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  1. #1

    Default 2 weeks in from removal of Public school = not going well

    So we removed our 3 children (twins 8yrs old and one 6yr old) from public school about 2 weeks ago to homeschool, plus I have a toddler. I have read about the deschooling but sort of confused on how that process should go for each day. One of my twins is very very routine oriented and actually hates the word deschooling becomes restless and anxious without knowing what we will be doing each day. My 6yr old has been very angry and was not quite on board with homeschooling but we felt like it would be best to have all 3 at home together during this process.
    We have been trying to take it slow - mainly going on field trips, going to the park, read a louds, and playing games. But even this stuff is not going over well. No one wants to listen to any type of book, even just for 10 min. If its not one person it is someone else complaining and whining about hating the field trips, not wanting to go outside and play, or listen to me read a book.
    I am just at a loss, I am not sure how to handle this because even with all this negative feelings from each child I think they are beginning to go stir crazy and are in need of some sort of daily schedule. As of lately they often are not sleeping at night or have trouble falling asleep, my daughter just seems to mope around AND they are fighting a lot with each other.
    I feel like they need some sort of structure to the day, but no one wants to do anything but watch TV or play video games. I am trying to keep a positive attitude, but their unhappiness to this new lifestyle is beginning to make me anxious, stressed and really second guess myself and abilities. How can I make this process go smoother for all of us?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Feb 2012


    Hugs. Growing pains are to be expected - everyone is getting used to the new lifestyle, interacting with one another all the time, and not having every moment of time planned for them. Lots of changes. It is really hard not to take all the complaining personally when you are working so hard to make homeschool a positive experience for everyone. The adjustment takes time, often more than you'd expect. 2 weeks is still really early in the process.

    Deschooling does not have to mean total unstructured time. What about a daily routine written on a white board or poster, so that everyone knows how the day flows? Something like AM - Chores, outdoor walk, family read aloud, game / baking / activity / free time (pick one). Lunch with fun educational family show. PM - Field trip, afternoon (by yourself) quiet time, free time / TV / video games.

    IMO there is no hard and fast rule about deschooling. If you want to throw in a math review sheet or free write to fill in your day, you can do that - just keep it light and breezy.

    Hang in there!
    Last edited by RTB; 11-07-2017 at 09:03 PM.
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  4. #3


    Hi, Sea09! Try not to get too worried or frustrated. We had a very similar experience, and it took us several months to really fall into a pattern. That pattern has changed a lot over the years as different life events have came into play. For us, homeschooling is a process with lots of great periods but also with lots of challenging ones. It can be hard, but you will find the way to help your kids learn!

    My boys both really wanted to be homeschooled, and I was surprised when my initial attempts at activities I thought they would enjoy were met with extreme resistance. My oldest really responds best to traditional schoolwork; he just needs it in a home environment. My youngest really loves the very non-traditional type projects. It took me a long time to figure out just what they needed (actually still working on that) and to have the courage to try new things. Just keep trying things and noting how each child responds, and you'll soon find things that work for your family. Remember, too, that each of your children may need something very different from the others.

    I think RTB's suggestions are really good. My boys are very stressed if they do not know what will happen each day. I make daily schedule sheets for each of them that show what is planned for each day so they can mentally prepare for it. I also think some scheduled free time is really important. Everyone needs some downtime.

    You obviously have your children's best interest at heart, and you will find out what is best for all of you soon. Hang in there and we're wishing you all the best!

  5. #4


    I think it sounds like you all need deschooling more than most families, but I strongly second what RTB said about how deschooling can be structured if that's what's right for your family.

    You may or may not be doing this, but one thing I'd recommend is don't make suggestions or offer choices. I like to offer choices, but when you've got a dynamic like that where nothing pleases, then it's pointless. Just lay it out. Now is when we're reading. Now is when we're going outside to play. Now is when we're cooking. Period. If it doesn't go well or you realize it wasn't right, then great - you know for next time. But in order to get a routine going, you may need to just enforce it and not listen to the complaints and the whines. One of my hard and fast rules is that we don't discuss the thing while we're doing the thing. I'm happy to discuss it later, but you can't complain about the math lesson during the math lesson or about the documentary during the documentary. If we do that, everything breaks down. But after, sure, we can all learn and improve for next time and have a conversation about process... but later.

    Don't throw in the towel or anything yet. Give it some time. It's possible that homeschooling just won't be right for you, but it takes some families months to get into any kind of a groove at all.
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  6. #5


    I agree with Farrar: choices are only going to bring on more animus.

    Hey, think of it this way (and make your kids think about it this way too): It took THEM a long time to get used to going to actual school. Can you help them remember their tears and fears etc.? Bring up specifics. This adjustment is exactly the same as that adjustment.

    And honestly someone needs to be driving the bus. I hope you have things somewhat mapped out about how your homeschool should go. Considering you've only just started, maybe you can start homeschooling IN EARNEST after the holidays. Get them through the routine of more and more things to do before then, but you're all going to be working toward starting school soon.
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  7. #6


    I have been having this exact issue with my 4th grader after bringing him home from public school. He really likes routines, but definitely needed deschooling. Farrar gave a very good list of ways to schedule in the deschooling post I did recently. I have also found that giving him the list in advance of our week helps. Like this week we went to the Children's Museum on Monday because it was their homeschool time and yesterday we went bowling with some homeschool friends and today we went for a hike and tomorrow we will go to the swimming pool and Friday Dad is home so it will be like a weekend. It isn't a schedule to the hour or anything, but he can anticipate what is up for the week and that seems to be helping.
    DS16 with ASD, DD12 and DS10

  8. #7


    First of all, it has only been two weeks. Two weeks seems like a very long time when you are in the trenches with lots of little ones but in the grand scheme of things it is less than a blink of an eye. Did they have any say in this homeschool decision? Were any of them wanting to be homeschooled? Do they know why they were brought home to homeschool? I'm not trying to say it should have been their choice at their ages but if it was just sprung on them without any warning or build up to it, that could explain some of the behavior issues. It's not so much that they don't like homeschool or like public school but that being routine lovers, sudden change is hard for them. I speak from personal experience here, I have to have routine to function and any sort of sudden change is difficult for me, even when I know that change is for the best. I'll get over it eventually but it takes time.

    As the others have said, deschooling doesn't have to be completely unstructured nor does no learning have to occur for the process to take place. But rather than jump into hard core homeschooling mode, start with fun educational experiences. Bring everyone into the kitchen to bake a pie and read a related story while it bakes. Only those who listen quietly to the story get to have pie when it's done. Yes it is a bit of a bribe but I'm not above doing it if I get willing participation out of it when I otherwise wouldn't get participation at all. If it helps, you can find a lot of children's stories read aloud on Youtube. That way they feel like they are watching TV and you can slowly transition them toward more variety of read aloud experiences.

    Do fun science experiments, do art projects, do nature walks, make journals, play educational games (board games and electronic are fine), do all the fun stuff and call it school. You can transition over the next month or two toward more and more curriculum based learning. You could also ask your children what are some things they have always wanted to learn more about and start learning about those things with them. Show them first hand what kind of freedom homeschooling gives them to pursue whatever interests them.

    This is just a personal preference for me but I would not allow unlimited TV and video games during the time when they would normally be in school. There is a reason they are not allowed to do that at school and since they are doing school at home, they can't have those distractions at home during school time either. Non-educational TV and video games are for after school. Period. But be prepared for "I'm bored". Have ready activities and ideas for them to engage in instead of TV and video games.

  9. #8


    It's going to be rough at first because everything is so different than it was. My kids always liked a list in the morning of what they needed to get done during the day. I tend to not be that organized these days, but back when I was more organized I'd write up a little to-do for each of them, even with a time frame of when the things were to be done. I really think they secretly all loved the structure. These days I just make sure they're each working on something productive during our learning hours. When they get done with one thing, then I give a few choices of what they could do next. It works well for us at this time, but I know they'd prefer a list. If they push back with the to-dos you could have earned electronic time. They do XYZ on the list, they get so many TV minutes. Or, they do X on the list, they get so many minutes, they do XY, they get more minutes, and so on.

  10. #9


    My youngest MUST know the structure. I have gotten to the point of never stopping schooling because he can't handle the change. And...he was not that bad compared to some other kids I know. :-) your gut. Do a calendar put up the day you will go to the library, the day for the trip, the day that you will meet friends....spell it out. If needed, find some groups or classes to get them around other kids, choir, gymnastics, dance, 4-H....a little time apart can be a good thing.

    My kids are all now in their teens or just about to enter them. But, audio books are a great thing. Story of the World on Audio...perfect. The library had them for me. When we have an audio book, they listen better, and if in the car,they don't fight. At home I let them color or play with Legos while listening. There are some amazing coloring books that go with history themes you might want to check out. (Lewis and Clark and such.)

    While you figure things out...your kids may like a little more structure in some things like having a reading time daily. Either you reading to them, or them doing free reads. Math time could be playing Cool Math or math apps like Dragon Box that are fun. Or Math War card games. Once you figure out what you want to do, then you can phase in the curriculum that you want. Until that time they may be feeling like they are not doing anything.....and that is not a feeling that people want to have. They don't yet know how to teach themselves as that has always been done for them at school, but start slowly leading them along...little projects here and there. Start watching some interesting You Tube videos about science or such and the will more than likely come along and watch too.

    And...if all else fails, reinstate nap time. For the toddler, nap, everyone else, they can read in bed. Just for your own sanity and to keep them from fighting for at least a small period every day.

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2 weeks in from removal of Public school = not going well