View Full Version : Anybody Try Homeschooling - Flop - and Jump Back In for Another Try?

02-09-2011, 01:22 AM
Greetings. A few years back, I elected to homeschool my son. He had completed two tough years, K and 1st, in public school. For the first couple of months, I felt that I had made the very best decision for my "exceptional" son as he is called. Unfortunately, life became rocky to say the least. I took a job with crazy hours. His dad was home, but just didn't get the homeschool thing. Started him back in the public school system in 2nd rather than 3rd grade - on multiple levels he wasn't ready to be with similiar age kids. He is on the spectrum/an Aspie. The school system felt they needed to place him in a self-contained program for kids with ASD. (mixed feelings to say the least). He has quickly phased into mostly "mainstream" classes. His teachers basically want to jam him in the box with the other typical kids...."he must blah blah".. "our goal is to prepare him for blah blah blah" The jist of this is that it all feels WRONG to me. I pick him up from school, and on most days he claims the day went ok. When I probe further, it is clear that he has no real friends, that he is made fun of, that he is harshly spoken to by his teachers, sits alone at lunch and plays with an imaginary friend at recess. Homework challenges, sleep problems, appointments, and other day to day struggles are frowned upon by the teachers.

Okay, this is more blabbing than I expected to do. The real point of this post is that I want to try again, but have little support from his dad (we are now separated), friends, and extended family given our first effort at homeschooling. I work full time (night weekends), and have some health issues. If I follow my heart and intuition, taking my wonder boy out of school is the right choice for so many reasons. I have to admit, however, that I fear I will mess up again.

Anyone walk this walk out there?

Thank you in advance for any input.

Single mom to Bug (10 year old boy) and Bean (6 year old girl)
North Carolina

02-09-2011, 09:44 AM
I think one thing you need to think about is why it 'flopped' last time and if you can change that this time. Public school is a bad place for a specail kid, but if you burn yourself out, you wont be anyhelp to anyone. When i was a single mom, my kids hated that they had to go to aftercare and then dad's on the weekends and barely got to spend time AT HOME . . . but they understood that I was working hard and doing my best. I still wish I'd managed to homschool my oldest, but my middle survived several years of useless specail ed and horrible mainstream classes, and was thrilled when i was finally able to homeschool him starting in 8th grade. Just be sure you CAN do this now

02-09-2011, 10:46 AM
We also have an Aspie son who went to PS until the end of first quarter in 2nd grade (he's in 3rd grade now). A lot of what you describe was starting to happen to him in 2nd grade -- the alienation from peers and sitting alone at lunch primary among them (we're luckier in that this was as far as it went compared to you). It seems like PS is definitely not an environment that will work for him. I agree with Cara that you can learn from the past experience in whatever way you can and use that to build for the future. It would be nice to have support around you, but ultimately you have to do what's best for him regardless of perceptions. That's the thing about making decisions like this -- you'll never be able to prove that what you're doing will have the better outcome in the long run than leaving him in PS, because making the choice cuts off any alternate timeline. But you'll know, and that's what will matter.

None of us here is even close to perfect. We all mess up, in some ways on a daily basis. But I, as many others have also done, decide not to focus on the relatively minor screw-ups and instead channel my energy into being not the best homeschool educator in the world, but the best educator for my kids. You know your child better than anyone else ever will. Use that knowledge to help him reach the goals you deem appropriate, not something that a less-informed PS teacher or administrator thinks is appropriate.

Best of luck!

02-09-2011, 11:46 AM
We have flopped, LOL. Took DD out half way through third grade, but she wanted to try again in fourth at PS so she went back--made it through with B average by the skin of her teeth and the fact that I sat with her night after night through the tears and screaming fits to make sure the homework was done right only to be told later in the year that the reason she was making B's was because the homework averaged out the multitude of D and F tests I was having to sign and return. WHAT?? Needless to say we tried 5th grade in PS too--way different world than 4th and she is now home once again and much happier...

Yes, we are floppers. And hoping to stay in HS now that we're back again. My other three are staying in PS because they don't have the issues the middle DD has.

02-09-2011, 12:51 PM
I feel for you, I don't have an Aspie, but a distinctly different child who never conformed to the rituals and rules of PS. My DH was very very hesitant to HS, it took a complete mental health melt down at school for him to at least let me start. Now I have both boys at home and DH is coming around. He sees a happier family on the whole!!!! no more late night battles for homework, get dinner on time and bed time battles (kids just want to be with their parents!).

While my situation is different, I do know that the negative abuse a child endures at school can have a life long lasting effect. My son is in therapy for the crap PS did to him, we are SLOWLY getting past all his negative feeling about doing any sit down work. in just a little over 2 years they completely squashed his self esteem when it comes to even semi-formal learning, and he distrusts adults in authority positions!

Even if you flounder with HS, he is where he is loved and understood . . . .that will give him more skills than any PS can offer. You can find his interests and help him develop the love to pursue it! This is what I'm learning, just as it is darkest at our house I can turn it around to let him light his own fire for what he loves to do!
My first month I had this feeling that this is my only chance to teach them everything they ever needed to know! So I also pushed as they did in PS, now I count lego making as school time (visual spatial and visual mapping skills are very important to a lot of careers!!!!), this is not usually following a map, it is free design time!

Good luck . . . .

02-10-2011, 09:58 AM
I'm a flopper too. I homeschooled for 1 year when my kids were in 3rd, K and I had a 2 year old. I had a love-hate with it. I knew that academically it was probably the best thing, and I loved not being on someone else's timetable. We took a lot of field trips, cool vacations during the year-and that was wonderful. However, I had a really difficult time connecting with other secular homeschoolers irl, and the responsibility for teaching them felt crushing to me-I was just afraid, in the moment (and in retrospect this is just silly) that I was going to screw it up. I also felt like I had NO time for me-and being with them 24/7 was overwhelming. Ultimately we decided to send them back to our very good public school-and they adjusted fine. Fast forward 4 years, we've moved across country-and our oldest now in 7th grade hated her new middle school. So we've pulled her out, and she's homeschooling through a local public school-she goes there one day a week for classes, they gave us a lot of our curriculum, and we meet with their teacher every 5 weeks. For us, this is working-it's only her (I have my other 2 guys in ps), she's an independent learner, she's also accountable to someone besides me, and she's happy (well, as happy as an almost 13 year old girl can be). Our plan is to send her back to school for high school-so she'll be at home for another year and a half. This to me is do-able. I'll probably bring my Aspie son home at some point (he's in first grade now) but for now he's happy and learning. I know my limitations-I don't think I can teach more than one kid at a time. I know I need outside help-I'm getting it this time around. That said, I'm home and my husband is very supportive of homeschooling. I don't know what I would do in your situation-I can certainly see how being home would benefit your son-and I read about people who homeschool and work full time-so it can be done-but obviously it would take some serious juggling and compromise. I hope whatever you decide to do works out well for you guys!!

02-10-2011, 11:55 AM
I have some slightly diffferent questions maybe because I worked full time until my dd was 11 (including as a single parent and a night job for a while). Who is watching your son while you work nights? Do you have someone who would be able to watch him during the day so you can sleep? I'm assuming that you now sleep while he's in school. Can you afford to hire someone to watch him if he's home during the day? It would probably need to be a nanny-type since daycare centers don't deal with school-age kids. Can you get someone who might be able to do some work with him while you sleep?

I know it's easy to say and hard to do but aside from any legal problems your sons dad can cause you, I wouldn't worry about what anyone else thinks. It's not about them or even what they think of you. It's doing what you feel is best for your son. I hope everything works out for you.

02-11-2011, 03:32 AM
Have you thoroughly explored the charter and private schools in your area? PS and HS might not be your only options. I discovered a church-run school in our area that has a class size of 12 and is only $5k per year. It's our plan-B if our current plan doesn't work out.

02-12-2011, 07:01 PM
It would be difficult, but not impossible to homeschool under these circumstances. I have a couple kiddos sometimes during our homeschooling adventures. Their mom has gone back to graduate school while working and schooling, she needed some support. So her kids come along with us several days a week. They are bit younger than mine, but they enjoy the field trips and I play phonics and counting games with her oldest son. You might be able to find another homeschooler who would be willing to help you with the burden. I don't homeschool her kids for her, I just provide a combination of much needed child care while she is in class and support her efforts by including them in what we are doing on those afternoons.

02-12-2011, 09:57 PM
We HSd kindergarten & got so much hell from my family, who were not shy in sharing their beliefs that M1 was being ruined by homeschooling, that I decided to put her in PS for first grade. It was okay, but I missed my girl and the freedom to make our own schedule. My husband's work schedule was such that he'd go days without seeing M1 at all.

Second grade began & M1 was miserable. That's when I started to suspect she was on the spectrum for a variety of reasons, including having trouble making friends, playing with pretend puppies on the playground and sitting alone at lunch. It was sad. She cried every day before school for two weeks. The day I had to physically push her into the classroom was the day I decided to hell with what my family thought. So I went back to the school & took her out, right in the middle of the day. She's not been back and we've not regretted it.

My family has come around, mostly. We've made more friends, done some awesome stuff. My girls are thriving. So, yeah, we flopped. Besides my child's misery, what really helped me decide HSing was something I had to try again was knowing that I couldn't imagine ever thinking, "Gosh, I wish I'd spent less time with my kids when they were younger."

02-15-2011, 01:44 PM
I think I "flopped" because I felt I had to be homeschooler "extraordinaire". When life became challenging, I was unable to do what I had expected of myself. Rather than modifying expectations and goals, I basically threw in the towel.

There is no doubt in my mind that PS is hurting him more than helping him right now. If I can provide him with a good education - and be happy -with that, I CAN do this.

I am burnt out right now honestly. I work these crappy hours so I can be home if he needs me, the kids get sick, school vacation, etc. There is no way I can put him in any kind of child care situation. The few attempts have been disastrous thus far. Then each morning I drop him off at school regretfully, hoping to death that he has an ok day. I can't stand his teacher. The school makes me angry and frustrated. Just schlepping him back and forth each day (he is NOT a bus rider) costs me an easy 1.5 hours a day in time plus gas money. And I think, WHY???

If I can modify my expectations a bit, homeschooling him should decrease burnout rather than increase it.

Sounds like I am trying to convince myself, doesn't it?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Heidi, want to be homeschooler
Bug - 10 y/o special needs ASD
Bean- PS match - loves it, it loves her, and it works right now

06-22-2011, 10:06 PM
We are now floppers. I had planned to hs completely. Kids were lonely, I was burnt out, we were far too isolated. Boy(8) wanted to try ps this year, since his one friend went to school (not the same school, but it was our one social date a week- so he felt abandoned). We were also fighting far too much over schoolwork.
So, the little one went to k, and the boy went to 2nd. He hated it, was bullied, we pulled them out. Back to frustration in a few short mths. I put them back in in March, hoping they would evaluate him and help with some of his sensory issues. No dice. They can't see that it is affecting his grades, so it doesn't matter. ( in other words, he's way too smart, and is above grade level, so we can't help him). The boy wants to go back to 3rd next year, because "the work is so easy- they don't make me do any work like you do". sigh. He also still has no friends in school, since everyone thinks he's weird. He also LOVES the extreme strict organization and scheduling.... which I am not good at!
The girl, who was in k, wants nothing to do with school next yr, and is begging to hs. I am tempted to keep them both home, but a huge issue we had was both of them competing for my attention while doing any work. I am going to be summer schooling them this summer, so we'll see how it goes.
We still have the issue of finding friends, but we have new kids right across the street, so it may not be such an issue now.

06-23-2011, 02:22 PM
We flopped our first time around. I pulled DD out of first grade to homeschool, because it was painfully obvious that she wasn't being challenged. Shortly after we started schooling, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. We homeschooled in the mornings and spent every afternoon at my mom's house. She passed away during the summer, and I felt so unable to start homeschooling back up that I enrolled DD in PS for second grade. I regretted it almost immediately, because nothing had changed as far as my opinions of the schooling she was receiving. We didn't want to rock the boat and upset her by yanking her out, so I really tried to make PSing work. After third grade, we couldn't take it anymore and decided to homeschool again. It was REALLY hard for DD to leave PS this time... she had so many friends, but even she knew there was something wrong with the fact that hardly any of her classmates enjoyed reading and she wasn't really learning anything new. We just completed her fourth grade year, our first full year of homeschooling. She definitely pulled the "I want to go back to regular school" card whenever she was frustrated with me or the lessons we did. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we're in it for the long haul now!