What Are The Options?
If your child has been bullied, ostracized, or harrassed at school and you have been unsuccessful in dealing with the bullying
, you should consider removing him or her from the current situation. Your options include:
- A Different Public School
- A Different Private School
- A Different Classroom in the Same School
- Public School On-line
- Private online or correspondance schools
Many people consider the last three choices as homeschooling, because the work is done at the student's home. This is completely incorrect. On-line public school is just that, the same curriculum controlled by the public school system but the work is done at home and your child would not face the some social ostracization.
Private online and correspondance schools are also available, you pay the tuition for these, and the materials come to you either by internet or mail. The curriculum is set by the program and graded and evaluated by them.
Homeschooling is an parent-directed education where the family chooses the curriculum, teaches the lessons, and evaluates the student's work. Multiple options exist including on-line groups, text-books, unit studies: the sky is the limit. Ways to get started can be found in the section on How to Homeschool
What Are The Advantages to Bringing My Child Home
Taking your child out of the classroom environment ends the bullying. It also gives the child a chance to heal.
Homeschooling has other advantages as well, including allowing a child to get excited about subjects that were previous boring. Real learning can take place when they aren't worried about looking over their shoulder or afraid that every snicker in the hallway is directed at them. Moreover, they can use materials and strategies that build on their gifts.
While the other options may not have the flexibility of the individualized curriculum that homeschool provides, it will still serve the purpose of getting them out of an unwholesome environment and allow them to actually learn during school hours.
What About Healthy Socialization?
Socialization is the biggest argument used against homeschooling. The public debate on this subject actually demonstrates that socialization is the MAIN goal of schooling, not education. Don't believe me? Just look at any on-line forum on the subject. No one is concerned whether these homeschoolers are getting an education or not. They are. There are exceptions, but homeschoolers do outperform their classroom-instructed peers as repeated testing has shown.
I'm not going to settle the question once and for all on this page, but the question for the child who is bullied is much simpler. Is he or she getting positive socialization at school? If not, coming home is far better, regardless of which option you pursue.
Cycle of Rejection and Bullying
Sometimes a viscious cycle can develop with people who have been rejected or bullied. Often referred to as the rejection cycle:
- A person is a victim of bullying
- They develop a self-image of weakness
- Others pick up on their low self-confidence
- They are bullied for being weaker
If this occurs, removing them from the original source of bullying is only the first step. You should anticipate that it is possible
your child will face similar situations in the future. Continue to review with them the six strategies of dealing with bullying in anticipation of possible encounters.
Consider any possible contributing factors about your child and help them deal with those. In short, homeschooling may be only the first step in helping them over-come bullying, but confidence-building and social skills may be needed as part of your homeschool curriculum.
Bullying BECAUSE OF Being Homeschooled
Yes, it can happen. Anything that sets one child apart from another or is perceived as a difference could become a characteristic that causes them to be singled out.
A local group of homeschooled high schoolers organized their own prom and rented a room at a hotel conference room. There was a group of several dozen teens in attendance. The same night, at the same hotel, a public high school had their prom with hundreds of students. Two of the public school students came into the room of the home school group and was taunting in a sing-song voice: "Look at the little homeschoolers and their party." One of the guys in the homeschool group took offense and began to push the others out of the room, ready for a physical fight. The public schooler who started the confrontation backed off with "I was only kidding. Man, can't you guys take a joke?" Probably the homeschooler who got physical had been provoked one time too many. One of my grown sons was a chaperone at the homeschool prom thought it was quite funny. Obviously, I wasn't amused.
You may need to use the second step in teaching your child to deal with bullying: Diffuse with Explanation or Humor
if homeschooling becomes an issue with others.
It has been my experience that adults are more likely to bully homeschool families than kids are. Think about it. How often do you feel the need to call out others for what they are doing different from you? Most homeschool mothers will report repeated occurences of other adults debating with them about their decision to homeschool.
Who are these adults? The bullies who didn't out-grow bullying. They continue to single people out if they don't meet their approval. They even believe that children should go to school IN ORDER to be bullied and dominated by the pecking order of life.
pecking order. Teach your kids the skills to stay out of it.
Focus On Your Child's Needs
In addition to the education, the bullied child who is now homeschooled does have specific needs. ALL bullied children need a time of healing. It isn't just a matter of ending the abuse, as critically important as that is.
You need to help your child heal. Their value and worth need to be reaffirmed. They need to rebuild their self-confidence and establish a healthy social network.
Don't worry, it isn't as hard as it sounds. It's called love and friendship. We all need it, all the time. But the formerly bullied child needs to be surrounded in it.
More information on healing after being bullied is found in the links below.
Articles In This Series
Main Page: DEALING WITH BULLYING