There is so much bullying that goes on in schools, and we're hearing more and more about it lately with the anti-bullying campaigns. I think that middle school is probably the worst. My two oldest kids were not homeschooled. They attended a brick-and-mortar school. My daughter was made fun of her first year in middle school. Fortunately her brother was in school with her and protected her. But how many kids have to endure that every day?
Bullying can happen to just about anybody because they may be different or because the don't fit in to a mold that the popular kids deem appropriate, or it can just simply happen because they're at the wrong place at the wrong time. Some kids are just bullies and will pick on the kid in front of them because they can. I'm so glad for the freedom to homeschool because I know if my kids were in school, a couple of them may be subject to being bullied. One child because she has special needs and the other one because he's shorter than average.
A friend recently confided in me about her son's experiences with bullying in the classroom. She's concerned enough that she's considering homeschooling him. I've suggested an eighth grade online curriculum for her to look into. I advised her to pull him out immediately and start now, even if it is mid-year. I pulled one of my children out mid-year and was so glad I didn't wait. It's never too late to start homeschooling, especially if your child is asking to be homeschooled. For a first-time homeschooler I would recommend an online curriculum that helps track the student's work and progress and one where the lessons are already prepared. It gives you a guideline to go by if it is all new to you. Then the following year or years you can supplement if you choose to. There is enough already to adjust to when bringing a child home from a brick-and-mortar school. I would even recommend taking at least a couple of weeks off to de-program from the 7-hour a day school textbook routine. Just spend time together and ease into the new routine. Talk about the expectations you have for your child. And don't be afraid to tell him that this is new to you, too, and there may be changes as you go. Let him know what your priorities in bringing him home to learn are. For our family, while academics are important, biblical training, character training, family bonding and a love for reading and learning are most important.
Ironically the argument of socialization is often made against homeschooling. "If you're going to homeschool your child, he's going to miss out on socialization." Really? Is this the kind of socialization we want for our children? Is this what is meant by socialization by some, "Let your kids learn how to defend themselves"? What do you think? Do you think socialization in a school setting, a classroom with 20-plus kids to one teacher, or a cafeteria with a hundred or more kids to a teacher or two is a good atmosphere for socialization?