My daughter is miserable

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My daughter is miserable

Postby Altari » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:41 pm

This may be kind of rambly.

My daughter is 6 years old (so by Illinois law not legally "required" to attend school). Anyway, we had her in the local public school for first grade. The teacher and administration were very nice and kind, but the education was abhorrent and the discipline non-existent. She came home with more bad habits than I could count.

At the end of January, we pulled her out of school. She had been OK with the idea of homeschooling when it was just that, an idea. When it happened, she cried and cried for days. She still cries about it.

I did my homework before hand. I read about deschooling and getting kids into the swing of homeschooling. I was careful to not push her too much into getting started, but tried to ensure that there was always pressure to get her moving.

Nothing has worked. She hates being homeschooled. She misses her friends. Everyone I talk to says to just set up play dates, but I can't. I was finishing up some college credits during the majority of her school year, and we missed every major event at the school (so I never developed any relationships with her friends' parents). I'm a Christian, but my husband isn't. He is opposed to joining any faith-based homeschooling groups, which are just about the only options in our area. The school district has no extracurriculars for kids her age.

I really WANT this to work. I know she'll get a better education and a solid foundation by being taught at home. But she's so miserable, and is always fighting me.

I just don't know if I made the right choice. All the homeschooling moms I know say just stick it out, just keep with it, things will get better. But, a great education will do her absolutely no good if she is a sad person.

I guess I just need some real, honest advice on what to do.

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Postby Jazzy » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:55 am

Going from public school to homeschooling mid year is a big change, and it sounds like your daughter really needs time to adjust. I totally understand that you don't want her to be miserable, and I think there's still room for you to make homeschooling work for the both of you.

First off, about deschooling, it does not involve any "pressure to get her moving." It is really meant to be a cooling down period for both of you - a chance to unlearn bad habits you both picked up during her time in school. It should be a fun and relaxed way to ease her into homeschooling. You read books, go on field trips, reconnect with each other, etc. Is there a chance you applied to much pressure and didn't leave enough downtime?

It sounds like your daughter is really missing the social aspect of school and the ready made friendships. If your husband is against joining faith based groups in your area, get your daughter involved in other types of activities. Are there any book clubs or story times for homeschoolers at your local library? If not, talk to the librarian about starting one.

Check your local Y or recreation center for chess clubs, sports programs, art classes, etc. See if there are any homeschool p.e., dance, music or art programs at local facilities. You could also join an organization like Girl Scouts.

Once you start getting out in front of other families, you'll find people you both enjoy and that will lead to more social opportunities.

If belonging to a homeschool group is really important to you, you can start one of your own. Secular groups are a real need, and it only takes a few families to get one going. As you meet other non-religious families, ask if they would be interested in meeting at the park once a week. Post flyers at the library and other places homeschoolers hang out.

I join those other moms in saying "Hang in there!" It really does get easier. It's just going to take some time to adjust.

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Postby Jill » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:36 am

Jazzy's answer was right on target. I would like to expand on her idea of starting your own group if being in one is important to you.
Don't let the thought of "starting something" intimidate you. Talk to the local librarian (they are usually familiar with homeschoolers) and see if they can post a flyer. Also, Yahoo makes it very easy to start a group. Even if it's just one other family to start, you might be surprised at how quickly it grows.
Also, some faith based groups allow people of all (or no) religions to join. You may have luck contacting some of them and getting them to send out an announcement about your group. I belong to 4 different groups in our area for different reasons, so it's totally possible for people to be members of more than one group - you wouldn't be "stealing" their members.
My children came out of school mid-year and I think it is more difficult for them than starting after a summer break. I had to make alot of extra effort to "replace" that social aspect they missed.
My best wishes to you.

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Postby elliemaejune » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:30 pm

ITA with your friends: stick it out. It is WAY too soon to decide that hsing isn't the right choice for you.

Children do not know what's best for them. Parents aren't always sure, either, lol, but they have a much better chance of doing the right thing.

I wouldn't worry about setting playdates, but I do have a little concern: although you say you're de-schooling, you also say that you "tried to ensure that there was always pressure to get her moving." Girlfriend, that is not de-schooling. :-)

I think it's important for there to be some structure in a child's daily life; that does not have to include anything that looks like school, however. You can have a routine--we have a morning routine, we eat lunch around this time, we have an afternoon routine, we have supper, then we have an evening routine--but you do NOT have to apply pressure on her to get her moving. Children love to learn things, and they will keep themselves busy IF they are given freedom--within a household routine--to do so.

When my dc were as young as yours, we only did Official School Stuff on Mondays and Tuesdays. We went to the library every Wednesday, left the house for a field trip every Thursday, and cleaned house on Fridays (with one park day a month). Although I don't think that everyone has to hs just the way I did, I do think that maybe you could reevaluate your routine and activities.

But you definitely need to hang in there, and it is definitely way too soon to decide hsing isn't working for you.
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Matt Conrad
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Postby Matt Conrad » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:07 pm

But, a great education will do her absolutely no good if she is a sad person.

Couldn't agree more. As someone who was pretty unhappy in public schools, it staggers me when I read stories like yours. But it goes that way sometimes.

Sounds like your daughter is most unhappy because she misses her friends? This is a legit reason to be sad.

I'm a Christian, but my husband isn't. He is opposed to joining any faith-based homeschooling groups, which are just about the only options in our area.

Your daughter deserves to have friends, or to be able to meet potential friends. If your husband doesn't like religious HS groups, can he be brought on board to help find another solution? IMO it is his problem to solve also (some husbands are difficult, I know).

I second the idea of Girl Scouts--we have a homeschooler's group in our town and it has been a lot of fun for our daughter.

Do hang in there for a while. Not sure what you and your daughter have been fighting over, but if it is possible to avoid those areas, do so. Try to find fun things that you and your daughter can do together, games, walks, baking cookies, visiting Grandma, drawing pictures together, etc. Good luck. -- software for easy homeschool record keeping and time tracking

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Postby Miss_Kristy » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:21 pm

Great replies.

The only thing I would add would be that -- She's only 6. Very young. Young enough even to be tricked into learning things by having fun and not even realizing she learning at all. If she's fighting you on math work, bake a cake together. Let her help measure the ingredients. Or if it's spelling she hates, make up sing along songs with the words you want her to learn. Let her decide what she wants to learn about this week in Science. Things like that.

I agree that a de-schooling period would be best. Get to know each other again. Play. Have fun. Sounds like you both need it.

My family doesn't go to church but my kids never have a shortage of friends to interact with. We moved to our home 2 years ago and they didn't know any of the kids here. So, we got out and met the neighborhood. I had a yard sale, joined the neighbor hood watch, took walks in the evening as a family... pretty soon we knew everyone!

There's also community centers, libraries, parks, YMCA, -- go during the day when public school kids are in school and you'll be more likely to meet local home schoolers.

That ended up being more than I thought it would be. LOL

good luck.

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Lorelei Sieja
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Celebrating Homeschool

Postby Lorelei Sieja » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:56 pm

One way that I encouraged my kids to prefer HS over PS over the years, was to celebrate all the things we could do that PS kids could not. One of our habits was the Spring Picnic. On the first warm SCHOOl day in the early spring, we would take the day off and have a picnic. We went to a park, cooked out over a grill, flew kites, waded in the chilly lake, and enjoyed each other. And said a prayer for our poor PS friends who couldn't enjoy the day with us.

My first born was the hardest one to HS. She really wanted to be with friends, but school wasn't the answer. She wasn't really popular in school, either. HS gave her and me the time to connect and bond. If we hadn't, who knows what our relationship would have been like when she hit puberty?

I would caution you about joining too many activities, though. I wrote an article for the Teaching Home magazine years ago called "Coming Home, Staying Home". Simply put, I felt like, if I'm a homeschooling mom, why do I feel like I live in the car? Pick ONE activity, and let her give it her all. Perhaps 4H, if there is a good group in your area, because it seems so much more flexible than a lot of other choices.

Similarly, finding ONE good girlfriend would be better than having a large circle of pseudo-friends. If there was one girl about her age that you approve of (not too many bad habits), perhaps have her over regularly. If she is also HS, great! Maybe you and her mom can schedule gettogethers every Friday afternoon.

We used to HS from Monday through THursday. I figured we got more done in four days than PS did in five. Then if something or someone needed extra work, we did that friday morning. But usually we did something fun on fridays.

I'm sorry she sounds so miserable, but she'll get over it. And it is possible that she is just trying to manipulate you. Doing the guilt trip so she'll get her own way. I don't know your child, or your situation, but I'm just suggesting that this is a behavior that would not be uncommon in a six year old.

Still, you are the adult. If you truly believe this is right for her, than stick with it! You wouldn't let her stop brushing her teeth just because she cried and was miserable. You wouldn't let her stay up late at night if she cried and threw a fit. Kids have to follow our rules, because we say so. We're bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind. That's what it means to be a parent.

Best wishes!
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Postby KeriMomof2 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:03 pm

:) Hi
You have gotten some very good advice...I know what you are going thur,even thou i have never put my dd in public school she has gotten sad about lack of friends.This year i have made every effort to remedy that.I know your hudsband is against faith groups but im sorry you are christian and you have a right to share your beliefs with your child.not only that but just because your dd is a part of a "christian group" doesnt mean that when she goes to the playdates that she will be getting educated about god..i am a member of several christain based groups and that never comes up in my groups..i mean sometimes a mom might say we chose hs'ing because we didnt like the lack of god in the schools but thats about it..
but also other girl scouts,sports ect
you could also create your own group..we have recently done this in my area..its a once a week park playdate..purly so the kids can play :)
HTH~good luck!
No-Vax~EBF~Time4Learning-Homeschooler~Crunchy Momma 2 DD & DS <3

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