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do I throw in the towel?


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I'm starting to really consider sending my daughter to public school because I just don't know if I can teach her anymore. She just turned 10 and we have been homeschooling since 2nd grade, so this is our 3rd year. The first year was good, just the usually first year kinks to work through but I was happy with her progress and most of the time she was agreeable and easy to work with. Last year was OK but definitely noticed a decline in her willingness to work and it was hard to get her through an hours worth of work. This year has been even worse. She screams and hollers like a 2 year old having a tantrum whenever I call her to the table for school work and has such a bad attitude towards it that I worry she isn't retaining anything. She is a would be 4th grader so I try to give her work that I KNOW she can figure out solo but she hates this and unless I am sitting right next to her holding her hand through each problem she melts into a pile of negative goo and claims she doesn't understand and can't do it alone.

She CAN do it alone though and is a really smart kid, I have seen it. She's a wiz at math and I never give her independent work she can't handle and I always tell her to do what she can and then ask for help that I am happy to give.

 

I'm at a crossroads now. I WANT to homeschool my kids so much but I feel like I can't do this without at least a little help from her end. I can't get her to do anything without fight and tears and I know this isn't a good learning experience for her. I am not proud of it but i do threaten public school almost daily and this really gets her mad, she claims she HATES public school and never, ever wants to go back. She didn't have a negative experience there at all and is actually a pretty social kid who gets along with all kinds of people and makes friends quick so I don't know why she feels such a resistance to school but she does. Anyway I am thinking of sending her back for the rest of this year (after Christmas) thinking maybe it will snap her out of this funk she seems to be in and help her get back on track and maybe appreciate her homeschool a little more?

I'm looking for experience and advice, does this sound like a bad idea? has anyone had to send kids back to school for a little wake up call and if so did it work!?

Thanks for listening, I'm at my wits end at this point and don't know what to do next :(

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Do  you teach her the subject matter before giving her the independent work to practice on?  Some kids need you to sit down next to them while they are doing their work independently.  You can set yourself up with your laptop or book or other work while she does hers.  Have you looked at the individual subjects to see if they are a match to how she learns?  Is she a book learner who can sit and learn on her own or does she need more hands on learning? 

 

I would not use public school (or any kind of school for that matter) as a threat.  What is important is finding a educational method and venue that is best for her.  It may be homeschooling or it may be public school or a hybrid of some kind.

 

 

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I'm sorry things are so tough right now.  You are in a difficult position.  Gently, I think it might help to make some adjustments from your end at this point.  

 

First, I think it may help for you to adjust expectations for independent learning.  Whether a child is intellectually capable of doing work or not, most kids in elementary school still need instruction from and support from their instructor/parent.  Some kids can function mostly independently by that age but honestly very few, IMHO.  If she is this upset then she probably needs a lot more support, whether you have the time to give it or not.

 

Second, since you have been "threatening" public school you may have already indicated to her that public school is a bad thing, whether you intended to or not.  It was apparently not presented as a positive that might work as an alternative to homeschooling but as a thing she would get stuck with instead of homeschooling (and she already is struggling with homeschooling, apparently, so public school may be perceived as even worse to her) if she didn't improve her attitude.  In other words, public school is the thing she would get dumped back into because you are tired and frustrated and unhappy and are thinking of quitting homeschooling based on your own struggles with the situation, not because public school might be a really good alternative for your child.  

 

Third, most children at that age are not going to be grateful for homeschooling, or public schooling or whatever.  They aren't going to see the sacrifices you are making to homeschool.  That isn't part of their worldview yet.  Maybe as adults.  Not right now.  Please try not to blame them for not cheering you on for making these sacrifices.

 

Fourth, besides academics, are you doing anything to intentionally work with your child on areas of interest?  Anything that would help her to see purpose in learning while tapping into personal interests/strengths.  How much positive interaction do you have as mother and daughter, aside from academics?  I assume it must be hard to squeeze everything in while trying to support your family.  Perhaps working on strengthening your relationship and pursuing some interest led learning right now might work better than trying to keep her independently moving through more structured academics or putting her back in public school.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

ETA:  If you really don't have time to work with her directly and to spend some time with interest led learning then yes, you might want to put her in public school for now.  But PLEASE don't make it seem like a punishment or that you are giving up on her.  Be honest and explain you just physically don't have much time and it doesn't seem to be working out as you had hoped.  Try to present this as a positive, maybe as a temporary solution until you and she see how things go.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Oh, one more thing, you say your daughter is very social. At 10 she may be needing a lot more peer interaction. Not structured outside activities but time to just casually hang with friends.

 

And pursue areas of interest that she chose herself but you support her in.

 

As my son once pointed out, when there is nothing to look forward to at the end of the day, then finding the motivation to do the stuff you HAVE to do can be a whole lot harder.

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I want to agree with OneStepAtATime... do not make public school a punishment.  It's not fair to her, or the teacher in the classroom, especially if there is some doubt that you might put her in to "wake her up", then pull her out again.  Teachers have enough to deal with without this.  

 

It sounds like she needs work on character.  This is going to be an issue that needs to be addressed wherever she goes to school.  If she resists you for homeschooling, she will resist you for homework, bedtimes, or whatever other battle she needs to pick in public school.  You have to figure out what the root cause is... because it probably isn't the schooling method.  

 

Maybe she wants more time/attention.  (I'm not saying that in an accusatory way, we ALL have phases where we don't have the time our kids wish we had for them).  Maybe insisting you sit near her is more about attention than lack of independence.  Maybe she needs some kind of rewards system to break a bad whining habit.  It's hard to know what might work for your dd.  

 

I would choose public school only if you truly felt it was the superior option for this particular child at this time.  I would absolutely choose it if you feel it will save/protect your good relationship with your dd.  But it doesn't sound like the case here from what you've said.  

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:grouphug:  So sorry you're experiencing such a rough patch, and esp. having to navigate this as a single parent.

 

Previous posters have made some great suggestions. I'll tiptoe into a different, delicate area, just in case this is the root of the problem -- but please, I'm NO expert, and I'm just throwing this out there as something to consider, and disregard if this is going in the wrong direction!  :)

 

There's a possibility that this has nothing to do with homeschooling, but is a symptom of something else, and the blow-ups/melt-downs are just happening around the schoolwork because that's just what's pushing her over the edge.

 

Some children manifest a lot of anger/crying/melt-downs when they have a learning disability or issue that previously they were able to manage or mask, and then are no longer able to cope with when the workload or the subject matter gets beyond them. (That was certainly the case with our DS#2.) And learning issues are not always evident from the beginning. Many learning issues are not apparent until the child is older -- along about age 10-12, when the level of the school work kicks up a level and overloads the child's coping mechanisms.

 

Physical or hormonal changes could be at work here: not enough sleep or not enough deep sleep due to too much light in the bedroom (we had that one!); reacting to a dye or additive in the food or developing a food intolerance; or pre-puberty/early puberty hormonal changes. All of those can have big emotional reactions that have nothing to do with school.

 

Or, a delayed emotional reaction to something -- possibly just now she is processing/reacting to circumstances leading up to becoming a single-parent family. I know from volunteering at a summer camp for foster kids that they sometimes have massive anger or emotional melt-downs while in the midst of the fun *because* they are finally in a safe place to "let loose" from the abuse or trauma of the past and their current stress and feelings of abandonment of being in foster care. I hesitate to throw that in there, because I don't fault you at all, and don't want you to beat yourself up for doing the best you can, but is there a possibility that something traumatic or abusive has happened to her, and she's able to have these melt-downs *because* she is in the safe place of home with the safe person of *you*, and homeschooling is just where the reaction in happening?

 

My first guess would be the masked learning issue, since this has been gradually declining all last year, and really ramped up this year. A full screening for learning issues and processing issues would be the way to address that, to diagnose what exactly is the issue and from there, how to address it.

 

You might also want to go for vision and hearing checks to rule out vision or hearing impairment, and also get her in for a physical with blood work-up to rule out something physiological going on. You could also look into getting her tested for vision tracking to see if she has a vision convergence issue.

 

Starting now, you might just give all of you a break, through the end of the year, and just focus on being a family, enjoying doing some holiday fun things, curling up with good books and doing lots of read-alouds, watch some educational videos and play some educational games. And over the holidays you can figure out your game plan of how to narrow down what the heart of the issue is. Once you have that figured out, you'll be able to better know how to address it, whether that be doing public school, or incorporating therapies of some sort, or making changes to the materials you're using, etc.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug: Hang in there mama! Wishing you and your family all the best! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Monica makes a great point. Maybe the tantrums and whining have less to do with how she can function independently and more about feeling a need for quality time with you. I agree, not saying that to make you feel bad. You are in a hard place to be and there is only so much of you to go around. Huge hugs. I admire you for trying to do what is best for your kids.

 

FWIW, I know early on in our homeschooling (kids were 6th grade/3rd grade) I felt that I had spent a ton of quality time with them doing one on one tutoring. By the end of the day I wanted down time. Only, really, what they also needed was hugs and laughter and Mom time in general, not just teacher time. I was working from home and I was so tired trying to homeschool full time and work and take care of the house/bills/etc. DH traveled and was not around to help. I was exhausted and had no idea how to do it all. Stepping back, cutting out some things, switching other things and scheduling in positive Mom time, not just academics, helped the kids to feel loved and appreciated, instead of like a burden or just one more thing on my to do list.

 

Maybe take some time this month to reevaluate your schedule and possibly (when you are both calm and willing to listen) brain storm with her on what the real underlying problems might be and how to address them.

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Age 10 was when my previously cheerful children tended to hit a wall in academics and attitude. The work is getting harder, and it's not all play and games. Sometimes the stuff that I think they can figure out on their own seems overwhelming to them. I need to step in and walk them through it to get them up and running again.  I'm going through this right now with my 10 year old son. He is so capable and then will suddenly whine and cry for seemingly no reason. 

 

Don't thrown in the towel just yet. You are doing amazing things for your family!

Edited by wintermom
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(((Hugs))) I'm sorry. Since you really don't want to send her to PS and she really doesn't want to go, I would look for ways to make this work. Here are some things to consider:

 

1, sometime (during a non-conflict time), have a casual chat with her. I'd ask her what subjects she likes, and what ones she dislikes. See if she can tell you why she dislikes some subjects. Ask her questions like, "If there was one thing you could change about the way we homeschool, what would you change?" Use this as a time to mainly listen--don't get defensive if she says something you don't like (and she may!), just listen and consider her thoughts. She may say something like "I wish I never had to do math again!" and you can laugh a little and say, "Well, we can't DROP math (or as I told my kids, unless you never want money again!), but we CAN change how we do math. How can we do it differently?" 

 

This might take a few conversations and much patience on your part, but it can be great feedback. My kids and I routinely talked about school in this way over the years.

 

2, I agree with some others that she is missing you. It must be so hard on all of you for you to be a single mom working full time! She may just need some heart to heart time to fill her love tank. Some kids will throw tantrums etc... just to get SOME kind of interaction, even negative interaction, with a parent, because they just don't have the maturity to know what else to do, and that gets results. I know you have a million things to do and that probably aren't getting done the way you'd like right now--but know that most, and maybe all of them are not as important as your relationship with your daughter. So...it might mean doing math together for awhile. And...do the dishes and the laundry together too. Find ways to fill her love tank in the things of life. 

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wow so many helpful and thought out replies! thank you thank you!

 

I should clarify I do really try and not use PS as a threat. I more or less remind her it is the alternative when she screams how much she hates homeschool work at me multiply times a day :) I know it is a really unhealthy thing to put that stress and negativity towards her and I try to keep my cool during outbursts and remind myself not to argue with a hormonal 10 year old!

 

The idea of a learning disability has been creeping into my mind lately. I have noticed she mixes up sight words and leaves them out altogether when reading, the, and, a, its etc. My son has struggled with ADHD so maybe that has shifted my focus away and I haven't thought to think of a LD in my daughter. Maybe worth talking with her doctor and see what she thinks.

 

I have thought there might be some underlying issue to her rage and outbursts (it isn't just schoolwork that can set her off although that's the biggest culprit) I'm afraid it might have something to do with her relationship with her dad which I can't really help. I have been separated from her dad for 6 years now and honestly he doesn't show much interest in the kids (even when we were still together) they only see him 2 times a month, his choice, and it's hard to get him to come to any activities the kids are involved in. Example- My daughter has been horseback riding for 3 years now and she LOVES it, it is her passion, she rides all year round once a week at least and does 2-3 horse shows each summer. but he has only seen her ride 2 times total and has never seen a horse show. I do try and get him involved but it's on him to show up and be the dad at the end of the day :/  Maybe counseling would help her? I try to ask her what is bothering her but I don't think she really knows or can't express it to me in words, perhaps a professional could make some sense of what the real issue is and help us fix any troubles she has.

 

Thank you again for the helpful remarks, it is just good to get this out and "talk" about it with other home schooling folks!

 

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With the latest post, yes, I think it might benefit all of you to seek counseling for her.  She may be dealing with more than she can articulate.

 

You might do some research on different learning issues, as well.  Possibly post on the Learning Challenges board for some suggestions of areas to pursue.  

 

hugs and good luck

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Public school is not a punishment, but it is a reality. When my DS has issues with being cooperative at home, I just shared the reality.

In this state children are required to get an education wether that is at a public school or homeschooling (no private schools in this area). As a parent, I can get into trouble if I do not make sure that my child is educated. If he would not be cooperative with me at home, then he will have to attend the local public school so that I can demonstrate that I am meeting my responsibilities as a parent. I left it up to him as to how that responsibility is being met.

 

In addition to the possibility of a learning disability, at 10 yrs old she is somewhere in the early stages of puberty. That can make girls very difficult to work with for anyone, but especially the mother.

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It's too much for some kids to work independently and at that age I would venture to guess very few can at all.  I still have to sit with my 11 year old with everything.  Only now has my high schooler been so independent.  Although I still touch base with him every school day and some subjects we do together.

 

 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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We had a lot of struggles with one of my kids, and we did choose to enroll in school, which has been good for him. But he continued to have some of the same issues in class (occasionally, instead of daily as when at home). We've been working on figuring out what the underlying problem is and having various evaluations. In his case, he has inattention -- not enough for ADHD but enough that he misses information and instructions, leading to confusion and frustration. And anxiety.

 

In your case, I might talk to the pediatrician and ask for a referral to a psychologist. A psych can evaluate for anxiety and ADHD and can teach calming techniques and offer counseling.

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Sounds like counseling to help deal with issues around her dad and anything else she needs is a good idea.

 

I will say that 4th grade is often a big jump up in what is expected of kids.  My youngest is doing 4th grade and I've had to really adjust how I present her the work, how much we do things together, and how much I can give her each day.  It's not just that the subject matter is harder, there are more problems on a page, less step-by-step instruction, higher expectations for writing, etc.  This will depend on what programs you are using of course, but I found that 4th grade is definitely not the hands-off stage I thought it would be.

 

Throw in a big dose of hormones and it makes for some long days.

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