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I'm struggling tonight (kids want to go to school)


Meadowlark
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So, my older kids (age 9 and 8) are suddenly giving me major attitude and complaining about doing any kind of work. This is not tolerated and I'm giving swift consequences to nip this in the bud before it gets any worse. However, I discovered tonight that they both are very curious about school and they both say they want to go.

 

Now, I'm aware that they really have no idea what they're talking about. BUT-they do go to a small Catholic school one morning per week, so they have some idea of what that school is like anyway. My oldest is extremely extroverted and would probably be thrilled to go honestly.

 

I know that what they need and what's best for them trumps what they WANT, but I honestly don't know if I can listen to this year after year and keep on keepin on. I'm hoping it's a phase and they'll mature a bit and start to realize the GOOD things about homeschooling (which we had a conversation about). But until then...I'm busting my butt pouring my heart and soul into this, and I'm met with "we don't want to be homeschooled and bad attitudes that have to be dealt with daily. Sigh.  I feel like every homeschooler around here wants to be homeschooled. Most of my friends' kids would choose it in fact. Why are my kids different? What am I doing wrong?

 

I'm just sad. This is not how I imagined it would be.

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Under the circumstances, I would suggest to the kids that they are not currently demonstrating the kind of work ethic they need to be full time students at the school. If they want to go, they have to show you that they are capable.

 

If they meet your standards, one of two things will happen. They will either become engaged in their own work and, remembering the flexibility of home schooling, become content. Or, they will continue to request it, at which time you might give that option a fair and thorough evaluation.

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My oldest wanted to try school. He did a year (2nd grade) and then asked to be homeschooled again the following year. I gave him a choice at the end of last year and he initially said school. Then we discussed it, things he'd gain and things he'd lose by going or staying. I stayed neutral on it, just giving facts. He decided on homeschooling again.

 

I guess I'm just giving feedback on what we experienced. I can't say what you should do, think, or feel. But sometimes grass is greener syndrome hits us all.

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It sounds like both you and the kids are feeling some friction within homeschooling-as-you-are-doing-it.

 

On the one hand, obviously, kids don't have to be thrilled about being educated at all. It's work, and it's not always welcome, and that's ok. Homeschooled kids have an imaginary semi-realistic alternative to contemplate so I'm sure most of them do mentally compare the options (home vs school) sometimes.

 

On the other hand, there are thousands of unique ways to homeschool children. That's one of the strengths of homeschooling: it's flexible and can be tailored to suit individual kids. It can also be tailored to *appeal* to individual kids.

 

Offering more of what they like to do, going on plenty of field trips, introducing fascinating niche subjects or advanced topics to appeal to their vanity as well as their curiosity, getting to know experts personally on the Internet, letting them learn outdoors or in their pj's, even just having a daily hot cookie break (or all of the other "goodies" that beat public school by a mile at light speed) are available to you.

 

You might think about putting some childish "sprinkles on top" of the homeschool experience. They will more readily absorb the genuine benefits of what you are offering them (and requiring of them!) if they can frequently point out some superficial 'benefits' from their own perspective too.

 

(Not suggesting that you don't already do lots of this. You probably do. It just might be a good time to pump it up a little.)

Edited by bolt.
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My oldest went through a stage where she thought she wanted to go to school.

We already got up early, but I pointed out when the school bus drove by to pick up the neighbor kids. I waited 30 minutes, and then she had to start school. Of course, she was done way earlier than a normal school day, but I told her if she was in school, she'd still be there. And I pointed that out off-and-on through the rest of the day. And when the school bus delivered the neighbors back home, I pointed that out too. 

 

And when we went anywhere fun, I just pointed out that if she was in school, she wouldn't be able to do this. 

 

I did point out the fun things they do in school too. PE sounds like fun. Riding the bus is fun. (or it used to be)

 

She came to the conclusion that being gone all day and not being able to do what she wanted when she was through with school meant that school probably wasn't the option she wanted.

But, even if she had thought school was the best place ever, I wouldn't have sent her as a young child. We, the parents, decide what is best for our children. She wasn't interested for long.

 

If she had kept on about it, I would have let her know that the topic of conversation was closed. 

 

I did try to make sure that we did have a routine that included time with other kids, activities, and classes as suited us. It would not have worked for either of my children to stay home all day every day. They needed more than that. We tried to make sure to meet their needs for outside people/events/etc along with time at home for school, relaxation, and thinking.

 

Good luck!

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Hugs.

 

When you say lots of other kids want to be homeschoolers are they in school and think homeschooling sounds great? If so then they are doing the grass is greener thing too and don't have any more ideas of what it would really be like to homeschool than your children would to go to school full time.

 

I know this probably feels like rejection of you and your efforts but I think this grass is greener syndrome is normal for many kids to go through, especially as they get older.

 

FWIW, sometimes being able to actually experience school helps all parties make a more informed decision. DD was in school through 5th grade. While she had some great experiences she also had some bad ones. There are things she misses and things she doesn't miss at all. I have let her have input in this decision every year since we started. She always wants to homeschool because she has experienced first hand how much time is wasted in class and how much she hated piles of homework and being tied to the school schedule and not being able to get targeted one on one help when she needed it most and not being allowed to advance when she could, etc. She likes many things about homeschooling and is willing to put up with the things she doesn't because she already experienced school and knows that for her, with the options we have locally, she is going to be happier homeschooling.

 

If your children really think they might like it and you think the school might be a good fit then perhaps you could discuss with them the possibility of a trial run next year if they can show they are mature enough to handle it. Either it will be a good fit or they will want to come home. If they decide to come home the attitude may have changed considerably since they will now know that it wasn't a good fit.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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My child did the same thing. I sent him to school. I made sure he had 100% attendance. I made sure he did all his work and I never undermined the teacher. 1 and 1/2 year later, he started begging to come back home. He still says he never wants to go back.

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So wait, it would just be one day a week? Can you tell us more about the program and how it would change homeschooling and life in general for you?

I think what she was saying is that they already go to a one day a week academic program but they want to go to full time school. The one day a week program gives them some inkling of what school would be like but not really. I think she is trying to process their rejection of homeschooling.

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They will go one morning per week this year, and they've done that since K. They want to go full-time everyday though.

 

They also said that the neighbors think they're "weird" to be homeschooled and asked why I don't let them go to school. My younger said they were making fun of them.

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They will go one morning per week this year, and they've done that since K. They want to go full-time everyday though.

 

They also said that the neighbors think they're "weird" to be homeschooled and asked why I don't let them go to school. My younger said they were making fun of them.

Oh that is awful! Your poor kiddos.

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They will go one morning per week this year, and they've done that since K. They want to go full-time everyday though.

 

They also said that the neighbors think they're "weird" to be homeschooled and asked why I don't let them go to school. My younger said they were making fun of them.

And for what it's worth, our neighbors think we are weird to homeschool. So do a ton of others. It isn't very common at all here. If my kids hadn't already been in school I am certain they would be begging to go. We have definitely gotten flack for it.

 

Hugs to you and your kids.

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I can definitely relate to your post. Oh boy can I relate. I could have written it 7 years ago.

 

One thing I did with my kids that helped a lot with the bad attitude was to tell them that I could not even consider outside activities of any kind unless they demonstrated for me the type of behavior I would expect of them in a classroom with another adult as the teacher. In other words, no fun science class at a museum, no co op, no nature hikes with the park ranger, whatever, until I saw a cooperative attitude for me at home. Then of course when I saw the first glimmer of the right kind of attitude I praised it and made a point of getting a fun activity scheduled asap.

 

At the ages of your kids I mostly ignored the 'I want to go away to school' talk because it wasn't an option. But I did address the attitude issue. My oldest kids do go to a small Catholic high school but the youngers are homeschooled. I have had to address the attitude problem to some degree with each of my first four kids.

 

The other thing I would add is that *I* had to stop wishing my homeschool would look the way I imagined it would and start accepting it for what it was. Mourn the loss of the imaginary homeschool you thought you would have and then let it go and find the joy in the homeschool you do have. And if ultimately you come to the decision to send them to school, well then that will be OK too because they obviously have a mother who is willing to turn her life upside down to do what she thinks is best for them.

 

Hope it gets better for you.

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And my neighbor has asked me every year when I will 'let' my kids go to school (in front of my kids). There is an assumption that any normal kid would want to go to school. My kids picked up on that and we did have to work through it. When I say I ignored the 'I want to go to school' talk I mean that I made it clear it wasn't an option in the near future (for my 8 or 9 year olds, it wasn't).

 

I'm so sorry your kids felt singled out. That's painful for a mom too. Another situation I can really relate to.

 

Everybody wants to feel like they belong somewhere. Where do your kids feel most like they belong? Can you give them more of that? Can you create it for them?

 

When my oldest was asked if homeschooled kids have any friends, she laughed because she didn't think the kid who asked her that could possibly have been serious. But later when we talked about it and she realized that is actually what some people think (including our neighbors) she started to understand why some people think homeschooling is so weird. She was more appreciative then of the places and situations where she did feel like she belonged and where she didn't have to explain herself to other kids.

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Going to school was a struggle with my oldest. He would go through phases of wanting to go back to school. I started a few threads on it here.

The neighbor kids would say things like "you won't be able to go to college."

 

A lot of his reasons were social. Some academic. The first time he wanted to go back we set up like school. Had to get up be dressed and ready to go at the time school started. I would kick his chair during class. Talk behind him while watching a lecture. Made him get a pass to go to the bathroom. Gave him detention for passing notes. (still remember his face on this one. He was all "you passed me the note." and I shrugged and said "But, I didn't get caught." at that time he decided he liked his sleep and stayed home. For highschool we told him if that was what he wanted he would need to write a persuasive essay on why this was the right decision and contact the school to find out if he would have to take placement tests. He never wrote the essay.

 

Ultimately, we kept him home through high school. Hindsight being 20/20, and memory being fuzzy somedays I wish we had said okay and sent him back to school.

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So, my older kids (age 9 and 8) are suddenly giving me major attitude and complaining about doing any kind of work. This is not tolerated and I'm giving swift consequences to nip this in the bud before it gets any worse. However, I discovered tonight that they both are very curious about school and they both say they want to go.

 

Now, I'm aware that they really have no idea what they're talking about. BUT-they do go to a small Catholic school one morning per week, so they have some idea of what that school is like anyway. My oldest is extremely extroverted and would probably be thrilled to go honestly.

 

I know that what they need and what's best for them trumps what they WANT, but I honestly don't know if I can listen to this year after year and keep on keepin on. I'm hoping it's a phase and they'll mature a bit and start to realize the GOOD things about homeschooling (which we had a conversation about). But until then...I'm busting my butt pouring my heart and soul into this, and I'm met with "we don't want to be homeschooled and bad attitudes that have to be dealt with daily. Sigh.  I feel like every homeschooler around here wants to be homeschooled. Most of my friends' kids would choose it in fact. Why are my kids different? What am I doing wrong?

 

I'm just sad. This is not how I imagined it would be.

 

 

You aren't doing anything wrong!  I promise.  I actually wanted my kids in school a few times and I would tout it up, "There is a LOVELY school down the street."  Nope, they would have none of it.  They would make comments about having to sit in a chair ALL day, kids spending hours lining up and not doing anything, comments about missing the park days or the museum days, etc......

 

So, kids get stuff in their heads, despite our best efforts.

 

Really, you didn't make this happen.

 

Now, if you decide you WANT to send the kids to school and it is ok with you, don't feel one ounce of guilt over that.  I am doing it now.  

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They will go one morning per week this year, and they've done that since K. They want to go full-time everyday though.

 

They also said that the neighbors think they're "weird" to be homeschooled and asked why I don't let them go to school. My younger said they were making fun of them.

 

 

Argh!  Neighbors! 

 

We have relished in watching said neighbor's kids turn out not so stellar.  One keeps getting caught smoking pot and not only is he underage, but it is still illegal here.

 

Another one has gotten in trouble for doing some damage to the neighbor's backyard.  

 

The ones who turned out great have never made a peep about our homeschooling.  

 

But my kids were part of a homeschool group that thought it was "cool" to be weird!  So my kids actually liked being called weird.

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And my neighbor has asked me every year when I will 'let' my kids go to school (in front of my kids). There is an assumption that any normal kid would want to go to school. My kids picked up on that and we did have to work through it. When I say I ignored the 'I want to go to school' talk I mean that I made it clear it wasn't an option in the near future (for my 8 or 9 year olds, it wasn't).

 

I'm so sorry your kids felt singled out. That's painful for a mom too. Another situation I can really relate to.

 

Everybody wants to feel like they belong somewhere. Where do your kids feel most like they belong? Can you give them more of that? Can you create it for them?

 

When my oldest was asked if homeschooled kids have any friends, she laughed because she didn't think the kid who asked her that could possibly have been serious. But later when we talked about it and she realized that is actually what some people think (including our neighbors) she started to understand why some people think homeschooling is so weird. She was more appreciative then of the places and situations where she did feel like she belonged and where she didn't have to explain herself to other kids.

 

I totally agree with the belonging thing. I thought we had a good thing going because we were a part of a 5 family group (24 kids!) who alll went to this small Catholic school on Wednesday mornings. In addition, we all got together every other Friday to just socialize. It was becoming a nice little community.

 

Well, 2 of those families decided to put their kids in school this year. I just knew that it was going to open a can of worms once my kids found out, and it did. We're still going to continue getting together with the other 2 families, and still go to this school (where they've made a few friends), but it's not going to be like it was.

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It sounds like both you and the kids are feeling some friction within homeschooling-as-you-are-doing-it.

 

On the one hand, obviously, kids don't have to be thrilled about being educated at all. It's work, and it's not always welcome, and that's ok. Homeschooled kids have an imaginary semi-realistic alternative to contemplate so I'm sure most of them do mentally compare the options (home vs school) sometimes.

 

On the other hand, there are thousands of unique ways to homeschool children. That's one of the strengths of homeschooling: it's flexible and can be tailored to suit individual kids. It can also be tailored to *appeal* to individual kids.

 

Offering more of what they like to do, going on plenty of field trips, introducing fascinating niche subjects or advanced topics to appeal to their vanity as well as their curiosity, getting to know experts personally on the Internet, letting them learn outdoors or in their pj's, even just having a daily hot cookie break (or all of the other "goodies" that beat public school by a mile at light speed) are available to you.

 

You might think about putting some childish "sprinkles on top" of the homeschool experience. They will more readily absorb the genuine benefits of what you are offering them (and requiring of them!) if they can frequently point out some superficial 'benefits' from their own perspective too.

 

(Not suggesting that you don't already do lots of this. You probably do. It just might be a good time to pump it up a little.)

This is spot on advice. Our school last year was, well...boring. I sent 2 of them to preschool which was wonderful for THEM, but not for us. Our school day became "get it done" and we went on no rabbitt trails or field trips since we were so tied to the 8-11:15 drop offs.

 

I definitely need to find a way to sprinkle in some fun. I had 5 kids in 6.5 years, and much of that time I've felt like I've been in pure survival mode. Just now that my youngest is potty trained, do I feel like I can actually do more with them and not be so militant about the schedule. I guess I just need to shake things up a bit and find the joy again. When I really think about what things were like last year, I actually can't blame them. Great advice.

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So, my older kids (age 9 and 8) are suddenly giving me major attitude and complaining about doing any kind of work. This is not tolerated and I'm giving swift consequences to nip this in the bud before it gets any worse. However, I discovered tonight that they both are very curious about school and they both say they want to go.

 

Now, I'm aware that they really have no idea what they're talking about. BUT-they do go to a small Catholic school one morning per week, so they have some idea of what that school is like anyway. My oldest is extremely extroverted and would probably be thrilled to go honestly.

 

I know that what they need and what's best for them trumps what they WANT, but I honestly don't know if I can listen to this year after year and keep on keepin on. I'm hoping it's a phase and they'll mature a bit and start to realize the GOOD things about homeschooling (which we had a conversation about). But until then...I'm busting my butt pouring my heart and soul into this, and I'm met with "we don't want to be homeschooled and bad attitudes that have to be dealt with daily. Sigh.  I feel like every homeschooler around here wants to be homeschooled. Most of my friends' kids would choose it in fact. Why are my kids different? What am I doing wrong?

 

I'm just sad. This is not how I imagined it would be.

 

Since you asked, that's your answer right there. I don't mean that there shouldn't be any consequences, but your knee-jerk reaction (at least how you expessed it here) to your very young children complaining and giving you attitude is telling.

 

No tolerated? Swift consequences?

 

If you said you were concerned about their sudden change in behavior; if you were trying to figure out what caused it; if you said you were looking at your own approach to homeschooling and their learning styles and trying out different options to make it work; if you could consider that at the ages of 8 and 9 their "attitude" is both developmentally normal AND a reflection of something that *you* are doing not being a good fit for their learning; then it would be another story.

 

 

 

 

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Since you asked, that's your answer right there. I don't mean that there shouldn't be any consequences, but your knee-jerk reaction (at least how you expessed it here) to your very young children complaining and giving you attitude is telling.

 

No tolerated? Swift consequences?

 

If you said you were concerned about their sudden change in behavior; if you were trying to figure out what caused it; if you said you were looking at your own approach to homeschooling and their learning styles and trying out different options to make it work; if you could consider that at the ages of 8 and 9 their "attitude" is both developmentally normal AND a reflection of something that *you* are doing not being a good fit for their learning; then it would be another story.

 

Clarification-I'm not giving out swift consequences for their feelings, but rather for their poor attitudes and complaining. They are entitled to feel however they like, but when those feelings translate into moaning and groaning-well, then I have to step in because they have 3 younger siblings who are listening and watching their every move.

 

I'm not really sure I understand your post honestly. I posted because I am looking to see if it IS developmentally appropriate and I figure this is the place to ask. Of course I'm looking at my own approach to homeschooling and trying to figure out what I can do on my end to improve this situation. Maybe I misunderstood your post, but rather than coming on here and telling me everything I'm doing wrong, it would be helpful for some suggestions as other people have so kindly done.

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I think all she meant is that a punitive atmosphere that 'doesn't tolerate' much (especially when using swift and frequent consiquences) can be a part of creating the negativity -- it becomes a thing where each side is feeding the other.

 

Kids rarely become more cooperative and motivated this way. They might become better behaved, but you might be accidentally perusing one goal (kids who want to cooperate and participate) by using the tools of another strategy (curtailing thier out-loud expressions of dissatisfaction).

 

I think you actually want them to complain less because they aren't experiencing an inner feeling of dissatisfaction quite so much (and can use good manners in the majority of other situations).

 

It sounded a bit like you don't mind how they feel or what they experience, as long as they say nothing. I don't think so, but I think it could be read that way because of the vocabulary you chose.

 

Bottom line: when you add significant consequences for 'bad attitudes' kids tend to feel even less like they want to participate (even if their outward expressions do change).

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My oldest asked to go to school starting in kindergarten.  He started in late October, finished the year, then went to first grade.

 

He came back home for 2nd and 3rd after realizing school was so boring (I don't think he learned a single new thing.at.all in K and 1st).

 

He just finished his first week of 4th grade in public school (albeit a magnet). He loves it.  He leaves the house at 6:55, and we pick him up at 2:50.  He LOVES the hours.  This was always something he hated about homeschooling--he would finish his stuff in 3-4 hours, and he never knew what to do with the rest of his time.  This way, he has 8 hours filled, plus some homework, and he has a lot less free time.  LOVES this part (as I knew he would).  

 

All kids are supposed to love free time.   :)  And I do have three that very much do.  But this one kid?  He adores the idea of every minute being planned out.  School is an easy way to make that happen.  

And as much as we want our perfect ideals, better to target our lives to the kids we actually have, not the ones we thought we would have.

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My older two both when through a phase when they wanted to go to school.  We discussed it as a family, but in the end they were told that DH and I still felt homeschooling was right for our family.  It was hard, especially with my oldest.  After a couple years they both stopped asking, but what really sealed it was a couple experiences for them.  My middle went to speech therapy once a week at the local public school and got a taste for what it was like.  He decided he wouldn't like it there.  My oldest took a drama class at the local high school.  She loved the class, but hated the school.  She was shocked that most of the kids didn't want to be there and would goof off when the teacher left the room instead of doing what the teacher asked them to do while she was gone.  She also found that they didn't respect her or listen to her.  We are not zoned in a very good school district.

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I think that a combination of finding ways to make school more interesting and fun (since you mentioned last year was boring), AND working on finding out the cause of the attitudes instead of immediately going with the punitive would go a long way to making things better all around.  Honestly, it sounds to me like the two things may be very related. 

 

Your kids are still young.  Learning should be fun and exciting, with lots of hands-on, reading, watching, and doing (whatever works for your kids).  

 

Although I will admit, I'm not one to punish for every moan and groan. 

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It seems like the neighbors are the real problem?  I would remind myself that kids will find other things to single out about kids and to (even mildly) bully them about even in school.  So if you do put your kids in school, what's to stop these same neighbor kids from saying that they are weird for having the wrong backpack or lunchbox?

 

So. . . I would focus on teaching your kids how to answer comments like that.  How to deflect those comments without being mean in return.  You might even give them a scripted response "Homeschooling is how our family learns best."  (or something like that.)How to have confidence in the route your family has chosen.  And a lot of that will come from them watching how you handle it.  So when the negative comments start, snuggle them up and tell them, "We want the very best for you and for right now, this is it."  Then redirect them to a fun thing that you are going to do (it doesn't have to be fancy or time-consuming.)  It just might be that after awhile, the neighbor kids will be asking their parents to homeschool them! 

 

I don't think that you have to talk up homeschooling as being the "cat's meow" or B & M school as being hell on earth.  It's just the best for your family. 

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Clarification-I'm not giving out swift consequences for their feelings, but rather for their poor attitudes and complaining. They are entitled to feel however they like, but when those feelings translate into moaning and groaning-well, then I have to step in because they have 3 younger siblings who are listening and watching their every move.

 

I'm not really sure I understand your post honestly. I posted because I am looking to see if it IS developmentally appropriate and I figure this is the place to ask. Of course I'm looking at my own approach to homeschooling and trying to figure out what I can do on my end to improve this situation. Maybe I misunderstood your post, but rather than coming on here and telling me everything I'm doing wrong, it would be helpful for some suggestions as other people have so kindly done.

 

At this age, complaining is the easiest way for them to express their feelings to you. That doesn't mean it's not annoying, of course. ;) But elementary kids aren't good at coming out and saying, "Mother, I'd like to sit down with your for a moment and have a discussion about why your current homeschool methods aren't optimal for my learning style." No, they complain and groan and make you want to pull your hair out.

 

When dd has done that in the past, I sit down with her and we talk about what she likes and doesn't like about what we're doing. Sometimes she just needs a break from formal math and does KA instead for a week or two. Sometimes she wants to do more science or less handwriting or whatever. But letting her make the decisions always helps with the complaining. If I gave out "swift consequences" when she complained, however, I'd have no idea how she felt about stuff.

 

As far as younger kids wanting to try public school, dd has said that a couple times in the past. The first time, I sat down with her and showed her the daily schedule for the grade and school she'd be attending. When she saw how much time she'd have to spend every day on LA and math (she was already reading at a sixth grade level at that point, so the idea of spending two and a half hours a day on basic phonics and reading the school equivalent of Bob Books was horrifying for her) she quickly changed her mind. The second time she asked about it, after talking to her I found out the only reason she was bringing it up was that her best friend, who attends the local public school, is bullied and was begging dd to go to school too so she'd have at least one friend there. :( I explained there would be no way to guarantee that dd and best friend would be in the same class. 

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Yikes! I didn't get the impression the OP was shutting down her kids' communication by being overly punitive or not thinking through her homeschool methods. Quite the opposite actually.

 

Some of my kids' friends went to school in elementary too. It took some work from all families but we somehow managed to maintain our kids' friendships. It was important to all of us and quite honestly the moms whose kids go away to school have expressed to me how helpful the friendships they have with the homeschooled kids have been to them. It lets their kids know that school is not the only place they belong.

 

I don't live in an area with a large hsing community but even if I did I would still be working to be sure my kids had close friendships w kids whose parents share our values whether they hs or not.

 

I also totally understand survival mode w kids. Don't beat yourself up for not being super woman while trying to keep your head above water. Take it one day at a time with prayer. God cares about those kids too. It may not be obvious as you go along but He will guide your path if you ask. I have the benefit of just a wee bit of hindsight w my oldest being 16. I can certainly see how the things I thought were missteps at the time turned out to be just what we needed.

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Yikes! I didn't get the impression the OP was shutting down her kids' communication by being overly punitive or not thinking through her homeschool methods. Quite the opposite actually.

 

Some of my kids' friends went to school in elementary too. It took some work from all families but we somehow managed to maintain our kids' friendships. It was important to all of us and quite honestly the moms whose kids go away to school have expressed to me how helpful the friendships they have with the homeschooled kids have been to them. It lets their kids know that school is not the only place they belong.

 

I don't live in an area with a large hsing community but even if I did I would still be working to be sure my kids had close friendships w kids whose parents share our values whether they hs or not.

 

I also totally understand survival mode w kids. Don't beat yourself up for not being super woman while trying to keep your head above water. Take it one day at a time with prayer. God cares about those kids too. It may not be obvious as you go along but He will guide your path if you ask. I have the benefit of just a wee bit of hindsight w my oldest being 16. I can certainly see how the things I thought were missteps at the time turned out to be just what we needed.

Thanks for your wisdom and gentleness, truly. 

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Is school outside the home an option for your family? How I would handle this would depend on whether or not you would consider not homeschooling or if it's not an option at all.

 

In our family, we prefer to homeschool but as the kids get older want it to be their decision. None of my kids have seriously considered school outside the home but it has come up from time to time. My youngest is very social and has asked the most about it. Our approach has been to take them seriously. I ask why they think they would prefer to not homeschool and then we talk about that. They know that if they truly want to try it we would consider that as an option for them. 

 

If it wasn't an option for us, I would handle it like anything else that we have decided as a family and just tell them that this is the choice we have made as parents. But then I would try and find out what they are not happy with and take those things seriously. Last year I had each child make a list of three goals they had for themselves for the year and three things they wanted more of in school. My middle son is pretty much a school-hater and the things he wanted more of surprised me. I thought it would be really extravagant field trips or projects or candy or something crazy. But he wanted to spend more time with his brother, go on more walks, and do more art. Those were all easy to do. My youngest wanted more glitter which was super easy to accomplish. :) 

 

I will also say that I totally understand how demoralizing it can be as a homeschool Mom to feel like your kids don't like school. We put so much time and energy into it and we want them to like it. My oldest son went through a school hating phase around age 7-8 and so did my middle son. The middle son is now almost 10 and still doesn't really like school. Over the years I've seen tons of posts from families with kids about the same age 7-10 who feel the same way. I think it's natural for them to not like schoolwork and to then feel like at least they could go to school somewhere else and see their friends. Hang in there! 

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(QFT - emphasis in bold is mine)

I can definitely relate to your post. Oh boy can I relate. I could have written it 7 years ago.

One thing I did with my kids that helped a lot with the bad attitude was to tell them that I could not even consider outside activities of any kind unless they demonstrated for me the type of behavior I would expect of them in a classroom with another adult as the teacher. In other words, no fun science class at a museum, no co op, no nature hikes with the park ranger, whatever, until I saw a cooperative attitude for me at home. Then of course when I saw the first glimmer of the right kind of attitude I praised it and made a point of getting a fun activity scheduled asap.
...

The other thing I would add is that *I* had to stop wishing my homeschool would look the way I imagined it would and start accepting it for what it was. Mourn the loss of the imaginary homeschool you thought you would have and then let it go and find the joy in the homeschool you do have. And if ultimately you come to the decision to send them to school, well then that will be OK too because they obviously have a mother who is willing to turn her life upside down to do what she thinks is best for them....

 

Just, wow. I am going to write this into my journal so I can re-read it often. Thank you. I've been so wrapped up in the little ones (our soon-to-be adoptive sons), in church, in homemaking, in the ideal homeschool, in my own lack-of-sleep saga, etc, that I've lost sight of what's most important: instilling in my daughter a love of learning. 

 

As a foster-adoptive mom who never gave birth, I've had to let go of a lot of ideas I had about the way things would be when I grew up: my kids will never look like me, or have my father's eyes; I'll forever have to make a place in our lives for birth-parents and family I never anticipated having (because it's the right thing to do)... the list goes on. My husband and I were even required to take training that included letting go of one's dreams and ideas of what you always anticipated your family would look like, so that we would hopefully become a successful adoptive family. 

 

Applying this concept (of letting go) to "my ideal scholarly child" and "my ideal classical homeschool" will be very helpful. After all, I'm the nerdy one who thinks she can teach anything to anyone, as long as I have enough prep time. My daughter would gladly sit and watch [insert inane cartoon here] and eat Cheetos all day if she could. So, indeed, I need to make school work for my daughter, not get angry and impatient when she doesn't want to practice math flash cards or do sentence dictation, and stomps off saying it's too hard.

What am I thinking?!

Where's the joy of learning in that?!

I need to remember that if I'm given clay, I should mold it gently when it's soft, rather than think I have marble that requires a chisel.

 

Funny, I came here looking for remedies to my daughter's poor attitude, and found that the attitude that needs the most attention is mine.

 

-Laura

Edited by Laura Drexler
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Is school outside the home an option for your family? How I would handle this would depend on whether or not you would consider not homeschooling or if it's not an option at all.

 

In our family, we prefer to homeschool but as the kids get older want it to be their decision. None of my kids have seriously considered school outside the home but it has come up from time to time. My youngest is very social and has asked the most about it. Our approach has been to take them seriously. I ask why they think they would prefer to not homeschool and then we talk about that. They know that if they truly want to try it we would consider that as an option for them. 

 

If it wasn't an option for us, I would handle it like anything else that we have decided as a family and just tell them that this is the choice we have made as parents. But then I would try and find out what they are not happy with and take those things seriously. Last year I had each child make a list of three goals they had for themselves for the year and three things they wanted more of in school. My middle son is pretty much a school-hater and the things he wanted more of surprised me. I thought it would be really extravagant field trips or projects or candy or something crazy. But he wanted to spend more time with his brother, go on more walks, and do more art. Those were all easy to do. My youngest wanted more glitter which was super easy to accomplish. :)

 

I will also say that I totally understand how demoralizing it can be as a homeschool Mom to feel like your kids don't like school. We put so much time and energy into it and we want them to like it. My oldest son went through a school hating phase around age 7-8 and so did my middle son. The middle son is now almost 10 and still doesn't really like school. Over the years I've seen tons of posts from families with kids about the same age 7-10 who feel the same way. I think it's natural for them to not like schoolwork and to then feel like at least they could go to school somewhere else and see their friends. Hang in there! 

You know, it very well may be an option for us. We haven't ruled it out entirely for the future. I always wanted to homeschool through 8th grade. I've never planned to tackle high school. The problem is where we live. We are zoned for the least desirable middle school in town. We are Catholic, but the local Catholic middle school would be too much for 5 children. And so there's the struggle.

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I continue to be amazed at the wonderful solutions motivated parents will come up with when they let go of what *should* be happening or what they *wish* and deal with what *is* happening.

 

Meadowlark, I have no doubt you will find a way to work this out. Pray and then just take some small action in the direction you think you should go. There are few things I despise more than seeing a mom who is clearly pouring her heart and soul into mothering feel defeated and sad when things don't look the way she thought they would in her family. This is just a new challenge and there will be MANY more. Lots of homeschools don't look like the cover of a Sonlight magazine but the kids turn out fine. And lots of kids go away to even mediocre schools and are an absolute delight to be around. I know some wonderful kids from both situations.

 

And if by chance I said anything helpful, it was not me, but the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through me. You see how often I post here. This isn't my usual mode of operation.

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My oldest went to a private school for preK and K and has wonderful memories. Every once and a while they mention going to school in passing. I just remind them that the one activity that she really loves (being at the horse barn) is only possibly because she is a home school student, no way could we afford the normal weekend rate, or even the time on weekends to take her.

 

So my only suggestion is to find out what really makes homeschooling positive for them (and if 'nothing' figure out a way to make 'something') and accentuate the positive in homeschooling.

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I continue to be amazed at the wonderful solutions motivated parents will come up with when they let go of what *should* be happening or what they *wish* and deal with what *is* happening.

 

Meadowlark, I have no doubt you will find a way to work this out. Pray and then just take some small action in the direction you think you should go. There are few things I despise more than seeing a mom who is clearly pouring her heart and soul into mothering feel defeated and sad when things don't look the way she thought they would in her family. This is just a new challenge and there will be MANY more. Lots of homeschools don't look like the cover of a Sonlight magazine but the kids turn out fine. And lots of kids go away to even mediocre schools and are an absolute delight to be around. I know some wonderful kids from both situations.

 

And if by chance I said anything helpful, it was not me, but the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through me. You see how often I post here. This isn't my usual mode of operation.

Thank you. I'm not the OP here but I have had a very trying day and this was just what I needed to hear.

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