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I think I am done homeschooling my eldest child


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This still doesn't seem to be working. Between staying on top of him 24/7 about his school work and, really, him still not making adequate progress, and his nasty attitude I really don't think I want him to be here anymore. Maybe some breathing room is what he needs. I could sure use it.

 

I am so broken over this. I just don't know what else to do. I am tired of fighting with this child all the time. He is clearly miserable here at home.

Just needed to share somewhere. If I try to discuss this verbally right now I will cry.

 

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As unnatural as I think it is for puberty aged children to spend inordinate amounts of time with other puberty aged children, I also think it is just as unnatural for puberty aged boys to spend inordinate amounts of time with their (especially peri-menopausal) mothers.  Puberty aged boys ought to be out hunting with the men of the tribe.

 

I remember very clearly the day a solicitor knocked on my door, and I told him the only thing I was buying that day was military boarding school.

 

:grouphug:

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:grouphug: Close to this point with DS13. "My eyes can't see." "I'm tired." "This is stupid." "It's too hard...easy...boring...etc."

 

And yet for his one outside teacher (IEW), coaches, Sunday School teachers, he is the dream child.

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There is a point where your relationship with him is more important than the schooling.  Not that it is easy to have a warm and fuzzy relationship with a 13yo boy, but eliminating some of the arguments, reminding yourselves that you love each other, just getting to be mom, is hugely important.

 

Would you consider letting go of most schoolwork and just having him read and do math for a couple of months?  I know this sounds crazy, but 13yo boys don't need hours of standard schoolwork, and you won't see much progress while their higher brain functions are shut down due to puberty-related growth spurts and hormone surges.  The best things are projects and physical activities outside the home. I've got 2 successful young adult sons who had 7th grade lite.  They were much easier to deal with as they matured and they were much more willing to "own" their school work. AND they were never "behind" after an "easy" year.   If you lighten his school work-load you can still make it a rule that there is NO tv, NO computers or other electronic entertainment til late afternoon or evening.  Use a checklist with cut and dry rewards and loss of privileges -- no need to nag or get angry.  Things are either done or not and he has to live with the consequences.

 

Talk with him --- while you are driving or both engaged in something neutral like playing catch or raking leaves or making cookies.  Tell him this acrimony is no way for a family to live, that you don't want to be a nagging, angry mom.  He may not talk, though you can ask him what he thinks ought to be done to change the situation.   

 

This is an important time to maintain family traditions or start some new ones.  With the holidays coming up you can lighten school or cancel it altogether for everyone -- even if it feels like NOTHING has been done in the last 6 months.  Watch family movies (yes the 13yo will roll his eyes)  read books aloud, make crafts together, go to the zoo, museum or just on walks together.   

 

Is there a public charter in your area?  Having an outside teacher to answer to may be a huge help.

 

Is he in sports or scouts where he might have to answer to another adult male?  Could that male be enlisted to ask him about school, to express an interest in his progress.

 

And if you all think public or private school is the best option, don't beat yourself up.  Celebrate the improvements, the breaking of the impasse.

 

They do grow out of this period.  That we don't strangle them is a miracle!!  It is hard on them going through such a huge growth spurt, trying to figure out who they are or how to act and how to deal with this different body.  Grant him the space to struggle, let him off the hook on some of the academics or change the way you assess his academics.   

 

And be easy on yourself.  What a year you are having with a new baby AND a 13yo boy!!   :grouphug:

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This still doesn't seem to be working. Between staying on top of him 24/7 about his school work and, really, him still not making adequate progress, and his nasty attitude I really don't think I want him to be here anymore. Maybe some breathing room is what he needs. I could sure use it.

 

I am so broken over this. I just don't know what else to do. I am tired of fighting with this child all the time. He is clearly miserable here at home.

 

Just needed to share somewhere. If I try to discuss this verbally right now I will cry.

 

 

 

Hugs!  13 is a tough age.  My son is 15.5, and he has started saying things like, "Wow, was I really like that?" when he sees his sister, um, acting out.  He also tends to give her big-brotherly advice now, such as, "Sister, you know Mom isn't going to tolerate that - why do you bother?   You should try this tactic instead, if you want to get anywhere with her."  lol, but usually the tactic is something reasonable like talking and reasoning, rather than huffing and resisting.

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Last year I enrolled my then 13 yo ds in public school, at his request. He greatly desired a chance to be like all the other kids. Meaning he wanted to compare himself to them, and strive to do well *compared to them*.

 

For him, homeschooling had run its natural course.

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As others have mentioned, 13 can be very hard for everyone :D You've gotten good advice: Sue is right about it being unnatural for a boy in puberty to be spending so much time with mom, and Jenn is also right about making your relationship with him more important than academics. One way I coped with this is by seeing how truly miserable my 13 yos were. They hated what they were doing but couldn't help it. I purposely decided to NOT take their actions/attitudes personally and to treat them as I would a wounded animal - gently, tenderly, and with great compassion. We can laugh about it now...and as another poster said, the ones that come behind get the benefit of the older kids' advice ("mom isn't going to fall for that") and the older ones become quite humble that they put you through what their younger sibling is doing.

 

With boys at that age, humor is your best tool. Laugh at his lame jokes, make him think you find him terribly funny and interesting. Find something he loves and make it your hobby. For example: ds1 loved to argue so we had long philosophical discussions about current events, ds2 loved to cook so I would sit with him and look through cookbooks and we would go grocery shopping together and he cooked some of the most interesting things. Ds3 was easy. He loved chemistry and making things so we had all sorts of fun (and made huge messes), ds4 is into bodybuilding which has allowed me to spend more time at the gym he attends. I've gotten more fit than I've been since having children. All of these things allowed us to move through those teen years with less drama. I refused to engage with them but had all my pity-parties and breakdowns in the privacy of my own room. The shower is a lovely place for a good cry :D

 

Don't give up on him. Chances are that he is already mortified at his behavior. He just needs you to guide him through this time. This is the time to remember all those cute baby and toddler years :) I'm convinced that God intended us to have those baby memories in order to get us through the teen years :) It's like money in the bank - you'll be fast and furiously withdrawing in the teen years.

 

You're in a hard phase right now with a new baby and all. Give yourself some time to just enjoy everyone. Take longer holiday breaks and do fun/creative things. You need some time to recover and your boys just need you for a while. Doing school-lite is often well rewarded later on.

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If I remember right I believe the OP's son is 14 or 15 now, and they had a tough year last year too.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug:  I would have him take the proficiency test in the spring and send him off to community college. It would probably be good for both of you. 

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Tough, tough age.  Outsourcing and physical activity helped us, some of my friends put their young males into the classroom at that point.  Girls can be tough too though, just so you know.  

 

It does get better!  :grouphug:

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We got to the same point when the eldest was 12.  We enrolled her in school, and while it hasn't been without its bumps, it was a very good decision for everyone.  We have a great relationship now (in fact, it bounced back very quickly once we were done homeschooling).  Forecasting out with my 2 remaining homeschoolers, I've decided that outsourcing will have to be a major part of our lives if they homeschool middle and beyond.  

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Sending you much sympathy but also a "hang in there! Press on and keep parenting and loving that boy" squeeze.  It is just plain hard. Parenting a child like this THROUGH this phase (it is developmental and they will mature THROUGH it just like they do through their terrible two's!) will drain every bit of life from you and leave you feeling alternatively like you're the worst parent ever or they're the worst child!  haha!  I hate to laugh because I've been there and am slowly making my way out of that phase with another as I write.  

 

A few things that helped us:

 

*keep your standards and maintain the rails -- as much as your ds is pushing against them, he will learn to come up to them in time

*try to work in fun family times for relief -- movie nights, spur of the moment lunch out with your boy, bowling fun after school, etc.

*look hard for opportunities to give honest praise and moments of love -- a bear hug, a morning breakfast gift, an atta boy when he shows great character

*sports, sports, sports!  Make sure he's using up his testosterone in healthy activity rather than on the family at home

*get dad involved as much as possible.  If dad is able and willing, it's best for ds to be accountable to dad at this point

 

Gotta run. Putting your boy in school won't remove the conflict, just shift it and remove some of the day to day. 

 

Blessings,

Lisa

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:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

If you want to try something short of enrolling him full time in school, you can try outsourcing.  If he's of age and could pass the test, community college might be just what he needs.  If you think it's a possibility, I'd talk with them and do the testing now so he can register for a spring class or two. 

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There is a point where your relationship with him is more important than the schooling. Not that it is easy to have a warm and fuzzy relationship with a 13yo boy, but eliminating some of the arguments, reminding yourselves that you love each other, just getting to be mom, is hugely important.

 

Would you consider letting go of most schoolwork and just having him read and do math for a couple of months? I know this sounds crazy, but 13yo boys don't need hours of standard schoolwork, and you won't see much progress while their higher brain functions are shut down due to puberty-related growth spurts and hormone surges. The best things are projects and physical activities outside the home. I've got 2 successful young adult sons who had 7th grade lite. They were much easier to deal with as they matured and they were much more willing to "own" their school work. AND they were never "behind" after an "easy" year. If you lighten his school work-load you can still make it a rule that there is NO tv, NO computers or other electronic entertainment til late afternoon or evening. Use a checklist with cut and dry rewards and loss of privileges -- no need to nag or get angry. Things are either done or not and he has to live with the consequences.

 

Talk with him --- while you are driving or both engaged in something neutral like playing catch or raking leaves or making cookies. Tell him this acrimony is no way for a family to live, that you don't want to be a nagging, angry mom. He may not talk, though you can ask him what he thinks ought to be done to change the situation.

 

This is an important time to maintain family traditions or start some new ones. With the holidays coming up you can lighten school or cancel it altogether for everyone -- even if it feels like NOTHING has been done in the last 6 months. Watch family movies (yes the 13yo will roll his eyes) read books aloud, make crafts together, go to the zoo, museum or just on walks together.

 

Is there a public charter in your area? Having an outside teacher to answer to may be a huge help.

 

Is he in sports or scouts where he might have to answer to another adult male? Could that male be enlisted to ask him about school, to express an interest in his progress.

 

And if you all think public or private school is the best option, don't beat yourself up. Celebrate the improvements, the breaking of the impasse.

 

They do grow out of this period. That we don't strangle them is a miracle!! It is hard on them going through such a huge growth spurt, trying to figure out who they are or how to act and how to deal with this different body. Grant him the space to struggle, let him off the hook on some of the academics or change the way you assess his academics.

 

And be easy on yourself. What a year you are having with a new baby AND a 13yo boy!! :grouphug:

What she said. Really!

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:grouphug: My ds13 is driving me nuts right now! The outside world sees a responsible lovely cooperative young man. He gives me the I am tired whine constantly. Because we are moving/renovating a house I signed him up for some Coursera where my requirement is to earn his certificates for the classes, it has been a great experiece for him. Dealing with deadlines etc. He is managing with his sister(who is taking some of the same classes) reminding him a bit! It has taken the pressure off of me for a few weeks and taught him time management and a bit about what outside expectations are like. He is ready to go back to "homeschool" (me as teacher) as long as he gets to keep doing computer programming. I am ready, actually looking forward to it too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to post and then not come back like that. Last week was a roller coaster for us. My son is enrolled at the local high school now. This is only his second week there but, so far, things have gone smoothly. He has a lot of work to make up from freshman year. The school allowed him to enroll as a sophomore and work on the freshman courses through independent study. So far, so good.

 

He likes his classes, I suspect in part because they are much easier than what we were working on at home. He has finally written a complete essay on his own, no whining, and done a decent job. He is making friends. He likes band class. He hasn't eaten lunch alone yet, which I was really concerned about! It's funny the things we mamas worry about, isn't it? :P

 

I feel very relieved. He has been so pleasant to be around since he began attending classes. He gets himself off to school, no problem. It feels good right now. We'll see how things are when report cards come out.

 

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I am so glad that things are going well. And I am sure report cards will be good!  I know that making that decision was hard, but we all do what we need to do for our families.

Good job and may blessings come from your love and hard work!

 

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:grouphug: Close to this point with DS13. "My eyes can't see." "I'm tired." "This is stupid." "It's too hard...easy...boring...etc."

 

And yet for his one outside teacher (IEW), coaches, Sunday School teachers, he is the dream child.

Ummm.. Wondering if he's struggling with writing and reading, and whether you've had him checked for ocular motor deficiencies and the need for vision therapy??  The first two sentences, "My eyes can't see." "I'm tired", are common complaints of kids whose vision makes schoolwork difficult for them.  When that's the case, it's not uncommon to hear,"This is stupid." "It's too hard...easy...boring...etc." because that is a cover-up for the child's emotions.  Often the child is really saying, "this is frustrating, I can't figure it out, I'm having a really difficult time, and I'll feel stupid if I tell you I can't do the work."  I've seen it a LOT and it is frequently the case that there is an unidentified learning need underneath. ;-)

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