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What would you do? Re: Child does not want to HS


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I would love some input into the situation I am facing right now. I am very torn and unsure of what is the right thing to do.

 

A little background-I never intended to HS. I had DS registered for PS for Kindergarten. He was enrolled in a K4 program and started coming home everyday telling me he was bored, he wanted to learn things they wouldn't/couldn't teach him. His teachers reiterated everything he said. Basically, he wasn't getting anything out of being there besides playtime and he didn't like it. DH and I rethought our decision to send him to PS (DH was homeschooled until 9th grade and we had plenty of friends who did, so it wasn't unfamiliar to us). We decided to pull him out of k4 and do a "trial run" before school started in August. Things went well, he was excelling, and learning, and we decided to keep going.

 

Fast forward to now. DS is in 3rd grade. I wouldn't use the word gifted, but he is defiantly excelled and above grade in every subject. He is very smart, catches onto everything very quickly, and flies through his work. In math alone, for example, he is just now finishing Math Mammoth 5B, he is reading well above grade level, etc. etc.

 

Here is the problem...he is very strong willed, VERY. He is almost like 2 different people. He can be the most kind, loving, giving, young man, but then he can be the most unloving, mean, and disrespectful person you've ever seen. When he gets upset, he looses it! He will throw things and say the most hurtful things. The one thing that always comes to the forefront is that he is angry that he is being homeschooled. He says he doesn't want to anymore and wants to go to PS. Since we have been in the trenches of HS, there are many other reasons I have felt convicted to continue. One of those being because he is so advanced. I think that if he was to go to PS he would defiantly be bored! I also don't think that sending him to PS is going to fix things either. I think it is partly to do with age, and part because he does feel conflicted and jealous of his other friends who are in school. He hears the great parts and thinks he is missing out. But, the outbursts are frequent and I just don't know what the right thing is to do.

 

So, my question is...do you ever, or at what point do you let your child decide what they want to do for school? Would you let them go even if you honestly felt like HSing was the best for them educationally? Is it just an age thing and something that he will outgrow? And what about the other kids who have joined the mix in the mean time? Suggestions? Maybe just a hug? LOL

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In grade 3?

 

I'd probably do a good deal of digging in to WHY he wants to go to school, and then try to a) show him that those things aren't really real.... (No, it is not constant playtime with friends, despite what the cartoons/books may have told you, son...) and b) try to meet the actual needs in a different way.

 

I'd also be addressing the personality stuff.  If you haven't, start looking into personality typing systems, see if you can figure out what type he as (and what type you are, if you don't already know) and how you can communicate better with him, AND how you can work with him to communicate with others.  I have an extremely strong-willed child too.  I am first learning about him, and how he things.  And second, starting to work with him on communication skills, self-control, and a constant reminder that a strong will is an amazing thing but only if HE controls IT, not allows IT to control HIM.  ;)

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In grade 3?

 

I'd probably do a good deal of digging in to WHY he wants to go to school, and then try to a) show him that those things aren't really real.... (No, it is not constant playtime with friends, despite what the cartoons/books may have told you, son...) and b) try to meet the actual needs in a different way.

 

I'd also be addressing the personality stuff.  If you haven't, start looking into personality typing systems, see if you can figure out what type he as (and what type you are, if you don't already know) and how you can communicate better with him, AND how you can work with him to communicate with others.  I have an extremely strong-willed child too.  I am first learning about him, and how he things.  And second, starting to work with him on communication skills, self-control, and a constant reminder that a strong will is an amazing thing but only if HE controls IT, not allows IT to control HIM.   ;)

 

Here lies the struggle....I have listened to why he thinks it is a better option and tried showing him why what he is saying Is not what it would be like. His reasoning is usually because he thinks he can have fun with his friends, but he will also say that I am not teaching him anything. Both of which are not true-him being excelled is a great example. His reaction to that was that he didn't care, he would rather do easy work. He doesn't believe me when I tell him how much freedom he has. The 20 minutes of recess and 7 hours of classroom time they get vs 3-4 hours of school and playing the rest of the time! Other than enrolling him and letting him figure it out on his own...I don't know how else to handle that.

 

As far as his personality. We have tried several things. He has issues. We have gone to therapy many times and they always say he suffers with anxiety. I see the anxiety in many ways, but really he is strong willed and wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He is defiant more than anything. We have tried everything we can think of in order to teach him better coping skills, anger management, etc. Nothing has worked. Nothing. I do think the majority of his issues are personality, but I'm at a loss of how to fix it at this point. His therapist tries teaching him breathing techniques, etc, he refuses to try any of it because he thinks it is useless. So, now I'm to the point where I wonder if it is because he does need to be away from me? But, that goes against everything I feel is right!

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In grade 3?

 

I'd probably do a good deal of digging in to WHY he wants to go to school, and then try to a) show him that those things aren't really real.... (No, it is not constant playtime with friends, despite what the cartoons/books may have told you, son...) and b) try to meet the actual needs in a different way.

 

I'd also be addressing the personality stuff.  If you haven't, start looking into personality typing systems, see if you can figure out what type he as (and what type you are, if you don't already know) and how you can communicate better with him, AND how you can work with him to communicate with others.  I have an extremely strong-willed child too.  I am first learning about him, and how he things.  And second, starting to work with him on communication skills, self-control, and a constant reminder that a strong will is an amazing thing but only if HE controls IT, not allows IT to control HIM.   ;)

 

Yes this.

 

What does he think he would get in ps? What does he think he is missing? Find the answers to those questions, then find some options for meeting those needs. Usually kids this age have an unrealistic picture of what ps would do for them. You can help dispel any misconceptions and then find real ways to meet his needs. 

 

The behavior you are describing would get him suspended from public school very quickly here. Yelling and throwing things will put him in the office and if someone else is hit by what he throws, he would be suspended for the first offense. I would not send a child with behavior problems (and that is a serious behavior problem) to the public schools thinking it would be fixed there.

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Yes this.

 

What does he think he would get in ps? What does he think he is missing? Find the answers to those questions, then find some options for meeting those needs. Usually kids this age have an unrealistic picture of what ps would do for them. You can help dispel any misconceptions and then find real ways to meet his needs. 

 

The behavior you are describing would get him suspended from public school very quickly here. Yelling and throwing things will put him in the office and if someone else is hit by what he throws, he would be suspended for the first offense. I would not send a child with behavior problems (and that is a serious behavior problem) to the public schools thinking it would be fixed there.

 

I agree! DH has said many times that this behavior will not be tolerated and he would be suspended! However, he will say that he is always upset because he doesn't want to be at home. In any other situation-sports, church, activities, etc, he has NEVER had behavior problems! Everyone thinks he is the most respectful, smart man there! Hence, why I am conflicted.

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I would definitely keep homeschooling, as you'll be able to keep providing a strong educational foundation for him. You and your dh will also have a lot of opportunities to work on the negative behaviours with your ds. I totally agree with you that at this age, sending him to school isn't going to provide anything better than you can at home.

 

I'd also look for outside-the-house opportunities where your son works on self-control. A good quality, famiily-orientated martial arts program might be something to explore.

 

 

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I agree! DH has said many times that this behavior will not be tolerated and he would be suspended! However, he will say that he is always upset because he doesn't want to be at home. In any other situation-sports, church, activities, etc, he has NEVER had behavior problems! Everyone thinks he is the most respectful, smart man there! Hence, why I am conflicted.

 

That is excellent! It's great when our dc behave well outside the home. Obviously, he CAN control himself. 

 

I'd really bring dh in to model and support the expected behaviour for a growing young man. 

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If he's a strong-willed kind of person, I would encourage you from trying to suppress that in hopes of making for a more peaceful home. Some kids really are just very autonomous right out the gate. Holding them back seems to provide resentment and may only teach them skills related to manipulation. BTDT, got the t-shirt, bought the company, am now CEO. But... there is hope. I think this is really the coolest kind of homeschooling experience, but I am admittedly biased that way. 

 

A kid who is a self-starter, autonomous, marches to the beat of his own drum, etc etc etc, is not doing anything to piss you off on purpose. He's just unable to see the logic in doing things your way when his way is so much more... well, logical. And to him it is, whether or not he's right. But, and here's the thing I would really focus on, to manipulate an environment that encourages his obedience is to teach him how the fine art of Manipulating People To Do What You Want Them To Do. I know that's not really your goal (well, it is, it's all of ours, but we have benevolent reasons, right? ;)), but it's the take-away message he is likely to end up taking away. It probably won't be right away, but I'm pretty sure it will happen before he's ready to tackle the world independently. And that makes for quite a pickle at home, because you don't want to encourage an environment in which you two are at odds vying for control. You want to create an environment in which you two are on the same team and he's the captain and you're the first officer (only you're really the invisible godfather who offers sage advice and makes sure he doesn't get into too much trouble after all). 

 

Instead, I would loosen the reigns and see what he wants to do. Find out what his real motivations are, and then provide opportunities for him to explore those and become an expert. We learn from reading, from being told, from experiencing, but we really learn (and we parents can discern the level of learning) by teaching. Let him teach you. Let him teach you all about it, whatever "it" is, and encourage his learning more, and then encourage his learning the details that supplement what motivates him. And when he hits bumps in the road, and he will, teach him patiently how to identify what those bumps really are - pay attention to details - and help him brainstorm possible solutions. Help him see if a solution is likely to cause more problems down the road. If it is, it's not such a good solution at all, it's more of a distraction. If it causes problems for someone else, that's not really a solution, and that's not cool to do, so help him avoid it (being a decent person goes a long way in the world, and being an jerk is a problem to be identified and avoided). 

 

It's one approach anyway. 

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:grouphug:   

 

We have friends who struggled for several years with their daughter.  She refused to complete work for her mom at home & dawdled so much that barely one subject would be completed per day. They ended up choosing a small charter school - she is doing great!    At school she cannot debate the teacher or refuse a deadline....she needed that structure.  Mom was a softie - so the dd knew how to get away with a lot.  

 

Only you know best for your son - you could always try 1/2 the year or a full year at school & see if things improve for him?  That is a hard decision to make.  

 

 

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We have gone to therapy many times and they always say he suffers with anxiety. I see the anxiety in many ways, but really he is strong willed and wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He is defiant more than anything. We have tried everything we can think of in order to teach him better coping skills, anger management, etc. Nothing has worked. Nothing. I do think the majority of his issues are personality, but I'm at a loss of how to fix it at this point. His therapist tries teaching him breathing techniques, etc, he refuses to try any of it because he thinks it is useless. So, now I'm to the point where I wonder if it is because he does need to be away from me? But, that goes against everything I feel is right!

Anxiety winds people up tight as a drum and often comes out as anger. Add a little stress and a person with anxiety will often strike out and appear defiant. Refusing to do the breathing techniques and the etc (I'm wondering if this is cognitive behavior techniques) is an indicator that he may need his baseline physiological anxiety under control before he has the ability to try to cognitively manage meaningful control/change. So basically (and this is very unusual for me) I would advise you to go back to the therapist and talk about anxiety meds followed by/in conjunction with cognitive behavior therapy. What I foresee if you put him in school, with diagnosed anxiety, is that he will hold it together all day and let it all out at home. And what's the point of that? Certainly it won't be an improvement.

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Am I understanding you correctly that the therapists say he suffers from anxiety, but you aren't working on treating that because you don't think that is the real problem?

 

Not what I said, at all.

 

I'm saying that he thinks the therapy is a bunch of bull and doesn't cooperate.

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Anxiety winds people up tight as a drum and often comes out as anger. Add a little stress and a person with anxiety will often strike out and appear defiant. Refusing to do the breathing techniques and the etc (I'm wondering if this is cognitive behavior techniques) is an indicator that he may need his baseline physiological anxiety under control before he has the ability to try to cognitively manage meaningful control/change. So basically (and this is very unusual for me) I would advise you to go back to the therapist and talk about anxiety meds followed by/in conjunction with cognitive behavior therapy. What I foresee if you put him in school, with diagnosed anxiety, is that he will hold it together all day and let it all out at home. And what's the point of that? Certainly it won't be an improvement.

 

I have inquired about meds that would help him with the anxiety. They always tell me that he doesn't need it, it isn't recommended for his age, and just doing the cognitive behavior therapy is all he needs. And yes, I agree with your statement that he would save it all for me :laugh:

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I have inquired about meds that would help him with the anxiety. They always tell me that he doesn't need it, it isn't recommended for his age, and just doing the cognitive behavior therapy is all he needs. And yes, I agree with your statement that he would save it all for me :laugh:

Well if he would DO the CBT, it might be all that he needs. It is a well known fact of treating anxiety that some patients are unable to focus on the CBT without the preliminary calming effect of meds. So in your shoes, I would find someone who recognizes this.

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Not what I said, at all.

 

I'm saying that he thinks the therapy is a bunch of bull and doesn't cooperate.

 

What does therapy look like for him?

 

At this age, it should look like play. There shouldn't be a manipulation to cooperate, but a desire to do something somewhat fun. 

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How much large motor activity is he getting?  Can you get him more? Can it be really, truly, heavy muscle work?  Rock climbing, hauling wood, marathon running, something like that.  Are there sports he's into?

 

Also, check out the Child Whisperer.  I have found it to be *extremely* helpful information.  http://thechildwhisperer.com/getting-started/

It won't, of course, substitute for CBT, but since he currently *won't* co-operate with that, use what other tools you have.

 

Also, have you checked him for retained reflexes?  Those can play into anxiety in a big way.    Here's one site that gives tests for them: http://www.retainedneonatalreflexes.com.au/test-at-hom/

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Have you read the Explosive Child? It goes in depth more to the techniques that Albeto was discussing. You and your son identify the problems and work on finding the solution to them together.

 

I've been in your shoes. My dd threw fits and screamed and whined about school. She refused to see any of the negatives, only the positives of school.

I finally quit arguing about it. I just listened to her and said, "Dear, you may not realize it, but mom and dad love you very much. In fact, we love you too much to give you this thing just because you want it. We see things that you don't. We've decided to homeschool you. That is that. We feel that God has told us to do this, and it ain't because we like it all the time. It's because it's what we believe is best for you. " I refused to engage any more about it.

 

She could scream and whine and cry and I would say, "I think we've already talked about that."

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BTW, I also had to be very proactive in getting my dd out of the house because she really wanted more interaction with other kids. So we signed up for lots of 4H stuff. We joined a homeschool group and became active participants. We found friends and I did my best to foster those relationships. That meant that I picked her schooled friends up from school and let them run around my house in the afternoons. I had to demonstrate to her that her friendships were important to ME because they were important to her.  Honestly, as an introvert, it wore me out, especially because I had 3 younger kids. But it was important.And it helped somewhat.  Now she's in the 11th grade, and while I don't think she would admit that she's glad I stuck it out, she does like being homeschooled. She's found a great peer group, she works several days a week, she can flex with her online school if she's got plans for a few days a week, she is starting to see some of the positives.

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I let my kids decide. I don't want to teach someone who doesn't want to learn. One of my girls goes to an alternative school but will switch to public middle school next year. She's never wanted to be homeschooled. My other daughter happily homeschools but now talks about going to high school in a year. I have no problem with that. If, after a year or so, they change their minds and want to homeschool and I'm willing, then we'll do it. Homeschooling is a relationship and if one person wants out, it seems futile to continue. I want to do what is best for each of my kids and myself and I seriously consider their opinions in the matter.

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I wouldn't let an 8 year old make a major decision about his education.  Most 8 year olds aren't motivated by logic.  They're motivated by their impulses because they're 8.  So I wouldn't spend huge amounts of time trying to convince him with reason.  Reason is very abstract and the younger the child, the harder it is for them to understand abstractions. You explained the reality of school to him.   You don't need to do more explaining.

Minor educational decisions made by a child? Maybe.  Does he need more independent work? Can you give him a week's worth of assignments and a hard deadline?  Does he need to make some decisions within options you have determined to be acceptable?  Does he need to be given a certain chunk of time where he can choose what to study and how to demonstrate his knowledge?

 

One difficult thing with people who are ahead of averages (I believe actual giftedness is very rare and  I think the range of normal is much wider than our society typically recognizes) is that they're used to having things come easily.  If they're not given regular challenges and forced to work at something that's somewhat challenging at times, they don't develop at a normal emotional rate. They fail to develop emotional and mental resilience.  They have an aversion to struggle and insist on only doing what's easy, then they complain about being bored and a vicious cycle develops. I have a spouse like that. I have one kid who is somewhat like that.

 

Diane Craft is a staple at homeschool conventions and treats children with behavioral issues like you describe through diet and supplements.  You can google her name and read up on her services.

 

Some people, no matter what, for reasons I can’t explain, never think they’re getting enough and are never satisfied with a situation.  They’re the kind of people who think if one thing isn’t as they think it should be, it’s all bad. They’re all or nothing about a lot of things that shouldn’t fall into “all or nothing†territory.  Of course, there will always be something that isn’t as it should be.  Be careful before you go catering to someone like this. If your child is like this, it doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t make him happy. You just have to decide what’s best for him in your situation and take whatever comes with it.

 

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I think that if you would seriously consider public school I would have a heart to heart talk with him. Discuss that with his behavior around you occasionally, you would not be willing to send him to public school (unless he can find alternative means of expression consistently for 4 months or whatever).

 

Also, with gifted students he thinks it will be easy work (and it probably will be unless you take some preventive measures), but you will insist on him working at his level. It may mean skipping grades, different gifted schools, after schooling on top of his regular homework, etc. If a child learns to walk at 9 months you don't strap him to a chair but let them and encourage him to walk. IMO it's a problem when gifted students are not expected to work at their potential. And as the parent you have to sometimes be a strong advocate to get them an appropriate education for them. Maybe discuss that he may want easiness in work but you believe in doing one's best, not taking an easy way (if you do feel that way). Give examples of how you or DH or family has worked hard despite being able to take an easier path. What family doesn't want an easier job or life but we push ourselves not only for our own benefit but especially for our loved ones? And being smart and gifted may afford a lot more opportunities and future chances. It would be a shame to allow his potential to drift off.

 

If you're not considering letting him actually attend public school of course don't even offer the idea. If you would consider public school I'd seriously hold off until you find out about gifted services, etc. Maybe talk to parents who use gifted services, etc. If his IQ is close to a fifth grader or higher he may be able to discuss at that level vs his age. That won't overcome any emotional (im)maturity but sometimes it is helpful to consider.

 

Of course being in public school may cure him quickly of any fantasies he may have. Or perhaps you have an excellent gifted program with whole grade acceleration and participation. GL with this!

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What about enrolling him in school now for the remainder of the school year? You've said that he's working ahead of grade-level, so there would be no worry of falling behind. It would give both of you a chance to determine if it is a better fit. One or both of you might be surprised by the outcome. In any event, it would give you 6-7 hours a day for a couple of months to re-charge and figure out how to address this issue long-term. 

 

I also think that at that age, CBT needs to be a family project. He can't be allowed not to participate. You wouldn't allow him to choose not to use insulin if he were diabetic or chemo if he had cancer. If he has a diagnosed medical condition, he needs to comply with the treatment. Period.

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He sounds very smart.

 

Honestly, at 8, a lot of CBT techniques won't work because kids often aren't mature enough to use them. The techniques require a level of self awareness that just isn't there at that age. You will likely have more luck with CBT in a couple of years, but in the meantime, structure, positive reinforcement, and consequences may be the way to go.

 

In the meantime, if he's figured out at 8 that he'll be able to get away with doing very little in ps, and that is a motivation for him to go, I'd say, keep him out, unless you're prepared for that tradeoff and think that the benefits of ps (structure, routine) would be worth it otherwise.

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I also think that at that age, CBT needs to be a family project. He can't be allowed not to participate. You wouldn't allow him to choose not to use insulin if he were diabetic or chemo if he had cancer. If he has a diagnosed medical condition, he needs to comply with the treatment. Period.

 

I agree. However, that's easier said than done. The OP mentioned deep breathing, iirc. When I first tried deep breathing, it made my anxiety worse (while doing the breathing). I felt I was doing it wrong, etc. I only learned how to do deep breathing in a helpful way years later. And even now it's only sometimes useful, and other times it does little. CBT also took years to work at all (I started CBT as an adult, but it took years before I could use it in an anxiety situation outside of therapy at all), and there are still times it doesn't work well enough. That's why I have medications. I don't know the OP's son, so I don't know if he needs meds, but there are kids that age who are on anxiety meds. It can also be hard to find a good therapist - you might have to try several before finding one who's effective (same thing with meds... different people react differently to them).

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I would not let a child that age make these sorts of decisions and honestly I wouldn't even spend a lot of time talking, discussing or negotiating about it. You're the grown ups, you make the decisions.

 

I would keep him home.

 

I would increase exercise and unstructured time outside, nature walks etc.

 

I would find a different, play based therapist.

 

I would read and watch everything I could by Gordon Neufeld esp Power To Parent and Counterwill DVDs and read Hold on to Your Kids.

 

I think smart kids can really struggle because the both understand lots of things and are frustrated by how slow and frankly stupid people are around them, but also they do not have maturity to deal with all the thoughts in their head.

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This is an age when a lot of people around here put their kids into school to save their relationships with them.  They are becoming increasingly autonomous, getting early pre-puberty hormones, and arguing all the darned time.

 

One thing that I think would really help is a good outdoor education program--is such a thing available nearby?  It gives kids a place and a way to blow off steam, and input (from nature and other people) that is extremely helpful in their maturation.  Plus they build up skills that are unusual in their peer groups and earn them respect, which builds their self-respect as well.  If he has anxiety, that would be good for him.

 

The other thing I used to do is have DD run a couple of laps around our house between subjects--that was just enough to reset her brain and focus her again.  It was pretty effective, and really helped.  We also used the ticket system around then, which helped a lot with the arguing.

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I agree with upthread maybe let him shadow at the local school for a bit or enroll him for the rest of this year. Some kids end up genuinely doing better in a classroom setting. On the flip side some kids always have a grass is greener attitude that can negatively impact their education. Once they see reality they may lose that vision.

 

FWIW, my daughter is committed to homeschooling 100%. Why? Because she was in a brick and mortar for many years. She knows it was a poor fit for her because she experienced it first hand. Having her on board even though she is a strongwilled child has made a huge positive difference in our homeschooling especially now that we are in the early teen years.

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There is already so much advice shared here, but I wanted to second a book previously mentioned: The Explosive Child by Greene

http://www.amazon.com/The-Explosive-Child-Understanding-Chronically/dp/0061906190

 

That book...I just can't say enough good about it.  My son's (same age as yours) therapist recommended it.

 

And, I want to point out that just because he is super smart, doesn't mean he is super wise.  He's still a little guy, who needs a very special kind of mom to help him navigate the world, especially because he seems extraordinary.

 

He will obviously not do well in most school environments.

 

P.S. My boys have all been very difficult to homeschool during 3rd grade.  It's just a harder year in our home, and maybe that is true in your home, as well?

 

P.P.S. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

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I would suggest that you do not let him trial school at this stage, if your reason is simply to show him that it wouldn't be a good fit. Since it's already an issue between you, and because he is a strong-willed boy, there is a possibility that he will see that school isn't what he expected, but nevertheless be reluctant to admit this and insist on staying there just out of stubborn pride. At that point, if you aren't happy to keep him at school, you face the prospect of pulling him out again, which is likely to upset him more than he'd be upset by you saying he can't go to school now.

 

Also, if you state firmly that school isn't an option that is on the table, you can move the focus onto how to improve his home school experience. Since he is a couple of years ahead, one possibility might be to slow down your program a little, opening up spare time for him to pursue extras that you might not have had time for before. If he has a major passion and you are feeling adventurous, you could even take a sabbatical from his regular program so he can go all out on his activity/project for a month or three. 

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In third grade, I feel the parents should be making the educational decisions, and that's that.  Perhaps he needs additional social interaction and a co-op or two would fulfill that need and allow someone else to teach enrichment subjects.

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If he isn't thriving at home (and he clearly isn't), what do you have to lose by sending him to ps?

 

I am firmly in the camp that kids should get a say in their lives. Of course you make the final decision, but holding on to something that isn't working is just making trouble for yourself, especially with a strong willed child. I don't see any positives coming out of that in the long term.

 

He's in the third gade. There's no harm that can be done by sending him to school next year. You pointed out that he behaves and does well for other people, so why not give him the chance? Not every family is cut out for homeschooling and there's nothing wrong with that. It's likely that fourth grade WILL be fun, but if it isn't then he had the opportunity to learn from the experience and you can revisit the idea of homeschooling the following year. I wouldn't put him in NOW with only a couple months of school left, but you can make a plan with him now to make sure he's ready for the fall. Knowing that therapy, etc will benefit him when he starts ps might be the motivation he needs.

 

Gently, you are in a broken situation right now. Your son is asking to change that. Sometimes removing ourselves from being all the roles (mom, teacher, therapy support) helps us be stronger in the most important ones.

 

Good luck.

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If he isn't thriving at home (and he clearly isn't), what do you have to lose by sending him to ps?

 

 

He's in the third gade. There's no harm that can be done by sending him to school next year. You pointed out that he behaves and does well for other people, so why not give him the chance? Not every family is cut out for homeschooling and there's nothing wrong with that. It's likely that fourth grade WILL be fun, but if it isn't then he had the opportunity to learn from the experience and you can revisit the idea of homeschooling the following year. I wouldn't put him in NOW with only a couple months of school left, but you can make a plan with him now to make sure he's ready for the fall. Knowing that therapy, etc will benefit him when he starts ps might be the motivation he needs.

 

Gently, you are in a broken situation right now. Your son is asking to change that. Sometimes removing ourselves from being all the roles (mom, teacher, therapy support) helps us be stronger in the most important ones.

 

Good luck.

What is it that made you feel like he isn't thriving? I am confused by that. He is doing very well educationally, above average, he is just strong willed and feels like he is missing out on something.

 

I appreciate all of the responses. The anxiety is something we are actively working on. I already had a strong conviction for keeping him home and do not feel like he is mature enough to make that decision. I guess I just needed reassurance. He is involved in outside activities but after reading this I plan to make sure more activities, especially physical ones, are made more available. I also asked him what he would change about his curriculum/schoolwork, etc and we had a nice discussion. The reasons he gives for going to PS are not valid reasons.

 

Many of your responses where very helpful and needed after a trying day. I appreciate it a lot!

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You said yourself that he's angry at not being allowed to go school. I don't know what your reasons are for keeping him home, but I personally wouldn't homeschool a kid who didn't want to be. Mine is home because he asked to be when ps couldn't keep up with him. He's self motivated and it works. If he wants to go back or we reach the point at which we can no longer challenge him, he can try again. It's all about what works for the child, but also about what works for your relationship. I wouldn't jeopardize that just to prove a point (and I do get having a strong willed kid!). Your reasons for making that decision may be very different, I don't know. But when my kid makes a plea for change or help, I listen. I say that with kindness and not judgement. I just fundamentally don't agree that his reasons don't sound valid. Sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear.

 

All the best!

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If he isn't thriving at home (and he clearly isn't), what do you have to lose by sending him to ps?

 

I am firmly in the camp that kids should get a say in their lives. Of course you make the final decision, but holding on to something that isn't working is just making trouble for yourself, especially with a strong willed child. I don't see any positives coming out of that in the long term.

 

He's in the third gade. There's no harm that can be done by sending him to school next year. You pointed out that he behaves and does well for other people, so why not give him the chance? Not every family is cut out for homeschooling and there's nothing wrong with that. It's likely that fourth grade WILL be fun, but if it isn't then he had the opportunity to learn from the experience and you can revisit the idea of homeschooling the following year. I wouldn't put him in NOW with only a couple months of school left, but you can make a plan with him now to make sure he's ready for the fall. Knowing that therapy, etc will benefit him when he starts ps might be the motivation he needs.

 

Gently, you are in a broken situation right now. Your son is asking to change that. Sometimes removing ourselves from being all the roles (mom, teacher, therapy support) helps us be stronger in the most important ones.

 

Good luck.

 

I'm sorry, I meant to quote this before posting the above. ^^^^

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My youngest dd sounds a lot like your ds.  Bright, extremely strong willed, very oppositional.  Loving and sweet when she's getting her way - and when she's not - she is relentless, angry, and unmovable  But she's an angel everywhere outside of home.

 

I think I got away with not having her be so difficult to school when she was young, as she mostly did what she wanted.  She had two older sisters, and she wanted to do what they were doing.  I didn't have to do a ton of direct instruction with her, as she kind of osmosed much of it from the older two.  We did do a lot of outside activities, and she was happy to do math, as that's her favorite subject.

 

Things changed a lot when her older sisters went to high school.  I ended up putting her in school too, after only a few weeks (she was in 6th).  She stayed most of the year, then begged to come home.  She liked school in many ways, but it was not challenging her at all.  For 7th things went well - I thought we had found our groove.  But this year, the went downhill rapidly. Halfway through the year, I put her back in.  The material is still not challenging, but they require her to do all the study skills things I was also trying to get her to do to prepare her for high school - but she'll do them for school, when she absolutely refused to do them for me (well, after the first month or so).

 

I'm actually really, really glad she was home for elementary.  I would have preferred she stay home for middle school.  I think the only reason it worked, though, for elementary is that she had her sisters, she liked to emulate them, and really I was focused mostly on them, so her schooling, if not really unschooling, was largely 'benign neglect'.  Once things were focused on her, the situation deteriorated rapidly.  We are lucky that we have a very good ps in our town.

 

If he's that far ahead academically, I'd maybe let do a lot of field trips, enrichment classes, be outdoors, read a lot of books, and follow his interests.  For an academically advanced kid, an enriched environment really can be enough for elementary.  Maybe find him some classes at his level for the areas he excels in, so he can challenge himself there.  Then revisit in high school, or even middle school.

 

I entertained the idea of high school for my kids because they do have honors classes, and one can take classes a year or more ahead of the other kids.  Before that it's lock-step. 

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What about a compromise?

 

Can you find a co-op or homeschool classes where he could go a day or two a week? Here they have a 3 hour weekly stem class for example. Another option, if allowed in your area, is to do classes like art, music, p.e. your local school.

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What about a compromise?

 

Can you find a co-op or homeschool classes where he could go a day or two a week? Here they have a 3 hour weekly stem class for example. Another option, if allowed in your area, is to do classes like art, music, p.e. your local school.

We have been on a wait list since December and will finally get in for August. I do think he will really enjoy this since he is very social!

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I would caution parents about this idea that children should be given what they want just because they want it.  Sure, you should often do that, but you shouldn't always do that because what a child wants in the short term may be directly in conflict with what that child will want in the long term.

 

My oldest was a very difficult person and student in the early and mid-teen years.  I know homeschooling her was the best option for her even if she didn't know it.  I'm not saying that homeschooling every child is categorically the best option, but it is for some kids who hate being homeschooled. Yes, they can learn in the midst of their being combative.  I think our "all or nothing culture" feeds the myth that every troubled relationship must be immediately appeased or ended or it will get exponentially worse and be forever destroyed.  Not so.  Is that true sometimes?  Absolutely.  Always? Certainly not. I've BTDT.

 

The last two years of homeschooling with my oldest, then 15 and 16 was incredibly rough.  She crabbed, complained, stomped, eye rolled, slammed doors, screamed and yelled and wanted to go to cc like a lot of her homeschooled friends.  She needed constant supervision to get things done, argued and complained about it and insisted she "wasn't learning anything useful." Blah blah blah.  We homeschooled anyway. Here's what she posted after 2 months in cc on her FB page so all the world could read it:

 

"...So mom, I'm apologizing to you. I'm sorry I whined about having to read books, and learn how to use my brain, because I thought everything you were teaching me was irrelevant. Actually, you taught me how to read a paragraph, and understand what I'm reading, and understand how it all fits into one big worldview. I. Was. Wrong. It wasn't pointless. It blows my mind how little effort these other students are putting into a class that could be fun, but which they've chosen to make tedious and slow-paced. You taught me how to take an interest in the world around me and use common sense. You made me get in the habit of wanting to learn. Even if I thought I hated it at the time..."

 

The complete post is about how fascinating and interesting her Art History Class was and how completely unprepared her classmates were for it.  They didn't have background in art or world history like she had, (Thanks for SOTW and the adult history books you wrote, SWB! Thanks for All through the Ages, Christine Miller.  Thanks for Greenleaf Guides, Shearers!) they had no background in art (Thanks for homeschool art classes, Larry!) no ability to communicate and articulate complex thoughts (Thank you, Honey for Child’s Heart, A Thomas Jefferson Education, Books that Build Character, What Should We then Read, and The Read Aloud Handbook, authors and Audible. com!) they couldn't think their way out of a paper bag and explain their thought process, (Thank you, Formal Logic curriculum writers Martin Cothran, Bonnie Risby and Critical Thinking CO, and Aristotle!)

That Art History teacher asked her, "Where did you go to school?" When she explained that she had been homeschooled until a couple of months ago the teacher said, "Go home and tell your mother, 'Congratulations!’ You're the best educated freshman I've ever met."  She was able to say, "I already did on FB."

 

Later her Women in World Religion Class gave her very positive feedback about how well educated she was.  Her creative writing professor told her she was one of the most well-read kids and best writers he'd ever seen.  Her sister (15 and at the cc too) was told she was same sorts of things by her Chemistry teacher.

 

So it's up to each homeschooling parent to decide if continuing to homeschool is the best choice for their child or not, but don't assume that just because they hate it, it's the wrong choice.  My oldest and I have a very good relationship now and the only thing that's changed is her attitude.  She's very glad she was homeschooled and so is her sister.

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I would caution parents about this idea that children should be given what they want just because they want it.  Sure, you should often do that, but you shouldn't always do that because what a child wants in the short term may be directly in conflict with what that child will want in the long term.

 

My oldest was a very difficult person and student in the early and mid-teen years.  I know homeschooling her was the best option for her even if she didn't know it.  I'm not saying that homeschooling every child is categorically the best option, but it is for some kids who hate being homeschooled. Yes, they can learn in the midst of their being combative.  I think our "all or nothing culture" feeds the myth that every troubled relationship must be immediately appeased or ended or it will get exponentially worse and be forever destroyed.  Not so.  Is that true sometimes?  Absolutely.  Always? Certainly not. I've BTDT.

 

The last two years of homeschooling with my oldest, then 15 and 16 was incredibly rough.  She crabbed, complained, stomped, eye rolled, slammed doors, screamed and yelled and wanted to go to cc like a lot of her homeschooled friends.  She needed constant supervision to get things done, argued and complained about it and insisted she "wasn't learning anything useful." Blah blah blah.  We homeschooled anyway. Here's what she posted after 2 months in cc on her FB page so all the world could read it:

 

"...So mom, I'm apologizing to you. I'm sorry I whined about having to read books, and learn how to use my brain, because I thought everything you were teaching me was irrelevant. Actually, you taught me how to read a paragraph, and understand what I'm reading, and understand how it all fits into one big worldview. I. Was. Wrong. It wasn't pointless. It blows my mind how little effort these other students are putting into a class that could be fun, but which they've chosen to make tedious and slow-paced. You taught me how to take an interest in the world around me and use common sense. You made me get in the habit of wanting to learn. Even if I thought I hated it at the time..."

 

The complete post is about how fascinating and interesting her Art History Class was and how completely unprepared her classmates were for it.  They didn't have background in art or world history like she had, (Thanks for SOTW and the adult history books you wrote, SWB! Thanks for All through the Ages, Christine Miller.  Thanks for Greenleaf Guides, Shearers!) they had no background in art (Thanks for homeschool art classes, Larry!) no ability to communicate and articulate complex thoughts (Thank you, Honey for Child’s Heart, A Thomas Jefferson Education, Books that Build Character, What Should We then Read, and The Read Aloud Handbook, authors and Audible. com!) they couldn't think their way out of a paper bag and explain their thought process, (Thank you, Formal Logic curriculum writers Martin Cothran, Bonnie Risby and Critical Thinking CO, and Aristotle!)

 

That Art History teacher asked her, "Where did you go to school?" When she explained that she had been homeschooled until a couple of months ago the teacher said, "Go home and tell your mother, 'Congratulations!’ You're the best educated freshman I've ever met."  She was able to say, "I already did on FB."

 

Later her Women in World Religion Class gave her very positive feedback about how well educated she was.  Her creative writing professor told her she was one of the most well-read kids and best writers he'd ever seen.  Her sister (15 and at the cc too) was told she was same sorts of things by her Chemistry teacher.

 

So it's up to each homeschooling parent to decide if continuing to homeschool is the best choice for their child or not, but don't assume that just because they hate it, it's the wrong choice.  My oldest and I have a very good relationship now and the only thing that's changed is her attitude.  She's very glad she was homeschooled and so is her sister.

 

I haven't had this exact experience (wrt the feedback from my dd) but our experiences are similar. She's stunned at the work that many of her classmates post on the board in AP classes online. She figured every kid got to high school and knew how to communicate in writing well. I think deep down, she knows that the best choice was not the one she was pushing for all those years ago.

 

Also, we do need to remember that all public schools are not equal. My dd will NEVER be enrolled in the school that we are zoned for. Never.

 

She's had kids from 4H from our county ask her the high school she's zoned for. These are kids in the PS system. When a 15 yo boy hears that you're zoned for his same high school and then says, "I see why your parents homescchool you. It's not a great place to be." You know that it's not a great school. So I think she is beginning to appreciate the choice.

 

 

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What is it that made you feel like he isn't thriving? I am confused by that. He is doing very well educationally, above average, he is just strong willed and feels like he is missing out on something.

 

I appreciate all of the responses. The anxiety is something we are actively working on. I already had a strong conviction for keeping him home and do not feel like he is mature enough to make that decision. I guess I just needed reassurance. He is involved in outside activities but after reading this I plan to make sure more activities, especially physical ones, are made more available. I also asked him what he would change about his curriculum/schoolwork, etc and we had a nice discussion. The reasons he gives for going to PS are not valid reasons.

 

Many of your responses where very helpful and needed after a trying day. I appreciate it a lot!

 

I'm glad you were able to have a good discussion with him.  He'll probably appreciate having input in the day or curriculum or whatever you all discussed.  Sounds positive :)

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I would have hated being homeschooled; I was a gifted kid who could work 2-3 grades above level with no trouble, and I did just fine in PS, which I loved.  I wasn't a defiant kid but I was an anxious kid; school was actually easier than home because the tension was diffused (instead of interacting with 2-3 people at home, I interacted with 20-30 people at school, and the teacher's focus was not on just me all the time).

 

I got a decent education, went to college, etc.  I don't think PS is necessarily worse for even gifted kids as a matter of course, except for profoundly gifted kids.

 

Why do you homeschool?

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