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Bringing a Reluctant Homeschooler Home


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I have two kids and only homeschool one. The other attends a private school and has asked to go to public next year, but is wishy washy about that desire. (I really don't want her in public. Among other reasons, we live in a state where corporal punishment is legal and actually happens at local schools.)

 

*I* want to bring her home. I think she'll be grumpy about it at first, but will ultimately do great and learn more. She's very social and my son and I aren't. We aren't in any coops, etc.

 

My husband seems to think she should choose outright and that annoys me. (Having a say/taking her personality into account is different than putting such an important decision in the hands of a 7-year-old who will choose based on what it might feel like to sit in a cafeteria, etc.)

 

For this kid, what would you do?

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7 year old? Parents make the final decision, taking into account the child's wishes but primarily their best interests.

 

If this were a 16 year old I would give the child more input. 7 year olds don't have the maturity or experience to make major life decisions for themselves.

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Knowing the age/grade of the child in school would help -- I would advise differently for a late middle schooler/high schooler compared to a 3rd grader, for example. Also, knowing the age will help us suggest social options that might be available for your child.

 

Also: what age/grade is your DS? That can be a factor to consider if everyone is still in elementary grades.

 

 

ETA: Okay, I found a past post where you provided very helpful info about your 2 students: "Choose our afterschool curricula for the summer".

Edited by Lori D.
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I think kids should have some say. At that age, I think it’s reasonable to listen to their thoughts but make a different decision. We’ve done that with our one kid who has talked about going to school. We’ve told her that we can revisit it as she gets older but that at her age we think this is ultimately best. 

 

My daughter is super social (and the one kid who has talked about not homeschooling). I have realized that to successfully homeschool her I have to provide her with a LOT of social options. She needs it in a way that the rest of us don’t. We do a co-op. I started a book club this year for her and a bunch of her friends. She does a bunch of other activities. I’m very pro-active about inviting friends over and giving her social time. She also needs interaction with me in a way that my boys who are more introverted don’t. In many ways, she is harder to homeschool (for me as an introvert) even though she is my most self-movtivated learner. I don’t think I could homeschool her if we didn’t do all the extra stuff. 

 

I also think that at her age it’s good to realize everything can be only for a year. As a family you could agree on a one year trial of homeschool (or public school) and see how it goes and then revisit options in another year. 

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This is a 7 year old?  You decide.  However, if you bring her home, you are going to need to figure out a way to get her social needs met.

 

If she were 14 and this was a decision about whether to homeschool high school, I'd give her wishes much more weight--homeschooling a reluctant teen is not fun!

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Knowing the age/grade of the child in school would help -- I would advise differently for a late middle schooler/high schooler compared to a 3rd grader, for example. Also, knowing the age will help us suggest social options that might be available for your child.

 

Also: what age/grade is your DS? That can be a factor to consider if everyone is still in elementary grades.

My son will be in 6th next year. My daughter will be in 3rd.

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I would not put that decision in the hands of a 7 year old but I also would be concerned about her social needs.  The decision for a child that young should remain in the hands of the parents, although I would definitely take into account my child's concerns and let them know their opinion matters.

 

What concerns me is the strong mismatch socially. If you and your current homeschooler are not extroverts that need a lot of social interaction it may be VERY challenging to meet your social child's needs.  Having gone through this with my kids I can say that yes, homeschooling CAN create issues with socialization and can genuinely be harmful to an extremely social child.  I'm not saying there are no opportunities to socialize if you homeschool.  Quite the opposite for a lot of homeschoolers.  There can be many opportunities, depending on circumstances, and in fact homeschooling can sometimes offer more and deeper relationships than brick and mortar.  I am not talking about the inability to acquire social skills because a child homeschools.  Absolutely not.  I am talking about the struggle to meet the needs of a very social child when the parent and the sibling are not extroverts/social creatures.  Are you prepared to get her to outside activities?  Invite kids over so she has free time to develop deeper relationships?  Involve her in things that will provide her with opportunities to spend quality time with others besides you and your currently homeschooled child?  Daily committed to reading with her, sitting and talking with her and listening to her, playing with her, etc. even when you may be tired and wanting several hours of quiet? 

 

I'm not talking one field trip a month.  I'm talking weekly and hopefully even multiple times a week social interaction with others and daily interaction with you and your son.  What meets the needs of an introvert will not meet the needs of a very social child.  This isn't just a "fun" thing that can be ignored.  This ties in to mental health.  For those that are extroverts, for those that are very social, it can actually cause damage to mental health to be removed from social settings for extended periods of time.

 

Putting that aside for the moment, I would be asking a lot of questions of myself before making any kind of decision.  Things I would consider:

  • Why does she want to switch schools?  Are you happy with her current school?  If so, could the reason she wants to switch be addressed so the current school is more appealing?  (I'm not saying don't homeschool but I would be looking at why the school was an issue.)
  • And is corporal punishment your only concern with the public school?  Do you know how often it is actually implemented?  Is it a good school otherwise?
  • If she has friends already, could you try to maintain those friendships while homeschooling?
  • I would also be asking myself why one was homeschooled and one was in private school to begin with.  Obviously there was a reason to do one thing with one child and one thing with the other.  Has that changed?  
  • You said she would learn more at home but said that in the same section as the fact that your son and you are not social.  Are you thinking you want her to focus almost exclusively on academics instead of the social aspects she has in school?
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I would not put that decision in the hands of a 7 year old but I also would be concerned about her social needs. The decision for a child that young should remain in the hands of the parents, although I would definitely take into account my child's concerns and let them know their opinion matters.

 

What concerns me is the strong mismatch socially. If you and your current homeschooler are not extroverts that need a lot of social interaction it may be VERY challenging to meet your social child's needs. Having gone through this with my kids I can say that yes, homeschooling CAN create issues with socialization and can genuinely be harmful to an extremely social child. I'm not saying there are no opportunities to socialize if you homeschool. Quite the opposite for a lot of homeschoolers. There can be many opportunities, depending on circumstances, and in fact homeschooling can sometimes offer more and deeper relationships than brick and mortar. I am not talking about the inability to acquire social skills because a child homeschools. Absolutely not. I am talking about the struggle to meet the needs of a very social child when the parent and the sibling are not extroverts/social creatures. Are you prepared to get her to outside activities? Invite kids over so she has free time to develop deeper relationships? Involve her in things that will provide her with opportunities to spend quality time with others besides you and your currently homeschooled child? Daily committed to reading with her, sitting and talking with her and listening to her, playing with her, etc. even when you may be tired and wanting several hours of quiet?

 

I'm not talking one field trip a month. I'm talking weekly and hopefully even multiple times a week social interaction with others and daily interaction with you and your son. What meets the needs of an introvert will not meet the needs of a very social child. This isn't just a "fun" thing that can be ignored. This ties in to mental health. For those that are extroverts, for those that are very social, it can actually cause damage to mental health to be removed from social settings for extended periods of time.

 

Putting that aside for the moment, I would be asking a lot of questions of myself before making any kind of decision. Things I would consider:

  • Why does she want to switch schools? Are you happy with her current school? If so, could the reason she wants to switch be addressed so the current school is more appealing? (I'm not saying don't homeschool but I would be looking at why the school was an issue.)
  • And is corporal punishment your only concern with the public school? Do you know how often it is actually implemented? Is it a good school otherwise?
  • If she has friends already, could you try to maintain those friendships while homeschooling?
  • I would also be asking myself why one was homeschooled and one was in private school to begin with. Obviously there was a reason to do one thing with one child and one thing with the other. Has that changed?
  • You said she would learn more at home but said that in the same section as the fact that your son and you are not social. Are you thinking you want her to focus almost exclusively on academics instead of the social aspects she has in school?

I do think it could be difficult to meet her social needs because it doesn't come naturally to me. (I do not think public school would meet her social needs either.) I think with a proactive plan, we'd be okay though. We would need recurring commitments with other people, I think.

 

I LOVE the idea of a book club. I think the easiest thing for me to do would be recurring things that occur in our home. I'm more likely to enjoy planning things and inviting others over. I did a Christmas Around the World Escape Room with a bunch of kids at our house yesterday. I've also got some pretty great science stuff that we've already invited another kid into.

 

I may be more introverted, but I also like being "that house" everyone is always at.

 

I have found a gymnastics class for homeschoolers that meets weekly and I think some things like that would be helpful. She has neighborhood friends who she wouldn't lose and we could easily keep up with her current friends from school. She also is part of a Suzuki violin studio, which would not change (lots of friends there). She goes to choir at church, etc..

 

To answer the bullet points:

 

•She wants to switch schools to experience something different. She actually still loves her current school, as do we (aside from the high tuition...something that keeps things like after school gymnastics from happening). She hasn't told any friends at her current school that she's probably leaving. She also has zero friends in her grade at the local public school. Her current school only goes to 6th grade. I love her current teacher (1st-3rd grade), with the exception that I feel they move too slowly through the curriculum. The way they classes are conducted and discipline is handled is ideal. It's just the too slow academics.

 

•Corporal punishment is not my only concern. My biggest concern is traditional education. (Her private school is Montessori, my homeschool uses Montessori Curriculum for certain subjects and I own these for her age) My biggest concern is her losing her love for learning.

 

•She could maintain her friends. She is already maintaining many who have left for different schools.

 

•My son was let go from the private school because of his level of needs they could no longer accommodate. We aren't sore about it.

 

•I would need to fight the urge to teach her when she needs social time, I'll admit. But, how about I give an example about what I'm saying academically. At her current school, they tend to teach a particular work, "racks and tubes" around the end of third grade or the beginning of fourth (usually ages 8-10). I have a Montessori background myself (trained for her age specifically) and it's my understanding that this lesson should be given more around age 6 and that children over 8 find it tedious, making it less useful for them to use at all. (Racks and tubes is a sensorial introduction to long division. The standard algorithm is taught later than the intro at 6-7.)

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O.k. with your latest post I think you could go either way.  I think she could stay at the private school and do fine.  I also think you have a handle on things and could do well homeschooling her.  Do you have to make the decision immediately?  If she decided she really wanted to stay at the private school is that still an option or are you really just wanting to homeschool her and her sort of interest in public school is really a minor consideration in the grand scheme of things?

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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O.k. with your latest post I think you could go either way. I think she could stay at the private school and do fine. I also think you have a handle on things and could do well homeschooling her. Do you have to make the decision immediately? If she decided she really wanted to stay at the private school is that still an option or are you really just wanting to homeschool her and her sort of interest in public school is really a minor consideration in the grand scheme of things?

No, we don't have to make the decision immediately.

 

Staying at her private school would be okay for one more year (3rd). Then, she would move up to upper elementary, and I'd want her out by then, most likely. After third makes a good stopping point between Montessori and traditional ed. But, at home it would flow smoothly, so any grade would be fine. I think we got a little excited about the prospect of not paying the expensive tuition. 😳

 

Her interest in public school is what started us thinking.

 

Side note: while this post has been open, my husband has played me planning like she will be homeschooled next year and coming up with a plan to homeschool 2 kids. (I was a Montessori teacher, that's funny to me to think I can't do that or couldn't find advice about it.) But, he has seemed more supportive.

 

Also, I asked my daughter about a book club idea when she popped in my room while I was doing the planning (with a neighbor friend, of course). She liked the idea...her friend LOVED the idea and asked to be a part of it.

 

Book club started.

 

Actually, I have no idea how to conduct that. I'll post a new thread.

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I think kids should have some say. At that age, I think it’s reasonable to listen to their thoughts but make a different decision. We’ve done that with our one kid who has talked about going to school. We’ve told her that we can revisit it as she gets older but that at her age we think this is ultimately best.

 

My daughter is super social (and the one kid who has talked about not homeschooling). I have realized that to successfully homeschool her I have to provide her with a LOT of social options. She needs it in a way that the rest of us don’t. We do a co-op. I started a book club this year for her and a bunch of her friends. She does a bunch of other activities. I’m very pro-active about inviting friends over and giving her social time. She also needs interaction with me in a way that my boys who are more introverted don’t. In many ways, she is harder to homeschool (for me as an introvert) even though she is my most self-movtivated learner. I don’t think I could homeschool her if we didn’t do all the extra stuff.

 

I also think that at her age it’s good to realize everything can be only for a year. As a family you could agree on a one year trial of homeschool (or public school) and see how it goes and then revisit options in another year.

Can you tell me about your book club?

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Can you tell me about your book club?

 

 

Sure, we just started in September this year. 

 

We meet every other week which seems to be about right for us. It’s two hours once a week. We have 8 girls which is about the right number. We are in a co-op and invited all the girls in my daughter’s age group class at the co-op. 

 

We discuss one book per week. We have a variety of reading levels. One girl asked me to pick “really long books that take weeks to readâ€. I know two others who have their Moms read them most books. So, I’ve tried to pick books that are relatively easy to read but are still meaty enough for discussion. We talk about the book for roughly 30-40 min and then do a few activities or crafts and have a snack. Then they typically have a bit of free time to play at the end. 

 

We’ve read: 

The Happy Hollisters (picked as the first book because they all wanted a mystery and had read a lot of the usual suspects.)

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes 

Sarah, Plain and Tall 

Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary 

Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson 

 

The discussions we’ve had have are mostly helping them to start talking about books in a slightly deeper way than “I liked it†or just summarizing the plot. But we’re not doing hard-core literary analysis. :) Usually we start with what everyone liked or didn’t like and why. I try and get them to explain what they liked...it’s exciting, the characters are good, it’s funny. And what they don’t like...it’s boring, I didn’t like the characters, etc. And then we talk about one literary element or theme in the book. For example, we read Ellen Tebbits and Otis Spofford at back to back book clubs. They are from different perspectives but the characters are in each book. So we talked about perspective and what it’s like to see things from different perspectives. 

 

The activities vary. I’m not super crafty. My daughter LOVES crafts. :) We mix it up and usually I aim to do 2-3 games/crafts for each book. For the Otis Spofford discussion, we talked about the idioms “seeing through someone else’s eyes†and “walking in someone else’s shoes†to go along with the perspective idea. Then we played two games. One was a relay race using crazy shoes (swim flippers, high heels, etc) . One was a Lego build game where they had to build a structure that someone else had created by having the other person describe it. We’ve also done Charades or played games that are in the books (hopscotch for The Hundred Dresses). The crafts usually go along with the books. I’m more about the process than the finished product so we don’t make Pinterest worthy stuff but it’s fun. For the Hundred Dresses, I put out all our art supplies and they designed dresses. For one book they made book marks. For the Christmas book we decorated cookies. 

 

We have a snack that relates sort of to the book. Usually something they ate in the book or that seems to go with it. Cooking and prepping the snacks is a fun activity for me and dd. 

 

There are some resources online, although I didn’t find as many as I thought I would. I bought this book which has good ideas: https://www.amazon.com/Kids-Book-Club-Activities-Organizing/dp/1585425591/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1513817364&sr=8-15&keywords=book+club+kids

 

Hope that helps! It’s been really fun and has been something my daughter and her friends really love. 

Edited by Alice
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The corporal punishment is a real sticking point for me. Like, I wouldn't want to send my kid there even if they didn't do it without the waiver. I don't think that's a good environment, so I can see why you don't want to go public at all.

 

But I'm concerned about her social needs. Before you pull her out, you have got to have a plan in place to ensure she's getting enough time with friends, in both structured and unstructured settings.

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The corporal punishment is a real sticking point for me. Like, I wouldn't want to send my kid there even if they didn't do it without the waiver. I don't think that's a good environment, so I can see why you don't want to go public at all.

 

But I'm concerned about her social needs. Before you pull her out, you have got to have a plan in place to ensure she's getting enough time with friends, in both structured and unstructured settings.

I worry about the environment that makes corporal punishment okay too. And seclusion rooms. I've worked in our public system and I could tell horror stories. Even if papers are supposed to be signed...stuff happens.

 

Furthermore, if corporal punishment and seclusion rooms are used, do they have adequate alternative skills for disciplining children?

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I worry about the environment that makes corporal punishment okay too. And seclusion rooms. I've worked in our public system and I could tell horror stories. Even if papers are supposed to be signed...stuff happens.

 

Furthermore, if corporal punishment and seclusion rooms are used, do they have adequate alternative skills for disciplining children?

 

I "liked" your post, but really, it makes me want to cry.

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If you are an introvert homeschooling a high needs introvert, I would be cautious. You simply may be minimizing the amount of time it would take to meet the social needs of your daughter and underestimating the time involved in meeting the educational needs of two very different kids- wide age gap, one introvert, one extrovert and one with special needs that the private school could not accommodate.

 

I am not saying don't homeschool. In your shoes, I probably would homeschool her. But I'm guessing she probably needs more than a couple of clubs to meet her full range of social needs. My sons have a wide age gap and my older son has special needs. It wasn't until my older son started high school this year that I realized how much my younger son's different set of needs were on the back burner when I homeschooled both of them at the same time.

 

I'd explore part time schooling or more active homeschool co-ops.

Edited by LucyStoner
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It also occurs to me, LucyStoner, that it's possible to dramatically underestimate how much social time an introverted child needs, simply because they're content to be left alone to read and play Legos all day. Well, that doesn't mean they don't have social needs even if they think they're happier staying home.

 

This is something *I* struggle with, so I'm not just criticizing for the sake of being mean! I hate going out, the girls hate it, it's so much easier to just stay in. But it's not good for them, and I let it go on too long.

 

Edited by Tanaqui
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They go to the public school she wants to go to. BUT NONE of them are in her grade.

 

 

Can they describe what they have experienced there with regard to corporal punishment to help your family in making a good choice? Especially if any are older than your dd and have already experienced some of the same teachers and expectations she is likely to encounter, knowing what is actually happening --  frequency, severity, duration, and circumstances of corporal punishment  they have encountered-- may be helpful.

 

Your worries may be allayed, or your dd may realize that she does not want to experience the sort of corporal punishment her friends have encountered and feel better about homeschooling.

Edited by Pen
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