Sending an unwilling child to school?


I have two kids, a 12 YO and a 6YO. I have been home educating them both up to this point, but now I am considering sending my 6 YO (6, from now on) to public school. 6 is a very strong willed child, who has difficulty accepting direction from me, and frequently disregards my requests to do tasks or school work. 6 is also prone to “exploring,” for example, will often exit the house quietly when I am otherwise occupied (such as: in the bathroom, helping 12 with school work, or in the laundry room), and then will proceed to visit with neighbors, investigate the crawlspace of the house, or climb up the grape arbor and stand up there, 5 feet off the ground. Or, 6 will simply go outside, find a clever hiding place, and not respond to my (increasingly frantic) calls. As these “exploring” incidents can be initiated very quickly, I feel that the only way to prevent them is to maintain a state of constant hyper-vigilance. This state is stressful to maintain, and runs counter to my belief that children should learn independence and self-regulation. Free play=good, helicopter mommy=bad. Even worse, other parents have remarked to me that my child’s behavior is foolish and unsafe, and that I must not be adequately supervising 6 if the child can slip away so easily. I just wan to tell them, Gee, I’m sorry you want to talk to me/ ask me something/ grab my attention for a moment, but I really can’t afford to take my eyes off of this child for even a second or you will have an opportunity to criticize my inattentiveness. So, it’s not that I don’t want to socialize with all you other moms who barely have to watch their well-behaved kids, it’s just that my child is looking for something dangerous to do 95% of the time. So this brings me around to school: Why not? Why not give another adult the opportunity to supervise, educate, and entertain my child for 6 hours a day? The problem is, no one else agrees with my point of view. 6, 12 (who has been to school and hated it), and my husband are all vehemently opposed to sending 6 to school. I think 6 will do alright- 6 is a very social child, rather independent, and would benefit from positive influence of better-behaved peers. And it’s only kindergarten we’re talking about. So what do you think, should I do it? Would it make things better, or am I just a bad, irresponsible person who is pawning off a problem child on the system?

Category: Tags: asked September 12, 2013

3 Answers


"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

-- Helen Keller

That was a quote by Helen Adams Keller; she was often regarded as an American author, political activist, and lecturer. A little cool fact about her history; promotes the fact that she was the deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree!

I understand that often Adults want to bubble-wrap their children before sending them outside to experience, discover or interact with the general public. That being said, Everyone love's their kids but one must also keep in mind that everything that's overdosed will eventually come around. In most cases, it may not be positive for say!

I don't necessarily think you're a "Bad, Irresponsible person who's pawing off a problem child on the system"; On the same note I don't think your answer will be clear on this forum. No one will necessarily will be able to tell you a definite "Yes/No" answer.

Personally, My best advice would incorporate a little communication between your party and the existing school district around your community. I would personally visit the main office; explain my current situation to a person of authority and ask in regards to possible programs issued by the school board for special cases like your own.

Generally the best answers are given by the authority in question, I would suggest taking some time to locate, research and interact with those in question.

P.S - Personally, I could not imagine looking after children all day long! I truly admire you're self determination; Positive interaction and consistent up-keeping!

Most Parents would dream of the day they send their children to kindergarden; in-order to relax and enjoy (Sunday Style) until the date of dismissal.

Best Of Wishes!
I think that 6 needs to have the choice and experience of public education, he should try it out, and see how he feels about it... It is likely that he won't enjoy it, but in that situation, I would recommend the excellent alternative of getting him involved in non-formal education projects. I'm not sure where you live, and what forms non-formal education takes there, but all around I've seen it be focused on engaging the creativity of a child, and challenging them to come up with solutions, by keeping them focused and interested, on the things that appeal to them. I've seen non-formal education work with children who were profoundly disinterested in regular schooling. I think, ultimately, it may have some of the advantages of home-schooling, and it would be done by a group of trained people... Which may relieve you of your helicopter mommy fears. I dunno, I'm just throwing it out there, for you to get informed about this alternative in your local community, if you don't already know about it :)

Good luck!
It seems you can afford, effort wise, to home-school only one child for now. Remember that you and your husband are the adults, and your preteen kids' opinion is just a kid's opinion.If you feel that at the moment you can only do a mediocre job parenting both, and could improve the quality of both kids' growing age by sending one to school like billions of other people, you have a right to explore this idea, looking for schools, etc, and have a serious discussion with your husband about it, without the kids involved.You need to get a grip on 6's behavior though, it sounds like she is not respecting your authority or lacks awareness of negative consequences to her "evasions", so whatever happens with the school thing, you will need to address that, because it's not something that school could fix. I've read a nice chapter on this in the book "Boundaries", that you could check for inspiration. At the same time, keep in mind she seems bored and needs something to keep herself interested with. In the meantime keep the doors locked and carry the keys around maybe?