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Support for Parents Whose Children Don't Want to Be Homeschooled

What do you do when your child wants to go to school and you KNOW it's not the right thing? Here are a couple of scenarios and the responses from our HomeschoolChristian.com message board participants.

A homeschooling mom asked what she could do to support a friend whose children (girls) spend all day crying and whining because they don't want to be homeschooled. The girls do not lack for social opportunities and are very involved in church, piano, ballet, and visiting friends.

Sarah: I learned early on not to set myself up for disappointment, I NEVER ask my children if they wish they could go to public school. Reality: in many ways, public school WOULD BE MORE FUN. Honestly. School plays, friends everywhere, a couple of excellent teachers possibly, some great field trips, all sorts of hands on activity, art classes with a zillion different mediums to work with, etc. Frankly, I'd love to go to school (college) and let someone else do the cooking, cleaning, bill paying and laundry. I'd love being with my friends all day. So what? I am a mom, and I'm doing what moms do. I have a very fulfilled life. I also would like to believe I have character, and make choices not based on what is fun for me, but what is right.

Children want to play and have fun, and your friend is just not likely to be able to convince these gals that there would be work, nasty students, and obnoxious teachers. They lack the maturity and life experience to understand that. they also do not truly understand the concept of what is best for them. In their minds, fun is best. So, your friend has to do what all of us have to do, grin and bear it.

Now, that is NOT NOT NOT to say that she should let them cry and complain. If that were happening in my home, I would simply lay on the work. Have them write a 1,000 word essay on the importance of attitude. Substantially increase household chores. Nix the television. Ground them. Honestly, she should not put up with it. She knows her children, and what makes them tick. Time for her to get serious. Help her to think of it this way: the self-discipline of not expressing our every emotion is an excellent character trait that will help them attract friends and a mate later in life. In all honesty, Laurajean, how excellent a job are these moms doing if they allow their daughters to constantly complain? Mine do not, and trust me, it's not because I'm a perfect example or that my children are all compliant, positive angels of joy and delight. I just have never put up with it. I'm not downing your friends, I have a gazillion areas that I fail my children in, I'm just saying they need to stop being emotionally manipulated, and refuse to put up with it. My children are allowed to be honest about their feelings, and express areas that they struggle with with me. But to make my life miserable with constant complaining, no way, LOL! Life has enough stress as it is.

It's an amazing thing, but even if the only reason we are not complaining is that we are not allowed to, we usually are able to stop that inward complaining as well. Sometimes it's a relief to have someone tell us to just stop. I bet they'll see a major change if they can really put an end to the complaining. The whole family dynamics will change.

Kathi in NC: In fact, sometimes she still doesn't. I sat her down one day and explained to her that we were going to hs whether she likes it or not, so she can either be miserable, or make the best of it. Now that she's noticing that we're done school on LONG days no later than 2... and her friends don't get off the bus until 3:30 or 4, with homework to do... that there's a definite advantage to this! She did tell me that we do "boring" stuff. I countered that with her daily complaints that government school was boring to her. She countered that with, "Well there were kids to talk to and pass notes with and stuff."

Diane Smith I cured this problem! I hs my ds (now 7 yo; 2nd grade) and he has never been to ps. We have many children in our neighborhood around his same age and none of them are hs'ed. One boy (2 yrs older) who lives in the house behind ours has been a bit of a problem. I've caught him more than once trying to convince my ds that he's "missing out" by hsing. He made it sound like they were having a big party all day at school because he saw this person, played with that person, etc. My poor ds had no basis for comparison, so he began to feel left out and upset about hsing. He had no idea how good he has it. (BTW, we belong to a large co-op and he has several hs friends - he just doesn't see them daily like he does the neighborhood kids). I tried giving a variety of reasons, as well as flipping through our group's yearbook so that he could see all the other kids like him (a temporary fix).

So, I decided that we would have a day of ps at home. I found out what the lesson and break schedule was for his grade level and planned the day accordingly. He had to be up earlier than usual in order to have eaten, be dressed, and "lined up" at the kitchen entrance at the appropriate time. He had to stay at his desk (the kitchen table), raise his hand to speak, do without any snacks or juice that are often handy during a lesson, and he had to address me as Mrs. Smith. He thought it was all pretty funny to begin with.

I really had to stretch out the lessons in order to fill the time allotted by the ps teacher. If he still finished early, I had some busy work for him to do. The lessons were typical ps classroom lessons for 1st grade (i.e. read a story, copy a simple sentence, and draw a picture - my ds struggles with writing and hates drawing). I repeated instructions 2 or 3 times even if he understood because there were "disruptive students" in the back row who weren't listening. I was not trying to be a mean teacher, just managing and teaching to a large class with pretty generic types of lessons.

He only had a 15 minute break in the morning, 15 minute lunch + 1/2 hour recess, and a 15 minute afternoon break. He was used to breaks between every one or two lessons with time built in for free play, educational computer games, etc. He was also used to having some say in what topics were covered (we have our non-negotiables, but he has choices in many areas). On this day, the lesson plan was to cover more subjects than we usually do in a day and he would have no choice when or what we did.

By noon, my ds was in tears lamenting "Oh why did I want to do this?!" We ended our ps day shortly after that (although I was prepared to take him all the way to 3:10 when ps ended AND then assign homework). That experience, along with the fact that we went on tons more field trips than his ps friends, helped him to really understand that his ps friends actually had VERY LITTLE time for socializing and playing. The boy in the back house seems to have given up now that my ds responds with "No, I'd rather be homeschooled."

My ds couldn't appreciate what he had until he actually experienced the other for himself. Now, if he complains about a lesson being too long, I can say, "Well, we could go back to the ps schedule..." "Oh, no mom..."

My teen HOUNDS me about going to school. I don't want to send him, but I'm getting worn out by his constant begging...

Kysa My daughter begged to go to 9th grade, and then again for 12th grade. I am the parent and I said "NO". Now, at 20, she agrees that I made the right decision. I knew what was GOOD for my daughter even if it was not the most FUN option.

JanB When my boys did this to me, right after my mom died, and we were not getting anywhere with school! They told me they weren't "challenged" enough and wanted to go back to school. I thought about it, considering what was going on at the time, then came to the conclusion that God wanted me to homeschool my boys, and my boys were not going to make me disobey God! I told them that too, along with there was no other option. I haven't heard a peep about it in years now, other than, "Thanks Mom for homeschooling us!" Stick to your guns!!!

Susie in MS I'm responsible before God for the spiritual health, among other things, of my children. This is one reason that I made the choice, instead of asking my children what they wanted to do. I think that school age children do not have what it takes to make that choice responsibly. My daughter was not happy with my decision at first, but now she thanks me. After being out of the government school system long enough, their eyes have been opened to the immorality there. When you are around something day in and day out, it appears "normal". They now "see".

MichelleT Maybe if you would show him all the freedoms he will be losing by attending public school. Our kids tried public school last year and were absolutely miserable. There was no time to do anything. They hated the lifestyle. That was just 4th and 6th(a boy). Imagine how much more strict their schedules would be in High School! My son was also attacked daily by the girls during recess. I don't foresee that changing with age.

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