Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Question for Homeschooling Moms

My younger son had to do summer school this year. In fact, I think he's had summer school every year of middle school because he starts out terrible and finishes with a bang...but not bang enough to pull up his gpa. I've tried everything from ignoring it to standing over him for hours while he did homework, to emailing teachers to keep up with assignments, to thinking he should just be held back, to pulling. my. newly. gray. hair. out!

Yesterday he got in trouble at summer school. His father got him a cell phone, which I immediately deemed just one more way for him to get in trouble and one more thing to make it harder to control who he talks to, etc. Yesterday the teacher asked for all the kids with cell phones (kids with cell phones...that drives me nuts...why do kids need cell phones?) to hand them up to her for the remainder of class. My son didn't. He put it on low in case any "important" calls came, he said, like me or his dad. Yeah, right! So his phone beeped because he got a text message and the teacher read it and it was some horrible thing the kid said and now my son has been told not to return to summer school, which means he will repeat 8th grade (although Daddy is trying to get him out of it, which is half the trouble).

Mike is very smart. They tested him for special ed because he wasn't doing his work like he should and generally being an all around pain in the neck at school...turns out he's closer to "gifted" than "learning disabled." He has a very high IQ and great logic. (I wish he'd use it). He's more interested in socializing (like his mother was) and he doesn't have the self-discipline necessary to take care of things that come first, first. I know it's my fault. I have failed to discipline as I should. On the other hand, I am the only one who disciplines him at all.

Yes, I know that divorce has contributed. It's what keeps me awake at night. I do everything in my power not to get into a power struggle thing with his dad over discipline (as it was a huge problem during the marriage). It's causing a huge rift here at home as Tim tells me that I am NOT going to be the one who takes care of the fallout from this and that I must make my ex deal with the consequences. All I care about, of course, is my son. I don't care about whose fault is what or who should have to drive him here or there. I care about my son getting a brain in his head and losing some of his stubborness and doing what he's supposed to do.

A lot of back story for a fairly straightforward question. I have wanted to home school Michael for a long time now. I know he's smart enough. I think I need to get rid of as many distractions for him as possible. I also know that homework time with him in the evenings is part of the reason my hair is turning gray. It has been a real chore to keep him "on task." There has been some improvement. He even occasionally does homework without being reminded....on his own. A true breakthrough. He is actually well-behaved for me. He is respectful and sweet even. I don't know what happens to him when he goes to school, but I suspect it's a lot of masculine posturing and showing off. That's my theory anyway. So, what I am asking from those of you who actually homeschool and know how difficult it is and this doable? He would be starting high school in the fall...he'll be 14 in September (another problem...he is the youngest middle schooler). Can I make this work? or is it too late? I don't want to take it on if it's a mistake.

I'm not sure his dad will allow it. He wouldn't back when I wanted to do it before middle school...with both boys. But perhaps he is at his wit's end and will let me try it at this point. Before I speak with him about it, I'd like to feel certain that it's even reasonable to consider it myself.

I'm open to suggestions. I just want the best for my son. Some sleep would be nice, too. yawn.


deb said...

Lisa, I can speak from 17 years of homeschooling experience (however, I do think it makes a difference starting them at 5 yr old versus 14, so you would have that to deal with).

I think homeschooling would be the best thing that happened to you and your son--away from negative influences that will only get worse from 14 - 20, a closer bond between mom and son, one-on-one prayer time, concentrated learning, the advantages go on and on.

More than likely his attitude about the whole thing at this age would affect the situation and whether your husband would allow it. But...the school's influence on him with peer pressure and wrong friends can only make things escalate from what they are now.

Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but it sure works for those who stick with it. I would never take back my years of schooling our 4; it was worth it beyond compare, and thanks be to God, they are 4 wonderful young adult with their heads on straight, serving the Lord, and waiting for His best.

Did this help? I'll be praying for you. No change is ever too late with the Lord leading. :)

Lisa said...

It does help, Deb, and I appreciate the prayers very much. Thank you.

Roberta said...

Lisa, it will require discipline and hard work on your part, but if you're willing you definately can do it. I agree with what Deb said here; "a closer bond between mom and son, one-on-one prayer time, concentrated learning, the advantages go on and on".
My oldest is only nine 1/2, but I firmly believe character training (his and mine)is the greatest advantage of keeping them home. As far as the education aspect it lends itself to more delight directed interests, and we all learn better when we are intrigued by the subject.
I have a few books I could recommend if you are interested.
I will pray for you.
p.s. Did you see I congratulated you? I felt like a ding dong when I looked again this morning and the post looked different...ah well, good guess anyway! LOL (keeps me humble.)

Lisa said...

Thanks so much Roberta. I'll keep the books in mind and may ask about them later.

I saw that you congratulated me. lol Her blog was all messed up last night. I left a message that it was Jenn who guessed metal, so she changed it but didn't bother explaining. LOL I was beginning to think I'd dreamed the whole thing until you said something.

Amy said...

Hi Lisa. I've only been homeschooling for a year so I'm not as experienced as Deb. I would say go ahead and try it. I've heard of many gifted children who are simply bored in public school and do far better in a homeschool situation. Add to that all the terrible peer pressure and you've got a hard environment for a child to succeed in.

From what I've read there will be a time of adjustment for both you and your son. Things aren't going to fall into place right away.

You may find the blog Guilt Free Homeschooling (sorry, don't have the URL here) to be very helpful. Or, you can just do a google search for homeschooling and read, and read, and read......

It might also be helpful to contact a local homeschooling group. I'm sure some of the ladies there would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Cindi said...

Lisa, I haven't been homeschooling as long as Deb. We have only been at this 9 years. We have a great network here in Roanoke. There are lots of teens being homeschooled. There are lots of options. Maybe he is getting into trouble because he is bored at school. That happens a lot. Sounds like with his IQ. The only problem will be with your ex husband. They can cause such a stink. We have offered my oldest the opportunity to go to school many times. He says no. He likes to get his work done and not waste so much time in the classroom. If you need info on local stuff just call!

Lisa said...

Thanks Amy. I appreciate your info and support. I'll give that site a look.

Cindi, Thanks so much. I just may take you up on that. There's a lot to think about.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lisa, I feel for you, how hard this must be. I have no advice as I neither have a teenage son nor have I homeschooled, but I will pray that God shows you the best way forward for your son and for you. And that he not be affected by any disagreements with your ex. I hope you get peace on this Lisa. We can't be having any more gray hairs now!! Many, many blessings. I'll be thinking of you and praying. Sarah xx

Lisa said...

Thanks Sara. My ex and I get along great so there won't be any fallout. We just disagree on this and it's the one thing he actually has ever put his foot down on. Maybe he will see now though that it's not working out this way.

I just went and had my hair cut...short! You should see the gray hairs now! Yikes.

Deb said...

Lisa, I agree very much with the other Deb :) and Roberta. I have only homeschooled 7 years ~ grades 7-12 with my daughter and grades 7-9 with my son. My son has gone back to public school mainly because there was not enough 'socialization' for him at home~we didn't belong to a homeschool group, which would probably have helped greatly. He really wanted to do more with kids his own age. The drawback with school, as Deb said, is the peer pressure and negative influences. I can definitely see that he was learning more at home also. I think it is something that could be very good for your son, though of course it is a big committment. I hope it all works out for the best for you both.

Mrs.B. said...

Lisa I have no advice to offer.....just wanted you to know that I care. (o:

Lisa said...

Thank you Debbie. That's my ex-husband's concern..not enough socialization. At this point,I think Mike's problem is over-socialization.

I bet your son has a really nice foundation and you won't have to worry so much about negative influences.

I sure have a lot to think about. Thanks so much.

Lisa said...

Oops...Mrs. B, you and I must have been commenting at the same time. Thank you for that. I really do appreciate it.

Happymama said...

Lisa, we're going on our tenth year and I can say that it has been worth every single moment.

To give you any advice, I would have to say pray, gather information, pray, and THEN talk to Mike's father.

Pray about homeschooling and ask the Lord to give you peace about it if it be His will. And if it is not His will, that He will shut every door.

As you are praying, begin to gather information on homeschooling. For instance, there are different types of curriculum to choose from. LOTS of it. Something you might want to check into also is satellite school. Bob Jones, Christian Liberty Press, and I'm sure several more, use a satellite, just like what you would use for satellite TV. I've heard a lot of good things about it and it's becoming more popular. This would take a lot of pressure off of you. The satellite school puts your child in a real classroom with real teachers and all offere a teacher hotline for you....some even have 24 hotlines.

Also, find out what your state laws are. This is very important. Make sure you have all your paper work submitted correctly and in a timely manner. You'll have to get on the ball with this.

Check out local homeschooling groups in your area too. They can be really helpful.

Once you've gathered all the information and have prayed, then call your son's father and set up a time for y'all to sit down and talk about it. Tell him not to make a hasty decision, to take his time to think about it. Let him know when you need to know for sure what he thinks and give him the information you've gathered to take home and look at it.

If you email, write, or call for any information or get sample curriculum, make sure to get two copies so that you can give his dad as much information to take home as you have at home. Don't make him feel that you're pressuring him, but that you really need his advice. I know that when you're divorced it's not that easy to make your X feel important, but keep in mind that he is Mike's father and you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar....Plus, if it's God's will, he'll agree. But you need to keep in mind, too, that Mike will have to learn to respect you, not only as a parent, but as a teacher as well. If there is no respect and no discipline, this will fail.

I want to be an encouragement to you. I hope that I have helped you in some way.

Love ya!

Roberta said...

Don't know if you visit her, but Karen uses Christian Liberty Press's program CLASS, and just blogged about it Sat. (her oldest just graduated and is college bound.) It looks very affordable and their products are a nice simple design but great quality. She would be a great one to pick the brain of. She's in NY, not sure how that compares to Virginia. Karen's url is
Just wanted to say in case it's useful to you. :)

Lisa said...

Kristi and Roberta, thank you both so much. I really appreciate all the help and support everyone is offering.

Shereen said...

Lisa, I don't have too much experience with homeschooling the older years yet, my oldest will be starting 5th grade now, but I will keep the entire situation in prayer. You son sounds a lot like my beloved in that he was a lot smarter than his peers, and he was just bored to death in class. The teachers would put him to the side of the class with a huge stack of books to just read all day without participating with everyone else. Or they would send him to go draw and redo the bulletin board. It's sad. It sounds like son might just be ready to go at a different pace than everyone else. Please keep us updated.

Lisa said...

Thanks for keeping the situation in prayer. I appreciate it a lot. I'll keep you posted but it isn't looking like homeschooling is going to be an option...and the verdict is in. He'll be repeating 8th grade. It might be the best thing that's happened to him, though.