Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Is there bullying in homeschooling? What's your take?

Posted by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 5:03 AM
  • 10 Replies

Is there bullying in homeschooling?

I read an interesting article last night called An Unschooled View on Bullying by writer Kate Fridkis. I almost didn’t read it because of the word “unschooled” in the title since I wouldn’t consider us unschoolers, but I was intrigued by the topic of bullying since it’s been on my mind lately.

Is there bullying in homeschooling? And I’m not talking about teasing, which the author readily admits she did. But, as she states, “We were far from perfect. But we were far from cruel. The very overweight girl wasn’t teased for her size. What kind of person would do that?” 

In the six years we’ve been homeschooling, we’ve made a wide range of friends and acquaintances. Sometimes, my kids love the kids they meet, sometimes they would rather not see them again. When we meet a child whose behavior bothers them, we talk about it. This isn’t to say that feelings don’t get hurt: Oh, yes they do. Friendships end and people feel left out of groups—but I wouldn’t call any of this behavior  ”cruel” and I certainly wouldn’t call it bullying.

In our large coop, sometimes the girls form loose little groups that hang around together at lunchtime. I remember my oldest telling me that she prefers to play with the group of 10-12 year olds that likes to run around and play, but there is another group of girls that likes to sit and talk about clothes. That made me laugh since I know she is right on the cusp of moving from one group to the next.

Oh, and there is no question she’ll be able to move from one group to the next when she’s ready. These are not “cliques” as I remember them with their “you can’t sit here/play with us/talk to us” rules.

In the six years we’ve been homeschooling, I’ve never seen bullying in any of our circles.

My oldest daughter begins sixth grade in September—middle school. While talking to a good friend who happens to have a daughter the same age as mine, he said, “Be glad she isn’t going to middle school. If you can keep her out of any grades, keep her out of the middle school.” I know all too well what he means. Middle school, though I was never outright “bullied”, was not a good place for me. It was a much worse place for many others who were teased, picked on, and shunned.

But why don’t homeschooled kids bully? Or do they?

Contrary to what many news articles will try to make you believe, these are all normal kids. They love electronics, they play sports or dance or do gymnastics, they hate to clean their room. Most of them give us a hard time over doing schoolwork. They have friends who go to school and friends who don’t. They attend sleepovers, go to summer camp, get asked to parties, and ask for an iPod Touch (already? sigh).

They are not always under the watchful eye of their parents. Yes, most homeschoolers let their kids out of their sight. And many of these kids have access to email and can chat with each other out of earshot of any grownup.

What makes it different? And what lessons can parents of kids in school learn from this?

I’m not suggesting that everyone quit school and homeschool. It’s definitely not the lifestyle for everyone, nor is it even feasible for most families. And I’m certainly not suggesting that my fellow homeschooling parents have some advanced parenting skills or that we are somehow “doing it better”. Believe me, we don’t know what we’re doing either.

But what is it that makes a confident and well-liked 11 year old say “SURE!” without hesitation or irony to a sweet 9 year old’s request for a sleepover, and not roll her eyes and wonder why this little person thinks it’s okay to talk to an older kid? What is it that makes the kids of the devout Christian homeschooling family AND the radical unschooling family get along without incident in our coop? What is it that makes it unthinkable that any kids in our coop would tease the little boy with Down Syndrome, or  laughingly mimic the child whose speech is often impossible to understand (who happens to be my own son)?

There is nothing “better” about homeschooled kids. They are regular kids with regular fears, problems, insecurities, and preferences. And yet, bullying is just not an issue. Why?

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 5:03 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:21 AM

Unfortunately there is bullying everywhere, and as parents/adults/society it is our job to treat each other with respect. I am not going to preach here because well it isn't my job. With this being said, my daughters were brutally bullied in PS and Church(yes a Christian building) which caused me to rethink my beliefs, but that is a different topic.

 I am very against bullying not just from the standpoint of right or wrong but from the standpoint of how we should treat others and the way we raise our future generations. When I look at our country today and the flash mobs(this is bullying) and the gangs(people who feel they are not loved) it saddens my heart, because these individuals are our future leaders. 

Sorry I got my soapbox just saddens me 

Shari, wife to bestfriend John (4/88), mom to Heather(1/77),Nyssa(4/89),Michaela (8/94) and four fur babies (cats)

by Platinum Member on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:24 AM

I think a large part of it is not being forced to be in the same building/room/class for several hours a day, every day. What's that saying? 'One person will be lonely, two will be a couple. Get three together and one will be left out. Four will make teams and five will make a governing body.' Kids, especially in school, will form a pecking order when grouped together with long periods of time. When they finish their work, they don't pull out a book, anymore, but spend that time planning how to move up that list. Being envious of her clothes (if I had that, I'd look so cool/have more friends) or thinking of getting back at him (he threatened my position by flirting with her. doing better on that math quiz) is how they spend all that wasted public school time in between things.

 Homeschoolers don't get that group mentality because most homeschoolers only identify with their own family as 'their group'. Tim doesn't feel the need to bully little Joey because little Joey isn't part of Tim's group. He doesn't feel the need to defend his spot in his group's peckering order.

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:37 AM
1 mom liked this

My son has been laughed at, dirt thrown in his face, and pinched.  There are bullies everywhere.  The difference in homeschooling is in homeschooling it is usually handled properly.  Also unless you stay home everyday they are going to come in contact with poorly discipline kids.  Homeschooling doesn't mean you child will better disciplined than any other child.  Discipline is a parental issue more than a school issue.

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Love the post and they all make good sense. My child was bullied, the boys would chase her away (she has autism, she thought they were playing with her) so she chased back, my child stood on the wall because the boys went and told playground ass. she was bothering them. This was the 5th grade. Hello wake up schools. Even after going up the ladder, we still had problems. I will be glad when we can learn more on home schooling..

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

We stayed out of the h/s groups, but my best friend's family was very active in one & it was very cliquey. I honestly think the adults of that group were the root of the problem. 

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 8:47 AM
1 mom liked this
Bullying is in HS just like in PS. I've had to put a stop to it in our co-op. I think bullying is less malicious in HS, and HS kids tend to discuss hur feelings more readily with their parents. But, anytime you get a random group of people together their is the chance of bullying. We don't all have the same morals, we dont all discipline in the same way, or demand certain personal boundaries or respect. Plus a lot of HS kids were in the PS system and were exposed to bullying as a technique to gain attention and popularity.
by Bronze Member on Jul. 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM

We've ran across it a few times. At one point I even felt like one mom and daughter were stalking us. It seemed everything we joined they would end up at within a few weeks. Turned out a mutual friend kept inviting them. This mutual friend even tried to convince me that the bullying was all in my head until 3 different teachers at a co-op told me that they were trying to come up with a polite way to keep this girl out their classes once the new semester started because of her dominant behavior. I even had the mom threatening me over an incident her daughter claimed happened at a playground after a Girl Scout meeting. Funny thing is it was raining that day and no one was on the playground at all. Our girls didn't even lay eyes on each other that day because her daughter's group was on a field trip. However my daughter was lying, I was lying and the leaders were lying because her daughter would never disappoint her by lying.

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM

 There is bullying everywhere.  Imo it starts in the home.  Too many parents ignore what is going on and don't deal with it. 

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 3:14 PM
1 mom liked this

 maybe not in the home the kid is at with there parents and family BUTTTT they dont stay there... there can be bulling outside of a school building the park the pool the mall co-ops 4h girlscouts... my kids go lots of places an see lots of ppl and YES there can be bullying at co-ops I have seen it and at homeschool only classes and groups I have seen it it happens usually there are more adults around and get nipped right away but it is still there can still upset a child and hurt a child...


by Bronze Member on Jul. 10, 2012 at 3:21 PM

 My kids go to a homeschool center in the afternoons.  There are about 1-2 dozen kids on any given day.  One thing I like about that group is that you have the nice kids, you have the ones that drive you crazy, you have the kid who goes around unplugging the mice from the computers and yes, you have the bully. You have kids across the spectrum.  There are kids there I wouldn't choose as friends for my kids, but it's not my choice.  They have to learn to make good choices when it comes to who they hang out with.  So many people complain that homeschoolers are tucked away and sheltered (and quite frankly, isn't sheltering and protecting our children part of our responsibility?) but at the center my kids have to learn how to deal with difficult people. Its one of those life skills unfortunately they need. 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)