Booklady Clara

New Member
WEll, here I am again. difficult child refused to go to school again for the umpteenth time. She's in 6th grade now. This started in 4th grade, she didn't finish out the year. Didn't go to school in 5th grade and hasn't been back to school since the end of March. She said she wants to be homeschooled--yea right, she wants to have me as a target all day long. We have gone the whole route, with the counselors, teachers, principal, even a truancy letter from the court, etc. to get her to go. Nothing has worked. There is no t.v., no computer, no video or even library books and she just digs her heels in and basically WINS. I am so sick of this I would like to go somewhere and disappear. She is only 12 and we have at least 6 years to put up with this. I know there isn't anything to say and nothing to do. I've done it all. She hasn't been officially diagnosed with Aspergers but she has almost all of the symptoms except the "odd gaze"
I am so grateful there is a "soft place to land" because the rest of this is HARD.

Yikes, that one is a toughy! We have been through alot of crappola with our difficult child, but she has never refused school. Don't know what I'd do, we'd probably end up killing each other. LOL!!

No advice, but hopefully someone who has been there done that will be by soon.



I feel your pain. My difficult child is the queen of school refusal. At least, I thought she was. Now it seems yours is queen and mine is just a princess. :smile: Just teasing...

Do you know what triggers her school refusal? Is it anxiety? Does she have an IEP in place? Would a school resource officer, guidance counselor or principal be willing to come to your house and pick her up when she refuses to go? I have that option with our SD. And when I tell difficult child that if she doesn't go that I'm calling the AP, she goes.

In some states the parents can be charged with educational neglect if their kids are truant. We have a couple of online schools here. They are charter schools. IOW, public schools that are home internet based. They have to follow the state mandated curriculum and participate in the state achievement testing. Do you have something like that in your state? Maybe contact the State Board of Education and see what you can find. Just tossing out some ideas...


New Member
<span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> there must be something at the core of the school refusal. do you have any idea what it might be.

truthfully i don't see the point of not allowing her library books. that makes no sense to me....denying her access to books seems to be biting of your own nose, esp since it's clearly not having the desired effect on her.

i too am surprised you haven't been contacted by the truancy officer from the SD by now. i think truancy laws are pretty standard nation wide these days.

i think i'd be inclined to give homeschooling a try rather than leave her with-no education & nothing to do all day. it's worth a try in my opinion.

</span> </span> </span>

Booklady Clara

New Member
Sorry I haven't answered. We have had the teachers, counselors, truant officer, and principal all out here. Yes, we have also gotten a truancy letter from the school district even though she has a 504 Plan and not an IEP this year. She has had an IEP, but they didn't see the "need" this year. We have been told, after we tried all of the above that it wasn't their problem to get her to school. It's our problem to get her to school and thier's to "teach" her. You were right Kris about the library books we gave them back. No one, including her counselor, the school counselor or teachers have been able to figure out what was the root of this (almost 3 years ago) I thought it might be the mandatory WASL (standardized test they push her in WA big!) Anyway the anxiety was overwhelming. We took care of that. She didn't have to take it. I'm sure there are things about school that bother her even though she won't tell me I have pieced together (teasing, loud talking, disruptive kids (SI problems) and other stuff) The list goes on. I wouldn't mind homeschooling her if it didn't give her many opportunities to practice her ODD techniques. I feel like writing blah, blah, blah because we've all heard this and we all know these helpless feelings. There just doesn't seem to be any answers today and I'm tired.
Thanks for listening.


New Member
This sounds like a very difficult situation you are in!! WA must be VERY different from where I am, because I have been told, on multiple occasions, that if I EVER have problems with our difficult child refusing to go to school that I am to call the truancy officer and they will come to our house, get her out of bed and take her to school themselves....they said this can be done on a daily basis if necessary and they have NO problem whatsoever taking care of that for us. Granted, we have had ALL KINDS of problems getting her the help she needs once she DOES GET TO SCHOOL, we have NEVER had any problems getting help getting her TO school. Our difficult child's therapist actually forbid us from fighting her to get her to school. She allows us to give our difficult child 2 warnings and if she still refuses, we are to say NOTHING else to her about it, immediately call the truancy officer (or call the school and they will send the officer over) and let them take her so that we don't have to battle with her over it. I would think that with a truancy letter from the court and all of that, this would just make this process even MORE important for the officers to be involved, but them giving you the crap that "it isn't their problem" is ridiculous. Maybe trying to do a quick online search and find out what the TRUE responsibilities of the truancy officers in your state would be a good idea at this point. That way, IF this is required of them, you will have basis to fight them if they don't offer you the help they should be offering.

Booklady Clara

New Member
The truancy officer did come out here when she was in 4th grade and they told us that they could not touch her. So...she closed herself in her room while they tried to talk her into going to school. LOL. This is the liberal state of WA for you. They still have the truancy rules but no way to enforce them except to blame us and send us threatening letters. I know they are supposed to be responsible, but I can't get anyone to do anything. What I have discovered is the rules are for the kids that will go by them. The school psychologist is the one that told us it was our problem getting her to school. I probably could fight them if school wasn't out in 2 weeks. I'm tired right not so I'm going to regroup and gather information for the coming year. It doesn't help that our district is going broke right now and they are laying off a lot of teachers and employees right now, even closing one of our elementary schools. Yet, we are spending millions of dollars so the children can take the WASL even though 60% of the students do not pass. Another topic, sorry.


New Member
Wow, our program is SO much different than yours!! They will come to our house and if our difficult child refuses them, they will handcuff her and take her to school against her will.... (I know, embarrasing to show up in handcuffs, but what else can you do?!) I am so sorry you are going through such a mess! I wish your sd had a program like ours...being taken to school in handcuffs and escorted to class by the police will make ANY kid, even the WORST of our difficult child's think twice before refusing to go when told it's time. ESPECIALLY after the first warning of contacting them!!!

Stella Johnson

Active Member
Wow... in Texas I have heard of them handcuffing and dragging them in. They also fine parents and put them in jail. Which would not be of much use for your family. No win situation. :smile:

well, have you stripped her room of everything except the mattress? Maybe just maybe she will go out of shear boredom? If she does have real anxiety issues though this probably won't help.

wish I was more help.



Active Member
Clara, this is an interesting one.

What I sense from you is your reluctance to let her win, but at the moment nobody is winning. Besides, when it becomes a competition (or a war) then you have already lost. What you need is a different way of seeing it (both of you) so it no longer can be considered competition, it becomes you and she working together to find a solution.

You're a smart lady. You have tertiary qualifications. it stands to reason then, that she has inherited some of your brains, at least. This will only make it harder to battle with her. You MUST avoid this.

To deal with the ODD side of things, and to help you learn how to negotiate more effectively with her, read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. The concept there will suit kids with a range of problems, it's got quite broad application because it's so easy to tailor it down to each individual. But the first and foremost rule - pick your battles. Avoid them where possible, but sometimes you can't avoid. And where you can't avoid, there are ways to get what you want without it being a competition. The next rule - let her see that you are no longer competing, you are her support. Again, the book's methods show how this develops, you really don't need to do anything extra for that one if you're already following the CPS system. (CPS = Collaborative Problem Solving).

Once you've got a handle on dealing with her in this different way, the next step is much easier. Discussing home schooling - I think you need to sit down with her and work out some rules between you.

Here are some starters:

1) She needs an education. The law says this must be provided. Why does she not want to go to school? Is this insurmountable for her? Why? Can anything else be done to sort out what has upset her? If not, then don't push it. But you need to know, so you can at least understand and be sympathetic. You both need to be able to communicate in a positive way, even if you don't always agree. It's OK to agree to differ.

2) School work must be studied in school hours, at least. Home schooling is not automatically a licence to play all day. If she so desperately wants to be home-schooled, she has to agree to a number of things:
i) work during school hours
ii) do the utmost to complete the required amount; more if possible
iii) cooperate, no emotional blackmail, no whining - SHE is the one who suffers if the work doesn't get done because she's stalling or trying to get out of it.

3) The best thing to aim for is a good study and work ethic. She will develop her own unique methods which may well be very different to what you expect - give her some leeway in this, as long as the work gets done. For example, we're supposed to have difficult child 3 on a timetable - science for an hour, then history for an hour, then english for an hour - but he doesn't work that way. Instead, he does all his science work for the week, in one session. Then he moves to the next subject. He works in different locations, often on the floor. It's been cold here the last few days so he's done a lot of work still in his pyjamas, snuggled up in bed. But the work has been done well. He's comfortable and can concentrate.

4) We set a quantity of work that needs to be completed. We do vary this a bit because sometimes he just has a bad day, especially if our routine is disrupted (I have to go out, or visitors drop by, or I get a lot of phone calls). But difficult child 3 knows that if he has not completed all his work, it weighs on him and he will do some over the weekend or other times outside school hours.

We put in place a number of different ways in which to learn the material. Computers are great, for us. difficult child 3 has just completed a unit of astronomy which was almost entirely on a DVD-ROM. He's registered online with Mathletics, an international Maths coaching website which can be streamlined to the child's abilities. He has some subjects which are more challenging for him - I keep an eye on how his week is going and recommend him doing these on days when he has my undivided attention and no interruptions. We do NOT do these topics on days when we go shopping, for example. On those days he gets very little done, but we do bring his easier subjects with us such as maths & science.

difficult child 3 is a very visual learner, so having large quantities of printed material as worksheets stands him in good stead. We have a correspondence school to look after him, but he still needs me there as support and supervisor. But it does mean I don't have to write the curriculum myself.

Let your daughter know what sacrifices you'll have to make to do this with her. Make it clear that it won't be easy.

But before you begin anything, read "The Explosive Child" or you won't be equipped to cope with the clashes between you.

difficult child 3 & I have got his schooling to the point where we really don't clash any more, except in extreme circumstances (very rare, we try to avoid it). As a result he's working well and is very motivated. This has been a joint effort to get him here, but I now see him doing so much better than he ever did in mainstream.

Good luck!


Booklady Clara

New Member
Dear Stella,
Thanks so much for your detailed reply. I am doing quite a bit of what you suggested, but am just frustrated right now. I have the book The Explosive Child and it's underlined and bookmarked almost as much as my Bible. I guess I need to review the techniques again.
She is my 5th child and I have learned to pick my battles, however, my husband hasn't and since she and 13 yr. old easy child (oxymoron?) are his bio children he hasn't dealt with the discipline much. He isn't involved much, hasn't read books,etc.
Today, my easy child 13 came home and when I reminded her she was grounded she left and has been gone for a couple of hours. She wrote me a note and told me not to worry she'd be home at dinner time (no kidding). LOL We'll be dealing with that when she gets home. My 16 yr. depressed easy child will be coming home next week from living with his bi-polar father in TX. Yippee we are in for some summer time fun. At least I have a while to get the school stuff in order and come up with some creative ways to teach difficult child.


I am so sick of fighting with school. difficult child goes, but is kicked out of classes or a class just about every day. Then there is his side of the story, he did nothing, he laughed he did what one teacher said..then there is the otherside, he was yelling. I think they honestly feed off each other. I think the teachers compete to see who can get him to yell first. Then who can kick him out first. I am so frustrated with school. I to would homeschool, if he would listen to me. I am his target all the time, so homeschooling would be ineffective, he would just push my buttons until I lost it and then husband would believe him. blah, blah, blah. I go through this on a daily basis and I don't homeschool.
They would come and get difficult child for school if he refused. Oddly enough he gets up and goes, just never stays in class too long.
Friday he was at school 10 minutes. I refuse to go get him, they do not even ask anymore.
I did make arrangements last year (his worst year) for a tour of the detention center. They had us go through all these check points to a certain floor. There a big bald man came out and took him, told me to leave for about 2 - 3 hours. When I picked him up, he was very worried.
See if something like that would work. Tell difficult child these are the rules / laws. If you cannot follow them here, then you will have to live someplace else and follow them.
I have said that, not that difficult child believes me. husband is always there to believe everything he says.