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debating about sending 1 child back to school


caedmyn
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DD13 really, really wants to go back to school next year.  She attended the small Christian school that our church runs from K-2nd grade.  All the other kids in our smallish church attend the school, and she thinks she will be more accepted and have more friends if she goes too.  She also feels out-of-place at youth group and other church-related events because she is homeschooled, and she feels that the other kids her age and older ignore her and wouldn't if she went to school.  She is a very social child.  I'm not sure how much her going to school would actually improve things for her socially.  She's a bit awkward and immature for her age and typically has friends a year or two or three younger than her.  She's the youngest at youth group by almost a year which probably doesn't help.  I think she would be more accepted to a certain extent, and feel less out-of-place, but she's probably not going to have more friends because she goes to the school.  She's already friends with the girls at chirch who are a little younger than her, and has never really been friends with most of the girls a year or two older, even when she went to the school.

Her going to school would also be a huge change for all of us.  I would have to rush around getting my 5 younger kids ready and loaded up to pick her up every day (and being on time is a big struggle for me). She would have to get up by 6 am every day (instead of 7:15ish).  I would probably have to get up at 6 to get get up and ready (instead of 6:30-6:45 on average), and I already struggle with getting to bed at a decent time and getting enough sleep. She would have to adjust to having probably an hour or more of homework a day.  I would not be willing to send her to school unless DH is willing to commit to taking her in the mornings, and he is usually not an early riser (self-employed so he sets his own schedule). The middle school/high school teacher can be critical and is very much a "mental toughness is everything" type of person, and DD is mostly likely mildly dyslexic (reads well except for long/unfamiliar words, ok speller, terrible at attention to detail).  I know another family with dyslexic kids who pulled them out of a similar school near high school age, and the mom said that the kids just needed to succeed.  I'm not sure how well DD would succeed in this school.  She would probably be a C student and struggle some but it wouldn't be insurmountably difficult.

It seems like the list of cons is far longer than the pros of her going to school.  But how much is her feeling like she fits in and feeling more accepted worth?  I just don't know.  She doesn't feel accepted here either due to often obnoxious younger brothers and being the only girl.  I'm only considering this school, not public school.  

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IME, most teen/tween girls struggle with feeling accepted no matter where they go to school. I'm not saying she should or should not go to this school, just that going is not going to solve her issue of not feeling accepted.

I would definitely talk with her and explore her desires to go with her so that she feels heard and let her know that you take her concerns seriously. But I would be leery about sending a 13 year old kid to school just because they think they'll have more friends there. Middle schoolers are not typically well known for their acceptance and trouble free friendships 😉

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Social life is significant. I’d give it double weight as evaluation is made.

And see what perhaps she herself could do to help mornings—get herself up, make her own breakfast and lunch, for example.

It may still be too hard for your family.

 

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I'd have her start practicing now. The getting up early, making her own breakfast, lunch, etc. I might have her do school all the time she would be in school and have her do an hour of homework every night - just so she understands what she will have to do. 

I'd sit down and make a list of pros and cons with her and Dad. We'd all add to the list. 

And then we'd start thinking about it. This is the age that I let my kids have much more say in whether they wanted to go to a traditional school. 

Meanwhile, I'd try to find some social outlet for her to see if we could satisfy that need/desire. Maybe a local co-op? Maybe an extracurricular activity? 

Edited by Bambam
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I'd wait and try to find a homeschool group. If she is socially immature, help her with that. Does she read body lang well? Does she know how to enter an existing group? As far as youth group, if it is multiage, she won't be the youngest next year, and her younger friends will soon be a part of it. 

Middle school is an awful time, imo, to start at school. Let her have another year at home, support her in her interactions with her obnoxious brothers (don't tolerate it), and encourage her to look elsewhere for groups that would be happy to have her--I'm thinking volunteering of some sort--something bigger than herself. Give her a larger vision. 

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We sent our oldest to school at 15, and social was the only reason why.  It was not healthy for my child to not have in-person friends.  He lost his crew when we moved and the new area didn't accept him as well (homeschoolers were different there).  My very social child was becoming very introverted and sad.  He had his choice of schools, ultimately picked the extremely small one near our house, and thrived there with loving, demanding teachers and kids from a variety of backgrounds.

I don't know what is the right decision for you.  But I do think that some of the limiting factors you listed are not ones that should be in consideration: if you have trouble being on time, then you need to find strategies to help.  If you decide what is right for your kids based on that, they may miss out on a lot, especially life lessons to help them through adulthood.

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10 hours ago, Bambam said:

I'd have her start practicing now. The getting up early, making her own breakfast, lunch, etc. I might have her do school all the time she would be in school and have her do an hour of homework every night - just so she understands what she will have to do. 

I'd sit down and make a list of pros and cons with her and Dad. We'd all add to the list. 

And then we'd start thinking about it. This is the age that I let my kids have much more say in whether they wanted to go to a traditional school. 

Meanwhile, I'd try to find some social outlet for her to see if we could satisfy that need/desire. Maybe a local co-op? Maybe an extracurricular activity? 

We are trying to decide what to do with the boys for high school.  Decision needs to be soon if we decide on PS.  Anyway, for a couple of weeks this month, they are going to get up at 6  am on weekdays, start school at 7:20, work until 2:20 when school would let out (with some breaks between subjects and for a short lunch), and then I will add for getting home and some time for homework (maybe they will just be reading a book, but they will not be playing a video game LOL), and they swim year round so practice 3 of these nights.  They will need to go to bed earlier too.  My DH works from home and we are usually up early everyday, but we are very used to our flow of the school day, not rushing all the time, eating lunch together, etc.  I think it will be good for all us to try that for a bit and see how we feel.  If I could, I would take them out of the house to the library for the whole day, but they aren't open at 7:20 am!

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What are your reasons for only considering this school?

I'm concerned about a strict/harsh sounding teacher. My 11 year old with dyslexia and anxiety is in school for the first time this year, it has worked because her teacher is incredibly supportive and encouraging. There is no way I would send that child to a class every day with an unsympathetic teacher.

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If all of the friends from your church go to the same school, would it be possible to set up a carpool arrangement for school?  If the smallest are not able to stay home by themselves, would it be possible for you to drive her to school in the mornings while DH stays home with the little kids and then DH pick her up in the afternoon since he is self-employed?  I the major con is driving/getting up early, it seems that those could be easily addressed.  If she really wants to go to school, I would stress that she will need to be in charge of getting up, getting her own breakfast, and getting ready.  

How much do you know about the middle school teacher?  Is there only one teacher for middle school and high school?  Does your daughter know this teacher?  If so, how do they seem to get along.  I would not get too concerned about one family that pulled their kids out of a similar school (If I read you post correctly that was a different school with a different teacher); talking to them may provide helpful insights into things to watch for or questions to ask, but each student, school, teacher combination is unique.  I know as many people who had children with dyslexia that found their children did better in a classroom environment than the did at home as I know parents who pulled their kids out of school and found their kids did better.  

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When our daughter was first grade-ish we foresaw similar problems and had already noticed that all the Sunday school kids also went to school at the church’s school. DD was having a really hard time make friends with them. We ended up finding a new church family specifically without a school and have been very happy with that decision. 

Edited by three4me
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13 hours ago, caedmyn said:

All the other kids in our smallish church attend the school, and she thinks she will be more accepted and have more friends if she goes too.  She also feels out-of-place at youth group and other church-related events because she is homeschooled, and she feels that the other kids her age and older ignore her and wouldn't if she went to school. 

Might be easier to change churches. If they're that cliquesh, they'll probably still be like that when she goes to the school.

13 hours ago, caedmyn said:

she's probably not going to have more friends because she goes to the school.

I would trust your mom gut on this. TRUST YOUR MOM GUT. You're probably assessing this correctly.

13 hours ago, caedmyn said:

She's a bit awkward and immature for her age...

What about looking into a social skills group for her? You don't have to make the decision on the school exactly right now. You could do a social skills group or do some private social thinking intervention (with a psych, SLP, someone trained) and then see where she's at. Maybe some counseling and social thinking intervention would help her realize why she's having trouble and she could improve the dynamic. 

ADHD is 60% comorbid in dyslexia and there's often/usually a social delay involved of 1-3 years. https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Social Thinking Social Communication Profile  Here's an article to get you started.

13 hours ago, caedmyn said:

The middle school/high school teacher can be critical and is very much a "mental toughness is everything" type of person, and DD is mostly likely mildly dyslexic (reads well except for long/unfamiliar words, ok speller, terrible at attention to detail).

Ok, here's the thing. She's not yet doing the work that is going to make her dyslexia hit the fan. What happens if you put her in there and she's NOT holding Cs even? So then she's depressed and friendless and getting behind further? That cs is not set up probably to do an IEP or any kind of intervention. Typically they're telling you psych evals will send your kid to hell, ADHD is a sinful behavior problem, and that "we can do all things" if we just pray hard enough. This is not compatible with a person with a disability who needs tech, supports, EF assistance, writing assistance, etc.

Personally, I would send the boys to the cs and have her home a year to yourself to cook, read together, and do all sorts of girlish stuff. Take field trips, have girls over, get active in a co-op. You've taken your younger boys through so much Barton they could go in a cs for a year and be fine.

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