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Would you homeschool a 6th grader if they didn't want to?


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Curious to hear thoughts on this. Long story short is that this child homeschooled K-3. Went to public school for 4th and is in public school for 5th this year. He's doing find academically and socially. Due to circumstances out of our control, we are considering bringing him home next year. Long story short is that the public middle school is not great (and dh says no way is it an option) and the private school that my older son goes to this year for 6th is completely revamping their whole educational philosophy started next year for incoming 6th graders-going from traditional to something we do not agree with or want.

I've brought it up and get a pretty firm "don't want to" from him. But every fiber in my being says this is right for this particular kid-even if he doesn't know it. Of course, I'm also worried about tension in our relationship and resentment...nothing is really worth that. But sending him to the private school under this new educational philosophy isn't a choice either. We are in quite a pickle. So, just curious to hear thoughts and experiences about homeschooling a middle schooler if they don't want to. Obviously I want to consider his needs/wants but then again, you don't give a kid sugar because they LIKE it, you give them what they need to grow and thrive. Dang, this is hard. And I'm angry at this school for changing course on us-especially when his older brother will be grandfathered in (I think) and will most likely stay put.

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We didn’t face that problem with DS13 for 6th grade but for 5th grade. He needed school at home so did nothing much in 5th grade (no reporting required in California thankfully) other than read all day at the library and complain when there is nothing left to read. In 6th grade he choose the outside classes and online classes that he likes and he ended up finishing geometry, algebra 2 and precalculus in a year, as well as took two physics classes, a chinese class and a German class. He is happy when he is loaded with outside classes and he is an introvert.

Public school wasn’t a choice and private school would have logistic difficulties due to me not driving. Lots of outside classes was manageable because my husband drops us off before work and we could take public transport home or wait at the nearest library for my husband to pick us up after work. 

I only have two kids and DS13 even when he is complaining isn’t disruptive to DS12. When DS12 whines, the irritation can justify the cost of three pairs of noise canceling headsets. So very different temperament.

DS12 has no sense of time and needs lots of structure so his days are just as structured as a brick and mortar school kid. DS12 isn’t a reluctant homeschooler, he is just a reluctant student who rather play all day. So what form of schooling won’t have mattered but a structured style works for him in terms of time efficiency. 

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My experience -- I've homeschooled 3 6th graders who didn't want to be. Currently hsing a 6th grader who has never shown interest in ps.

The first one did ps before (K-4) and after (8-10) and is still mostly resentful. He reluctantly acknowledges some benefits, but not many. I still believe it was the best choice and would have been better with more time.

The second one is all over the place. She feels she missed out on "important" things. While she is so very quick to criticize at every turn, she repeatedly clarifies that she DOES NOT want to be put in public high school now!

The third one doesn't say much about it at all these days.

2 and 3 have never been to ps. I do think that's a significant factor for my oldest.

Those years were HARD.  #4 is pretty easy in comparison. It absolutely did take a toll on relationships, and I will never suggest anyone take that lightly.  However, for us, I do think it was the best available choice. Given better options, perhaps it wouldn't have been.

Sadly, there is no magic answer.

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I did it. And it was hard.

but I did play the mom card “this is our decision” 

one big thing that helped was when I was willing to do the extra things that she asked for. Friend time was important to her so she typically had 2 activities plus 2 afternoons with a friend per week.

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Haven't had to do it (mine wanted to come home), but it would completely depend on the kid. If the kid can be convinced to cooperate at least to some degree, it can work. If the kid is strong willed (aka stubborn) and absolutely refuses and cannot be bribed or convinced into doing something he has decided he doesn't want to do, it will be a horrible battle and completely futile because, ultimately, you cannot school a 12 y/o against his will.

You know your kid best. 

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2 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I did it. And it was hard.

but I did play the mom card “this is our decision” 

one big thing that helped was when I was willing to do the extra things that she asked for. Friend time was important to her so she typically had 2 activities plus 2 afternoons with a friend per week.

I was going to suggest something like that. Can you sweeten the pot, so to speak?? Do a little negotiating? When a kid is that age,they can make your life pretty miserable if they don’t want to do something.

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Is there another school option, such as a different private school you might consider? What is the DC's objection to coming back home?

I can see how some kids would just be annoyed with changing back and forth (home k-3, school 4-5, home 6-8, school 9-12?), but otherwise I think 6th is old enough to have some back and forth about how to make this agreeable for everybody. It might help to clarify also whether the plan is to go back into a b&m school for 9th, and which one.

 

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I agree with the suggestions to sweeten the pot. I was actually going to suggest bribery, but "sweeten the pot" sounds much better. 🙂 A friend of mine has an 8th grader who wants very much to go to school. She was able to get him on board with homeschooling by buying the family a season pass to a ski resort and promising to go at least weekly. This is something this family did when their kids were younger, so it sounds like a positive for their whole family. Is there anything, big or small, that could get this kid on board? 

FWIW, I have a 4th grader in ps this year. He knew it was for one year only, but he has already started telling me that he wants to stay. That is not an option in my mind, so I'm thinking ahead and hoping I can make next year a positive experience for him. At the end of the day I think I know what's best, but I don't want to battle a kid all day long. It's a tough spot to be in. I hope you can work out a decent solution.

 

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I agree with TracyP. I waffled on this question for a couple years and have reached the conclusion that yes I would and I will for my 3rd grader. We did give a bit more agency in high school. See my other thread on "sweetening the pot" :) I know best, it is happening, I don't need for anyone to be miserable.

1 hour ago, TracyP said:

I agree with the suggestions to sweeten the pot. I was actually going to suggest bribery, but "sweeten the pot" sounds much better. 🙂 A friend of mine has an 8th grader who wants very much to go to school. She was able to get him on board with homeschooling by buying the family a season pass to a ski resort and promising to go at least weekly. This is something this family did when their kids were younger, so it sounds like a positive for their whole family. Is there anything, big or small, that could get this kid on board? 

FWIW, I have a 4th grader in ps this year. He knew it was for one year only, but he has already started telling me that he wants to stay. That is not an option in my mind, so I'm thinking ahead and hoping I can make next year a positive experience for him. At the end of the day I think I know what's best, but I don't want to battle a kid all day long. It's a tough spot to be in. I hope you can work out a decent solution.

 

 

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On 11/30/2018 at 6:17 PM, Targhee said:

Would it be easier if older sibling cane home too? Then 6th header might feel it was less unfair.  Plus you’d have the freedoms of not being on the school’s schedule! 

 

Yes, that is the tricky party. However, my current 6th grader is blossoming and thriving at his school. He is in 3 different bands and is going to be stage crew for the musical. He just LOVES it and is doing well all around. How can I pull him out of that? Plus, he still makes some negative comments about homeschooling, so I doubt he'd be too open to going back. He is a total extrovert and not sure homeschooling really ever "fit him". Plus, him and his next younger brother are not getting along right now. I can barely handle them together on the weekends and at night, let alone all day every day.

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On 11/30/2018 at 8:44 AM, whitehawk said:

Is there another school option, such as a different private school you might consider? What is the DC's objection to coming back home?

I can see how some kids would just be annoyed with changing back and forth (home k-3, school 4-5, home 6-8, school 9-12?), but otherwise I think 6th is old enough to have some back and forth about how to make this agreeable for everybody. It might help to clarify also whether the plan is to go back into a b&m school for 9th, and which one.

 

 

No, there are no other options. It's the public school or the private school. His objection to coming back home is just that he'd be missing out on the social opportunities. It's hard to provide that-especially with younger kids who need naps, etc. We really don't have a homeschool community here so there are no homeschool friends, clubs, sports, etc.

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1) He needs to understand the reasons why the school options are a "no."  Also let him know where he will have more choices than he now has.

2) What are other families in your predicament doing?  Possibly there are some opportunities for synergy there.

3) See if your private school works with homeschoolers to fill gaps like sports / arts / social stuff.  I know my kids' school does this.

4) What public school sports and other extracurriculars are available for homeschoolers?  Since he has expressed this is important to him - and it is important in general at this age - I would really make an effort here.  I would find transportation for him if you can't drive him.  Maybe hire a retiree part-time to drive (that is what I am doing).  Yes, it is a cost, but I think it is fair to consider this as not only a want but a need for your son.

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8 hours ago, SKL said:

1) He needs to understand the reasons why the school options are a "no."  Also let him know where he will have more choices than he now has.

2) What are other families in your predicament doing?  Possibly there are some opportunities for synergy there.

3) See if your private school works with homeschoolers to fill gaps like sports / arts / social stuff.  I know my kids' school does this.

4) What public school sports and other extracurriculars are available for homeschoolers?  Since he has expressed this is important to him - and it is important in general at this age - I would really make an effort here.  I would find transportation for him if you can't drive him.  Maybe hire a retiree part-time to drive (that is what I am doing).  Yes, it is a cost, but I think it is fair to consider this as not only a want but a need for your son.

I thought I'd reply because it would be good for me to write this out.

1) Yes, he is aware of the WHY (although doesn't really understand our aversion to the public school since his friends, neighbors will be going there...sigh)

2) Most of them are throwing in the towel and giving into this "new educational model"-because they haven't researched it and don't know anything about it. They are just willing to trust the system blindly.

3) Nope. I've inquired twice and am not getting anywhere. Apparently there is a diocesan rule against any kind of dual enrollment.

4) Yes, fortunately, we could dual enroll. But again, it would be at that same public school.  And I agree that IS important, and I will have to bend over backwards to make it happen if that's what we go with.

Thanks for helping me figure this out.

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I'm in this exact situation right now and it is HARD. He is home this year for 6th and does not like it. I have considered changing course at least half a dozen times already this year. I'm not sure what the right answer is. I wish some of these private schools wouldn't also follow the educational trends. It's really frustrating.

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Heaps of kids who would rather homeschool are forced to go to public school.  

Are you sure the new structure will be a bad fit for YOUR child?  Is is so bad that saying he had to do some afterschooled if he stayed wouldn't make it OK.  You haven't said what it is do it is hard to tell.

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19 hours ago, SKL said:

2) What are other families in your predicament doing?  Possibly there are some opportunities for synergy there.

You know, you can’t really go by this. One of the many surprises to me of 2018 is that for whatever reason, most people, including highly educated ones, don’t actually care that much. They went to the local public all the way and turned out fine, you see...

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Some kids will go along with the decision and cooperate. Some kids won't and forcing them can actually be destructive to them emotionally and hurt your relationship. You have to know your kid. I had one who I helped into a clinical depression with the decision to hs, so in the OPs shoes, I would probably make the decision to sacrifice my own educational ideals for the sake of removing a middle school child from a school where he was doing well and was happy.

My 12 yo is my youngest and has never loved hsing but we have somehow managed this long. She is the only one at home during the day now. My oldest two have moved out to college or career in the last few months. My next one is at high school or working. We were getting by, but then two of her best friends went from hsing to public schools this year and it's been very hard for her. All the activities haven't helped. We will probably put her into a private high school next year, a year early, but we still have to get through this year. 

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7 hours ago, madteaparty said:

You know, you can’t really go by this. One of the many surprises to me of 2018 is that for whatever reason, most people, including highly educated ones, don’t actually care that much. They went to the local public all the way and turned out fine, you see...

 This is so true and exactly what happened at our private school as well. People just wanted to throw money at experts to educate their children. They didn't really care about the details of educational philosophy or child development, as long as the sports teams won, the arts programs came home with distinguished awards, and kids achieved good grades & top scores. If the school got to be too much of a bother on their time with the educational details, they would just switch to one of the other prestigious private schools who would take care of more of the tasks for them.

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I can share my experience, but keep in mind that my ds is likely very different than your.  My ds is very strong willed, creatively gifted but hates academics or studying anything that is outside his field of interest.  He had some learning difficulties when he was young that we dealt with, and he overcame.  I'm very glad I had him home during those early years.

I homeschooled my ds longer than I should have.  His older sister (two grades higher) was home through 8th grade, and transitioned to private high school with little problem.  I intended to do the same with ds.  He and his older sister were still home together when he was doing 6th grade, so that went okay.  But, when older dd went to high school, and he was home with his little sister (who was doing K), all hell broke loose.  He had become a master at avoiding his schoolwork.  He would disappear downstairs to his room, pretend to be working, pretend to have read assignments, attempt to negotiate, or sometimes just flat-out refuse to do his schoolwork.  I'm ashamed of it now, but I used to scream at him to "get upstairs NOW" to do his work. It was a horrible year.  I ended up putting him in a private school for 8th grade, and I wish I had done so at least a year earlier.  Interestingly, one of the reasons I hadn't placed him in that school (a Lutheran school) was that I hated the math program they used.  I had researched it and decided that it was terrible.  Well, it turned out to be a way better fit for him than I could ever have imagined.  That was kinda humbling, but mostly exciting because he was learning in a way he couldn't under the circumstances at home.  Ds was angry with me for many years, saying I ruined his life, blah blah blah.  No, keeping him home didn't ruin his life.  But it did mess up our relationship for a long time.  

Incidentally, ds went to two different public charter high schools (2 years each), and then went on to graduate from college.  So, did keeping him home through 7th grade change the course of his life?  We'll never know.  But that year would have been a lot more pleasant if we hadn't been fighting every day.

You may be successful forcing your 6th grader to homeschool, but that's no guarantee you'll be able to keep it up through the rest of middle school.  Based on my experience, I would try out that private school that your older ds attends.  Sure, it may not fit your ideal educational model, but I guarantee that he'll learn more by willing doing their program than he would fighting with you all day.

 

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On 11/29/2018 at 9:42 PM, Meadowlark said:

Curious to hear thoughts on this. Long story short is that this child homeschooled K-3. Went to public school for 4th and is in public school for 5th this year. He's doing find academically and socially. Due to circumstances out of our control, we are considering bringing him home next year. Long story short is that the public middle school is not great (and dh says no way is it an option) and the private school that my older son goes to this year for 6th is completely revamping their whole educational philosophy started next year for incoming 6th graders-going from traditional to something we do not agree with or want.

I've brought it up and get a pretty firm "don't want to" from him. But every fiber in my being says this is right for this particular kid-even if he doesn't know it. Of course, I'm also worried about tension in our relationship and resentment...nothing is really worth that. But sending him to the private school under this new educational philosophy isn't a choice either. We are in quite a pickle. So, just curious to hear thoughts and experiences about homeschooling a middle schooler if they don't want to. Obviously I want to consider his needs/wants but then again, you don't give a kid sugar because they LIKE it, you give them what they need to grow and thrive. Dang, this is hard. And I'm angry at this school for changing course on us-especially when his older brother will be grandfathered in (I think) and will most likely stay put.

I might. After all, I wouldn't ask him if he wanted to go to public school or private school. Well, I might ask him, but in the end, he wouldn't really get a vote, because he has to go to school, and his father and I have to make the decision. I understand completely your concerns about your relationship and tension and all that, but is that worse than the alternative?

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17 hours ago, Suzanne in ABQ said:

I can share my experience, but keep in mind that my ds is likely very different than your.  My ds is very strong willed, creatively gifted but hates academics or studying anything that is outside his field of interest.  He had some learning difficulties when he was young that we dealt with, and he overcame.  I'm very glad I had him home during those early years.

I homeschooled my ds longer than I should have.  His older sister (two grades higher) was home through 8th grade, and transitioned to private high school with little problem.  I intended to do the same with ds.  He and his older sister were still home together when he was doing 6th grade, so that went okay.  But, when older dd went to high school, and he was home with his little sister (who was doing K), all hell broke loose.  He had become a master at avoiding his schoolwork.  He would disappear downstairs to his room, pretend to be working, pretend to have read assignments, attempt to negotiate, or sometimes just flat-out refuse to do his schoolwork.  I'm ashamed of it now, but I used to scream at him to "get upstairs NOW" to do his work. It was a horrible year.  I ended up putting him in a private school for 8th grade, and I wish I had done so at least a year earlier.  Interestingly, one of the reasons I hadn't placed him in that school (a Lutheran school) was that I hated the math program they used.  I had researched it and decided that it was terrible.  Well, it turned out to be a way better fit for him than I could ever have imagined.  That was kinda humbling, but mostly exciting because he was learning in a way he couldn't under the circumstances at home.  Ds was angry with me for many years, saying I ruined his life, blah blah blah.  No, keeping him home didn't ruin his life.  But it did mess up our relationship for a long time.  

Incidentally, ds went to two different public charter high schools (2 years each), and then went on to graduate from college.  So, did keeping him home through 7th grade change the course of his life?  We'll never know.  But that year would have been a lot more pleasant if we hadn't been fighting every day.

You may be successful forcing your 6th grader to homeschool, but that's no guarantee you'll be able to keep it up through the rest of middle school.  Based on my experience, I would try out that private school that your older ds attends.  Sure, it may not fit your ideal educational model, but I guarantee that he'll learn more by willing doing their program than he would fighting with you all day.

 

Well yikes. And that's just the thing-there's really no way to really *know* how he would adjust to homeschooling after being in public school for 2 years. If it were just that we didn't agree with the academics, that would be one thing. But it's the method of instruction that we adamantly disagree with. It's instruction via the computer-for all 4 content areas. I've done quite a bit of research, and this is just something that I feel very strongly about-that it's detrimental to every aspect of a child's development. But then the public school, might be very detrimental to his moral development. And being homeschooled might be disastrous for our relationship! What a quandary!  

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13 minutes ago, Meadowlark said:

Well yikes. And that's just the thing-there's really no way to really *know* how he would adjust to homeschooling after being in public school for 2 years. If it were just that we didn't agree with the academics, that would be one thing. But it's the method of instruction that we adamantly disagree with. It's instruction via the computer-for all 4 content areas. I've done quite a bit of research, and this is just something that I feel very strongly about-that it's detrimental to every aspect of a child's development. But then the public school, might be very detrimental to his moral development. And being homeschooled might be disastrous for our relationship! What a quandary!  

 

Oh, wow.  I understand better now.  I thought maybe it was just a matter of switching to a different school day model or something, but with teachers still actively involved with the students.  I can see your concerns.  This is a quandary.

Do you like his friends at the public school?  If so, would they likely go to the same middle school?  Do you know kids who have gone to the public school and come out okay?  You might talk to their parents to get their experience.  We live in a district with a very tough middle school as well, and we didn't want to place our son there having never attended public school (no friends there, no clue about how school "works", plus he was a bully magnet at the time). But from what I've seen, the kids with a strong social network tend to stay in their little bubble of friendships throughout middle school, and emerge fairly unscathed.  You might be surprised to discover that your son is not the least bit interested in the "bad stuff", but will take full advantage of the opportunities available there.

On the other hand, he might be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities available at home.  Try it out, filling his days with lots of enrichment type activities that he wouldn't get in school.  Allow him to have a say in how his days and weeks are scheduled.  Involve him in selecting some of his curriculum, and choosing his electives.  Plan a monthly field trip that he can look forward to (plan several months in advance). Find out what after-school activities his friends are going to be doing, and sign him up for those.  Plan a vacation for September, when his friends are all "stuck" in the classroom.  Keep in mind that it will take about a month of "de-schooling" to adjust for every year he spent in school.  So, you need to give yourselves at least two months to get in the groove of homeschooling.  If, after the first semester at home, he is clearly miserable, and you find yourself angry all the time, and he's crying all the time, reassess.  

The good news is, whether you start him at home or in the public school, you can change your mind at any time.  

Don't do like I did.  Don't get stuck in your thinking. Trust your son.  Don't let him dictate, but listen to him.  Involve him.  You know him best.  And, you also know how the world works.  You want what's best for him.  You're a good mom (otherwise you wouldn't be concerned about this).  That love is what's going to have the most effect on your boy.

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6th grade? We, the parents, would be making the educational decision for him. I would not ask child what they thought about it or anything like that, I'd announce it to them. If they expressed concerns, etc, I'd ask what those concerns were and we'd discuss them. If it were things like, "I was looking forward to band and learning how to play XYZ instrument", I'd try to find lessons for him to learn to play. If it were things like missing friends, I'd make sure to join co-op and make regular plans for playdates (which I know are dependent upon others, but I'd certainly give this my all). If it were things like he would miss the lunches at school, I'd let him make his own lunches at home. 

And when we started homeschooling, I'd be sure to point out all the advantages, "Oh, look it is 10:30 and we are done. Let's go to the zoo. Could you do that in public school?"

If child were older, they would get some input.

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