View Full Version : He wants to go back to school

03-12-2012, 08:01 PM
I am in need of some guidance. I tried like hell to keep Perrin (8)in the dark
about how bad things were going with his school so that he wouldn't have a
negative view of it while he was still going. Long story short is that it was
bad. He was being punbished harshly for behavior he had little control over,
there was no effort to help him avoid meltdowns or overstimulation, everything
they did was just reactionary and ranged from locking him in a closet to taking away his recess.
He was getting bullied, though he doesn't yet
understand that the boys who were chasing him so that he would hit them and get
in trouble were not his friends. The point is that it was a terrible environment
for him. When I first told him we were going to homeschool, he had just had a very
rough month at school, so I think it seemed like a relief to be out of there.
Now he has started to talk about how much he misses his "friends" and his teacher,
who treated him unfairly and had nothing but negative things to say about him on
a daily basis. I'm thinking the honeymoon period of homeschooling is over, and
he's getting sick of looking at my face. He wants to know why he has to be
homeschooled, but I'm having a very hard time explaining this in a way that
doesn't make public school sound horrible or to make it sound like it was a
punishment for something he had done. I know he feels isolated, and while we do
try to schedule playdates, he is going through a rough patch with his emotions
and tends to get very angry with them very quickly and says he doesn't want to
see anybody ever. We're in a co-op that meets once a week, but he hasn't really bonded with any of the kids there yet because he has constant tics that are very loud and distracting, and a lot of the kids avoid him. I'm planning on taking the next 3 weeks off, since we're going
on vacation this week, and the district's spring break is week after next, and
I'm hoping a little break will help. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to
approach this conversation? I'm sorry this was long-winded, but I could really
use some help. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with guilt every time he cries and
tells me he wants to go back to school. He has a lot of issues, such as Tourette's, ADHD, and a pragmatic speech issue, so it's very hard to get him to express his concerns. When I asked him what he likes about school or doesn't like about homeschooling, he usually just starts quoting Iron Man or something.
Thanks so much

03-12-2012, 08:12 PM
Hi Tucker,

I don't really have an answer for you. My son's have never been in school - but have heard other kids say they don't like it, so I don't have the rosey glasses issue. But, my son does like to see that other people are homeschooling and what they are doing. So I show him peoples blogs with kids homeschooling that are around the same age. That way it appears as though more people are homeschooling than there really are. Especially since we are using an obscure curriculum - seeing other kids doing the same thing is helpful.

His school situation sounded really bad. I'm sorry your family had to go through that and that your son was being so mistreated. Hopefully someone else has more experience transitioning from school to homeschool.

How long have you been homeschooling?


03-12-2012, 09:19 PM
I desperately need to make dinner, so I'll need to be brief. He's mourning ps because it was the only thing he knew and now things are different. It will take a while for him to realize how much better his current situation is. Now that the stress is gone, he's remembering the positive experiences he had. It's normal for kids to have some mixed feelings, even when they mostly hated being there. My son went through a period of time when he said he wanted to go back, but it passed. He hated going to school every day--it was very stressful for him and it was no where near as negative as what you are describing. We did attend school part-time for awhile for extras like Music and Art. This was a pain, but it did help clear up his residual nostalgia. I would plan lots of fun things to do on your vacation and really talk it up. Point out that no way could you do this if he were in ps. I would approach the conversation from the viewpoint of feelings--how did the punishments, teasing at ps make him feel? This may be the stuff of several conversations over a period of months. I have a feeling it will take him a while to process everything that happened--it sounds very traumatic.

As for the co-op, you may have to take the initiative and try actively engage the kids and the parents. If they understand some of his issues, they'll likely be sympathetic. I have noticed that it takes co-op kids longer to warm up. The "getting to know you" process slows down quite a bit when they only see each other 1x/week.


03-12-2012, 10:32 PM
yeah, you need to let him miss it and not give in. its clearly not a place for him now. You could even say that after NEXT year, a full year of homeschooling, then you can talk about maybe going back to school, but its not happening before then. My weird boys have a really hard time making friends. its been slow, but the best friends we've found have been at martial arts or at the homeschool video game club. Also the best friends we made the first two years either moved away or lived half an hour away. its been hard. but yeah, its ok for him to miss it for now, but i think you definitely made the right choice and shouldnt be swayed right now.

of course, my boys cried the first year if i even MENTIONED going back to school. I've been psyching up Raven for the idea that by the time he's ready for middle school, he might be more ready to handle school.

i also agre with the - make it fun - thing. science museum, documentary movies, read good books on the sofa . . .

Accidental Homeschooler
03-13-2012, 10:16 AM
My 6yo, whom we took out of kindergarten in Jan. of last year, hated school. It was a struggle to get her there and the school did not know what to do with her once I got her there. It did not get as negative as what you describe but still, very stressful. A couple months ago she started crying that she wasn't going to be able to go to first grade at school. It was a big deal when she realized that we were almost finished with first grade and she would NEVER be able to go now. It passed. I think by the next day she was ok and I did say that we may go back to ps someday but not until after second grade, one more year at least of hsing. It really took us a year to get the social relationships in place for homeschool. Now she has several hs kids she considers to be her friends and is in a girl scout troop with about half hs girls. But it took a year. Now that it is getting nice out could you suggest park days with people you are meeting at coop? We did that last fall and just once a week running around the playground with the same kids every week really helped. Good luck, it is hard starting out.

03-20-2012, 02:43 PM
Thank you so much everybody. I have really tried to play up all the positives, but he's still upset. We saw kids today from his school and that set off 20 min of crying about how much he misses everyone and hates homeschooling. He has convinced himself that I'm doing it to punish him or take him away from his friends, and it is so hard not to just break down. It breaks my heart that he doesn't understand.

03-20-2012, 03:04 PM
My kids had a great experience at private school and my dd (8) mourned big-time the first half of this hs year. I cannot really explained why we pulled them (too young to understand our objections to the schools policy on admitting Mormons, among others). Finally, we have gotten in a routine that they enjoy (plus my occasional comments about all the homework the DO NOT have). It seems to have helped to have a few new friends they didn't know from school. Good luck.

03-20-2012, 06:51 PM
I am with you....

I have had a very similar experience. My poor son was regularly restrained, and frequently bullied by the other kids in his SED classroom. He didn't really get that he was being bullied, and doesn't get why he was regularly having meltdowns. He misses school for the kids - period. Homeschooling is isolated, and the fact that he's special needs and his behaviors have really excluded him from much of the local kid activity - the kids don't want any part of him. That is a lot of loss for a little guy. Other HSers often don't get that because their NT kids can still join the extra curricular stuff and be part of the group - my guy really cant. So for most HSing the social impact can be addressed in better ways than the school can offer, for my guy forced contact is the best he hopes for. :(

Anyway, what I did to help the issue of wanting to go back to school... First off, the meltdowns have gone from one per week (at least) to one in the last year. so I have some good data to refer to with him. I say -

Hon - since we have been homeschooling, your meltdowns have gone away and you have gotten off meds. I am so proud of you and you have come so far. If going back to school is your goal, we will need to get you doing those schooly kinds of things here at home (without all the meltdowns and meds), once you can do them here, we can start having you do them there. We will not have you back in a place of having anyone's hands on you ever again, annd in order for that to be true, we are going to need to:

Be able to get up every morning at 7:00
Do your work when I ask you to, and you ask for help when you need it
Know when you need a break and be able to ask for it
Do what's assigned without arguing about how dumb the assignment is

When you are regularly doing these things, I will approach the school about coming back a bit at a time.

At this point, he will often say OK, but then he's not wanting to get up in the AM, or he wants to argue about assignments and have me change them. All of that said, if he decides he wants to be back in a school setting, then perhaps he will stretch a little and try. I do not think the PS is equipped to help him as of now. Perhaps they will be later, but not now.

03-20-2012, 08:52 PM
It sounds like he wants to feel 'normal' and part of a group, like he thinks everyone else is. I think the idea of making hs seem like his group is a good one.

Does your son ave any friends from other contexts? My son has two good friends that he met before starting public school. They both live at least 1/2 an hour away, but I have made a commitment to see each of them once per month. One of the children has a schedule that really only allows for playdates on Sundays, so I email his mother every month with the list of Sundays that we will be home for and ask her to pick one. It is not frequent, but it is enough for him to feel that he has a good friend, and it makes the lack of a regular crew much easier for him to bear.

Another thing we try to do is go to RE class at the UU church. (You can be atheist, agnostic, Buddist, Christian, Jewish, none of the above and still go there, or pick another religious group.) We have a number of non-NT kids there. The teachers are aware of the issues, inclusion and accepting difference are openly discussed with the kids, and I sometimes sit in the classroom with my daughter if she is feeling particularly stressed. A *good* religious community is open and welcoming to all. I know some aren't so accepting, but there are some that are, and they can be great homes for misfits. If you think of this as an option for a social group shop around and talk to the director of religious education at each place. See if they have experience with non-NT kids and if they have any policies about inclusion.