When my oldest son was about fifteen months old, my husband and I met a mother who home schooled her eight year old son. The eight year old seemed so mature and polite for his age. So, my husband and I knowing we really didn’t want our son to go to public school decided to give it a shot. When he was almost three, I began doing the research. What I found strengthened our desire to home school. There was such a wealth of information and tools available that even as he got older, I would still be able to continue. There are curriculum that tell you what to teach and how to teach it. There are video lessons and support just a phone call away. But you might be surprised at how much you can do on your own when you have the answers already. Somethings you may need to relearn as you go, but I think that helps you to teach. There were studies showing that the average home schooled student outperforms their average public school peers on standardized tests. There was a study done on social skills which showed that on average home schooled students had better social skills. This was because they are learning proper behavior from adults much more than from their peers. And it’s a misconception that they are not socialized. Most home schooled students are involved in many extracurricular activities. They are often part of a home school group that has classes for every subject including P.E. There are groups like the scouts, church, youth groups, swim lessons, 4-H… And if they may seem a little less jaded than their public school counter parts, it shouldn’t be mistaken for lack of maturity. They have just been given extra time to be their age. They are able to learn at their rate not a rate determined by the majority of the class. If they are learning something quickly, great let’s keep going. If they are struggling with a topic, let’s take it a little slower. My favorite thing was that the work wasn’t about a grade; it was about learning. They do the work until they understand and get it right. If they rush through math, they aren’t able to just turn it in and be done. They are given it back to do rework on problems that they got wrong. Public schools just do not have the time and resources to do things this way. This is not a bash on public school teachers. They have their work cut out for them and are asked to a job that is increasingly harder to accomplish. I would just like to add that one of my biggest frustrations while homeschooling was the people who had all sorts of harsh opinions without having done the research that I had done. Let’s quit judging others for their choices. We all have to make the best decisions we can for our families with the time and resources that we have.
Published by Parenting For Good Mental Health
My name is Tricia. I am the proud mom of two amazing young men.
My youngest son was always a very energetic and highly reactive child. Life with him was often like a roller coaster ride. He had to work very hard to learn how to manage his emotions and behaviors. By the time he turned 10, he had learned to manage them fairly well. But one night while watching the movie The Mummy, his anxiety was triggered. Night after night, he just could not get the scary images out of his head. This went on for almost a year where he would cry in bed at night. Nothing we tried seemed to help. So we decided to take him to see a psychiatrist where he was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, depression, OCD, and bipolar disorder.
Unfortunately, the care and medications that he received from various professionals did not really help. By educating myself, I began to learn that there were many more options that had not been provided or suggested. I believe that had I had more information sooner; his care could have been better tailored to his needs. This was a very difficult time not only for my son but for our entire family. We had to develop new ways of interacting that did not cause fights over the littlest things. We had to learn the hard way what not to do in a crisis. My husband had to learn that you don’t have to have a reason to be depressed or anxious. Sometimes you just are. And that it is not helpful to say to a depressed person, that they have no reason to be depressed. Having never experienced these feelings himself, my husband really struggled with understanding these things. But now that he gets it, he wishes he would have understood sooner so he could have been more supportive to our son in the beginning.
Thankfully, our son has found his own way through the darkness. And he has developed some skills and tools for managing his mental illness. His path could have been easier and less painful for him had we known about these other options sooner.
As parents and caregivers we need to educate ourselves on their illnesses and the evidence based care options that are out there. We have a limited number of clinicians that treat children and teens, so we sometimes only get to see them once a month. What kind of impact do you think you could have on your child if you only saw him once a month? We need to bring as much to the table as possible. The clinicians can only work with the information they are given. The more you can tell them the better they will be able to tailor your child’s care to his needs. We also need to know how to be the parents our child needs because what works for other kids does not always work for ours.
I would like to help educate others so that their path to recovery might be made shorter. There is a lot of support out there, but sometimes we do not hear about it. NAMI is the first support that I will recommend.
NAMI the National Alliance on Mental Illness is the largest grassroots mental health organization in America. Through NAMI you will find support and education that can help you to better facilitate the care your child needs. https://www.nami.org/
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