I'm so scared and really could use some advice- so sorry this is long - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 12-28-2010, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have two daughters, ages 14 and 16 and live in WY.  I've never really considered home-schooling (possibly unschooling) until probably the last couple years or so.  

 

My 14 yr. has been bullied over the years, and picked on terribly due to the fact that she is a bit smaller than most of the girls her age, and less developed (physically, not mentally- she's just not as curvy or busty yet and she's very slim).  It's been very hard for her to deal with emotionally and the school doesn't seem to be willing to do much about it if they aren't witness to it. I know that some people think that kids should just learn to deal with it because then they will be better able to handle life as an adult.  I don't agree.  I think it is very damaging to their fragile self-esteem at such a young age- and is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.  As adults we have legal options to deal with bullies if things get out of hand.  Anyway, to get to the point, she has been begging to be home-schooled.  She gets mainly A's and B's, and the occasional lower grade.  But it is an emotional struggle daily and she hates going.  Dreads it to the point of feeling sick.

 

My 16 yr. got caught up with a not-so-nice crowd right before her freshman year in h.s. and the whole last year and a half was hell for our family.  We have always had a close relationship with the kids, so this was especially painful.  She managed to pull herself away from that crowd this last summer, and get her life straightened out and we are so proud of her.  She works part-time, and gets straight A's.  She's very self-directed and on top of things.  Due to the poor choices she made last year, she has developed a reputation, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't get past it.  She wants to be home-schooled also- she hates school with a passion.  She gets so stressed out near test times, and actually gets depressed.  I'm so afraid if things don't change for her she might resort to doing things to hurt herself like she did in the past.  I'm not sure that she's emotionally strong enough yet to work through this all rationally- she's still trying to heal and forgive herself.  She's worked so hard to get where she is today, and the kids at school work their hardest to tear her down.  She has some new friends, and enjoys her art classes and Spanish, which I'd want her to still take, but the rest she is bored with.

 

My fears come from the fact that I didn't try hard enough in school (I could have done well if I would have applied myself), and don't really remember much from my h.s. classes.  I'm worried that I won't be able to handle being their "teacher".  I know my older daughter is very independent, and would very likely do well on her own with her studies, but I worry about giving my youngest a quality education.  Are there any of you that home-school/un-school that didn't do well in class, but are successful  with directing your kids??  My family is telling me that they think it's important for my girls to be social, but all the things I am hearing from both of them about their "socializing" make me believe I don't want them to do it with kids at school.  My oldest has friends, and works, so she sees friends there.  She also wants to continue with her Spanish, Pottery and Art classes at the h.s.  My youngest would like to continue with Choir and maybe another elective and do the rest at home.

 

I just can't stand to see them so unhappy.  They are eager learners when things are interesting to them.  They really want to try things a different way- their faces light up just thinking about it.  We are not a conventional type of family, but of course we have been told all our lives that this is the way we should do things.  So of course it's scary going against the tide.  And considering my daughters are both pretty smart kids, I don't want to mess up their education and futures.

 

So I'm wondering, are these the wrong reasons to consider home-schooling- or the right ones?  And is it possible for me to make it work and be successful considering I didn't do so well myself?  Thank you in advance for any advice you could give me, I'd really appreciate it.

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#2 of 19 Old 12-28-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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Both of my brothers were bullied relentlessly in school and my mother pulled them when they were 12 and 13.  She also didn't remember much from HS and never went to college.  She's smart, but couldn't really "teach" high school boys.  Luckily there are a lot of options out there for older kids.  A lot of school districts have a homeschool curriculum for these purposes.  You may have ot buy or rent books, but my mom didn't have to. There are also correspondences courses (my husband finished school that way).  Good luck! 

 

Also, no idea if this is something you all want to think about- I left school when I was 16 and got my GED.  I was very smart, but hated school.  I "dropped out" in February and was enrolled in community college by May. i finished school by 19 and was off and running! I was a lot like you how you described your 16 yo.  

 


Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#3 of 19 Old 12-28-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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I think these are the "right" reasons for homeschooling, especially if you are in a position to do so and your kids want to homeschool. You can act more as a facilitator than as a teacher and just help them find the information and resources they need.

 

We started out as homeschoolers. My DD is 7 now and we tried an alternative school last year. She was bullied by two sisters there and it manifested in behavior issues and depression. We are back to homeschooling now and she is so much happier!

 

FWIW, I did fine in high school (in MT) but didn't really learn all that much unless I was interested in the material anyway. If it was something I wasn't into, I learned the info to ace most of the tests and then forgot it all the next week. I've learned so much more being out of school. After I graduated, I met someone while traveling back East and found out that she'd dropped out, got her GED and started college. All I could think was "why didn't I think of that!?"

 

There are tons of good resources here and a few moms of high school and grown kids who unschooled and/or homeschooled. Good luck with your decision.


I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#4 of 19 Old 12-29-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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   I don't think there is anything more important than your child's health and happiness. They want to be home with you- so that is a huge plus. They are old enough to have some say, I would think. There are so many ways to help them with their education. Book learning is just one facet. You can expose them to many experiences and search for curriculum that would be a good match for them. My only concern would be finding out for sure that they could continue with the parts of the school that they want to, in case that's a deal breaker for them. Not all school systems cooperate with that. They are lucky to have a Mom who is thinking of their whole self. Addressing the needs of the whole child is only going to help you all, I would think. Good luck with your decision!

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#5 of 19 Old 12-29-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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I took my ds 14 out just for this year because he was both bored and not caring, and he found the social atmosphere rather oppressive.  I was really ambivalent because I work three days per week and I knew I would not be able to give him the attention that he would need for a really rich school year.  I wrote down all of my concerns in the form of questions on white board in our office (next to kitchen).  Over a few weeks we discussed and wrote down answers to the questions as we could, and then did a three-week trial run, discussing with dh how the trial went.  Ds wrote down what we had agreed to together and it's posted in our kitchen.  I am so grateful that we are homeschooling this year.

 

Ds is different than your girls in that he is not overly motivated to challenge himself.  I think your girls will do great as homeschoolers and you will love it, but talk about it a lot first - get down your concerns and theirs, and talk them out, and write down some conclusions.

 

One of my biggest concerns was time, mine.  Ds agreed to do up to two hours of chores per day (rarely do I ask for more than an hour's worth, unless you count walking the dog, which is a daily responsibility) so that I would have time to work with him on the days I'm home.  He is now my go-to guy.  Other difficult stuff has happened this year and if ds wasn't doing all of those chores... put it this way, I love to go over his math and writing with him, and I love to come home to the dishwasher empty, sink scrubbed, living room vacumed and garbage out.  It's been a win-win.

 

Bottom line, if your kids want to learn at home, work together to figure out what you each will need to make it work.  We are having a lot of fun, and I mostly feel fine as long as he's done some writing, math, reading, and music each day.  That takes him about 2.5 hours and the rest of his time - besides chores - is pretty much his choice.  (Video games are limited to the amount of time he has done chores or exercised already that day.)  His grandpa takes him on outings most weekends, and we sometimes join other homeschoolers for special one-time classes, so he does get some enrichment.  His next "project" is going to be getting the dog certified as a therapy dog.

 

I admit that it's not the most enriched school day, but that's us.  I trust that, at least for this year, it is enough.  You're kids will have more enrichment at their school, and if there are any active hs groups in your area, they will have opportunities to make new friends as well.

 

Good luck.

 

-Dancy

 

p.s. we're using Teaching Textbooks for math.  It's easy for him to teach himself with this program, although he almost never watches the dvds!

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#6 of 19 Old 12-30-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Welcome to MDC from a fellow WY mom.  smile.gif  My girls are younger than yours though!  wink1.gif  So I don't have the experience of high school homeschooling.  I can say, though, that while I never thought I'd be homeschooling little kids, I FULLY anticipated homeschooling middle school/high school aged girls for the reasons you describe (and more). 

 

Depending on where you live, there is likely to be an active homeschooling group.  Whether your beliefs/priorities mesh with the group will be up to you to decide - but it's worth checking out.  And if the school will work with you to allow the girls to take some coursework there and the rest homeschooled, that would be great.  They may not want to work with you though (Have you read Guterson's book on homeschooling?  He describes this sort of arrangement). 

 

We are kind of 'hybrids.'  We school at home, and if we were paying out of pocket for the program, we'd be 'homeschoolers,' but we are enrolled in the k12 virtual academy public school - have been for two years now and really like it.  If you are feeling worried or intimidated, it might be worth checking it out and seeing whether that might be something that you want to do as a segue to full-on homeschooling.  There was a family with an 8th grader at our k12 picnic last spring and they were saying that the math etc. was about 2 years ahead of what his classmates were doing at school (Buffalo, which is a good school).  They really liked it and he found it challenging.  We started k12 as an easy (free) way for us to do school with dd1 while I researched which curriculum etc. we wanted to use as traditional homeschoolers.  And have liked it enough to stay with it (I don't know whether we'll keep on with it for much longer, we'll see -- it does still participate in the PAWS tests so I dislike that although we won't have to deal with it 'til she's in 3rd grade). 

 

If you live near one of the community colleges, I think the option of your 16 year old getting her GED and then taking classes at the community college is a really good option.  Especially if she is mature for her age (emotionally/intellectually), she would probably find this a good option.  I do agree especially in her case, that it would be  great for her to get away from the expectations and pressures being placed upon her based on her past mistakes. 

 

(BTW if you haven't found it yet, there's a Wyoming thread in the "Finding Your Tribe" forum - stop in and introduce yourself!  There aren't a lot of us, but it's nice to know where we're from.)


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#7 of 19 Old 12-31-2010, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so very much for your advice!!!!  I appreciate it more than you could know, and I have decided to go forward with the home-schooling.  Elenorh- I am in Lander, and the k12 program sounds like it would be what we would be looking for right now.  My oldest daughter says she knows a few girls in the h.s. that are doing that program, and then they come in for art classes at the h.s. too.  I agree that my daughter could probably get through her high-school classes very quickly, get a GED and head to our community college.  She's very bright, above average, and needs to be challenged a bit more than she is.  And I definitely do not like the socialization she is getting in school- for either of the girls.  :(  If anyone has any other advice, please feel free to post.  

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#8 of 19 Old 12-31-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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Good for you guys!  I know you will get the support you need here. good luck! 


Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#9 of 19 Old 12-31-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I was going to mention K12 Virtual Academy but somebody beat me to it!  A friend of mine is doing this with her son and enjoys learning along with him while my neighbors did it with both their middle school age son and their daughter completed high school a year early.

 

Do you live near any community college or state schools?  Some schools have programs where high school students can attend college for free and receive dual credit (for the high school and for college).

 

Another option for your oldest would be to find a community college in your state that offers online classes.  I have been enrolled in online classes for about a year and have had some high school students in my classes.  The hardest thing would be to stay on top of the coursework without a teacher there to remind your daughter about assignments.

 

Good luck!

SJ

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#10 of 19 Old 01-03-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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I say bring those sweet kids home!  

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#11 of 19 Old 01-03-2011, 09:42 PM
 
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I just wanted to post a link to this book:

 

It's called The Teen-Age Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyen  (sp?)

 

http://www.amazon.com/Teenage-Liberation-Handbook-School-Education/dp/0962959170/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

 

I read it a few years ago thru our library and would have *loved* to have had it in high school!

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#12 of 19 Old 01-04-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlettmoon View Post

 

 

My fears come from the fact that I didn't try hard enough in school (I could have done well if I would have applied myself), and don't really remember much from my h.s. classes.  I'm worried that I won't be able to handle being their "teacher".  I know my older daughter is very independent, and would very likely do well on her own with her studies, but I worry about giving my youngest a quality education.  Are there any of you that home-school/un-school that didn't do well in class, but are successful  with directing your kids??


Welcome!

 

My DS is almost 15 and HSed.  He does 2 online classes through an Ontario School Board.  It works reasonably well.  I actually find it an easy age to HS because they want to do the work (which does not mean they necessarily want to do the math assignment due on Friday, lol, but they understand how the whole thing works and are usually invested in the large picture).  I find HSing younger kids more difficult as there as i did a lot of hand wringing and wondering if I was doing the right thing.  Lets face it: by this age they have most of the academic info they need as life skills  (they can read, write, do basic math).

 

My own history:  I did well in high school but I did not like it.  I was bullied and I would have been far better off at home.   The bullying did not make me stronger - but left me shaken and somewhat cowering.  

 

With regards to teaching, I don' t think the fact I did well in high school is relevant at all.  First off, I forget a lot of it.  In many cases I learn as we go along.  When I do remember how to do things it is not necessarily a good thing. I tend to micromanage - which is not what adolescents need.  If you do not know how to find the area of a paraellagram (example) you cannot micromanage as they figure it out.  Really, the goal for almost all adolescents is that they become independent learners...it is not your job to teach them, but to give them tools (access to resources, access to you as a sounding board, help learning what and where their resources are, a lift to their classes, etc)

 

Good luck - you can do this...and you sound like a wonderful mom to be taking their concerns seriously.

 

Kathy

 

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#13 of 19 Old 01-05-2011, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, the support here has been incredible- thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  Love: I actually had that Teenage Liberation book on my Amazon Wish list- lol!  It looks like a really good book packed full of info, so I should probably see if I can get it through the library first- if not I'll order it for my 16 yr. old.  You have all eased my mind tremendously about home-schooling and I really feel like this is something that would work well for our family.  I'll post here and let you know what direction we take this.  :)

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#14 of 19 Old 01-05-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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I would pull them immediately and hs or use a online charter public school.Your kids can also test out at 16 with a GED if they want that.

 

At their age I would not want to keep them in a situation where bullying could lead to your child turning to drugs or suicide.As an adult I would not tolerate bullying,and I do not expect my kids to put up with it. If you try and can not improve the situation then move on. There are so many schooling options these days.There is no reason your child(ren) has to stay in a miserable sitaution.

 

Best wishes for  your family!

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#15 of 19 Old 01-05-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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"The only thing being bullied in the school yard prepares one for is being bullied in the prison yard." (I wish to goodness I could cite my source!)

 

And another vote here for pulling them yesterday.

 

Meanwhile, look into "deschooling" particularly if you're going to need them to do some independent learning.

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#16 of 19 Old 01-05-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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My sister was homeschooled after 6th grade for the same reasons. My mom worked full-time so my sister was pretty much on her own as far as doing her studies and had no problems getting into college and getting work.

 

I also quit and did the GED thing. I tried one semester of college and decided it was not for me, so I've basically unschooled myself for the last 15 years. I've taught myself all sorts of things I should have learned in school and didn't and have learned all sorts of new things. I am homeschooling/unschooling my own kiddos now and they are doing good.

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#17 of 19 Old 01-05-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlettmoon View Post

I have two daughters, ages 14 and 16 and live in WY.  I've never really considered home-schooling (possibly unschooling) until probably the last couple years or so.  

 

My 14 yr. has been bullied over the years, and picked on terribly due to the fact that she is a bit smaller than most of the girls her age, and less developed (physically, not mentally- she's just not as curvy or busty yet and she's very slim).  It's been very hard for her to deal with emotionally and the school doesn't seem to be willing to do much about it if they aren't witness to it. I know that some people think that kids should just learn to deal with it because then they will be better able to handle life as an adult.  I don't agree.  I think it is very damaging to their fragile self-esteem at such a young age- and is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.  As adults we have legal options to deal with bullies if things get out of hand.  Anyway, to get to the point, she has been begging to be home-schooled.  She gets mainly A's and B's, and the occasional lower grade.  But it is an emotional struggle daily and she hates going.  Dreads it to the point of feeling sick.

 

My 16 yr. got caught up with a not-so-nice crowd right before her freshman year in h.s. and the whole last year and a half was hell for our family.  We have always had a close relationship with the kids, so this was especially painful.  She managed to pull herself away from that crowd this last summer, and get her life straightened out and we are so proud of her.  She works part-time, and gets straight A's.  She's very self-directed and on top of things.  Due to the poor choices she made last year, she has developed a reputation, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't get past it.  She wants to be home-schooled also- she hates school with a passion.  She gets so stressed out near test times, and actually gets depressed.  I'm so afraid if things don't change for her she might resort to doing things to hurt herself like she did in the past.  I'm not sure that she's emotionally strong enough yet to work through this all rationally- she's still trying to heal and forgive herself.  She's worked so hard to get where she is today, and the kids at school work their hardest to tear her down.  She has some new friends, and enjoys her art classes and Spanish, which I'd want her to still take, but the rest she is bored with.

 

My fears come from the fact that I didn't try hard enough in school (I could have done well if I would have applied myself), and don't really remember much from my h.s. classes.  I'm worried that I won't be able to handle being their "teacher".  I know my older daughter is very independent, and would very likely do well on her own with her studies, but I worry about giving my youngest a quality education.  Are there any of you that home-school/un-school that didn't do well in class, but are successful  with directing your kids??  My family is telling me that they think it's important for my girls to be social, but all the things I am hearing from both of them about their "socializing" make me believe I don't want them to do it with kids at school.  My oldest has friends, and works, so she sees friends there.  She also wants to continue with her Spanish, Pottery and Art classes at the h.s.  My youngest would like to continue with Choir and maybe another elective and do the rest at home.

 

I just can't stand to see them so unhappy.  They are eager learners when things are interesting to them.  They really want to try things a different way- their faces light up just thinking about it.  We are not a conventional type of family, but of course we have been told all our lives that this is the way we should do things.  So of course it's scary going against the tide.  And considering my daughters are both pretty smart kids, I don't want to mess up their education and futures.

 

So I'm wondering, are these the wrong reasons to consider home-schooling- or the right ones?  And is it possible for me to make it work and be successful considering I didn't do so well myself?  Thank you in advance for any advice you could give me, I'd really appreciate it.

 

Those are exactly the right reasons for wanting to homeschool.  grouphug.gif

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loveeyes.gif Loving homeschoolin' mama to CherryPie modifiedartist.gif and KiwiBoy eat.gif::: wife-y to my high school sweetheart partners.gif
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#18 of 19 Old 01-09-2011, 04:12 PM
 
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Wow! I feel that I don't have much to offer by commenting- it has already been said! I esp. agree win kanga2roo.. But I did want to tell how blessed your girls are that you are willing to consider alternatives to their unpleasant school situations ( there are SO many alternatives)! I wish that my mother were able to exercise that compassion when I was in seventh grade; I cried every single night that year. So yes- take them out yesterday! You have great reasons- you will be so glad you made this choice
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#19 of 19 Old 01-09-2011, 07:49 PM
 
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Just want to give another vote of support to homeschool and let your DDs follow their hearts and interests!  You are not running away from anything, you are in fact standing up against something.  By listening to your kids and knowing what feels right for your family!   The biggest hurdle is accepting that you don't have to "teach" them.  You just have to get out of the way and provide the logistics for them to learn and discover life!  joy.gif

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