Homeschooling question....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sandman3, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    So, I've noticed several of you have chosen to homeschool your difficult child's and I realize it's a personal decision and such....but my "gut" wants me to homeschool my 10 y.o. difficult child in order to alleviate all of the school problems and pressures. My "brain" says there's no way on earth that will work because he has a history of being defiant with me and he'd never do the schoolwork for me. My "heart" tells me, now that we've got a more clear picture of his issues and he's on proper medications, it would give us a chance to bond in a way we have never been able to.

    Any advice? Input? Observations? I'll take them all!

  2. Jena

    Jena New Member

    good morning,

    It is a hard decision to make indeed. I know i struggled with thought for few weeks out of sheer aggrivation due to her behaviors in school, her neediness level and mostly wanting to keep her safe and with me to be honest.

    I think it all depends on your child. I'm not sure what diagnosis your child has or if they are able to function well in regular classroom. I think for some it is the right decision for others it is not.

    for me personally i am hesitant regarding home schooling. We arent' in a true diagnosis as of yet but working on it. she experiences alot of anxiety and low grades now due to lack of focus has sleep issues, list goes on and on.

    yet when i sat down and wrote the pros and cons of situation which i often due when making huge decision. the benefits to sending her off to school everyday and not home schooling were far greater than home schooling for my difficult child. Yet as i said each child and situation is different. for me the reason i send her and will continue to do so is for her to make connections and work through her anxieties as opposed to sheltering her from her greatest fears. also i guess i would be afraid of home schooling and then someday she'd have to go into reality that being either high school or college, jobs in time, etc. and she would lack the social skills needed to survive the real world. which we all know can be so harsh.

    flip side is that i have heard stories of home schooling. where parents made sure there were enough extra ciricular activities as to allow for socialization skills, friendships, etc.

    so i'm sure i haven't helped much. just wanted to share my thoughts when i had to make my decision.

    i can see your side of the bonding thing. yet you can bond at anytime with your kids i'm learning even if it's just cleaning up the house together.

    good luck with your decision. do the list thing always helps me to see it on paper.

    jen :)
  3. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Hi there,
    I homeschool my 13 yr old difficult child. I don'y know that I would coninue to do so only because we are moving to a new state and she will be starting high school in the fall- I'd like to see if she can make it in a "regular" setting" The other issue is that I have to get back to work and will not have the time I need to put into it.
    So as to your question - I wouldn't have given this year up for anything. The plusses for us? No morning stress as to where are my books, homework, etc. No stress from teachers, kids that picked on her, the daily drama of the school bus, daily phone calls from school staff, etc
    Minuses - less social interaction, when she's angry it kind of makes the day a loss. She is less srtessed and it makes our days easier.

    I have been able to spend quality time with her and I wouldn't have given that up for anything ( on most days!!). It also makes me more of an expert in her learning style and what works and doesn't work for her. we have developed a "system" so that it minimizes her angry phases and outbursts. we study the basics but also intertwine subjects that interest her so she pays better attention and is more motivated.
    It obviously has to be a personal choice and each difficult child is different, but my feeling is: if you're able to do it give it a shot. It doesn't mean that you can't always put difficult child back into a PS. My only suggestion would be to have a plan - don't wing it. It took us nearly 3 months to get settled into a routine. I wake up early to prep and get her up late morning. I have our day planned and she is aware of the expectations. Most days are good - some days have been rotten. But it's been amazing to see what works for her and what doesn't. Overall there have defiinitely been some rough days - but the stress that is eliminated (for both of us) has been amazing!!! You only get one go around. I think 10 is a great age to work with. You may want to keep difficult child in school till June and research and plan things out so you can homeschool starting in the fall (or late summer - it's up to you - Ahhhhh the beauty of homeschooling!) There are a TON of free resources and field trips to take so if expense was a concern, it shouldn't be. Let us know what you are going to do - I'd be happy to share whatever resources I have with you and there are a TON of homeschooling resources online. Good luck - do what feels right to you
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    THis is a highly personal decision that each parent must make for themself.
    I never wanted to homeschool at all, for many many reasons.
    SOme of those reasons are my husband has intense health issues and he is very time consuming. For years, I also worked very long non traditional hours, and then after thta I was quite ill myself, and bedbound.
    We have little to no extended family - nor social support. I felt our home was simply too isolated, without enough broad perspective on the world for it to be a good choice for my children. Our finances were extremely tight, due to both husband and myself being disabled and on social security. I also had little confidence I COULD "teach" academics. Resented the idea partly becuz gosh we pay high real estate taxes - a huge majority of which are for our school district.

    But, I found myself being called to school DAILY for Buffy.....and school sent her home daily. On the very rare occasions she WAS in school, she was in a classroom that she was the only girl, with 8 boys...spanning 3 grades, and spanning several widely varied diagnosis'es and difficulties. IEP implementation was very poor, IEP meetings were called weekly, and often last hours, with school staff and I never even meeting halfway. We wound up in a due process hearing, and our hearing officer informally, off record, on the side STRONGLY encouraged me to remove my dtr from school- for her own safety and well being.
    I did. Her psychiatrist also encouraged me, supportted the whole idea, and blamed school setting for my dtrs add on diagnosis of PTSD (and now also agoraphobia)

    No matter how little confidence I had for teaching her, she HAS learned far more at home that she did her last 3 years in school.

    My son also had an IEP and things also were not going well at his school. I had been warned periodically of "retaliation" from some schools that could extend to siblings. Some VERY bizarre things began to go on with my son..and I realized that while he was grade 6, he still could not read or write, and the school was not working on this problem AT ALL......and I was sitting side by side with my son every single day doing 3,4,5 hours of homework every single day......
    I started thinking yeesh, could it be any harder to homeschool him? Then one event finally tipped the scales for me for good. My son is NOT mentally ill diagnosis'ed. He had NO behavior issues at all, none. He has CP and he poked out one eye. The IEP was for those things. One day he did not come out of school to my car (I picked him up daily, and dropped him off daily) I got a lil nervous, called school to see what was taking him so long, after I was the last person outside waiting. The school told me he was not inside the building. I then called my other children to scour the neighborhood, looking for him. I called his friends and they began looking for him. We could not find him, so I called police. We finally found my son, inside school, sitting in detention. He was crying. Why? Cuz he knew I would be outside waiting for him, and a teacher had grabbed him by his arm and forcibly taken him to detention....and ignored my son and even made fun of my son----when my son kept saying but.we have to call my mom, she will be worried, she will be mad. When I asked WHY he had detention, I got several answers...from "attendance issues" (um his ONLY absences were very well documented, surgery and time out of area at Ronald McDonald House with school haveing ALL records of it all in full) to "not turning in homework" (it was in his IEP how to handle homework, and turns out after questioning, he DID turn it in as per IEP, but his teacher had not understood IEP- his work was in his ALphasmart, on teachers desk) to-----not dressing for PE (he had a medical excusieing him from gym) to.....I dunno why he was in detention.
    When asked why I was not called and told he was in detention, noone had an answer.
    That was the straw that broke the camels back...and my son never went back to school and I have never regretted the decision. We spend far less time doing our work than we ever spent doing his daily homework. Not only that but he has begun to master reading, and some writing.....and now has a wider variety of interests as well. His ongoing docs appts etc are no longer a problem AT ALL schedule wise. And we no longer have to beg docs for length notes and detailed instructions to give to the school.

    The stress in our life has dropped a thousand fold. Our schedule is now much easier to keep up with, becuz I no longer get called away to go to the school every day.

    I myself am also learning a lot more, esepcially when I am planning one of our "field trips" etc. With a little thought, we can turn almost anything into an educational experience and mykids are not simply learning academics by rote, but also going places, seeing things in the Real World they might normally not experience due to being in a classroom.

    My fears for their social skills have reduced, some, as well. My children attend church, Sunday School, are part of clubs etc. They take a lot of classes at our local park district.....our COnservation District, etc........
    They do get a lot of interaction with peers and adults as well. They also now spend more time with people outside their classroom as well. Altho admittedly, part of this is possible becuz I am not a single mom, nor am I glued to home base or a rigid work schedule, anymore.

    I also should add Illinois requirements for homeschooling are a little less rigid than some (many) other states. You would want to check your own states requirements.

    I can say I have enjoyed my time with my kids more than I thought I would. without the stress of the rigidity of public school we have been able topermit some flexibility in assignments. I do not have to be the taskmaster I was afraid I would have to be.

    I do have one child still in public school here. She has no IEP, she has no problems, she takes course overload, is in advanced placement classes, and she does great there. She is on high honor roll, graduates this year, and is going away to college in fall, originaly she wanted to do pre medication, but has since changed to environmental sciences.

    Like I said it is a very personal decision, one only you can make. Knowing your states rules/laws for it might also be helpful for you when making your decision.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I NEVER EVER EVER wanted to teach, or to homeschool ANYONE. I did wind up pulling difficult child out of school for 3rd and 4th grades simply because the school was a very toxic environment. They would NOT provide advanced work for him, or make any provisions for when he finished work early. The 2nd and 3rd grades were combined, but he was not allowed to work with the 3rd graders in his classroom because "then we won't have anything for him to do next year". I about fell out of my chair! The school was only k-3, but other schools in the district has already offered to send work to him so he oculd woek up to his potential.

    They also told my son, frequently, that he was not gifted because he did not get 100% on every assignemnt and his handwriting was so bad. Also, they told him giffted kids did not squirm in their seats. After hearing this frequently he attempted suicide. Yup. Suicide at age 7.

    We met some people who homeschooled when we were at the kids' book/craft deal at Borders. Throgh them I hooked up witha homeschooling group. We were NEVER home, much of our work was done in a co-op or as part of work with other families. Much of LIFE is learning, and homeschooling can be super flexible. We were also getting grief about all difficult child's doctor appts. HE was going through medical stuff as well as psychiatric stuff. So it was LOTS of absences. We could do workbooks and other things in the waiting rooms, in the car, anywhere.

    If he got overwhelmed, or had other problems, we could take a break. Much info can be sneakily slid in to "breaks".

    There are a lot of great curriculums out there. Ebay has some, often hoemschool groups pass things around or have sales. There is an online school called Switched on Schoolhouse where most things are done online. The company also offers a more traditional curriculum called LifePacs. Google Alpha Omega or Switched on Schoolhouse to get some feel of htem.

    One thing that really cut down the defiance was letting difficult child have some input into the curriculum. He and I would go out for a NICE dinner (including dessert, which we never do) every semester. We would pick topics to study. I made sure he understood that he still had to study all the subjects, but we could do it while studying something HE wanted to learn. I worked math, lang arts, science, almost everything into those topics. (I think this is called them based teaching or something.) It cut down on the defiance because he was CURIOUS about many things.

    With Jessie we started homeschooling when our Middle School gave us grief and NO accomodations for her migraines and epilepsy. We had just discovered the epilepsy and it took many visits to get the mes right, and she was very sick at the beginning of any medication. So I pulled her, to the HORROR of the school. The counsellor made many attempts to change our decision, to the point of threatening to call DHS and report abuse. I told her to go ahead, I wondered what DHS would think of their treatment of her. And I would sue them for knowingly making a false report. I was taping any converstaions with school by this point, so she knew I had it on record.

    Each time, it brought me much closer to my child. I really got a good picture of difficult child and his problems. And of Jess and her problems. Jess iwll go back to school next year, as our Jr High is very different, much more positive. (The middle school previously drove difficult child into his obsessions, to the point he ended up in the hospital. The idiot Sp. Ed teacher actually let him use HER log on when we pulle dpermission for him to use school computers! So much more, they are truly a blight on our town.)

    I went to the Home School Legal Defense Assoc and pulled the NC homeschool laws, brief version. They are here:

    You can find homeschool groups by googling NC homeschooling.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

    ps. We lookat the decision to homeschool or not separately for each child, and re evaluate every 6 months. It isn't always right for any child, but it may be right at some point. It does take time to settle into a routine, and to unlearn some of the things that are useful in school but not in homeschool. Some suggest a year for everyone to adjust.
  6. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    Wow, thank you for sharing your stories! I really appreciate it. I am torn with what the right decision is, but I suppose it will come to me one way or another.
  7. Pam R

    Pam R New Member

    I've always homeschooled DS. But he has again (third time over all the years since he was 3.5 yrs. old) refused to work. So this time we are going through the IEP process to get him into a school that will teach him social skills, vocational skills, living skills and academics. We've done as much of that here at home as we could but he needs more than we can do.

    Plus he needs transitional services, etc. and the only way he can get those is through an IEP, that transfers to a 688, that transfers to adult services.

    But we've been told that he would not be as high functioning as he is, if he had been in the school system. But that's a catch 22, because he appears higher functioning than he really is, and it tends to mask his learning problems, making it harder for us to get the things he needs to learn.

    If I had it to do again, I would homeschool. DS was definitely unable to learn in a school setting, and he was absolutely unsafe in one.

    Pam R.