Considering Homeschool for a Struggling Child?
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking at a local homeschool conference. This is the second year I’ve been given the opportunity. Each year I leave feeling blessed because I expect the conference to go one way, and there’s inevitably a sharp left turn that takes me on an exciting adventure.
This year I was asked to speak on the topic of Getting Started Homeschooling. No problem! I figured I’d share about the laws, give a little encouragement (You can do this!) and answer questions. Everyone would have questions about choosing curriculum, or perhaps how to schedule a homeschool day, right?
Boy was I surprised. I didn’t talk about those topics much at all.
This year’s “left hand turn” came in the form of a mom who already had experience homeschooling. In fact she already had two daughters in college. Yet there she was, sitting in my Getting Started session. I was humbled, and for a moment scared, that I’d have nothing of value to offer.
But moms, we all have something of value to offer. A little encouragement is soothing to a weary heart.
This particular mother was struggling because her son was struggling. You know that feeling, don’t you? It pains a mother to see her children hurting. He had been to public school, had done well at first, then somewhere along the road in middle school, he began to struggle. Grades slipped, confidence was lost, anxiety kicked into overdrive, and suddenly they needed a new plan.
She brought her son home and enrolled him in an online school. This helped, but the anxiety was already to a level that made even basic tasks a struggle. So now they’re plodding along, doing what they can until next year, when they may begin officially homeschooling.
I applaud this mother for doing what is necessary to help her son. She sees the struggle and is taking action to help.
Are you this mother? Do you have a student who is struggling emotionally? Are you considering homeschooling? I am going to tell you what I told this mom. From the bottom of my heart.
As homeschooling moms, our fist commitment to our children is to their hearts. Academics can be caught up, a love of learning can be stirred… later. Health comes first. What value is an honors education if our children are confused, scared, or hurting?
Now some will say this is copping out. That our children need to “tough it out” and grow up. But I think this couldn’t be any further from the truth. What’s wrong with giving our children what they need? What’s wrong with growing them up in security? You’re not copping out – you’re building valuable muscles of independence, integrity, and confidence.
In my very early days of blogging I once wrote a post about this same topic. In that post I likened making our public school children “tough it out” to forcing them to swim in shark infested waters.
Please don’t get me wrong. This is NOT what the aforementioned mother was doing. She was taking positive action to give her son the best chance of success. But I’m sure we all know at least one mom who is considering homeschooling for a child dealing with emotional difficulties, but hasn’t removed the child from public school for a myriad of (validated but) impractical reasons.
Maybe you’re that mother. That’s why today, I want to reach across cyberspace and encourage those of you who may be considering homeschool but aren’t sure how to make it work. There are so many resources today, where there is a will, there’s a way.
Worried about affording curriculum? You can find SO much reduced or free at places like FreeHomeschoolDeals.com, HomeschoolClassifieds.com and many, many more!
Worried about socialization? That worry has been well proven to be a myth. But just think, if your child is not sitting in public school six or more hours a day there is all that TIME to get involved with field trips, clubs, co-ops, sports groups, and more.
Worried about teaching complicated subjects to older children? There are plenty of curriculum choices with teacher-friendly manuals, not to mention co-ops, online classes, and cyber schools (though I personally advise most parents to stay away from state/public cyber schools).
You can do this – it may take thought, time, and effort. But the emotional well-being of our children is worth it. Homeschool may not be the answer for everyone, but it’s worth it to consider homeschool.
THANK YOU for writing this post! I have been struggling with my heart telling me to homeschool while feeling unable to “debate” my decision to family (most of whom are teachers). This really gave me the confidence boost I desperately needed. Thanks again for providing great resources for a first time newbie homeschooler!
Aly, you might want to watch for a post we have coming up soon in which a group of former school teachers write about how/why we stopped teaching school and started homeschooling our own children. 🙂 And I’m so glad Cheryl’s article encouraged you! Our goal is to be an encouragement and a help to homeschooling moms! It makes us feel great when we get comments from mom who have benefited from what we’re doing. Thank you!
This is encouraging, thank you. My son struggles with writing composition which, in a traditional curriculum, is in everything. I am going to separate it out more. We start writing this summer and everything else in the fall.
I’m wondering whether you can direct me to a free way to teach spelling to a 5th grader? He doesn’t have particular difficulty with this, so I don’t plan on investing a ton of time. I’d rather have a fun Windows, web, or Android app.
Michelle, I don’t know if you’ll like this suggestion, but if your son is pretty good at spelling, I wouldn’t bother with it at all unless your state requires it. If you really feel like you need to do it, then you might just want to google something like “free homeschool spelling curriculum.” Right now, I’m using Spelling You See (from the Math You See folks), and it’s working very well for my 6th grader. You can buy each level for around $45. (http://store.mathusee.com/) I’ve tried out some inexpensive spelling apps in the past, but I never ended up continuing to use them. I think mainly because when my kids do that kind of program on the computer, they end up turning work time into play time and getting nothing done! 😉
We are using VocabularySpellingCity – it combines spelling with vocabulary, and not just spelling words for the sake of spelling. It’s important to know what they mean! It has an iPad app version in addition to online, not sure about Android.
My middle son started in a small christian school and went to a school for learning differences for 2nd and 3rd grade. He has ADHD, auditory processing and OCD type generalized anxiety. He had an embarrassing moment at school that developed into full blown “school phobia” ((I didnt know this existed until he was diagnosed and I looked it up!) This is a very handsome young man with 2 brothers and who makes friends easily/always been well-liked by classmates. Long story short, after a lot of prayer, I decided to try homeschooling. I was still having some problems getting my son to work with me. I was told by an educational advisor that did a psych/ed evaluation on my son ($2,000 …which she never should have done with him in that state of mind and I shouldnt have let her continue when I saw my son wasnt ready, but she kept encouraging me she was getting good info that would be helpful!) The testing outcome/writeup totally showed a child that wasn’t my son and Her advice was that he needed to get back in school and see a doctor that would be more aggressive with medicine to get him through this. With tough love we started looking and tried pushing him into a school she recommended. The anxiety only became worse and it began to hurt our relationship. I was forced to pull him out of school again and homeschool. This time we de-schooled and spent time getting the help he needed. We also found a wonderful tutor that he was finally ok to work with and he has been working with her and homeschooling for the last 2 1/2 years. Although, he is not on grade level because of all this, he is happier that he has been in years:) Our challenge now is finding the best fit for him for High School. Any suggestions for a flexible, hands on high school curriculum?
If you see this comment ease contact me at [email protected]. My son has APD & Dyslexia and we are being reccommended to take him to a clinical school that specializes in thos LDs and would like to hear your thought about these “special” schools.
Hi, just wanted to mention that the link to the blog article you reference from your early days if blogging does not direct readers to anything you’d likely want to promote. It’s been hacked or is no longer your domain.
“In my very early days of blogging I once wrote a post about this same topic. In that post I likened making our public school children “tough it out” to forcing them to swim in shark infested waters.”
Oh my!! Thank you so much for letting us know!! I removed the link.