceful, a whole lot more fun. We have also found that my son who we THOUGHT had such severe learning disabilities really is amazingly intelligent and learns easier than school realized. Becuz I only have 3 children and not an entire classroom, and becuz I LOVE these children, my children, and have them 24-7, I do have the freedom and ability to work with them nonstop continuosly and the freedom and time to personalize the lessons. We have also found that you can incorporate many different subjects into one - such as cooking can be math and science and history. cutting a pizza can be geometry, LOL.

    My son also is even more involved now in offerings from our public library, park district, Red Cross, Operation Snowball Jr Police ACademy, and Conservation district. When he was still IN school, often the homework load for him prohibited him from being active in much of anything else due to how much he struggled. I find my kids are now also more polite, more courteous, and more compassionate to others than they used to be. They are with ME most of the time, and MY influence has more time to be absorbed.

    Today he put together a presentation for me to use tomorrow at my Medical Reserve Corps meeting. And at the moment he is helping us and our VA rep write up documentation etc for an appeal on his dads VA claim. His learning is in the gatherning of information and putting it together in a logical manner and interacting with dads docs and the VA rep. It helps reinforce how to write a paper, becuz he has to have his introduction and later his summary etc.
    While he learns his constitution, it has been arranged via our state rep for my son to go to our state capital and be a page for a day at our general assembly.

    We have found we enjoy haveing our kids home. We have also found there are endless things to learn and ways to learn them. And we have more control over who our children spend time with. And our kids like the real life applications. It really does help hit the lessons home for them.

    If you check in the Special Education forum here, some of my posts from when my kids were still in school might be there. Our struggles with school were nightmareish. I only wish now that I HAD taken my oldest child out of school sooner.

    My middle child, easy child? She excelled in school, did awesome and is now in college and doing great.
  11. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    Dreamer - I know exactly what you're talking about. We had the same nightmare issues with the schools & difficult child 1. When difficult child 2 started really having issues with meltdowns, getting kicked out of after-school daycares, etc. I just knew I couldn't take any more.

    Every single day there were calls from either the school or the daycare.

    I think somehow we wound up with every possible moron the system could cough up at us. Some of the older members might remember some of the horrors we had to deal with. For those who don't, it got so bad that I had to involve our Superintendant of Schools & even THAT didn't help. Not even mediated meetings involving the Director of Special Services for the State, the school itself, and our local Special Services Director did not ease the issues. Before it was all said and done? The Principal was forced into early retirement and difficult child 1's teacher was fired...but that was only after I pulled all of the kids out.

    I was so stressed and so miserable back in those days. I couldn't sleep, barely ate, worked 40-50 hours at the office and had to bring another 20 hrs worth of work home with me. I had to fight the schools, the daycares, the difficult child's father & his family. It was just horrid.

    It got so bad that in 1 day, with no real thinking on my part, after a particularly bad day with the school where the principle wound up cursing me out in the hallway in front of difficult child 1, I just completely stopped. I quit my job. I pulled the kids out of public school. I fired the daycare. I just stopped everything and everyone, without a clue what I was going to do. Not even a hint. I just called my boss and told him to kiss off, called the school district and told the super that it would be a cold day in you-know-where before my kids ever set foot back in a school in his district, and told exDH if he had an issue with anything, call DFCS on me. I just didn't give a hoot any more. I was going to wind up in the Funny Farm myself if something didn't give.

    I only had enough money for a month's worth of bills. I didn't even know that I had the option to homeschool. I just knew that I couldn't take another second of the way things were at that point.

    I got a phone call from an officer friend of ours (he substituted alot at the kids' school.) He had overheard the principle threatening to call DFCS on me because of the kids' behavioral issues & the fact that I withdrew them from school. He called to warn me about what he'd heard. I decided to be proactive. I called DFCS myself and spoke to a lady I knew there. She's the one who told me to try homeschooling. She gave me the information I needed to get started, at least in terms of the legalities & proceedures to make sure I didn't get in trouble. (She had dealt with "that woman" before and knew the problems some of her foster kids enrolled at the same school had, so I had something of a sympathetic ear.)

    I had the same experiences as Dreamer. Once we got through the first few weeks of adjustments, I noticed a HUGE drop in the issues I was having with difficult child 1. I didn't have anywhere near the trouble with her that the school did. In fact, she was off all medications for her ADHD within 6 months of starting a home school program. (She is actually ADD - no hyperactivity component.) All she needed was to be able to use her iPod so she could tune out background noise to focus on her studies. Heck, she was even doing extra schoolwork whenever she got bored on the weekends!!!

    Like Dreamer, we've used alot more unschooling methods than anything else. It's a much more natural way for children to learn, in my opinion. They learn more from actually seeing and doing than you could ever teach them with a book. The best part is that they're actually learning things that interest them because they have immediate real world applications for what they're learning. With all 3 of my difficult children, they seem to learn so much better by learning as they "do" than being taught to memorize from a book. (We've also done remodeling work on our current house, as well as our new house - and the kids were very heavily involved. It taught them math, algebra, geometry, science, and history, all while swinging a hammer.)

    Also like Dreamer, I found the kids had more time and exposure to me & my influence. Now that they are older, I can see (compared to their numerous public school friends) they are more mature, more comfortable in their own skins, more self-assured, and definitely they are more inclined to think for themselves as opposed to letting the "group think" mentality steer their opinions & actions. (How many teenagers do you know that listen to NPR or follow the political conventions on TV & debate issues with each other? I hate that stuff - but my kids love it.)

    It's actually kind of funny. difficult child 1 & difficult child 3 don't argue over whose turn it is to do dishes, or who gets to have the remote, or whether they watch MTV or Cartoon Network. No. The two of them argue over whether or not Palin was a smart choice for McCain, whether or not Obama would make a good president, and why our local mayor should or should not run for office again. They discuss not just politics, but healthcare (boy - they have a ton of experience seeing how our current system fails their brother on a regular basis) and civil liberties. They explore other religions (difficult child 1 wants to major in theology.) It's actually really neat to see them blossom like they have. It's wonderful to see them so comfortable with themselves - the natural personalities they have, uninfluenced by peer pressure or the negativity that seems to permiate our SD. Dont' get me wrong - they are very socialized...but I got to control what social contacts they had...I got to ensure their friends & "classmates" were positive experiences & positive influences.

    And I have to agree whole-heartedly with Dreamer. The energy I spent dealing with school issues took alot more out of me than the energy I spent home schooling. Our house was almost normal, except for difficult child 2's issues.
  12. BoxieLady

    BoxieLady New Member

    hex, I had a similar experience with my son...much better than how he was in school, off the medications, etc.

    The problem is, dealing with the outside world again. We love them and accept them and understand them but if you try to put them back in school one day, you possibly start over where you left off..and the real world is not far after.

    My son went back 3 weeks ago after being homeschooled and I was so proud of how much he had improved for me...well, not so much once back in the sadle.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I hear your concern. I can only assure you - a lot of your concerns are unfounded. Much of the bad press about home schooling comes from teachers who have the wrong idea, or who choose to give it the 'bad sell' for their own reasons. I also believed the same negative opinions of home schooling and allowed it to put me off, for years. Then I was desperate enough to do some more digging on other options for schooling, and found some feedback on these issues that totally turned these concerns upside down.

    Your son's current placement:
    "it's only 3 weeks into the school year and difficult child has been bullied, threatened..., has teachers that segregate him in the classroom. I already feel completely worn out and burnt out over school."

    Your concerns with home schooling:
    "i can't teach my son when i barely remember most of it myself.
    I am also afraid that I will put him behind if he decides he wants to go back to public school at a later date.
    oh and where would i find opportunities for him to be around other kids?
    i just don't want to mess him up academically or socially."

    The reality:
    There are resources available that you can draw on, to help you point him in the right direction. None of us are fully equipped to take over t he education of our children. And truly, teachers don't teach, either. Instead, they provide opportunity for children to learn, and provide access to material to help them learn. Why do you think TV shows like "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" are so successful? Even the smartest people, including well-educated intelligent university graduates, get it wrong. I've seen TEACHERS lose on that show! So if THEY can get it wrong, you can't do any worse!

    When our children learn, whether at home or at school, their capacity to learn is never limited by the knowledge or intelligence of the person 'teaching' them. If a child knows how to learn, and also has access to material to study, he will learn at his own pace (which is often faster as an individual, than in a group situation where the pace is generally set by the slowest member).

    In our case, difficult child 3 is learning via a correspondence school. We are fortunate to have this state-based alternative available to us. I think this is going to happen increasingly, as the internet makes it far easier and far more possible. More and more, there are internet curriculum sets difficult child 3 can access for various subjects. In his case, there is a building in the city which is staffed by teachers all equipped with a telephone and a computer. Occasionally they run a study day, where the kids can go in to the school (if they want to or are able to) and meet their teachers, have tuition face to face (with other classmates) and often, have fun.

    Before we were able to access this, we had a year in which difficult child 3 struggled with mainstream attendance and would have missed about half his school year. I supplemented work I begged from his teacher, with books and computer software I acquired myself. I expected problems and found to my delight that not only did the expected problems not arise, but in fact I was more relaxed and so was difficult child 3. Also, I found that he had missed a great deal of education in his years of school to date - it was horrifying how little he knew. I also knew these topics had been covered, because I had seen his homework and his assignments. He HAD done the work, but none of it had actually sunk in because he had no internal frame of reference.

    So we worked to fix it. I had nothing else to do anyway, with difficult child 3 home so much because he was vomiting every time he went to school.

    You are concerned that by home schooling your son, you will put him behind. I mentioned in the previous paragraphs that I observed tat difficult child 3 learned faster at home on his own, working at his own pace, than in a classroom environment because in the classroom in a group, they tend to go slower than the fastest child and a bit faster than the slowest child, which tends to be a lot slower than most of the students. So unless your son is right at the slowest end of the class, and STAYS slow even when he is at home and free from distractions, then you are unlikely to delay his education. It is more likely to work the other way and help him catch up.

    Now the social issues - too often I hear this as THE big argument against home schooling of any sort. "But what about social interaction? You can't allow your child to be isolated, it will be very detrimental to his social development." In difficult child 3's case they would add, "Because difficult child 3 is autistic, it is even MORE important to keep him in mainstream so he can learn appropriate social interaction."
    This is always delivered in unanswerable tones, often by someone who claims higher qualifications, often in Special Education and therefore KNOWS professionally what they are talking about. How can any parent contradict this?

    But it doesn't matter who says this to you - they are very wrong.

    First - school is NOT a normal social environment. When in your life, other than school, will you be put in a group of 35 others the same age as you, made to sit in a room together with one person in authority up the front, talking to you all and requiring you all to do the same work at the same time, often involving a lot of repetition until you ALL have reached a point where you can claim to have learned the material? If we ever have to do anything like this as adults, then we will be surrounded by other adults who have themselves learned more appropriate social interaction than is often displayed by kids at school. As children in a mainstream setting we are powerless, often downtrodden, often feeling unheard and not respected. Mind you, if this is not the case then don't interfere, leave the child in a positive social and educational environment by all means. As long as it IS positive. But school is not always the best place for every child.

    When we go out into the big bad world, we mingle with a wide range of people across the spectrum in age, in gender, in cultural background, in interests, in capabilities, in jobs. We have to interact with these people each in different ways in the process of getting our jobs done. Frankly, the sooner we learn to interact with a broader cross-section of humanity, the better.

    When first difficult child 1, and then difficult child 3, were struggling in mainstream, they never completed all their work in class. Any incomplete work would be sent home. In difficult child 3's case, this didn't always happen with the result that there were increasingly large gaps in his knowledge. These gaps were only going to get bigger the further he went into the school system - you need to have that sub-structure of knowledge in order to build the later stages successfully. difficult child 3's learning would have collapsed if we had not found another way. Mind you, this was not immediately obvious at the time - it has become obvious after the fact, as the problem has resolved.

    So picture this - difficult child 1, and difficult child 3, at school and not learning. In fact, at school they were anxious, often bullied, often 'zoning out' as a way of coping with both the high distraction level and also the anxiety level. I wish to stress - their failure to learn was not a fault of the teachers. It was due to their disability, that the mainstream setting just was not the best place for them to have to cope socially AND also take on board new information. (although there are some teachers I'd very much like to 're-educate').
    So the boys would be at school all day and then bring home any uncompleted work. difficult child 1 would be up until all hours struggling to complete his homework, often with medications having worn off so it would take him ten times as long to get a task done, that he could do quickly when medicated and in a quiet distraction-free environment. Because the boys had so much homework to do, and it took them so long, they had to get stuck into it as soon as they got home. I would poke food at them and they would keep working, in order to get as much done as possible before bed-time.

    This was not conducive to social interaction - how can you allow a kid to go visit his friends to play games, when he is behind in his homework?

    AFTER home-schooling (and remember, this was correspondence - the same workload as mainstream, but done at home - no way was this a light workload) - both boys would get a vast amount more work done during the day at home, then when school hours finished they had a bundle of finished work done, just as their friends were getting home from school. But now - the boys were free to go and play, with a clear conscience. So AFTER home-schooling, the boys were MORE able to interact socially than before.

    Another factor - this time, the boys would go play with their friends. Of course they would not go play with the local bullies. At their friends' house there would be no more than about three or four kids at the most, a far more manageable number. And if it wasn't going well, they would be free to leave and come home, not be forced to stay there and continue to either put up with being pestered, or bullied, or having buttons pushed.

    Another finding - as we worked at home and found that the boys got much more work done, we also were able to utilise outings. With correspondence it is done either online or in bookwork. But with home schooling you have even more freedom to take kids out and about and STILL have it as an important, useful part of their education.
    I would take the kids with me to do the shopping. Can you imagine the mental arithmetic benefits to asking a kid to use unit pricing to determine the most economic brand of baked beans?

    As far as social interaction was concerned - difficult child 3 would come round the supermarket with me and help me shop to a list. I could send him looking for this or that, and along the way he learned to ask for assistance, to interact with shop staff, to manage the social and financial transactions associated with grocery shopping. As he gained confidence he also gained capability and polish. And all this without interfering adversely in his academic development.

    If difficult child 3 was having a bad day while I was shopping, we could always drop everything and leave. But generally, he would ask for the car keys and take himself to the car, where he had school bookwork stashed that he could work on. We learned fairly quickly that some subjects actually helped him calm himself down when he was stressed.

    Your child loves school - are you sure it's school, or is it learning? A child who is being bullied at school, or victimised in some way, is probably not enjoying school as much as you think. Chances are what IS being enjoyed is the opportunity to learn the 'fun stuff' as well as the social interaction with friends.

    Your son is being victimised, bullied, segregated. Chances are he's anxious. This is not good for learning.

    Your son has friends. They can be kept on side as allies.

    Some ground rules:
    * Do some homework. What resources would be available to you? What books could you get, what websites could you access (some really good ones cost a small annual fee and provide good tuition for that subject that is easily equivalent to mainstream)? What groups could you join?

    * Talk to your son. Ask him to help you draw up a PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) on home schooling vs mainstream. Find out his concerns and list them. Also list your own. Then ask other people if your concerns are valid, and if so, what you can do to counter these problems.

    * Set ground rules. The most important one for us, which we actually put in place when difficult child 3 would stay home from school because he felt sick, was "school work during school hours". We do bend the rules a little, in that sometimes, especially on cold, miserable days, difficult child 3 & I can still be in our pyjamas at 11 am. But even if difficult child 3 is genuinely ill and running a fever, he HAS to put games aside and do schoolwork. If he is really ill then he can watch an educational DVD. If he falls asleep then he can sleep (especially if he is ill). He rarely sleeps if he is well. The biggest attraction to difficult child 3 of home schooling, was "no homework". We do modify that, however, if he has failed to work properly during the school week. If he's had a difficult week then we will encourage him to work on a weekend, but we will also help him relax a little by letting him also play a game, or maybe work for an hour, take a break for an hour, then back to work and so on. On weekends or in holidays.

    Your ground rules will need to be fine-tuned for you and your child. I was talking to another correspondence mother today about the different things we do with our kids. We have both found that within reason, we let our sons choose which subject to work on and when. Of course, if he is choosing to avoid a tricky subject ten we have to step in and insist, but for both of us, our sons have begun to control their own learning - sensibly. THEY want to succeed, THEY want to work on something they're struggling with and not let it sit at the back of their minds, nagging them for an answer.

    We've both learned to NOT schedule in rest breaks, but let the boys take their own breaks when they need to (within reason). Once they settle to the work, they need to be left to work alone where possible, not interrupted because the bell has gone and it's time for recess. Instead, we poke food at them so they can eat while they work.

    I use bribes - difficult child 3 gets a credit point for a certain quantity of work completed in one day. His credits accumulate and can be cashed in for a number of small treats. Not every kid will need this.

    A very important point here - YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING. You just need to know how to help your child find out. That is the most important thing of all.

    Example: Your child asks you, "How many elements are there now listed in the Periodic Table?" This is not an easy question. What you can do - first find out what is currently being taught in mainstream, in terms of the Periodic Table on the wall of most mainstream school science labs. Then maybe look it up online, or help your child to do this. While doing this, also find the contact details of university Physics departments or maybe a nearby research nuclear reactor or similar facility. Do not be afraid to ask for information, from the experts in the field. A lot of them may not bother to talk to you, but you never know when you will find a gem or a resource, just by asking.
    Meanwhile, move on to the next task and don't let a query like this slow you down.

    In the process - your child will learn to ask questions, will learn to seek the answers for himself, will learn that you DON'T know everything (which for a child can be reassuring) and will have fun in the process.

    Can you remember how you felt back in school, when you had a question but were afraid to ask? The teacher might have got cross for the distraction (especially if your question was off topic, or indicated you hadn't understood a thing for the previous few weeks); the other kids might have laughed at you for your ignorance, or bullied you for daring to sound intelligent (or for sounding stupid). Or the moment would be lost and the question forgotten. Learning again to ask questions is a valuable advantage to home schooling. Learning to find your own answers is a rare and valuable trait.

    Something else we have learned - I try to not nag. difficult child 3 takes a while longer to get started with his tasks. I will sometimes remind him he needs to get a start, and ask if he needs help or some ideas. But as a rule - I don't nag. Instead I use encouragement, praise, a sense of fun and enquiry about the world.

    We were watching a TV for schools short program one day and it mentioned mangroves and the way they reclaim land. difficult child 3 turned to me and said, "I'd like to go look at some mangroves. Can we do this?"
    As it happens, we have some mangroves very close to where we lived. I promised difficult child 3 that if he worked hard for the day we would go visit the mangrove swamp right after school and maybe have an ice cream from the shop nearby. He worked really well, motivated by the adventure.
    So we went - walked around, looked at it all and how the roots look, how the leaves feel, how it smells, how it sounds, what creatures live there, what plants grow behind the mangroves - all of it. It only took us half an hour, but it has stuck in his mind.

    And you know the best thing? Even though difficult child 3 is at home underfoot, I have MORE time for me, I am LESS stressed, because I'm getting no more phone calls from the school to say, "Come and get him, he is sick/has been in a fight/has been suspended/has hit another student/..."

    I know what my day will be like. We have choice. If I have to see a doctor, I can go knowing I won't have to cancel everything to go collect difficult child 3.

    And after doing this now for several years - difficult child 3 no longer cringes when he sees a group of kids heading his way. He no longer just stands there waiting to be beaten up when a kid begins to shout insults. He knows his rights, he is calmer, he knows to bring himself home or get to a safe house and call for help if he is bullied. His social interactions with EVERYBODY have improved. In the few mainstream settings (such as his study days) he is now participating, answering questions, helping other people and is generally the sort of kid that other parents come up and congratulate me about.

    He has friends. He has hobbies. He mixes more now than he was able to when in mainstream. He has a lighter workload, despite doing much better with his work. He is working much more independently, he has more confidence in his own abilities and has hopes for his future. He has ambitions which are realistic.

    It's not for everybody, but I do think this would work for more people than you would expect.

  14. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I homeschooled all of last year. It was a great year academically for difficult child. There are very good homeschool programs you can purchase that make it easy to teach. The reason we are no longer homeschooling is because difficult child's behaviors made interacting with other homeschoolers on field trips and other group activites impossible. He is an only child and I did not think he was getting enough socialization also a new neuropsychologist showed the benefit of speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) and I wanted him to be able to get those services through the school.

    Good luck in your decision!
  15. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Marg, dreamer, Hex, and all of you ladies....can I just say that you are the best group of women that I know? You all inspire me when I need it and give me confidence to always do what is best for difficult child. I am sitting here with tears welling up because I have now made the decision to homeschool. The kids last day at school is this Friday. I stayed up all night last night preparing the package to send to the school board and sent it certified first thing this am. I feel so empowered after reading your posts. My kids are so excited, they wanted to start homeschooling today. husband is really excited too, as he wants to be really involved in this.
    I feel so blessed to have you all to come to about these things. You have helped me make what I thought was such a tough decision, one of the easiest and most exciting. Thank you for giving me hope.
  16. Karen & Crew

    Karen & Crew New Member

    I actually spent most of yesterday researching homeschool options for my difficult child. We're 4.5 weeks into the school year, he's teetering on the brink of suspension and his teachers haven't even read his IEP so he's being punished for being him. I'm not looking forward to this alternative in the least as I get easily frustrated with his lack of attention but...on the flip side I can't sit idly by and watch his current school situation absolutely destroy him. He comes home near tears at least 2 nights every week saying how badly he hates school and how he wants to go to a school where people are nicer.

    His psychiatrist was originally against me homeschooling him but we had a long talk yesterday. She wants to come to his next IEP meeting to talk to these teachers & administrators and then if things don't change she will fully support the decision to homeschool.
  17. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I think computers and the internet has really revolutionized homeschooling.

    For some kids, it's really the best options.

    For me, my kids would want me to homeschool one day, and then the next, would have a fit if I even mentioned it. I would remind them of the isolation and that was the deal breaker.
  18. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    For my easy child, school was the best option. Her experiences at school have always been more poitive.
    For my oldest, my difficult child, once out of school, her symptoms decreased astronomically. Her psychiatrist was so pleased with the change in difficult child. Her psychiatrist had supported and strongly encouraged homeschooling. difficult child was in a sad ED BD warehouse situation at her school, and we had been in due process, and the heairng officer for due process strongly encouraged us homeschooling as well. Curently it is the school experience PTSD and agoraphobia that are difficult children lingering issues. ANd they aare now finally improving.
    Like others have said, the social experience my son had while in school was not positive, he was bullied. ANd he was so busy with "homework" hours and hours of it every day and never catching up, and getting punished for it. He "felt" "dumb" when in school system. Now he feels empowered. HIs friends now often say gosh dude, how do you know all these things?
    Day to day life and current events often guide our next topic of learning. The presidential election has given my kids a chance to actively learn and opportunities to learn. The hurricane season has given them interest to learn more about meteorology and geopgraphy and emergency preparedness and how to help others. Our broken water pipe has been a chance for my son to "get his hands dirty" and understand precise measureing is important (among other things) Since my son no longer feels "dumb" he has gained self confidence. When he feels the fruits of his labors, it spurs him to be more interested in more things. Like Marg was saying, there is little social isolation, becuz if the school going kids are available, my son is now available, too. The kids love to come here to our house and spend time with us, and often we have some learning thing going on and we simply include them. While the other kids are in school, my son can use some of that time to be with preschool kids, elderly people, and us. The time together has benefitted us. Dong homework was a battle here, and it kept things at home just as negative as they were at school. difficult child and my son are far happier people, more easy going, so much less stressed and yes, I am, too. Their schools had become a very negative drain on me, too.
    If financial concerns are an issue, keep in mind there are many many resourcs for socializing and for learning that are free in most communities or often financial assistance or scholarships might be available. Our library has something every weekday from 4-6 presumably for latchkey kids, and my son goes often to those. They are free. Our park district has many offerings for afternoons, evenings and Sat mornings for a minimal fee and do have "scholarships" available. Our Conservation district has a wealth of programs for a wide range of costs, from free to $$$. All these offer social interactions with different configurations of ages, and most offer some type of learning. Some are neighborhood wide, some townwide, some county wide. Operation SNowball is actually nationwide draw, and easy child and son meet kids from all over the country and get together twice a year usually in a college dorm.
    On the now more rare occasion when difficult children bipolar flares up in an ugly manner, we all are now so much less stressed ourself we can be more patient withher, and we have more opportunity to be more flexible and accomodating to a crisis at hand. BUt becuz we all now spend so much more time together, the other kids now have a more accurate perspective of difficult child and can cope better with her and are often helpful to her. And since my son now has more exposure to more people of all ages, he now has friends of his own of all ages. His adult friends often will have him spend a day with them at their jobs, and teach him things THEY know well, and the kids younger than difficult child love to sit around with my son and he guides them sometimes in learning various things.
    I thinn my kids have finally realized that they can do things now for their own pride in a job well done and not simply becuz they had to make their teacher happy.
    And oh my goodness the things *I* learn by homeschooling or unschooling. WOw! Either I am learning something so I can help them learn OR they are learning and teaching me becuz they want to share becuz they are so excited. This has changed my parenting experience in so many unexected and wonderful ways.
  19. Pandora

    Pandora Member

    Sounds extremely difficult; a quick question. How is your son doing academically?
  20. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Good Luck on this new adventure!

    It's not easy but then neither is dealing with the school when you have a difficult child.

    Congratulations on your decision and remember that if you decide it is not working, you can always reenrool the kids at school. This is certainly worth trying!