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When a Child Is Depressed in Public School
Q: I don't know where to turn for help. My son totally hates school and will sometimes fake illnesses to stay home. The doctor said he is depressed and has thoughts about hurting himself because of school, and has suggested homeschooling. Where can I go to find out how I can take him out of public school and homeschool him? We live in a small town in Michigan.
A: How sad that your son has had such a bad experience. Unfortunately, he's not alone. I receive letters every week from distraught parents with unhappy children who cannot bear to spend another day in the school system. The good news is, after a few months of homeschooling, the change in these kids is truly remarkable. Many are able to discontinue behavior-modifying drugs. Physical complaints -- headaches, frequent colds, allergies -- have been known to occur less often. (One mom told me her son's asthma all but disappeared after she began to homeschool!)
What a wise physician you have! He was able to connect your son's physical symptoms with his emotional state. I hope you and your son will continue to have regular visits with this doctor so he (or she) can evaluate your son's progress.
First, you must do a little reading and research on homeschooling. Fortunately, FamilyEducation.com has a great selection of articles and resources to get you started. First, visit our How to Homeschool center.
Next, read Linda Dobson's book, The Homeschooling Book of Answers or The Complete Idiot's Guide to Homeschooling by Marsha Ransome. Both will help you learn about homeschooling.
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.