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Topic: To homeschool or not to homeschool...

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Subject: To homeschool or not to homeschool...
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 12:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 595
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A little background:  My DS is 8, just started third grade.  He is gifted, and is supposed to start the gifted program next week for the first time.  Our county had a special gifted program with a center that the kids went to for a whole day each week, but they just did away with that because of "lack of funding."  So now they are doing the regular pull-out classes at the schools like most school systems do.

DS just started classes last week, and he's already having problems with his regular teacher.  She says he won't do anything she asks him to, simple things like getting into line or picking up his lunch box to go to lunch.  She also says he talks when repeatedly asked to stop, etc.  We had problems early on with the talking last year, but it stopped after the teacher and we both put incentive programs in place for "good" behavior.  DS says he doesn't like this new teacher, but he likes his reading teacher.  We had a meeting with the gifted teacher Wednesday, and ate lunch with DS after.  During lunch, his homeroom teacher told us about the issues she was having with him, and she sounded really exasperated with him.  I am wondering if this is some sort of personality conflict.  He is strong-willed and we sometimes have issues with him at home with daydreaming and not "hearing" us when we ask him to do something.  His teacher suggested a hearing test!  I have no idea why he would be so defiant to his teacher, or whether maybe he's just lost in his own world and not paying attention.  I don't know how to help him focus better.  We are scheduling a meeting for next week.

Do you guys think that my DS sounds like a good candidate for homeschooling?  He honestly doesn't enjoy a lot of things at school, even PE because they do boring things instead of just letting them play (what happened to recess in schools?!), and he gets annoyed at his friends for talking to him all the time during class, getting him in trouble when he talks to them.  He says they are not that interesting anyway.  He is often bored with regular assignments, especially repetative math worksheets with skills which he masters very quickly.  I think he could move on to new work much faster than the class does, and is being held up by the regular classroom.  We can't afford the local private school, and I've often thought that homeschooling is out of the question, too, because of the lack of income it would entail.  But I am starting to wonder if my son really needs some sort of different environment to be more successful.  He seems really at odds with school most of the time.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Last Edited on: 8/19/11 12:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 7:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I think he's a perfect candidate for HS'ing!  :-)  It sounds to me like he's simply bored at school and the only way to fill time is to talk, act distracted, interrupt, etc.  He sounds like my DS at age 4 - when he was in a public preschool program and they told me I should HS him. ;-)  We're now in our 9th year and have never looked back.

I suggest you read over at Hoagies Gifted and/or join the TAGMAX e-list.  There are also several Yahoo Groups for HS'ing gifted kids.



You can always do this as a trial run - for a semester or year - and if it doesn't work, put him back in a B&M school.  But this is a great time to start before you "lose" him to the teach-to-the-lowest-common-denominator type of schooling.

Date Posted: 8/19/2011 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2006
Posts: 78
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This sounds exactly like my son. He is also very strong willed and will sometimes seem defiant. He really isn't trying to fight us :) What I've found is that my son is often several steps ahead in thought from where most other people are. It takes a lot to keep his focus because he figures things out so quickly. It helps a bit since he is very much like my husband. Both have the kinesthetic learning pattern of tinkering and figuring stuff out. If you already know that you're son is gifted in certain areas and that he responds well to rewards or point systems I would first suggest this to his teacher. If she isn't willing to work with you on a plan that fits your sons needs then yes, I would suggest homeschooling. Its possible he is being lost in the shuffle of the class and sometimes for teachers the thought of needing to work individually with students can be overwhelming. I knew this would be the case with DS since his kindergarten class would have had 35 students. I saved myself the trouble of having to work on plans with teachers and schools and just homeschooled him. There were other reasons as well but this was a big one.


I do hope things work out well for you. Just remember to deal quickly with something like this as 'labels' tend to be given to kids early and they stick with them.

Date Posted: 8/26/2011 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 595
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We had a meeting with the teachers this morning.  DS's behavior has improved a lot since we started a behavior chart (with rewards) at home again.  I am sure at some point this will have to stop because he is smart enough to know that he can work this type of system indefinately to get what he wants.  But right now I'm getting what I want which is a happy teacher and a somewhat happier kid since he's not in trouble all the time.

In the meantime we are still looking at options, to include the local private school as well as homeschooling.

Do you guys find homschooling to be cheaper than public school?  It seems like the school nickels and dimes us to death with constant fundraisers and activities because they have no money.  We pay all these taxes and still they need more and more each year.  I think I would like homeschooling because we could buy what WE like to use for supplies and not for the convenience of the teacher.

It also turns out this teacher is very old-school (she is three years older than me), and believes somewhat in a mix of punishment and reward for bad behavior.  We have always tried positive reinforcement which has worked pretty well so far.  It seems with homeschooling I would have more control over that and not be at the mercy of so many different styles of teachers.  On the other hand, in college he will have to learn to deal with many different types of teachers, some of whom may not always be "fair".  How do you deal with teaching this kind of skill in a homeschool environment?

Last Edited on: 8/26/11 3:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/27/2011 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 179
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My own experience with homeschooling was my now 22 year old daughter and my now 18 year old son.  My daughter was homeschooled K-1 and  from 5th grade until she was finished and got her GED.   My son was homeschooled from 1st grade until I put him in public school in the 9th grade.  I put him in public school because he had reached a point where he was fighting me with every assignment and I was too stressed and worried I was somehow failing him.  He absolutely fought going to school the first few days but he was an honor roll student all through high school and a member of the National Honor Society.  My only regret was enrolling him in the basics for 9th grade.  We weren't sure how he'd handle "real school" and honestly I had doubts to how well he had learned (again my feelings that I may have really messed him up).  I now wish I had started him in the college prep classes.  We got around it because of his grades he was allowed to "skip" the originals like Algebra 1 and go from 9th grade math to Algebra 2 and 9th grade science to Biology 2, etc.  We were told that if he couldn't handle it and his grades suffered he would be put back in a basic class.  It never happened.  He did amazingly well.  His senior year he even took AP classes and did well in those and maintained his honor roll status.  He is now a freshman student at Harding University majoring in Ancient History with a minor in Biblical Languages and plans to go in to Archaeology.  He adjusted well with his peers and was a courteous student and I am very proud of how he turned out.  His teachers had nothing bad to say of him at parent-teacher conferences.  I feel I made the right decision to keep him home and then to send him to public schools again when I did.  It's different for each kid but I would do what feels right to you.  A trial like someone else mentioned would even be a good start.  I know Ohio also has Virtual Academy but I didn't do it because it is so strict and I don't like to be on someone elses schedule.  It may have changed since I attempted it though.

Best of luck to you :)


Subject: Controlling the details gets results.
Date Posted: 8/30/2011 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/19/2009
Posts: 16
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DS is 10, DD12, and DS is 8. The best part of homeschooling is being able to shift gears  to address my childrens' needs. Sometimes it's more time on character training; other times adding in something more challenging, Calculus for Kids, to spice things up.


You asked about cost. You can easily leverage time into money by using free online resources. MEP math is one. The Well Trained Mind Forum has been a goldmine of resources from moms who've BTDT. Search for free curriculum threads.



Enjoy gathering info.




Date Posted: 9/3/2011 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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On the cost of homeschooling: It totally depends on what you want. There are lots of resources available for low cost. But at some point, you do sometimes have to make a choice between quality and cost (throwing your own time into the mix too, of course - the more time you're willing to put in, the more you can make of the inexpensive resources out there).

Curriculum doesn't have to be expensive. But you do need to beware of looking only at free or very inexpensive options and not considering what you're giving up. In the third grade, you really don't need a lot of expensive programs. Extensive library use, some reports, some internet resources, some math books (Singapore math is extremely high quality, especially good for gifted kids, and not expensive), and you can do a great job. The older they get, the harder it is to educate them to a standard of real excellence without spending some money.

I have been surprised at how much I've spent on homeschooling. Hundreds and hundreds of books - curriculum manuals - Great Courses videotapes - AP courses online - music lessons - and lots of other things. But I have very high standards, and I'm teaching a lot of kids (I have four - not all of them my own kids - in my high school right now). If you find a great co-op, or have very educated friends that you can trade with, or can otherwise be creative with your time and resources, you can make different choices and spend much less money than I do.

And of course - homeschooling won't solve problems with inattentiveness and such, by itself. Sometimes it allows you to ignore problems that should have been dealt with. I will forever regret that we failed to recognize my daughter's ADD for so many years; she would have had a better relationship with her parents and with the rest of the world had we treated the problem earlier.

I hope you find the best path for your family - whatever mix of schooling and choices that entails.