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Are homeschooled kids really bullied any less than kids that go to school?

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 

One of my main reasons for homeschooling my son is my fear of bullying and the crappy, artificial social environment in schools.  I don't want him to be teased, or worry about if he's wearing the right clothes, or feel like he has to live up to the "cool" kids' expectations, etc.

 

But won't all this happen to him anyway, among his peers outside of school?  Right now he's 4 years old, and when he hangs out with his homeschooled friends, he is often excluded from play by the other (usually older) kids.  One of the boys he likes the most is always mean to him, excluding him, hitting him, telling him he can't play unless he follows this boy's rules.

 

Obviously he needs to interact with other kids, and sometimes they are going to bully him, so is he really going to be any better off by being homeschooled? 

post #2 of 95

When I was in school I had 8 hours a day 5 days a week in which there was the opportunity to be bullied.  And there was no choice about it.  I HAD to be there.  Was I bullied that entire time? Technically no.  But when I had a bully I feared her that entire time PLUS a heck of a lot more as I never stopped thinking about it so I CONSTANTLY felt bad.

 

So let's say there is a bully at the homeschool group or some other activity.  That activity will take place far less hours in a week than school does.  So I can't imagine the bully kid's behavior becoming an all consuming thought for my child.  And if it did, we have choices as homeschoolers and we can choose not to participate in the activity.  Poof!  Bully gone.

 

Plus since I'm normally readily available and often a part of the activities I might have more influence to positively remedy the situation before it gets out of hand.

 

Ok so it isn't always that simple I know but still.  There just isn't the kind of opportunity for bullying as there is in the school setting.

post #3 of 95

I just asked all four of my homeschooled kids and they said they don't remember ever being bullied while homeschooling.  They are 17, 17, 9, and 5.  The 9 and 5 year olds said that they felt bullied by the 17 year olds but that's because the older ones babysit a lot and are not as lenient as I am. ROTFLMAO.gif

post #4 of 95

I just asked my oldest kids (20,19 and 16)

 

They said the bullying was awful in public (in their case charter) school. They were never bullied as homeschoolers.

post #5 of 95

My kids (oldest in public school, and the middle two are homeschooling) have never really had any issue with bullying. DS1 got teased some in his preteen years, because of his long (almost waist length) hair, but it didn't really bother him, and didn't last long.

 

Speaking for myself....bullying in school was hell. I got hassled once in a blue moon by neighbourhood kids, but so what? I didn't have to spend time with them. Nobody was telling me to try harder to fit in. Nobody was saying, "you need to stop letting it bother you", and putting all the onus on me, while ignoring the behaviour of the bullies. All that happened in school, and I had no choice about spending time around these people...up to and including being put on projects where I had to work with people who would mutter "kibble and bits" (from a dog food commercial) at me under their breath.
 

That's my way of saying that I know there can be neighbourhood bullying, but I don't think it's quite the same dynamic. DS2 has that habit of wanting to spend time with older boys, who aren't always that nice to him...but he can come home any time, and not have to deal with them.

post #6 of 95

I can't remember my boys ever being truly bullied by another homeschooler. We've known some homeschooled kids who were not very nice....two, to be exact. And frankly, both of those boys were pulled out of public school to homeschool. One of them long since has returned to public school, and is pretty much a juvenile delinquent at this point. I dunno what happened to the other one, because we no longer live in the same state as he does.

 

But they weren't really bullies, the way I define bully. Bullies, to me, are people who target people to torment and also who try to recruit other tormentors. Someone who just won't play with you or who randomly says something rude or pushed you once isn't a bully, IMO.

 

Anyway, my kids had the option of not hanging out with the not-nice kids, so that's what we did. 

post #7 of 95

It seems like you homeschooling goals center around sheltering your child from the pain of social situations. My perspective, while homeschooling my own kids, is that these painful, social experiences can grow kids into stronger individuals. I want my children to experience some of this pain so that they can grow from it. Become more empathetic, compassionate with a stronger sense of self. This sounds very ideal but, out of the strong parental bonds created by homeschooling,  these ideals can be reached for. I fear more that my kids won't encounter painful social situations than that they will :)

post #8 of 95

I would have to say yes they are bullied less. This does not mean they never get bullied.

 

Yes, my children have been bullied by other homeschoolers!! But we parents stepped in and guided the children through the situations.

 

It is easy to help them cope when it does happen. My daughter had a group of hispanic girls refuse to look at her at the park. She is white :( The one hispanic girl that did was hit by her "friends" until the adults came in and started yelling at them.  They didn't know how mean they were being.  It actually happen several times at that park.  

 

My daughter has misformed ears.  She has been questioned and teased.  Again parents were able to step in and guide the situation. With role playing I was able to help work through how to handle both situations.  

 

In both situations, I could see what happen and give her what she needed to deal with the other people.  I also could give her a hug/emotional support through the bumps of life. 

 

post #9 of 95

I have been bullied by other home schooled moms, but my children have never been bullied by other home schoolers. The bullying in the public schools is constant and every day all day long, and interferes with learning and self esteem. 

 

I am suspecting part of the problem is that you are hanging out with older kids. At 4 yrs old, you should find a playgroup for his age, not home schooling. Then, when he hits school age (and I would even wait until 6 yrs old) then I would try the home school groups. Also, I would look for different groups. Maybe the one you found is just a bad seed. I have been to many groups and have never really seen bullying going on amongst home schoolers. However, I have seen some home school moms who can be bullies, but they seem to attack other moms, not the kids.

post #10 of 95

Also, one of the benefits of home schooling, as one of the other people stated, is that you are there and can step in to teach a child how to handle a situation and how to socialize and such. In a public school, they are just thrown in the water with no guidance. Someone becomes the alpha dog and someone becomes the victim. Large schools are generally a bully or be bullied environment.

post #11 of 95
I can't imagine how this wouldn't be true for the vast majority of homeschooled kids.

That doesn't mean we never run into any problems. We avoid school and day camp groups at the park, etc, because their behavior is unbelievable. This is the stuff the parents never see and the teachers/camp leaders act as if they are on their break. I think most of those kids are a lot better behaved when they aren't with the group because my son has played with plenty of nice kids who aren't home schooled. We also run across violent kids too sometimes. It seems to be kind of bad where we live, but I've heard worse about other areas of Switzerland. I can only imagine how school here would be for him.

My son has experienced a bit of teasing and has definitely been told "No" when asked to play (I've told him to not bother asking kids who are already playing with someone because they are really exclusionary here). He's also been physically assaulted by kids who invariably say "He was bothering me/us" when I intervene. I guess they either aren't used to an adult who watches and actually knows what's going on and/or adults just accept that reason and figure everyone is at fault.

However, these unpleasant episodes are rare and don't have the devastating effects of a bullying situation. There are very few homeschoolers where we live but when we have met up it's been great.
post #12 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post At 4 yrs old, you should find a playgroup for his age, not home schooling. Then, when he hits school age (and I would even wait until 6 yrs old) then I would try the home school groups.

Why? While I don't discount that her son may be be excluded by older kids who are interested in playing different games/differently I don't think either she nor he should have to wait until after he turns "school age" to start making connections in the homeschool community. DD is 4.5 and since we moved to this area when she was 2.5 homeschool groups have been our main social outlet. Where I live it's really unusual for a child who is going to school not to start preschool or a pre-K programme between 3 & 4 if they aren't already in care before that so for us homeschool groups are the only playgroups for DD's age.
 

post #13 of 95

My dd (10) hasn't had an issue with bullies.

I don't think bullies are confined to school buildings. As homeschoolers we have much more freedom in who we interact with and how we handle those interactions though so I would expect accounts of bullying to be much less than at school bullying.

post #14 of 95

I was homeschooled and was rarely bullied. Even in my high school years when I was at my most bipolar, street preaching obnoxious, I wasn't bullied. Every single public and private school kid I knew was being bullied (one girl's family was even having to file lawsuits for sexual harassment when she was age 14), but I wasn't. My lifestyle was envied. I was free to be anti-conformist, free spirited and true to myself. I was allowed to let my eccentricities run wild, so long as I never made permanent marks on my body like tattoos or piercing until I turned 18. Being myself was easily the most valuable lesson I received.

 

If you do homeschool, please let your kid be himself!! Here's a picture of me in high school to give you an idea of how I was allowed to grow up: http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z203/lofnmusic/DSC04844.jpg

 

I looked like that, and grew up intelligent and confident and full of hope and passion. I wouldn't change my life for anything in the world.

post #15 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

I have been bullied by other home schooled moms, but my children have never been bullied by other home schoolers. The bullying in the public schools is constant and every day all day long, and interferes with learning and self esteem. 

 

I am suspecting part of the problem is that you are hanging out with older kids. At 4 yrs old, you should find a playgroup for his age, not home schooling. Then, when he hits school age (and I would even wait until 6 yrs old) then I would try the home school groups. Also, I would look for different groups. Maybe the one you found is just a bad seed. I have been to many groups and have never really seen bullying going on amongst home schoolers. However, I have seen some home school moms who can be bullies, but they seem to attack other moms, not the kids.


I have not been bullied by other homeschool moms, but a friend of mine has. There is a newish, large homeschool group in the area, and she AND her daughter were bullied in it....and she was one of the co-founders! They don't participate with that group anymore.

 

I don't think it's unusual for parents of younger children to hook up with homeschooling groups. Like-minded people, and all that. Homeschoolers are used to associating with people of all ages. Are you saying that if someone takes their 7yo to a homeschool playdate, they should leave 7yo's 3yo sister at home or find a different group for that child? I've never seen that.

post #16 of 95

I've encountered a few bullying situations with both younger kids and teens in the homeschool community over the past few years. The way I see it, part of a child's learning is exploring power and social roles and dynamics. Every child makes mistakes as part of their learning process and bullying falls into one of those mistakes. The main difference for me is the increased supervision and sense of community that homeschoolers can offer, which can make such a critical difference in how bullying is handled. When I was teaching in public schools, there was a legitimate and well-intentioned push to provide students with the tools to handle bullying and the adult supervision to help stop it. However, with 600 students to less than 100 school personnel, that simply wasn't possible. In the homeschool community, there's a closer ratio and usually a more tuned-in adult presence. The tools we give them are often the same, but we can offer more presence and support simply because of logistics and size.

post #17 of 95


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama369 View Post

I've encountered a few bullying situations with both younger kids and teens in the homeschool community over the past few years. .


 

We homeschooled for years, and now my kids are in school. I saw bullying in homeschool groups, and I saw parents ignore it. Because no one was in charge, there wasn't an authority who could step in and deal with it. It was really up to the parent of bully, which, for the most part, was a bit of a joke. So the parent of the bullied child can stay home and isolate their child, or put up with bullying. Those are both, IMHO, crappy options.

 

At school, even public school, there is a neutral party to ATTEMPT to deal with the situation.

 

I think bullying can happen more hours a week at school than in a homeschool group, but it happens both places.

 

The best situation for our kids has been a private alternative school, where the staff really stay on top of things. They work with the kids, but will eventual require a child leave the school if they continue in bullying behavior.

 

We found it's better when its NOT just the parents getting decide what the rules and consequences are for their kids. Parents have very different ideas about what is OK.

post #18 of 95

Bullying can happen anywhere.  It can happen when the kids are playing with the neighbor kids.  It can happen at the Girl Scout meeting.  It can happen at baseball practice.  It can happen at any class you take your child too, and it can even happen at home on the computer, in the from of cyber bullying.  The more opportunities you give your child to be with other children, the more likely they are to be bullied.  When you homeschool, the biggest opportunity to be bullied-40 hours a week with lots and lots of children-is removed.  Of course the homeschooled child is less likely to be bullied than those who are in school.  There is less opportunity.  But that doesn't mean there is no opportunity.  IMO, the only way to completely avoid any chance for your kids ot be bullied, is to keep your kids home with you all the time, which isn't healthy.

 

Learning to deal with bullies is an important skill I think.  Even adults are bullied on occasion.  We teach our kids all sorts of things as kids so that they can better handle those things as an adult, and I think that how to deal with bullies is one of those things that we should be teaching our kids.

post #19 of 95

My son (8 years old) was bullied by other homeschooled kids when he was 5. A girl twice his age organized a group in the homeschool PE class, simply to gang up on him and tease him. We left the class, and just started back up again. The kids who caused my son problems aren't there anymore. 

 

My son has been bullied by older neighborhood kids. There's one kid who leads a group of middle schoolers, and they pick on the kids who are different. He's violent, and has had the cops called on him for his bullying before. One of neighbor kids actually got a school transfer because of him. My son has been taught to avoid him, and only go to the end of the street with a friend. He has still gotten into altercations with the kid, but they've lessened since the kid (and his parents) realized that are involved parents and won't back down.

 

My son has high-functioning autism. It doesn't take long to notice that he's different from other kids his age. With homeschool groups and playing in the neighborhood, he has the options of turning to me for help, and of leaving the situation. He wouldn't have that in school. He would have no escape in school. Since one of his friend's was bullied in school and on the bus and at the bus stop by the mean kid at the end of the street, and the school didn't deal with it effectively - over a period of YEARS, I have no reason to believe that my son would be safe in school. 

 

My son has numerous opportunities to navigate difficult social situations. I have been by his side to assist with that for many years. He has also taken Social Skills classes to help him. While his temper sometimes still gets the best of him, he has learned a lot about how to ignore and walk away from mean kids. If he was in school, he wouldn't have had the kind of intense one-on-one education about dealing with those situations, and would probably be bullied more by kids who found his reactions amusing and easy to make fun of. I can't imagine that his self-esteem would remain intact. And I'd have to worry much more about his bodily safety.

post #20 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

I would have to say yes they are bullied less. This does not mean they never get bullied.

 

Yes, my children have been bullied by other homeschoolers!! But we parents stepped in and guided the children through the situations.....

 

In both situations, I could see what happen and give her what she needed to deal with the other people.  I also could give her a hug/emotional support through the bumps of life. 

 


 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaCrystal View Post

When I was in school I had 8 hours a day 5 days a week in which there was the opportunity to be bullied.  And there was no choice about it.  I HAD to be there.  Was I bullied that entire time? Technically no.  But when I had a bully I feared her that entire time PLUS a heck of a lot more as I never stopped thinking about it so I CONSTANTLY felt bad.

 

So let's say there is a bully at the homeschool group or some other activity.  That activity will take place far less hours in a week than school does.  So I can't imagine the bully kid's behavior becoming an all consuming thought for my child.  And if it did, we have choices as homeschoolers and we can choose not to participate in the activity.  Poof!  Bully gone.


Yes to both of the above.

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