Yes, have they! There have been times my kids have asked me to send them to real school. How many times? I don’t know. Definitely depends on which kid. Definitely depends on the age. I’ve noticed the requests the most from about 4th grade to about 9th grade, depending on the person.
This is the time, I feel, when their personalities, the identity they choose is emerging and budding and growing. They want to know. They want to fit in. They don’t want to miss out. They feel like mom is holding them back from the herd. It’s all mom’s fault.
Sometimes it’s easy to divert their arguments about going to school.
For example, my kids wake up on their own morning rhythm to do school. So sometimes pointing out that many kids have to get up each day, every day at 6:00 am to get to school quiets their requests. Also, my kids are done with school when their work is finished. Some days, my kids can finish school early. Pointing out that kids are in school from 8:00 am to 3:20 pm and go home with homework can diminish requests to be sent to school.
Then, other times, it’s not so easy. I’ve done all the right things, like trying to figure out what the daughter feels she is missing, trying to enroll her in activities to fulfill missing gaps (art classes or extra-curricular sports), trying to change up how I teach material. But the requests and accusations keep coming.
And for us, it has never been, “Hey, Mom. The high school here has the most amazing math class. I’ve heard great things about it. Think I could try it?” It has been about people. They want to be with people and have people things, depending on the age: lockers, buses, clubs, a crowd to belong to. And I get it. I like people too. I had these things. I’ve been there.
You’re ruining my life.
I can’t remember if one of my daughters has actually told me, “You’re ruining my life.” I’ve certainly felt the idea steaming off of them at certain times, even if they didn’t voice those words. And I do very, very much take note of their frustrations and work as hard as I can with them to meet their needs socially without sending them to school.
As much as school might allow opportunities for “a group,” it is kind of a strange socialization system to me. All the same ages pushed together. A weird hierarchy. Little autonomy. I just prefer to educate my kids at home and then help find them socialization opportunities in other ways.
Usually, the desire to go to school at our home revolves around nothing academic. I make it very clear that I am confident in the academic fiber of their homeschool. I let them know they can have people over to our house whenever they want. I’ll let them try activities they want.
No matter what I say, there have been two or three times when I finally just had to say this:
“I’m not here to ruin your life. If you think that school is the answer and will give you what you need, I will set up the appointments for us to go meet with them. I will let you go investigate and ask them questions. If you still want to go after interviewing them, then you can go.”
I homeschool because I want my kids to have a great education. I want them to know their family. I want them to have more time to learn diverse topics that they might not have time to learn well if they went to school (Spanish, how to play an instrument, and art). I want to give them the opportunity to explore more of the world through learning.
But if one of my kids really, really thinks that school will fix her problems, and I’ve tried everything, then I have to let her try. But not till after we’ve turned every other rock.
Another reason that I homeschool is so my kids can learn to express themselves under the guidance of a woman who loves them, tries to understand them, and who wants them to learn to communicate their true wants and needs.
If after lots of talking and trying everything else and looking at the heart of matters and also looking into the future of their education with them and their life goals they still want to go meet with the school hierarchy, we will do so.
But I’m graduating one this year, and she stuck our school out!