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What To Do When the Children Don't Want to Homeschool...

© Beverley Paine, Dec 07

"We want to homeschool our three boys but they are so against it that I wonder if we should even try. I'm worried we will have them working against us from the start. So my question is - is this a normal response? We have plans to be socially active."

It's not a typical reaction, but then again that's probably because most of the families that withdraw children from school to homeschool do because one or more of their children are encountering problems with schooling. These range from not being educationally challenged through to horrendous cases of bullying.

You don't say when you intended to start homeschooling but I assume that because it is late in the year you will be looking at next year. Are you withdrawing them from public or private school? I'm not sure about private schools, as the arrangements for paying fees may mean that you would incur a financial penalty unless you organise withdrawing them this side of Christmas.

However, if your boys are in a public school there is no reason why you can't arrange the withdrawal at the beginning of the next term, contacting your principal and the education authorities that oversee home education in your state on the first day back at school. Or the week before... I wouldn't be surprised if they would welcome this, as the last few weeks of the school year are exceptionally busy and no one really likes extra work to do then, whereas they all expect it at the start of a new year. :

So, given you have plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements to withdraw your children, I would spend the next 6 to 7 weeks getting that alternative social program for your children happening.

One of the most important aspects from their point of view is establishing regular out of school contact with their existing friends. I don't know how you feel about sleep-overs, but if you host a few of these throughout the holidays, maybe even take their best friends on a short holiday (camping trip perhaps at a national park, as this is the cheapest way to holiday). Demonstrate in real practical terms that home ed will mean plenty of access to these friends.

If your boys aren't involved in after-school activities, now is the time to think about it. You could arrange for each of them to join an activity with a friend from school - think of scouts, taekwondo, sport, youth club, whatever. You may need to do all the running around, picking up and dropping off your boys' friends to encourage or persuade their parents that their kids really need this in their life. Alternatively, if your guys are keen on something like bmx or skateboarding you could cooridinate one night a week at the local track or park where you supervise a session for your sons and their friends.

At the same time you need to become involved with the local or nearest homeschool group if there is one - you can begin to do this now, if you haven't already made contact. If there isn't a group near you find out where the nearest one is and make the effort to get along to one or two or more of the scheduled activities. Put a notice in the local library indicating that you are willing to meet other home educating families in your area. Start a local group that meets at a playground or other suitable place each fortnight.

You have a couple of months to persuade your boys that no much will change in their social life once you begin to homeschool. Sure, they won't see their friends at lunch time, but that's only five hours a week and you're going to well and truly make that time up.

If, at the begining of February, homeschooling still looks like such a dreadful proposition to them, then you there is a good chance will need to consider your question to me again. With luck you will have organised the issue out of existance!

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

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