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I'm struggling, but want to continue HS'ing (long)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
This will probably sound like what many other homeschooling parents go through, but this is incredibly hard for me to write because I'm a very private person who doesn't like to admit failure.

Right now, I'm struggling with whether HSing is truly a good fit for my family. I had been researching HSing since my oldest daughter was a baby and was so convinced that this was *it* for us. We even had a disastrous preschool/daycare experience that further bolstered my feelings that we, as a family, were meant to be homeschoolers. My self-confidence issues would get in the way from time to time, but overall, I was thrilled to take on this different path.

Then, my oldest daughter got to "school age". And I had a baby. And it's been an emotional roller coaster ride since last year, culminating in a very recent near breakdown the other day where I was ready to take my girls to the local school and enroll them IMMEDIATELY.

I truly feel that my older daughters might be missing out on something that I simply cannot give them. Sure, I can teach them all sorts of academic things -- we worked on our homemade volcano yesterday, did a good amount of reading and some phonics work, my oldest told me some math facts -- but my oldest child is one of those "different" kids, just like I was, just like my husband was (and we are "different" adults, too). My daughters enjoy playing with each other most, they ADORE each others' company. But they have very few friends, and they don't see those children regularly because of *my* inadequacies. Last night, I took my oldest to Daisy Scouts and it was clear she was clueless about group kid games. She was not phased, but my heart sunk, and I could almost feel how the other parents were seeing how she was not "properly socialized". My husband's answer -- just go play some Simon Says with the kids today, but I feel it's more than that. I feel as if, by keeping my kids home, I am keeping something from them and that in the end, they will come back and say, "why did you do this to us?"

In my heart, I don't want to give up homeschooling because deep down, I want this to work, I don't want to fail. I also don't want to fail my children. I've already failed them by not keeping up my self-confidence and staying indoors way too much. I have also failed at surrounding us with supportive people, as my MIL is on the fence about HSing, our town is not progressive and most people do some double-take when I mention we HS, and my own family doesn't take any type of role in our lives, period, let alone when it comes to HSing. I'm sure they chalk this up to "that weird thing Tia does", as they have done with other things I've done.

If you got this far, I sincerely appreciate it. If you have any insight to share, I'd appreciate it even more.
post #2 of 15
First off.. omg have I been there and done that! My boys are 6.5 and 4.5 (plus a 2yo to make sure we have the requisite insanity I have had a couple of complete meltdowns where I yelled at my dh that THAT'S IT! I'm putting them in school. Thankfully he talked sense to me and made me realize it was just a crappy few days. FWIW, I live in a pretty progressive city and still get that double take on occasion People here in aussie tend to think that only people that live out bush homeschool.

You didn't say where you live or give ages for your girls, but I'm SURE there has to be something in the way of a homeschool group you could hook into for that social time. I'm not even in the states, so I can't help, but hopefully one of the other mama's on here can!

I've spent the last 6months or so being almost a hermit, while homeschooling. (my mother died earlier this year and I just honestly didn't want to be around people) The kids & I have a day a week where we go out, but it was still just me & them (and the people that you meet in the neighborhood to steal a line from sesame st ). This term I have made the decision to push myself out of my comfort zone, because my kids deserve it.

Don't give up if you want to do this! Do a search of yahoogroups for hs groups in your area, find out if your state has a hs association that might have listings of groups, there have to be ways to find the supportive people you need.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Cari. I appreciate your reply.

The funny thing is that we aren't indoors *constantly*, just more than what I am starting to believe is normal for HSers. My daughters go to Sunday School every week, homeschool soccer, gymnastics (no HSers here except for us, AFAIK), and now my daughter does Daisy Scouts. I just signed them up for an art class at a local museum. We certainly see other people regularly, but deeper friendships have yet to form. I've tried to go to park days and meet-ups, but something always seems to come up -- illness, the baby's schedule throws me off, etc. It also doesn't help matters when my daughters go somewhere and decide to only play with each other instead of engaging with the other kids. I try to guide them into playing with others, but they just truly love each others' company the best. (Which is not a bad thing, but it would be nice if they branched out a bit...)
post #4 of 15
My boys are very much like that too, no matter who else is around, they will never be found far from each other They even insist on sleeping together.

They play with kids at the playground we visit every week, but like you said, that's an hour or two here & there and little chance of long lasting friendships I'd maybe even try an ad in a local paper (using a hotmail addy for all replies) to see if you can flush a couple of homeschooling families out of the woodwork.. I'm sure they are out there. If you find a couple, maybe between the mamas you can find an activity that lends itself to teamwork to get the kids interacting
post #5 of 15
How old are your children?

As far as feeling like your children don't know about games and other things when they get together with groups, why not try doing those things at home with them? My kids have been homeschooled some and were in a school for two years and now are homeschooling again. They know about some things and don't know about others, but for the most part they know about games. In fact, in our homeschool group we have recess each week and they play games in recess class that even "I" have never heard of. So it can certainly happen to the best of us.

Just do your best. You can't hit on everything. If your children go to a girl scout meeting and they are playing a new game or doing something new then consider that the best time for them to learn about it and move on from there! We all have to learn things at some point. That just happens to be their time to learn about it.

I really wouldn't sweat it. I know that's easier said than done but if you are determined to homeschool then don't let those little things pull you down. :
post #6 of 15

It's not the end of the world that your kids didn't know a group game, I'm sure they know or have experienced many things (i.e., close sibling relationship) that in school kids miss out on. I don't say that to minimize your feelings, just trying to offer a different perspective. My kids are oblivious to some pop-culture things that make them seem 'weird', but I try to explain to them how & why our path is a bit different, but also valuable. They don't often get to play group games, but when they do they are fast learners, so the gap that exists can dissappear quickly.

We are part of a hs group, and my kids do something with other hs'ers every day. Yesterday we were at co-op, and I came out to the playground at the end to fetch my kids. There were about 40 kids there, I scanned the playground for mine and couldn't find them anywhere...all three were off together in a corner of the playground, playing by themselves. So opportunitiy doesn't necessarily mean they'll take it.

It took us about 6 months of attending a weekly park day to feel like we connected enough with anyone to make friends. I second the advice to keep trying to find other hs'ers; also, sometimes it takes additional time outside of organized activities to make friends. Is there someone from scouts you could invite to play at a park before or after, or get a snack together?

And if you're dd is 'different' as you say, going to school might not be the easy answer it can seem to be. She will still be who she is, and school might make it harder for her to be herself. Hang in there, we've all had moments of panic that we're ruining our children no matter what we do, it just means we're trying to do what's best.
post #7 of 15
I also forgot to mention that I am part of a homeschool group that meets weekly for a couple of months each semester and classes are offered where the parents are the teachers in the class and we all take turns. There were families that were in our group a few weeks ago at the first meeting that suddenly disappeared. Now that I think about it I believe they are probably gone because of their children not knowing things that the other children new. One lady had two daughters in first and second grades that did not know how to play Duck Duck Goose and got ill when the other children kept hitting them on the head and they never came back after that first class. Another lady was the leader of the recess class and decided to put her two very young kids in school after only homeschooling for a couple of weeks.

I have to say that in the past I probably would have considered doing the same thing as those moms that were in my group because I can certainly see where they are coming from. But since my oldest is now a teenager I've started to just hang in there in most situations and move along with everyone else. I used to get embarrassed and let things affect me in the past to the point of hiding out and not going back to group functions, but in the last few months I've just started to change. Something just hit me I guess. I'm starting to see that other moms go through the same things with their children and I'm not the only one.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I didn't want to just leave the thread hanging...

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate them. I suppose I was in a bit of funk the other morning to post something so...personal. FWIW, we took a bit of a break from the formal schooling stuff, went to the museum and that seems to have refreshed me, thankfully.

Also, I know it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things that my daughter didn't know some games that the schooled kids knew. I really feel like I need to explain that I'm not that shallow to feel that's a deal breaker to homeschooling. However, it's more that I noticed one thing that I haven't given my daughter because we're home, and that short-lasting feeling that she was being excluded based upon her obvious lack of knowledge... It stung in the moment.

Anyway, thanks again for the responses.
post #9 of 15
I didn't think you were shallow, just that you wanted the very best for your child. And I think we've all had days where we feel like we have utterly failed at that. But this? You can 'fix' this
post #10 of 15

What you said in your original post stuck out to me though, about you and your dh being "different". Me too I was "weird". Not popular, not socially outgoing, liked to read better than talk to people, didn't have a lot of friends (until I took up drinking as a hobby briefly, - thankfully that didn't last long).

But school doesn't make you (for lack of a better word!) normal. Forced daily interaction with a set group of people just accentuates how, um, not-normal you are. I went from nursery school through four years of college and it didn't make me fit in, that's for sure. I enjoyed college because that's a place where it's a lot easier to let your freak flag fly But let's just say that the K-12 social scene didn't help me in any way.

Ironically, my always unschooled daughter is more socially adept and popular than I've ever been in my life. Weird But I do wonder how much of that she'd keep if she were in school with all the social rules and pressures there.

Ok, I'll stop rambling. One concrete suggestion though - have you tried just small playdates? I do better with them because of *my* social issues, but I've also noticed that even my social butterfly seems to get more out of small playdates with one or two other families rather than the big get togethers. The big gatherings are cool for seeing just how many homeschoolers are around, but they can be overwhelming.

And your kids are involved in way more social activities than mine are! Bridget is in Girl Scouts every other week (she's the only homeschooler) and we do a Roots & Shoots group once or twice a month, but otherwise, we're into just hanging out with friends. You know, that's another idea. Maybe try some playdates that are just playdates instead of organized activities? Do you think that might help?

But one more thing ( - I type too much ). Are your kids happy? Because if they are happy then that's all that matters : You can totally second guess any decision you make as a parent. Will they grow up and ask why you homeschooled them? Will they grow up and ask why you put them in school when they loved homeschooling? Will they grow up and, um, anything really! You just have to do what you think is right and if they are happy, then I think you're doing good
post #11 of 15
I, too, have days where I feel the same things!
I helps me to write a list of things I do like about HS- anything from my kids being more connected to each other, to them being able to drink water freely. Now that my daughter is 9- I ask her, too. It helps a lot.

I have those same questions in my head- Are they missing out? Are they going to ask me why on earth I choose this path, when they are adults?

I try to counter it with- Well, if they were in school they would be missing out of all this HS stuff! And they still could come back to me and say- Why on earth did you stick us in school!
I also try to remember that my kids are going to be FINE where ever they are, as long as my husband and I act loving and supportive, that in school or not, that is the thing that matters most to a kid. So, if I choose school one day- its less of a failure on my part, as a new road. (OK, this is hard for me to truly believe- but Im working at it!)

We do a lot of HS activities, but dont have a lot of friends. The thing that has helped the most with my kids feeling connected is playdates at home- theirs or ours. And yes, HS are so busy, that its ahrd to make tiem for that!
Also, its helped to send them to a nieghbor kids house for an afternoon- maybe in a babysitting trade off. I find afternoon playdates with school kids more negotiable on time.

Anyhow, take care!
post #12 of 15
I just wanted to add what others have already alluded to, that being "socialized" for school does not make you socialized for life. I would rather my children have strong attachments to one another, those are the people that they will have to depend on for their whole lives. It sounds like your girls are able to play fine with others, they may not know all the games and rules, but they are capable of learning and that is what is important. Take a look at the way the girls who go to school interact with older and younger children, their teachers, and other adults. In my experience the home schooled children I spend time with are more confident in their interaction with adults and more willing to play with older and younger children than their schooled counterparts.

I understand, we all have moments where our confidence falters, remember you know your children best, You are their best teacher.


post #13 of 15
Ok, I'm totally getting how you feel. This "school year" so far has been almost a total wash for us. Moving into our first house + me becoming ill + my acute hearing loss = crappy school year! LOL

This is going to sound so bad, but when I feel like I need to just put him back in school- and that's the way I say it to myself, like a last resort, although I know lots of people don't feel that way, you know what I do (this is bad):

: I lurk over in the Learning @ School forum, and read all the threads about testing, bullies, fundraisers, teachers, homework battles, scary bus drivers, morning rushes, etc.... and then I think, "Wow, no matter how bad we may be doing, I'm glad I don't have to deal with that!"

And then I find a way to make something a learning experience, "DS, you need to learn how to clean your toilet because you have bad aim. Home economics!"

"Honey, let's go bike riding. Phys ed!"

"We need to go food shopping. We have $X. How much can we get? Math!"

And then I feel all better.

Good luck, we know you can do it.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the new replies. BTW, Shannon, you rock.

Thankfully it's been a better week in terms of having that feeling of failure, and the subsequent feeling of 'maybe they'd do better in school'. I think I need to accept we don't have one particular method to homeschooling, so if I don't do 'school at home', it's cool, and if we do have some weeks where we opt to break out the books and be formal, that's cool, too. Not getting things done is a major factor in how I feel about HSing from week to week.

I had a few experiences in the past week that made me think, y'know, I really dig this HSing thing and it's workin' for us. First, I had a conversation with a friend who's son is currently in a private school, but she wants to pull him out and homeschool him because he is experiencing an abnormal amount of bullying. I was so flattered when she told me she felt I was someone she could get HSing advice and support from! Now, granted, we will differ WILDLY on how we go about HSing (we're too relaxed for her tastes), but it meant a lot that she could count on me as an ally -- so we must be projecting a decent picture to the world about how homeschoolers look.

Then, because my husband recently had some surgery and is taking a bit longer to recover than anticipated, we've been having a lot of family conversations about math, science, etc. No books have been brought out, no worksheets, no papers, just good family conversations where I've learned so much about my daughters and their abilities. These conversations certainly could NOT have happened if they were in school all day.

I still need to build my confidence as a parent -- a homeschooling parent -- but I'm so happy to say that this week is a better one. I've stepped back and realized, yes, my girls are happy. Thrilled all the time? Not necessarily, but overall they are happy children, and as many of you guys said, that's what's important.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
One more thing....

I, of all people, should know that school won't make you "normal". As I mentioned in my original post, my husband and I were, um, interesting people in school. DH was a loner by nature, then after he experienced a tragedy at age 10, he became even more of a loner, and many kids saw him as an oddball. We both were band geeks of the highest order, dressed not-so-trendy and marched to the beat of our own drummer. My husband is a HUGE proponent of homeschooling because of his own school experiences, because he saw from an early age how our oldest daughter was following in our social footsteps, and he wants her to be free to follow her desires without the teasing, without the stupidity that school can bring.

Sorry, I didn't have much of a point other than to say I should know better.
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