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Help Convincing Well Meaning Family That Homeschool is Right

 
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CLC1905
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Joined: 23 Jan 2012
Posts: 1
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Help Convincing Well Meaning Family That Homeschool is Right Reply with quote

This is going to be rather long and I apologize in advance but I can't think how else to explain our situation and ask for help without giving lots of details. Thank you so much for bearing with me and I appreciate y'all's wisdom and experience so much!! Please throw any thoughts, ideas, help my way!!

My son attended a charter school here in Texas and because of health related problems, (surgery, etc.) he missed a ton of school last fall. We did make up work and kept his grades up to all A's and 1 B and he is a very bright 2nd grader. He reads at a 7th grade level and we do lots of supplemental (at home) science and reading, etc. so he stays challenged.

Last week, with no prior notice or warning, his school informed us that with the number of school days he's missed we have a few "choices". 1) withdraw him from their school and home school him 2) sign a form that states that he will NOT miss one more day of school until the semester ends (Jan- June) or 3) have him repeat 2nd grade. Repeating 2nd grade would be torture for this child. He is so far ahead of his class in so many subjects right now, next year would be like a nightmare for all of us. Option 2 just isn't feasible and the school administrators don't care whether or not we submit doctor's notes or that he was hospitalized- to them an absence is an absence. From what I've read online, since they are a charter school and not a public school they are not required to make any special accommodations to help him.

When they told us last week, at first I was shocked. Then, after it all sunk in I thought, "This is awesome! I WANT to home school him! It's the ideal answer with his health problems!" My son and husband and I have done all sorts of online research into the whole process, what is required by law, curriculum choices, finding support groups, all that great stuff and we are really excited!

We are totally pumped up about it BUT..... my mother thinks homeschooling my son is the worst idea ever! She wants me to fight the school to keep him in and do battle with the school district and get them to alter their policy. To some folks 'what grandma thinks' might not matter but my mom and I (despite living 1,400 miles apart) are very, very close (I am an only child) and she and my son (her only grandchild) are very close. We talk every day and she is very strong willed and opinionated but usually in a good and loving way. Simply saying "Mom, this is the way it is, deal with it" would create a huge chasm.

I guess what I'm looking for is folks's person experiences on how they helped their families come around to the idea. My husband is totally on board, my son and I are excited but grandma wants to put on her suit of armor and come and wage war with the district/school to keep him from being home schooled. She thinks that without the structure, discipline and regime of school that my son will become unmanageable, unable to return to school if/when that time comes, that it will encourage him to be lazy and that homeschooling is for fringe-nut-cases. I guess this means that we are happily now fringe nut cases and I'm good with that. Laughing Please share your experiences with me. I'd love to know how y'all handled situations like this and I am so grateful that this forum is here so I can find the support and help that we need. A million thank yous in advance!!
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Theodore
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 2122
Location: Missouri, US

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kids can easily become lazy at school as well. The academics are generally rather pathetic, the teachers don't have time to monitor everyone sufficiently, and if the parent doesn't care, skating along with C's requires virtually no effort. So the laziness argument doesn't really work, assuming you're committed to this. What's more, if you're homeschooling, it won't really matter. Public school may take 8 hours per day, but you can homeschool year-round and get everything done in 2-3 hours max. You spend the rest of the time on extracurriculars, whatever subjects your son enjoys doing most, or maybe accelerating him a grade or two ahead by the end of high school.

As for the fringe-nut argument, there are probably a handful of nutcases somewhere using homeschooling as a mask, but for the most part homeschoolers are just committed to education and not having their kids stomped by a public school system that only caters to the average, teaches sex ed to 6th graders, expels bullied students, etc. There are millions of homeschoolers now and the percentage increases every year - we can't all be nuts.

No anecdotal evidence here - I was homeschooled from a young child - but maybe you'll find this post helpful in some way Smile
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NeonSkylark
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Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:49 pm    Post subject: Convincing grandparents Reply with quote

P.S. Only after I wrote this did I realize the post was a year old, not a few days. But I hope my story will be helpful to others who might be in the same boat. I'm curious who others deal with these situations and how things turned out for the poster . . .

I have the same problem. My parents are very education-oriented and my MIL is a former school teacher so they are always grilling me about how homeschooling is going. Anything short of reporting that my son has instantly become a prodigy in all subjects is greeted with concern and pressure to return him to school.

But since I took him out of school over a year ago I've seen a whole different child emerge, one who is calm and confident and not overwhelmed and stressed because he is being crushed under the unrelenting wheels of the school's bureaucracy.

Your school's compassionless response to your son's issues seems to be pretty typical of schools these days. They feel that they hold all the power. And they are right so long as you believe in your own powerlessness. They need for you to believe that your child will be a failure if they don't run the school's rat race and accept the school's arbitrary decisions about who the winners and losers of that race are.

I think that you should remind your mother that she can suit up and go to battle with the school all she wants. But the one who will pay the price is her grandson, not her. He's the one who will have to deal with the pressure and retaliation from the school. He will be the one caught between his illness and his terror of the humiliation of having to complete a grade. It's not fair for her to ask him -- or you -- to live through that while she remains on the sidelines thousands of miles away.

Trust me, I'm a former lawyer and I wanted badly to go toe-to-toe with these folks and force them to do what's right. But it was the realization that it was my son that would pay the highest price from my belligerence that made me back off and let it go. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Homeschooling for a little while is not going to ruin your son's life. Next fall you can revisit the decision to put him back in school or continue homeschooling after you see how it works for you. You say he's already ahead on most of the class material, so missing a few months is not going to make it impossible for him to keep up when he resumes school. And he gets a few months of peace to finish his recovery. It sounds like a win-win. Seen in this light, maybe grandma can let go of this battle and be enlisted in supporting this brief experiment.

One article that I found that has helped my husband come to terms with the more laid back world of homeschooling is this one. It might not reassure your mother, but I think it might reassure you as it has real data to back up it's conclusions:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201002/children-teach-themselves-read
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Homeschooling mom of boys ages 7, 5 and 2
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