Three Questions: Is it time to pull my kid out of school?

This week I had a conversation with a parent who made the decision to pull her daughter out of a public middle school. After months of anxiety attacks and school absences due to other anxiety symptoms, the district began to notify the family that their daughter might not pass classes this semester if she continued to miss class. Each family has their own story to share, how will you determine if changing your child’s schooling is right for you?

Please note that I’m not advocating for any one style of schooling here. I merely want to provide questions to help you determine if you should change your mode of schooling.

#1 Has my child’s personality changed?

This is the biggest concern I think parents should pay attention to. My son started to develop tics in his last school classroom, our pediatrician discussed with us causes and after walking back the stress points he was facing, we determined it was the teacher.

The parent I was talking to this week described her daughter as someone who loved being involved in sports and music at school, but stomach aches, shortness of breath and other ‘odd’ symptoms were keeping her from being able to attend school which kept her from being able to participate in the extra curricular activities that she loved.

#2 Is your child asking for a change?

I don’t advocate for children making these decisions, but as parents we should be listening to our kids. Parents should be making the final decision, but take time to ask your child why they want to make a change and what they would suggest. Take it one step farther, ask them what they think that change would look like and if they see any potential challenges and how they would address them.

#3 Is the school supporting your family values?

Sometimes change happens because your family values are not being instilled. Think about your child’s week, it typically looks like this:

30% school – 5 days a week 7 hrs a day

20% extra curricular activities – before or after school sports, music, hobbies

30% sleeping – hopefully your child is getting 8 hours a night

20% with family – is that enough time to instill your values, model them and build opportunities for your kids to practice them with you overseeing them?

The gal I was talking with shared about her daughter’s request to stop attending the public school. They looked around for an alternative program and chose a two day homeschooling co-op. Her daughter was excitedly mapping out her work and school schedule and has launched into her first week setting herself up with a high level of accountability. Learning should be joyful and I’m so glad this family said yes to exploring a new option to allow for their daughter’s curiosity to be cultivated in a new learning setting.

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