Is homeschooling right for my child?

Your Child and Teen
Is homeschooling right for my child?

Traditional full-day school provides children a chance to learn social skills, interact with a varied group of adults and peers, and participate in various enrichment and extracurricular activities -- plus it gives a structure outside of the home that prepares children for higher education and the workforce.  But there also many options for homeschooling that may be appropriate for a child with mental health issues.  Here in Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve seen clients participate in full-time online programs, half online/half small classroom school, and programs where a public school teacher comes to the home several times per week to assist with work and lesson planning.  

When do you know that homeschooling is something you should seriously entertain?

  • Your child reports consistent and increasingly severe anxiety, depression and/or distress when preparing for school, traveling to school or during school.
  • You have already worked with teachers and school administration to make any accommodations that would make your child more comfortable.
  • School refusal results in somatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches and acne outbreaks.
  • Your child has already worked with his/her school or outpatient therapist to develop coping skills, but the interventions have not made a significant change in functioning.
  • Your child is willing to give up things he/she loves in order to be homeschooled, such as a school activity/sport or peer group.

Remember that homeschooling does not have to be a permanent solution and does not mean your child will fall behind academically or socially.  Here are some tips to keep him or her on track:

  • Research your state’s homeschool requirements, policies, and statutes.
  • Encourage your child to keep up with school friends and strongly suggest social/athletic activities.  Some cities have programs that gather homeschooled students and take them on field trips and other social events.
  • Work with teachers so the homeschool curriculum mirrors what peers are working on in the classroom.
  • Consider changing schools for the next semester or year.  A smaller campus or a school with different activities and academic requirements might be a better fit for your child.