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when one sib is left at home


Kate in FL
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Any experience, good or bad, with homeschool life when older sibs have left for college? My two are only a year apart and the oldest leaves for school in August. My younger is truly dreading the year, not only because they are close, but he feels it will be too lonely at home alone with me. So much so that he is pushing to go to the local high school for his senior year.

 

I really don't have any problems with the school, but the amount of paperwork and hoop jumping for one year, along with how screwy his transcript will look has me saying no. (High school will only give "S" for classes completed at home.) But, I don't want it to be a horrible year spent with a resentful, sullen teen. Any suggestions on how to get him to change his mind and think it is his idea so we can have a peaceful last year? Or should I just let him go and deal with the possible consequences, such as not getting into his college of choice due to grades slipping during the transition? :confused:

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Oh, Kate! That's a toughie. I am sorry I don't have any wisdom to offer about this, but I am facing the same thing. Now that we're so close to a decision (probably Knox), it hit me last night that I will need to get a game plan together for having only one child at home. I didn't feel bad about heading out the door to work in the afternoons with two boys in the house, but with only one? Hmm. So I sympathize.

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Kate,

 

I can't speak to his missing a sibling, but maybe my experience hsing a young man who ended up graduating later than we'd first planned due to a health issue diagnosed mid-way through 9th grade will suggest a few options. I won't try to disguise it, though, hsing an only son was not always easy, and I suspect that his final year would have been challenging no matter what. Your son's concerns are valid in some respects. Homeschooling with only one child in the house can be isolating, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here's my list of possibilities which may or may not be appropriate for your situation. We did everything on the list except # 3 and blacksmithing at one time or another during his high school years.

 

1. Community College--even a single course

2. Outside classes such as music, art, blacksmithing or something he's interested in pursuing

3. Part time attendance at ps including athletics

4. Community service

5. Co-op (even a small informal one)

6. Depending on his maturity level, give him the major responsibility for choosing curricula and getting his work done.

7. Phase Teacher Mom out of the picture and become Mentor-Guidance Counselor Mom. He's seen his sibling go through the college app process, so talk frankly with him about the transcript issues and let him be a full member of the college app team.

8. Ds used more social networking sites like Facebook his final year. It was a mixed blessing, but he did a fair job of managing his time. It's a great way to keep up with friends and family who you can't see often IRL.

 

Best wishes to you and both your sons,

Martha

Edited by Martha in NM
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We are facing this next year as well, so don't have experience, but can share what we are planning. We will be outsourcing more classes - to on-line and local co-op - to have outside teachers, discussions, and getting out of the house. He will be taking over older sib's job, so there is another 3-4 hours/week. He is also signed up for the Congressional Award program, so that will give regular community service and physical exercise. Then he has a few other activities with church and 4-H that will continue.

 

It is sort of strange that they need you less as a teacher, but they do need you around, so it is definitely a shift in roles and dynamics for Mom. I'm thinking I might make more of an effort to get involved in organizing some social events for other teens in our local homeschooling group - have done some, but in theory, should have time to do more.

 

We will see how this works and I'm sure it will get tweaked each year, but it is definitely a big change :grouphug: !

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but my two are 5 years apart, so the younger one was only in 8th grade. He's too young for a lot of out of the house schoolwork.

 

We missed big bro for the first few weeks of the year, but then we got into a rhythm with our schoolwork and his activities. He gets out of the house most days to outside activities like choir, scouts, sports, etc. He also has a skype account that he uses quite frequently in the evenings to talk with his friends or his brother.

 

I've been really pleased how much the younger guy has grown this past year without the constant gaze of big bro. He's really developed into more of his own person with his own interests and tastes. His schoolwork is going well, but it's getting longer & harder due to the approach of high school, and he's not happy about spending more time on his courses.

 

Kate -- I'd really recommend against sending your son to ps for just one year. There are so many negatives, as you mentioned, with trying to get him into college with a transcript showing mostly "S" grades. Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't give him the choice. I'd just say no. You could let him choose and then deal with the repercussions, but I don't think that's a good idea because I don't think most kids that age can really understand the possible long-term impact of a decision like that. They are too short-sighted and only want to make a decision based on their feelings right now.

 

I'd definitely recommend the community college. My older son took courses there as a senior and said it was really critical for him in his adjustment to away college. If the remaining son doesn't have many other out of the house activities, encourage him to get a part time job or volunteer. Towards the end of high school, my older one really got cabin fever. The CC and the job were what he really needed. Also, his ability to work a few hours during the school year was key to him getting a job last summer before he went away to college. Ds's friends who waited to look for a job until school was out didn't find anything.

 

All transitions are tough, but after awhile, you will find your new "normal" and things will work themselves out.

 

Best wishes,

Brenda

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We will be in this position in the fall. My youngest thought it would be really strange to be the only child still at home during her 12th grade year. Her solution was to take cc courses and took enough that she is graduating early. For some reason graduating and being at the cc full time while being the only child at home sounds better to her than hsing one more year being the only child at home. It works for her.

 

I think it may not help your ds to be at the high school for only one year. You have probably already thought through all the reasons. I think I would look for something else he can do and enjoy, whether it be cc classes, or some club or sports activity or whatever he would enjoy, and let him go for that.

 

Being the only child still at home has to be a strange feeling for a child used to having siblings around.

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Any experience, good or bad, with homeschool life when older sibs have left for college? My two are only a year apart and the oldest leaves for school in August. My younger is truly dreading the year, not only because they are close, but he feels it will be too lonely at home alone with me. So much so that he is pushing to go to the local high school for his senior year.

 

I really don't have any problems with the school, but the amount of paperwork and hoop jumping for one year, along with how screwy his transcript will look has me saying no. (High school will only give "S" for classes completed at home.) But, I don't want it to be a horrible year spent with a resentful, sullen teen. Any suggestions on how to get him to change his mind and think it is his idea so we can have a peaceful last year? Or should I just let him go and deal with the possible consequences, such as not getting into his college of choice due to grades slipping during the transition? :confused:

 

Thanks for bringing this up. I'm all ears!

 

Dh asked ds if he wanted to go to a private school, and he said no, he liked homeschooling! But I'm betting that my days with Mr. Social Butterfly are numbered. We'll be trying a bunch of the things on Martha M's list, because I think that he's going to need more outside input. And I need to generate some income...

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Thanks for the suggestions. Sounds like a lot of us are in the same boat. While I am glad my sons are so close, it seems like all that is on my mind lately is how much they will miss each other.

 

I am happy to report that my younger son has decided not to pursue going to high school. We had him do a couple of days of getting up very early and working after dinner, and he realized he likes the freedom hsing creates. I am pushing the cc classes, and he is more receptive lately. He is on a swim team that practices every day except Sunday and also swims for the high school in season so he is around other kids daily. It will just take some time to adjust to the "new normal" for all of us!

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...is that we finally broke down and added a texting plan to our cell phones. Being able to text his siblings who are away at college helps them all to remain close despite the great distance. They text short messages almost every day and usually multiple times, and he does the same. They are just as close now as they were when they were all at home.

 

We also enrolled him in a single class at the local private school where he also plays a varsity sport, and he has developed lots of friends among the students there. These two things have helped ease the pain of missing his siblings. There was a period of transition, but things are great for my youngest now at the end of the second year of being the one left at home.

 

Hth

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Mine lost two brothers and one of his close pack of four friends in two years. Their going made him realize that his other two friends were going to be leaving two years before he does. He definately went through a period of mourning. He wouldn't let us mention college or his own plans for being grown up for most of the next year. He and I have worked fairly happily on our own at home. He decided to travel, like his brother, so his world expanded. I plan on sending him to community college when his friends go off to college. That will also be hard for him, but hopefully CC will help.

-Nan

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These are my only two children, and they are VERY close, despite the fact that they are 4 years (and 5 grade levels) apart. Truth be told, *I* am the one who had a hard time with the separation (some of you may remember that, because I posted here several times during my grieving process), while EK (my dd) did just fine with it. Before ER (my ds) went off to college, we got unlimited texting on all our cellphones; we text back and forth with ER daily, and that has helped us not feel so far apart.

 

I second the advice from another poster who said it would be good to get your younger one involved in a few outside activities. That's what we did. We started attending a literature circle/craft group that met for a couple of hours 2 days a week, and in addition to our usual church activities and her youth theater troupe, EK also got involved in a youth Bible study and youth choir at a local church (both of which were not available at our very tiny church). She has really blossomed through the activities, and has also made several new friends.

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Oh boy----we will be facing this 'problem' in a year too!!! :001_huh: I suggest just keeping him busy with school and extra curriculars if you are really committed to homeschooling until graduation. My friend is graduating her last at home next week, and things 'could' get lonely, but she allowed her daughter to work, socialize and join whatever sports etc. she was interested in. They were committed to the homeschooling for academic reasons---and to avoid the negative peer pressure situations of high school. She worried a LOT about her daughter being lonely etc.----but the truth is the older kids encouraged mom to keep on because they saw just how good homeschooling is. I am keeping this in mind, becuase our dd will graduate next year and ds and I will have 3 years---alone---together! I have already told him I plan on him graduating from our homeschool because we believe in what we are doing and he will have plenty of opportunity for socializing outside of our school. :D

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My younger of two sons gets to finally enjoy uninterrupted attention from his parents, and I'm loving it! I can enjoy learning what he wants to learn, benefit from mistakes made with his older brother, go out to lunch with him, go places with him. All the things I never got to do with him, but I did with his older brother 'cause the older one ALWAYS seems to get more attention. Remember all those times the little one(s) gets dragged along? No more getting dragged along. It's a wonderful time. Enjoy!

 

Yolanda

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My kids were 2 years apart when Dd graduated. They had been very close, best friends you might say. My ds did miss Dd. He didn't have anyone to really talk to or do things with. He put more effort into his Karate and church activities which helped with some of it. The hardest part we had to deal with was all the attention he was getting from me. With both kids I had to give my attention to both so sometimes they got away with things. When Dd left all my attention went to Ds's school work so I was examining it with a fine tooth comb. This caused us some problems. Ds was and is very independent and he didn't like mom always looking over his shoulder. It took us a while to work out our teacher/school roles again. He has done well this year but I have given him more freedom to do what he wants with school and I'm not always looking over his shoulder. Our relationship has gotten much better since I backed off some. Dd and Ds still keep up with one another through facebook and the occasional calls and spend a lot of time with each other when she comes home on breaks. It took about a year for us to adjust but we finally did. Now I have to readjust to having no one to school anymore which I think is going to be just as hard as it was for going from 2 to 1.

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