This has been on my mind for quite some time. My oldest has had problems “fitting in” at public school, and behavior has gone from bad to worse in the past few weeks. We’re to the point he is now seeing an outside counselor because I didn’t know what else to do.
It’s not that he isn’t smart. Quite the opposite actually, he’s way ahead of his class in reading. Everything else he’s quite “average”, but I have to wonder if he wouldn’t be ahead in other things if he was actually LEARNING at school instead of being put in a room by himself as punishment for not falling in line.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there needs to be certain structure in a child’s life. We all have to live by certain rules, and can’t always have it “our way” on demand. We can’t just do whatever we want any time we want. Kids DO need structure.
But I have to wonder how MUCH structure is actually needed. The main problem with my son is he is very independent. He doesn’t like to be taught to, but rather likes figuring out things for himself. He takes great pride in finishing a project without help, and will go so far as to teach others how to do it. You could say he’s a leader, not a follower.
It’s becoming obvious that homeschool is a better option for him. When the kid spends most of his time in a room alone or in the office, what is he learning? This kid needs one on one help, which the school just can’t give.
I’ve witnessed how smart this kid really is. A few weeks ago I planned to have him out of school because he had an appointment with the councelor. His work for the day was given to us ahead of time. The appointment wasn’t until 1pm, so we had all morning to do the work. He’s quite a stubborn kid, so actually getting him to do what he doesn’t want to do can be somewhat of a challenge. Plus this work seemed meaningless to him, which makes the task that much harder. After some resistance, he did in fact finish his work for the day. In less than two hours! If he would have just sat down and did it quickly, it would have taken no more than a half hour. What exactly are they DOING at school anyway?
I guess at this point I see the public school as a threat to his mental health as well as education. If he’s constantly fighting the school, he’s exhausting himself and not learning anything. Right now he’s only in first grade, but how long before he is falling behind the rest of the class because his energy is spent fighting the system? How long before his social skills start to suffer because he’s in a room all by himself?
My biggest concern with homeschool has always been the social aspect. Although now I’m really starting to question if a public school isn’t hindering his social skills because he’s being pulled out of the class so much. He’s spending his recess inside because he’s fighting the work. Recess that he of course does NOT get to make up. I understand in the real world there is an order to things, and we have to do things we don’t want to do before we go play. However, when an adult finishes their work, they get free time. They aren’t shuffled off to another activity that is of little interest to them.
In conclusion I believe I have a smart, self sufficient child who is being serious stifled in the public schools. As we work our way through counseling, I’m weighing the options of keeping him in school verses homeschooling (see this article on Homeschooling vs. Public School).
What’s your thoughts?