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Homeschooling a Child with Anxiety

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We're new to homeschooling.  My son is a 6th grader who I've recently taken out of his public middle school due to his overwhelming anxiety over school - the overcrowded classrooms, bullying, difficulty in communicating with teachers (me and him) all contributed.  He doesn't have any anxiety issues related to anything else but school.  His older brother and younger sister are both doing well in their public schools but I am homeschooling him for the time being.  He's seeing a therapist and we're trying to decide what the next best step to take. 

It has been suggested to us that we need to get him back in school, little by little, using exposure therapy.  The sheer *thought* of school terrifies him.  I do not want to see him going back to this school considering the bad experience he had but am considering the possibility of a small charter or private school for him.  I'm really torn between feeling like I'm "sheltering" him from his fears and simply wanting to protect my child and give him what he, as an individual child, needs.  He's very different from his brother & sister and clearly was not thriving in a public school environment.  Any feedback or moms who have homeschooled kids with anxiety?  Or those who have homeschooled only one child in the family when all others go to ps?  I definitely need guidance.  Thank you!


by on Oct. 27, 2011 at 1:29 PM
Replies (21-29):
by on Aug. 30, 2013 at 9:12 AM

I absolutely believe you made the right choice for your son. :)


by on Aug. 30, 2013 at 9:20 AM

My daughter(like me) is highly sensitive and very anxious. I chose to homeschool her for many reasons, but, her anxiety separation was among the deciding factors to homeschool her.

by on Aug. 30, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Yoga? Meditation?

by on Aug. 30, 2013 at 8:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Does he have ADHD or OCD? Classrooms over stimulated me. Even now when I see them, I think, how the hell is anyone focused and learning in those spaces?!

If he doesn't want to return to public school and your family can handle the responsibilities of homeschooling - then continue homeschooling.

I know everyone has heard me say I grew in foster care ten billion times already, but it was a huge part of my life and it changed me. It changes how I can even view the world... so when you say "I feel really torn between feeling like I am sheltering him..." I can not help but to have that go through a nerve of mine. CHILDREN ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SHELTERED!!! You are supposed to love them, give them tons of hugs kisses and laughter... You are supposed to be their biggest heros. The person that knows them best and looks out for them. BE PROUD OF THAT!!! Do NOT allow society - or anyone make you feel ashamed of that. Nothing you wrote sounded like oversheltering or I would have been the first to say it - I only know how to say what I mean.

by Bronze Member on Aug. 30, 2013 at 9:15 PM
1 mom liked this

raising my hand. Anxiety and the fact taht the school insisted he had attention problems. We firmly believe he does not. I have 2 who are still in public school, one I am homeschooling this year. I doubt he'll ever return to public school.

I think you are probably doing the best thing for him by taking him out and keeping him home.

Do not listen to some of these "professionals." They don't know you or your son and probably don't know a darn thing about the public education system either.

by on Aug. 31, 2013 at 1:25 AM

I had one that was having some social issues that left her anxious, afraid of social settings, etc...   When (at 7) she started revealing to me that she really just didn't want to live any longer, I realized we had to make a drastic change before we ended up with a "statistic" by the time she was 13.

When we pulled her, however, I already was a strong semi-supporter of homeschooling and had the heart to homeschool anyway, so I don't remember struggling as much with the whole, "am I sheltering her?" question.   I DO realize that I have to make efforts to NOT over-shelter her, while at the same time... I'm her mother, it's my job to protect her (even from her own fears if it's needed.) and shelter her to a point.

Also, when we pulled her out, I was providing before and after school care for kids around her age.  We had a small home, and I couldn't get licensed (however, it's legal in Missouri to watch up to 4 kids not your own before being licenced)... anyway, I only got four kids, but about 3-6 neighbor kids always joined us to play outside, too.   Anyway, she had a chance to be around other kids, just not in an overwhelming situation, nor was it something that lasted 8 hours a day or more.   She was able to socialize in short bursts and in an environment where she was comfortable.

After that, we moved away and she made some neighborhood friends that were friends, but were very... um.. busy girls.   They gave her just enough social challenges that it helped again, to only have to deal with it PART of the day and not have it "rule" her life.   She could completely focus on life and school and other stuff besides the drama that preteen girls bring.

Since pulling her to home educate, her academics improved... her get up and go improved... her giggles and smiles increased.   Another thing was that suicide came up two years ago, and she looked at me and said, "I don't understand why some one would feel that way and do that."   (I wept inside for the little boy that had committed suicide in our town, but also felt a small jump for joy moment that my own daughter had gotten turned around in those regards!)

She used to be terrified to try anything... I couldn't get her to ride a bike for the life of me.   I mean, I taught her, she tried it a few times... (never even really fell or got hurt) and decided it scared her too much and she never wanted on one again.   Well, she rides one now without a problem,.... now that she is not suffering so much from the anxiety.

All of this has been med and therapist free... 

((this is long, I'm sorry, I'll wrap it up))

FFWD...  today, she still is a little socially awkward and has some stressors... However, she has performed in several skits and musicals.  Once she was even lead!  She has performed for kids church with her violin.   She eagerly switched from kids church to youth, and was the first of the "11" yr olds to start going.  Some of the mothers of the other girls have said she was the reason their 11 yr old daughters were willing to go. (our church puts junior & sr high together and then seperates them for discussions and such, so 11 seemed so young to me, but she wasn't overly afraid and didn't let what nervousness she felt stop her.

She also is involved with homeschool group events, like Choir, and just moved up to the middle age choir and is making friends there.   

I wonder how bad things could have gotten... or would she have improved anyway?   Well, I honestly think that by taking her away from the CONSTANT social fears allowed her the space she needed to come back into it piece by piece.

by on Aug. 31, 2013 at 1:30 AM

aaammmm well...

*stands up and begins to give a standing ovation*

That um... is not something I would do, but I'm really impressed.   Scooping up puke and stuffing it in my purse... That is priceless!!!   True love... 

Quoting Liamoondancer:

What a relief it must be for a child with anxiety to know that he will never have to go to public school  -   and to be freed from the apprehension of  fearing that someday he will have to go back there!  He has a Mommie who will  provide a safe haven for a wonderful education.  It's true that the college environment and the work environment are nothing like the school environment!

Dekklan, our oldest (8) used to barf everytime we went somewhere new.  We used to travel with a "Barf Bucket" for him.  Thank goodness he's over that - tells me he "has it under control."    Two years ago, as we stood in line on the parking lot of the polling place waiting to vote, he barfed.  No one was really looking at him, so I just scooped up the barf and dumped it in my purse to save him from further humiliation!    The lengths to which we go to take care of our sensitive children!!!  LOL

by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 1:04 PM


Yes, absolutely.  We also tried accupuncture, diet changes, more exercise, among other things.  Each child is different and what works for them may not be a perfect fit for another.  But all can benefit from healthy living. 

Quoting ablackdolphin:

Yoga? Meditation?


by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 3:43 PM
1 mom liked this

My daughter started suffering anxiety and depression.   At 7, when she was constantly telling me that she didn't want to be alive anymore and she just wanted to go be with Jesus, we knew we had to make a change.  However, we waited until she started third grade and her problems renewed.   That's when we pulled her.

We didn't get her therapy or anything.  I guess we could have.   No, instead, we just pulled her home, put emphasis on reestablishing who she is in this family, and put some priority on making learning fun.   

I bumbled through and made a variety of mistakes, I'm sure, but now (4 1/2) years later.   She has participated in...   Basketball, drama clubs (and performed a few times), choir, youth group on church, sewing class for girls her age, etc.. etc..   She has friends around the neighborhood and more.

She has not expressed the desire to die for a long time now.   Infact, we heard the sad news of a boy that DID commit suicide (at 12, how heartbreaking!); and she looked at me and was like... "I don't understand how they can feel that bad."

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