Not So Sure Anymore
February 11, 2008
So we have been kind of homeschooling for a month. And I would say the school part of it is fine, and the schedule for me has been fine… and there is so much about it that I love & that Enn has loved, too.
And yet… Enn has started to have people issues that I have never seen before. It’s frustrating that something I feel so passionately about may in the end not be the best thing for my oldest son’s development. I don’t believe it when naysayers exclaim that homeschooling causes hermit kids. I see the opposite all around me, since many friends and neighbors homeschool and their kids and they are not maladjusted. And yet, maybe some kids do need the big group dynamic to hone their people interaction skills. My kid seems to need that group thing at this point in his life.
He is so much like me. I like alone time. I used to attend every huge family gathering with a book in my hand so I could find a corner & just sit & read while everyone else ran around & played. I also never liked the dynamic of hanging with both my two best friends at the same time, I was better one on one. He’s like my brother, too. He quit on attending 7th grade after we made two moves in one school year. Too much change and he said- forget it. He just stayed home the rest of the year. He quit HS in 11th grade, too. Not because of anything other than he was just sick of it, and he was ready to do his own thing. He’s all set in life now, and I’m happy for him. So it’s not that this independent spirit is unusual for our family. It’s just that I want to see my son grow in this area, I don’t want him to go backwards. It’s okay for him to be his own person and have alone time, but he needs to get how to hang with people, too. Balance, that’s all I ask.
I am not bailing just yet on homeschooling. Even if I send him back to preschool (non-academic, play based), that doesn’t mean that my future in homeschooling is over. It’s just that in this one month that my son has been home, he seems to have lost so much confidence in his interactions. He shuts down so hard when he is hurt, by anyone. It’s hard to work him out of the mood he gets into. He withdraws from people unexpectedly and prefers to be alone sometimes (more than before). His best friend Jos gets distressed because he doesn’t understand why Enn is sad & won’t play. Sometimes it’s really hard to get Enn to leave the house. He doesn’t play so much with the neighbor kids anymore. I’ve been told maybe it’s because he can no longer just announce his presence & say “I’m here to play!” I have been thinking maybe it’s because he is separating himself from their three year old, maybe their age difference has come to matter to him, and maybe it’s too awkward for him to navigate playing with the other two older kids & not with the three year old. These both seem to be plausible explanations, especially since he did finally briefly play with the two older kids in my home today. He seems better with kids on his home turf, he seems fine with that. And he’s fine with playdates I set up at other people’s houses and I stay to hang out with the mom, or if they come over, he gets excited about that. But he’s not so fine at his best friend’s house anymore when I am not there. And not at all fine with running next door like he used to every day. And he’s not into spending the night at his grandparents’ home once a week like he used to. And not fine with having people come over to our house & join us for dinner when he wasn’t expecting them. He has changed so much in one month, and I am not sure if it’s because he left preschool. Other factors: his brother Zee is super physical and Enn hasn’t been able to defend himself (hit back.) We are teaching him to say No! and of course we discipline Zee every time (which Enn loves.) Zee also moved into Enn’s room beginning of this month. (His room was FREEZING and Zee was waking several times a night Oct-Dec.) Enn has been very happy with the move outwardly, but knowing him, there could be a deeper hidden issue with it. I can’t think of anything else that could’ve changed him so much, but one thing is certain: He has changed, and I’m worried. Being the active & involved parents that we are, we are seeking solutions, from experienced parents that we know, from homeschoolers, from friends & from family. Most likely, tho, he will go back to preschool…. where I hope he has a great time…. and perhaps he will get back into the habit of working things out with people and overcoming his fears & doubts. Would all this had happened even if he never left his old preschool? Who knows. All we can do is take it from here & keep moving forward.