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09 Nov 2005 - 23:54
What are homeschooled pre-teens like? Are they as hostile to their parents as public school pre-teens? Does anyone know?
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My sons are 9 and 8 now; they were 8 and 7 when I started homeschooling them last year. My oldest son was acting a lot like what I remembered from the middle school years: his friends and teachers had more control and authority over him (in his mind) than his parents. What did we know about his life? He spent the best part of his day with other people. Homework was an (almost) daily battle from kindergarten through third grade with him. If I suggested a way of doing something that was different from what he'd learned at school, or what he thought he'd been taught, he would object that my way was not what his teacher told him. The implication was that SHE was in charge, not me. I figured that if I homeschooled him, at least I'd be fresh and alert for our daily schoolwork battles instead of waiting until the end of the day for them when I was tired. I also figured he couldn't point an authority who wasn't there (the teacher or the textbook that he couldn't bring home) when he disagreed with me. In fact, this has worked for our family. We attend a small co-op of about 10 families who meet once a week and do projects for science, history and study various fun electives. The other kids are not as sarcastic to their parents as the general public schooled population seems to be. (Of course, I'm looking at a very small sample.) I think we've been releasing our kids too soon into the wide world. I know I did. Both of my sons were in daycare or with sitters 40+ hours a week from the time they were each about 3 months old until they started kindergarten. I was "outsourcing parenting" but I was working and didn't know what else to do at the time. My kids were spending their days with people who had no real stake in their lives. I may not always be able to homeschool my kids, and it is absolutely NOT EASY, but, for now, I am grateful that I can do it and I think they will benefit academically, emotionally, and, yes, socially. Maybe this goes without saying, but, you never know, so I'll say it anyway: I do not think myself or my children superior to anyone who does not homeschool. I am only able to do this by the grace of God. I'm just doing the best that I can do right now. -- DianeAustin - 10 Nov 2005
I watched a homeschooled 10 year old come up to his mom and give her a big, snuggly, bury your head in mom's neck kinda hug—in public (McD's), AND in front of a dozen other homeschooled kids. I've seen even older homeschooled kids enjoy playing cards with 6 and 7 year olds. Being exposed to these types of kids really cememted the idea of homeschooling for me. BTW, if you bring your child home from public school to homeschool, you need to read up on DE-Schooling. -- NicksMama - 10 Nov 2005
Homeschooled kids are nowhere near as hostile. Not only are they less hostile in their pre-teens, but also less hostile in their teens. Not that it would be all smooth sailing for homeschooling parents, but having the kind of close relationship that you can really only get when you are together for a lot of the time really eases some of the tension. Try reading John Taylor Gatto for information on the way school was designed to create disharmony between family members and contributed to the more extreme problems for teens today. http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/ -- SamanthaRawson - 10 Nov 2005
Well, from what I've heard from the other moms at the Well-Trained Mind message boards, the kids are still spacey at that age, no matter where they learn. They turn 12 and act like their brains have rolled under the bed with the dust bunnies, not to be found again for 2-3 years. It's not uncommon for them to forget how to do stuff they mastered three years before. They discover the opposite sex. Some of them get moody, etc. I have a friend IRL whose oldest is Mr. Know-It-All now that he's a teenager. He's very bright, and enjoys letting everyone else know it. :-P I hope my kids won't be as insufferable as I was at that age. Of course, my folks hope for just the opposite to occur. ;-D -- BrendaM - 10 Nov 2005
thanks so much for all of these comments I'm going to do my KUMON worksheets, & then pull ALL of this up front I've experienced everything you're talking about here—although I've managed to 'take ownership' of math, and, to some degree, of English language arts. My 'afterschool' intervention with math was so intensive that Christopher sees me as the Authority. Nearly a year into my work with him I realized that taking ownership was part of my goal. It was unconscious—my cognitive unconscious to the rescue againg—but that's what I was doing. I needed to do this for a reason beyond the fact that he needed so much remediation, which was that I anticipated that Phase 4 was going to be very, very difficult psychologically. The kids in Phase 4 last year were suffering. Lots of them were crying over their homework at night. The parents were suffering. The course was taught badly, but beyond that, the course is defined as being for mathematically gifted kids. Thirty-five to 40 percent of the 6th grade was in Phase 4 math. Obviously, 35% of a student population isn't going to be mathematically gifted unless you're talking about the student body of MIT. In fact, Phase 4 math is filled with high achievers: bright kids who do their homework. These kids were getting clobbered. In the past, a number of parents have pulled their kids out of Phase 4 math entirely to protect their children's emotional health. "It isn't worth it," they'd say, and I know exactly what they mean. I knew I was putting Christopher into Phase 4 math, come hell or high water. And I knew I was going to be keeping him there no matter how miserable the experience. The principal actually made my husband agree to have Christopher 'take Cs' if he was going to be in the class. (This was on the fly; my husband would never have agreed to such a thing in a real conversation. He had to very quickly make the point that CHRISTOPHER WAS GOING TO BE IN PHASE 4 MATH NO MATTER WHAT.) So I had to become the boss of math. I wanted it to be up to me to say whether Christopher was learning what he needed to learn or not. And I am the boss. With all the pre-teen b*s I'm dealing with (yesterday Christopher told me, in the car, to 'shut your mouth') I'm the Boss of Math. Also the Boss of English Language Arts. -- CatherineJohnson - 10 Nov 2005
My neighbor told me, back when we first met nearly 7 years ago, that every homeschooled child she'd ever met was a nice kid. That made a BIG impression on me. Steinberg is right about peers. Period. -- CatherineJohnson - 10 Nov 2005
If I had it to do over again, I think I'd homeschool (though I'd have a phenomenally difficult time bringing Ed around to this position. It would have to be a deal-buster for getting married in the first place, frankly.) I can't say honestly that I would prefer to be homeschooling two autistic kids. I wouldn't. -- CatherineJohnson - 10 Nov 2005