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Nart

My kids miss their friends and physical activity.

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I pulled my 5th and 7th grade boys out of school to homeschool them in August. While they like being homeschooled and are really making progress learning Spanish (that has been our focus), they really miss their friends and physical activities at school. They liked going early to school and playing a pick-up game of basketball,  playing football at recess, playing kickball, running around, doing PE, etc. My older one was on sports teams at the school so misses competing for his school. They also miss the social aspect of school. While they can go outside and play basketball, or go to a skate park, or we can go to the beach and they can go for a run it isn't the same thing. They are on sports teams after school but it doesn't make up for missing all the physical activity during the day. 

I realized they would probably miss the social aspect but I didn't count on them missing all the physical activities they did. I am torn whether to put them back into school. They both now want to go back. We live in California so most days they spent a lot of time outdoors at school. Anyone else have kids that crave physical activities?

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With regards to physical activities--yes my kids need lots. We have trampolines and bikes and scooters and swings, and they take dance and karate and tumbling lessons. They get way more physical activity at home than they would be able to at school where they have to sit most of the day. It sounds to me though that what your kids are craving is not so much physical activity--which they could get outside of school--but maybe more specifically a sort of physical sicializing--activity within a group social context?

Whether yours should go back to school depends a lot on why you brought them home in the first place and whether their overall needs are better met at school or at home.

Edited by maize
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Incorporate breaks in your day with physical activity.
Find a homeschool support group with a weekly PE or Park day.
Start hanging out after school at the skateboarding park or basketball court where pick-up games happen.
Contact fellow homeschoolers or school friends and plan regular hikes, outings to a trampoline or rock climbing facility, airsoft/paintball session, 

Sign up for more physical activities, so your kids are busy 4-5 days a week:
- participate with local school in after school: track, cross country, sports team, 
- swim team, club sports
- NYS, US Youth Soccer, local YMCA sports, local Parks & Rec classes
- lessons: martial arts, fencing, dance, horseback riding, tennis, etc.
- community groups: officially organized fun runs, Orienteering, hiking, etc.

You might also look into things like community youth theater, Community Gardens, volunteering, after school bowling league, etc. -- those are not primarily about physical activity, but there is a lot of camaraderie and interaction, and a lot of time all physically busy and working together toward a joint goal that can fill the social needs.

 Filling social needs for homeschool students is a real need in the middle school, but especially in the high school year. Only you can decide if the reasons for homeschooling and the advantages and opportunities open to your family as homeschoolers outweigh the current disadvantage of having a harder time filling the physical activity and social needs. It might just be a matter of you looking harder for new options to fill the physical/social needs while you homeschool.

Edited by Lori D.

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My DS participated in a robotics league for 2 years with other homeschoolers. When most of the boys ages it the group evolved into a Nerf/game group, often at a local park. It is after school and although there is a cute group, it is open to anyone. Perhaps you all could start singing like that. Provide a basic snack for extra enticement? My DS organized building foam swords one week which they fought with the next week, and he has been talking about doing model rockets sometime, so it doesn't have to always be the same thing.

Especially if you are thinking about sending them back to b&m school, make sure you do some activities that are fun and only do-able because you homeschool. Partly because your time may be short, and partly to let homeschooling have a chance to really compete for their interest. Mid-week camping trip, writing unit on superhero portrayal in movies, foreign language practice with subtitles, late start time, science of explosions, something.

 

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My kid needs a lot of physical activity. I’m horribly lazy about it, so I’ve learned that this is an area that I need to actively schedule and/or outsource. Her physical activities currently include:

- 4.5 hours one day per week at a wilderness/primitive skills class, held outdoors regardless of weather

- 6-7 hours per week of classes at a parkour/aerials gym (that has a monthly fee that covers all classes, making it a bargain)

- 2 hours per week of martial arts

- 2 hours per week at homeschool hours at a skating rink

- 1 hour per week of a Stage Combat class

So, adding that up, 15 hours per week of physical activity, all with other kids. It’s a good bit of our homeschool budget, too. 

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Is there a way for them to get the most important thing or things that they are getting from your homeschooling while still attending school?  If so, I'd strongly consider putting them back in.  Another option might be to see if there are any homeschool groups or public school programs catering to homeschoolers that would offer a similar experience (even if it's only a few days per week).

Edited by EKS

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20 hours ago, maize said:

What was your motivation for homeschooling?

 

There were a few reasons. I wanted them to learn Spanish, so we concentrate on spending several hours a day doing that. Also one child wasn't being challenged at school and the younger one tended to do the least amount of work possible in school. Academically homeschooling is better. 

14 hours ago, Jackie said:

My kid needs a lot of physical activity. I’m horribly lazy about it, so I’ve learned that this is an area that I need to actively schedule and/or outsource. Her physical activities currently include:

- 4.5 hours one day per week at a wilderness/primitive skills class, held outdoors regardless of weather

- 6-7 hours per week of classes at a parkour/aerials gym (that has a monthly fee that covers all classes, making it a bargain)

- 2 hours per week of martial arts

- 2 hours per week at homeschool hours at a skating rink

- 1 hour per week of a Stage Combat class

So, adding that up, 15 hours per week of physical activity, all with other kids. It’s a good bit of our homeschool budget, too. 

This schedule is fantastic! 

I was going to enroll  them in a 3 1/2 hour wilderness class but they raised the price and then not enough kids enrolled in their age group. I got them memberships at an indoor trampoline and we would usually go 2 hours a week on Fridays. I signed them up for homeschool pre-swim team class but they were the only 2 kids enrolled. 

The oldest did 4 1/2 hours a week of soccer on a team. Now he is starting baseball. The youngest did 4 1/2 hours on a soccer team, 2 1/2 hours of tumbling, and 3 hours of basketball on a team. He just started baseball too. 

They also go outside and play basketball, ride scooters, walk the dog, etc. I work part-time so during those hours a Spanish teacher comes and I don't want them to enroll in activities when she comes over because the point is for them to learn Spanish with her. 

 

Edited by Nart

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Just curious, what is your motivation for them to learn Spanish with this particular tutor? Do you plan to move to a Spanish speaking country? Is Spanish a traditional language in your family? It just sounds like an awful lot of emphasis on Spanish for a 5th and 7th grader if it is just for exposure or to eventually fulfill a foreign language requirement for college.

It also sounds like they would like more emphasis on physical activity which, in my experience with raising 4 boys, they absolutely need a lot of physical activity to be happy and to be able to focus on other things. Without daily heavy physical activity, trying to get my boys to do books work was like trying to wrestle alligators. They didn't suddenly turn into docile little scholars once they had lots of physical activity, but they didn't fight it as much and they actually were able to learn and retain more of what they learned when they weren't itching to do something physical the whole time.

Sports and sports related stuff isn't the only way to get physical activity. Climbing trees, building things like forts and castles with sticks, branches rocks and cinder blocks, gardening, lifting weights, doing physically strenuous house or yard work, volunteering to help neighbors or family with home and yard maintenance that involves physical labor, offering their services for lawn and yard care around their neighborhood, riding bikes or going for a jog together around their neighborhood are all great ways for them to get the physical activity they seem to crave.

 

Edited by sweet2ndchance
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I just want to caution you, that it's normal to feel "school sick" like feeling homesick when you move. Parents want to hear that the new town is even better than the old one, but it takes a while to feel that way and grieve for the old town. My son loved school (which was part of the problem: who wouldn't love being told all day how smart you are and gossiping about YouTubers? Ugh) and his first year was very hard. He was constantly reminding me what he was missing and it was all the same stuff: soccer during recess, sitting with friends in the lunchroom, etc. He felt a part of that culture and now it's gone.

That was like a knife in my heart but it doesn't last. After the first year, he settled in. We have a great Friday group that does drop off classes in robotics, duct tape warfare, Lego challenges, etc and we got to know those kids. You do have to provide a new "culture" or "town" to replace the old one. 

It really pays to know why you decided to homeschool, and then stick to it. Kids get a lot of reassurance in knowing that it isn't their decision and that you will make these decisions in their best interest and they won't get to choose. It's frustrating at first, but it's worse for them if they think you aren't really in charge. Those boundaries give closure so they can move on to new fun memories.

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It takes time, but you'll to have to look for homeschool activities/sports teams that your kids can participate in.  And it really does take time.  When we first moved here, I think it took about a year before we found other homeschool activities.  Now, we are doing way too much.  My four oldest kids work at an equestrian center one day a week.  My oldest two are/were on a homeschool track & field team.  My oldest son plays competitive high school football (ugh) with a team that takes homeschoolers and private school kids (whose schools have no football team).  Middle two girls are in a dance company and take ballet.  Four year-old takes ballet and rotates between baseball and basketball.  We did a homeschool PE class one year.  My oldest three did Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts when they were little....Kid #3 did musical theater last year and is asking to go back to that next fall...  

You may need to look for a co-op, too.  Some kids need that.  

It just takes a while to find "stuff".    

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On 2/14/2020 at 1:11 PM, Emily ZL said:

I just want to caution you, that it's normal to feel "school sick" like feeling homesick when you move. Parents want to hear that the new town is even better than the old one, but it takes a while to feel that way and grieve for the old town. My son loved school (which was part of the problem: who wouldn't love being told all day how smart you are and gossiping about YouTubers? Ugh) and his first year was very hard. He was constantly reminding me what he was missing and it was all the same stuff: soccer during recess, sitting with friends in the lunchroom, etc. He felt a part of that culture and now it's gone.

That was like a knife in my heart but it doesn't last. After the first year, he settled in. We have a great Friday group that does drop off classes in robotics, duct tape warfare, Lego challenges, etc and we got to know those kids. You do have to provide a new "culture" or "town" to replace the old one. 

It really pays to know why you decided to homeschool, and then stick to it. Kids get a lot of reassurance in knowing that it isn't their decision and that you will make these decisions in their best interest and they won't get to choose. It's frustrating at first, but it's worse for them if they think you aren't really in charge. Those boundaries give closure so they can move on to new fun memories.

This.

Kids (and adults 😉 ) like to complain about something else other than what is really bothering them. Chances are, they are still adjusting to their new way of life and not really able to communicate why exactly they feel kind of out of place and so they latch onto the comforting rituals they used to have and say they miss those. They probably do miss them, but it's not the real problem. Most likely they just need time - and of course, plenty of physical exercise 🙂

 

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My kids sound really similar to yours.  They are 4th and 7th grade boys and we pulled them in December.

A few things that are working for us 

DH takes them out for at least an hour a day, sometimes separately and sometimes together, and does something intensely athletic. Not just head to the park, etc . . . but an hour of 1:1 basketball, or a long bike ride, or street hockey in the driveway.  We consider this "PE" and part of homeschooling, so 

I arrange their homeschool schedules so they are free when their friends are free.  Almost every day they get to school at dismissal and hang out on the playground with their friends, or play in the neighborhood.  

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Do you live near a skatepark? My kids who love activity just love going to the skatepark, and it is usually not crowded M-F. 

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On 2/14/2020 at 10:11 AM, Emily ZL said:

I just want to caution you, that it's normal to feel "school sick" like feeling homesick when you move. Parents want to hear that the new town is even better than the old one, but it takes a while to feel that way and grieve for the old town. My son loved school (which was part of the problem: who wouldn't love being told all day how smart you are and gossiping about YouTubers? Ugh) and his first year was very hard. He was constantly reminding me what he was missing and it was all the same stuff: soccer during recess, sitting with friends in the lunchroom, etc. He felt a part of that culture and now it's gone.

That was like a knife in my heart but it doesn't last. After the first year, he settled in. We have a great Friday group that does drop off classes in robotics, duct tape warfare, Lego challenges, etc and we got to know those kids. You do have to provide a new "culture" or "town" to replace the old one. 

It really pays to know why you decided to homeschool, and then stick to it. Kids get a lot of reassurance in knowing that it isn't their decision and that you will make these decisions in their best interest and they won't get to choose. It's frustrating at first, but it's worse for them if they think you aren't really in charge. Those boundaries give closure so they can move on to new fun memories.

Yes! You really just described what is going on. My oldest was constantly told that he was smart, a good student, etc. and he was a starter on the basketball team, so he really misses that feedback from teachers and peers. They both loved recess and PE and the silly stuff. They just really do miss that school culture. 

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On 2/13/2020 at 4:15 PM, SusanC said:

My DS participated in a robotics league for 2 years with other homeschoolers. When most of the boys ages it the group evolved into a Nerf/game group, often at a local park. It is after school and although there is a cute group, it is open to anyone. Perhaps you all could start singing like that. Provide a basic snack for extra enticement? My DS organized building foam swords one week which they fought with the next week, and he has been talking about doing model rockets sometime, so it doesn't have to always be the same thing.

Especially if you are thinking about sending them back to b&m school, make sure you do some activities that are fun and only do-able because you homeschool. Partly because your time may be short, and partly to let homeschooling have a chance to really compete for their interest. Mid-week camping trip, writing unit on superhero portrayal in movies, foreign language practice with subtitles, late start time, science of explosions, something.

 

I just started doing this. Even though we live relatively close to Disneyland and California Adventure, my kids haven't ever been interested in going (they keep thinking it is about Disney princesses). So we went a couple of weeks ago. They had  good time and it was fantastic that it wasn't so crowded because it was a Wed. and Thursday. 

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