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HELP! Advice on Homeschool or Alternatives to Public School


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I am at complete witts end and don’t know what to do. My DD is a junior and she has struggled terribly with school and girl drama. I have tried to step back bc I wanted her to learn to deal with things and I’ve tried to help guide. I have failed miserably. My precious baby is at a breaking point with mean girls and jerks. Not to say she has been completely innocent…no kids is…and I have have never been one to say “not my kid”…but It is so far out of hand. A month ago she started therapy to deal with all of the bullying and her low self esteem and we saw a huge difference then last night she fell apart and said we had no idea what she went through everyday just making it through the day. She can’t even focus on school anymore and she was already struggling to catch up due to some medical issues she had when she was younger. At this point I’m thinking it would be better to pull her and look for alternate education avenues.

 

When COVID started we opted for online learning through the school that ended up being a nightmare. I can not express to you what a nightmare it was and we put her back in brick & mortar. Most people ended up doing the same bc it was so bad. I need some advice on what options are available and if it’s possible to do now or would it be better to wait until end of this school years. I don’t even know if I would be able to adequately homeschool her myself. I work 40+ hours and they do things so different than when I was in school. If anyone else has dealt with anything like this Id love some Motherly advice as well. I’m terrified of making a bad decision that could affect her future and I’m even more terrified of further damage to her emotionally and I feel maybe at this point it would be better to remove her from the situation as much as possible.

Edited by ANewMe
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ANewMe,  Perhaps my story will give you some insight though it started almost thirty years ago.  DH and I pulled our youngest son from school in sixth grade to homeschool him.  It was not, thankfully because of bullying but because he was failing most of his subjects. He was very popular with everyone including his teachers and the principal and it was a tough decision.  Like you I felt inadequate to be his teacher but I had several homeschooling friends I knew I could count on if I needed help.  The most important thing we did was to let him be part of the decision.  We told him we would not stand by and do nothing but that he had a choice of staying in school and having a tutor after school and in the summer until he caught up or homeschool.  He was not happy with either choice but chose homeschool.  We went in for a meeting with his teachers and principal and they agreed it was worth a try and if it did not work he could go back.  It was a small school and not only did they allow us to take his books but one of the teachers offered to be a consultant if we needed it.  
 

It really was not easy.  Our son was resentful and surly and by the end of the first week I was at my wits end.  Then one day, in a fit of frustration he blurted out, “You just want me to fail like everyone else!”.  It shocked me so I closed his books and said we were done for the day while I thought about what he’d said.  I had seen he was struggling and finally opted to have him tested to see where he was academically and we found he had missed learning some things he should have learned in second grade, not everything just bits and pieces of things here and there but enough he didn’t have a firm grasp of the fundamentals.  By the time we had pulled him he really believed he was stupid.  
 

I won’t go into all we did but I will say that one of our homeschool friend gave us valuable advise and that was to “unschool” him.  To stop believing in the public school way of him sitting at his desk for X numbers of hours and instead help him to “Learn to learn”. I was not fond of his school books because of their unchristian teachings, subtle though they were, (have you ever really looked at the books?)  and I used them only for the basics.  I thought long and hard about what our SON needed.  I thought of his welfare and his needs and realized that I loved him enough to want him to succeed not fail.  I knew we couldn’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.  I had to give up not only my preconceived notion of what ‘learning’ was but also my own fears.  He is now in his forties, has 7 kids, none of whom are homeschooled but would be if they chose.  He has a high paying job as a welder and can do anything he puts his mind to.  

 

Since that time I have helped homeschool two of our grandchildren through the first few years, both of which homeschooled their own children. One just started homeschooling their children, the other her children chose to go to public school just before the shutdowns came. She said the online schooling was a huge nightmare and that homeschooling was much easier.  She allows her kids, 10 years old and younger, the choice now as they have known both ways.  Her oldest has anxiety disorder and has therapy but has chosen public school because she knows she has her parents support at all times. Her Mom is not afraid to go to her help with the school to see her daughter is secure.  
 

I also helped homeschool a third grandchild from kindergarten to 12th grade.  His mother worked full time but homeschooled him after work and on weekends.  We divided his subjects from year to year and attended the local homeschool group so he had interaction with other kids. He learned differently from others and we let him. He is now 20 and still self learns whatever he wants. He loves the outdoors (as does our son) and has an $18 an hour job at a huge farm where his father has worked for over twenty years.  He is not just a farm hand, he is their ‘jack of all trade’ person. He can build and repair almost everything, including the computer operated tractors and other equipment. 

 

Your daughter is older than our son was and her circumstances are very different but your role is not different.  You love her.  You want her to succeed in life. You want what’s best for her.  Do not fall into the trap of ‘the public school knows best for your child’.  YOU know your child.  Put your own feelings of inadequacies aside.  Home schooling is not the same as public school from home.  You have control of the what and when and how. There is no rule that says she has to have school from 9-5 it can be from 5-9 and on Saturdays or Sundays. It IS work but you can adapt to her needs and yours.  There are homeschool curriculums you can buy that even come with online teachers if you need them.  So much more out there today for homeschoolers. If you can afford them there are teachers who will home school for you or teach subjects you don’t feel up to.  Look into home school groups in your area.  They will help you. And remember, homeschool is not the answer to every child.  
 

Whatever you do I strongly suggest that you let HER lead the way in this.  Talk with her therapist, talk with the school, but most of all, talk with her.  After the things she’s been through she needs to feel in control. Don’t give her free reign but give her options.  Then figure out ways to make them work.   
:bighug2: 
 

 

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I'm definitely NOT and expert on this, but...

Does your state require school districts to provide additional assistance/supports for students with your daughter's medical issue?

What has the school district done to alleviate the situation?

Not trying to be nosy, but what type of bullying are we talking about? Are kids making her feel unattractive, picking on her due to a perceived "difference" or specific incident?

 

In my state, there are lots of options for high school. There is the traditional  bricks and mortar option, there are online options that are outside of the districts control (online companies that provide the education). There are also other high schools that a child can be transferred to. Parental homeschooling is one option, but there are also homeschooling clubs based upon specific churches or "clubs" that support parents during homeschooling. In her last couple of years of high school, there may even be some options with your local community college. Some kids in my area complete their senior year on the college campus while working on an Associate's Degree. Some of these options may be available to you in your area.

 

 

 

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ANewMe,  I'm sorry your daughter is going through this.  :hug3:

 

I homeschool my DD.  She would be considered to be 2nd grade, and we've always homeschooled, always planned to, so I don't have advice in how it works with pulling your daughter out of public school.  

 

That said,  Mother's post is full of wisdom.  If you choose homeschooling, YOU can do this.  You won't mess up your daughter.  You're her mother and you love her and have a strong desire for good things for her that no one else in any school will ever, ever have for her. 

 

Look into the options you have.    I've heard that the "online" schooling people switched to during the lockdowns was AWFUL all around.    But that wasn't homeschooling.  

 

I don't know what the laws are in the state you live.   HSLDA has a very good website, though.   https://hslda.org/legal

They have a getting started homeschooling info  https://hslda.org/get-started

Your state probably has homeschooling groups with websites on the state level that help and support homeschoolers.

 

Here's some good info, too.  https://nickitruesdell.com/beginning-your-homeschool-journey-deschool-and-research/

People homeschool their kids in all different types of situations...parents who work full time, single parents, parents of special needs children.

 

 

For  non-homeschooling in my state, there are state cyber schools.  In my state, those are filled up and there are waiting lists.  Local school districts here hate them because they have to pay for it.   Most school districts in my state have their own cyber schools, too (cheaper for them that the students going to the state-run ones).    Again, you'd have to see your options for your state.  

 

I've been wanting to respond to your post all day, but it has been one of those days and  I've been very busy, but I've been praying for you and your DD even though I wan't able to sit here and type something out.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by out_of_the_ordinary
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Great reply, OOTO.  I had forgotten about the Home school Legal Defense website.  They have great info for each state.  I loved homeschooling.  

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So sorry your daughter is having such a rough time. I am currently homeschooling my youngest who is 10, but pulled my now 24 yr old son when he was a sophomore in HS because things were so bad for him he was severely depressed and wouldn't get out of bed. He now has his GED and is considering going back to school to go to community college. At one time or another i have homeschooled 4/5 of my children and regret not homeschooling the one I didn't although he has a college degree he suffered a lot in his younger years with learning difficulties. The good news is that yes you can homeschool if she is wanting to do that. HSLDA is a very important place to start to find out the laws in your state. I find the best place to start is where your daughter has interests, and build from that. She may need awhile just to decompress and heal. 

 

As far as curriculums go a lot will depend on her goals if she is looking to go to college you will want to focus on what classes she needs to advance for that, if she is interested you can even dual enroll at a community college and start building credits now. She may find less drama there as mixed with adults they won't be bullying her. And it will give her a taste of what she has to look forward to. You can usually find just about any textbook on Amazon or sometimes even at the library. Wishing you the best of luck with meeting her needs both academic and emotional. Being a teenager is hard all the time, extra hard right now with everything going on in the world!

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This came across my FB feed today.

------------------------------------------------------------

HSLDA 

When children are in a large classroom, they are locked into one learning timeline, but the beauty of homeschooling is the freedom to create a customized plan so that your child can speed up in some subjects and slow down in others.⁠⁠
 
Don't be afraid if your child is making some benchmarks but not others. However, if you do suspect a learning challenge, we have resources on special needs homeschooling including identifying a learning challenge, finding accommodations, and recordkeeping.
 
May be an image of text that says 'JUST BECAUSE YOUR CHILD ISN'T DOING THINGS ON AN ARBITRARY TIMELINE DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE "STRUGGLING." @yournaturallearner'
 
 
 
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1 hour ago, Midnightmom said:

This came across my FB feed today.

------------------------------------------------------------

HSLDA 

When children are in a large classroom, they are locked into one learning timeline, but the beauty of homeschooling is the freedom to create a customized plan so that your child can speed up in some subjects and slow down in others.⁠⁠

Yes!   There's no "behind" in homeschooling.   You meet the child where they are at.  

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Thank you all so much for the info and encouragement. It has been a rough few weeks. 
 

She came to me this weekend and she said she decided that she wanted to stick it out. She said her plan is to go to school…do her work and come home. She has no interest in any school activities…the junior parade….upcoming senior trip or anything. She just wants to do what she has to do to get out. I was told about Easy Peasy Homeschool Curriculum and I am looking at working with her at home using it as a guide to try to fill in the gaps where she did not retain info. It breaks my heart that she won’t participate in anything and I just pray she will find a few good friends who are in her class so she will participate and make good memories.

 

Again…from the bottom of my heart thank you for letting this Mama cry and vent

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:hug3:  Thank you for caring so much.  Many don’t care, or too busy to be bothered, & let the school be their teacher. Which, forgive me for saying, has much to be desired and a lot not to be.

 

My SIL pulled her two kids out of public schools.  Set a daily schedule for both, online curriculum.  Her daughter graduated with honors at 17 & finished 2 years of her college major the following year.  She’s now a manager at one job and an assistant manager at her 2nd job, has her own place & engaged.  She’s 18.  Their son, advanced his Jr. year into Sr. in one year, & is now taking his college classes. They let them advance, as much as they were willing to.

 

Forgive me, I don’t have children, but, after seeing what home schooling can be, I’m impressed.  Especially if the child is  willing to do the work.

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I hope that she is able to find someone to connect with even outside of school. It is hard being that age even when everything is going well. I'm sure once she gets out of high school things will improve for her. Look into some Meetup groups for activities she might enjoy with a more mixed age group and maybe she can make some connections there. Hugs I know it's hard to watch them go through this.:hug3:

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