Author Topic: Homeschooling  (Read 3247 times)

Livethedream

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Homeschooling
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:27:04 AM »
Anyone else homeschooling or considering it?

Our reasons to homeschool: better education, extensive travel, better preparation for life/career, more control over the formational years of our kids, etc. Public school system is in a sad state here.

We still haven’t decided, but are leaning this direction. Doing some “practice” homeschooling with 3.5 year old to see how mom and kid do.

Two boys, 3.5 and 6 months.

We’re fortunate enough that my wife is a stay at home mom and has about 10 hours of office work a week for our rentals.

My job has generous time off and homeschooling would allow us to travel during non-peak times and for extended periods (we think we would travel 5 weeks a year). This would be a great opportunity to teach about different cultures, museums, etc.

In our county there is charter programs we can join to receive funding and support. It would make the financial cost pretty minimum.

I was homeschooled traditionally k-6and college model in jr high and high school  and loved it.

BAM

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 12:42:32 PM »
We homeschool. Have always homeschooled. Our oldest two, ages 21 and 20, are now in college. Still have 7 at home. We wouldn't have it any other way. Love how close our family is, how we can teach things from our value system, how we can give our children time to pursue their interests, how flexible we can be, etc.

Good luck on your journey!

TrudgingAlong

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 08:36:02 PM »
I was homeschooled and homeschooled mine for about five years through three moves (3 states, 2 countries). It's a huge amount of work to do it right. It put me at a disadvantage personally both socially and academically (did not get into my top school mostly because of a lack of math skills which my parents had not been able to give the extra support I really needed to succeed with that subject).

For my kids, it enabled stability and academically they are way ahead of their peers (but both have been tapped for the gifted program since returning to public school, so innate smarts are definitely a big factor here), but socially it was very hard as they aged. Finding friends and homeschooling support is easy in the lower grades, but the older they get, the less homeschooled kids you find. My oldest was beginning to really struggle, so we planned our last move to be in a place with lots of good schools to choose from. He's in middle school now and really blossoming socially.

I find the homeschooling community so defensive about  kids' social lives (understandable when outsiders are less than supportive and this is a top concern) that they often gloss over their own kids' need to be with other kids more.

Mainly I would say, by all means homeschool if it's the best option for you, but be prepared to put in the work and money to give them a good well rounded education. Also, take it one year at a time. Public school may be a better solution at some point, so please don't think that you have to be all one way or the other. My 4th grader has never been to public before this year and he's had zero problems transitioning.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 10:57:16 PM by TrudgingAlong »

Livethedream

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 09:21:36 AM »
Great advice, thanks.

Yeah, the social aspect is what can take lots of energy. I remember my mom spending lots of time setting up park days, kid swaps for school etc.

I had the benefit of going to school 3 days a week and two at home jr high and high school. Would love to find an option like this and we have lots of time.

We are in a unique situation because my wife is actually a credentialed teacher and for higher grades there are a bunch of college courses available to high schoolers.

furrychickens

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 06:58:33 AM »
My kids have benefited a lot from homeschooling. Current ages 11, 10, and 8. My oldest two were in regular school for a couple years each and my youngest has only ever been homeschooled.

My oldest struggles in instructional environments with much more than 1:1 ratio of teacher to student. She was the main reason we pulled them out of school. She loves making friends and is the most outgoing of all my kids but standard classroom instruction just doesn’t work with her brain.

My second daughter is really bright. She would thrive in regular school but homeschooling has let us teach her things that follow her passions. Both of my older kids know more things about world history, mythology, agriculture and biology and more than I learned even in a prestigious college prep high school.

My youngest is also quite bright for his age but VERY active. I think he’d be labeled ADHD if forced to sit in a classroom for 8 hours a day.

My state has a very unstructured approach to homeschooling and we love the schedule flexibility. We are looking at a semi-structured virtual school for next school year, though, as sometimes with all the homestesding stuff I do I get distracted and don’t get enough done in a given week. There’s one that a friend of mine really likes that will buy you curriculum to go through on your own pace, then there’s a teacher who gives projects regularly that get graded. I think it will be a good hybrid approach as my kids get older and need to get more practice at doing long form writing, research papers, etc.

It’s also helped that we have finally found some groups which fit our personalities and lifestyle. One is a weekly hiking group, another is a monthly drawing club, and the last is a book club.
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Michael in ABQ

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 11:11:55 AM »
We've homeschooled our three oldest since the beginning. Currently we have a 6, 8, and 9-year old that my wife is homeschooling although our 4-year old daughter really wants to participate too. I was teaching math in the evenings for the last 6-9 months but it just wasn't working out well so we just started with an online math program (CTC Math) that seems to be working well so far.

It's been difficult, especially for my wife who has shouldered most of the burden. She has spent countless hours reading and watching videos about curriculums, methods of instruction, etc. and has done an amazing job. We've gone through quite an evolution over the past few years. We started with a single all-inclusive curriculum that my wife used when she was homeschooled from about 4th grade on (Seton homeschool, catholic). It was pretty time intensive and she didn't like how they were teaching reading so we switched to the Phonics Road which was a really good reading program. However, that too was taking a lot of time and was very teacher intensive so she's now using more of a Charlotte Mason approach with a lot of reading from regular books and very few textbooks/workbooks. She's stressed out a lot about each change but with a toddler and a preschooler running around as well while she's trying to teach the three older boys, simplification was vital. Now she can read books out loud to all of them which has the added benefit of the readers hearing what right sounds like and hearing good books that might be a bit too advanced for them.

Both our older boys are voracious readers as I was, though. I had a room full of books and over the years as my parents have come to visit my mom has brought most of them down one suitcase at a time. I had a 3-book series about the Oregon Trail that I read at some point and thought my oldest would enjoy. Each book is about 160 pages and he just read the first two in two days, mostly by staying up way to late and reading by flashlight (as did I when I was his age).

One thing we did which has paid big dividends is placing a large world map on the wall in the main room where we homeschool. Now the kids are all eager to run over and find where a particular country is or we can discuss geography. One of my sons had a dollar coin with Andrew Jackson on it and he wanted to trade it for a regular dollar bill. I mentioned how Andrew Jackson was a famous president who had won an important battle during the War of 1812. We had just been listening to that in an old history audiobook, This Country of Ours (we listen in the car and all the kids enjoy it). I was able to walk over to the world map and show how New Orleans controlled the Mississippi River valley, and by extension the whole interior of the US and how if the British has captured it would have completely changed American history. It's really satisfying watching all these things come together and hearing my boys talk about the Trojans and the Spartans when they're having a battle or getting questions from one of them about World War II.

Bottom line it's a lot of work but I think it's one of the best things we can possibly do to raise our children to be good people and well educated.
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furrychickens

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 12:55:56 PM »
We have a giant world map on the wall too. Has prompted many dinner table conversations as it's on the wall in the kitchen right by where we eat.
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Livethedream

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2018, 10:24:45 PM »
Like this idea of a world map. We actually have an unpacked map that we have been meaning to set up and put pins in to show places we travel as a family, this would be a good addition.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 10:31:08 AM »
When my parents came to visit my dad and I got some thin wood molding and created some frames to put around the maps so they looked nicer than just having a bare map on the well. Plus, it helps keep our toddler from ripping away at the edges or just tearing it off the wall. The framing actually cost more than the maps (World map in the main living area/dining room and a US map on another large wall in the hallway) which I think was $15-20 for the pair at Costco. We used some 3M mounting strips to hold it on to the wall, then placed the frame around the edges and put a few finishing nails through the frame and poster underneath into the studs behind it. So far it's worked out great and looks nice.
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furrychickens

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 11:04:20 AM »
When my parents came to visit my dad and I got some thin wood molding and created some frames to put around the maps so they looked nicer than just having a bare map on the well. Plus, it helps keep our toddler from ripping away at the edges or just tearing it off the wall. The framing actually cost more than the maps (World map in the main living area/dining room and a US map on another large wall in the hallway) which I think was $15-20 for the pair at Costco. We used some 3M mounting strips to hold it on to the wall, then placed the frame around the edges and put a few finishing nails through the frame and poster underneath into the studs behind it. So far it's worked out great and looks nice.

That’s a good idea! I’ll do that if we ever replace our slightly tattered map with a newer one.

My dad gave us the map as a gift, I believe he got it at Hobby Lobby. I remember it being very cheap for the size of it.
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Trifele

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2018, 11:54:54 AM »
That is too weird . . . We homeschool and have a huge world map on the wall as well, right by our dining room table.  [Twilight Zone music . . . ]
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 12:58:57 PM by Trifele »

Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2018, 12:18:17 PM »
I was homeschooled for my entire education before college, and plan to homeschool my kids, and I guess already am in a way even though they are very young.

I absolutely encourage you to do it! I love the flexibility, the ability to tailor an education to a child's needs and the closeness it gives parents to their kids.

So here's some thoughts to improve your kids experience: make sure your kids get to spend time with their peers, especailly the mean ones. You read that right. Homeschool kids tend not to be exposed to that sort of thing and I believe that can really damage them later on when they get into the real world.

 Make them aware of how dysfunctional some people can be. Growing up in a homeschool family of high functioning people and meeting only alike people, a kid might not understand how many people there are who do things like abuse drugs.

Maybe try to get involved in a state accredited program for home schoolers when they hit high school age. This will allow them to have some sort of transcript with grades which will be important if they want to go to college.

There are lots of summer programs for sports that aren't affiliated with schools. Maybe try to get your kids involved in those at some level.

I believe that home school really favors kids who love to read. Understand that you might have a kid that isn't cut out for homeschool... and that is perfectly ok. Some kids just don't take to it.

Cruise the used book stores for good books to add to your kids curriculum.

The best thing about homeschooling is that academics can focus on what really matters instead of busy work, but homeschoolers should still understand that when they grow up and get jobs, they may need to do things that seem pointless at times.

Livethedream

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2018, 10:07:35 AM »
Dr. Hasslein,

Lots of great comments. As a fellow homeschool alumni, I do agree with the importance of making sure our kids are socialized with peers. Yes, even the means ones! Conflict resolution is a very valuable skill that is not being taught anymore. Life is filled with situations where you have to work/ be around “less than functioning” and “mean/angry” people.

Our “trial” homeschooling for preschool work has been going great and been encouraging.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2018, 09:40:37 AM »
How do you deal with the "familiarity" issue when you home school?  I foresee my son (5 years old in a couple weeks) having trouble seeing me as his "teacher" and daily battles arising about doing his work because we don't have that formal relationship.  Sometimes at home he pushes against completing basic tasks like cleaning up his toys or brushing his teeth before bed, yet as long as he has been in center-based day care, all I get are glowing reports about how consistent he is about following the teachers' instructions.

Livethedream

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2018, 02:23:06 PM »
How do you deal with the "familiarity" issue when you home school?  I foresee my son (5 years old in a couple weeks) having trouble seeing me as his "teacher" and daily battles arising about doing his work because we don't have that formal relationship.  Sometimes at home he pushes against completing basic tasks like cleaning up his toys or brushing his teeth before bed, yet as long as he has been in center-based day care, all I get are glowing reports about how consistent he is about following the teachers' instructions.


We just finished a difficult stage like this with our 3.5 son. Similar situation, great behavior out in public etc, terrible at home. We dealt with kicking,hitting, and spitting as well. After some professional help we realized that he was reacting “normal” in public due to the expectations that our society has placed on what is expected. He was reacting at home because he knew it was a safe environment to do so. After a few months of hard work we have nipped 90% of it in the bud.

As a homeschooled kid, I never really had an authority problem with my mom teaching me. It was made clear that school time was just that, school time.

JLR

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2018, 03:43:30 AM »
Another homeschooler with a map by the dining room table, here.

This is our 7th year of homeschooling. We have a 15yo daughter who has just started university, a 13yo son in year 8, and a 10yo son in year 5.

We  used to live in a town with only 1-2 other homeschooling families, but moved a few years ago to a town with about 20 homeschooling families. There are even a good number of high schoolers still homeschooling, which can be a bit rare (lots of kids go to school at around year 7).

We are out of the house most days with activities. I have to be careful to not allow it to get in the way of school work. Our daughter dances competitively, so is out of the house at least 4 nights a week for that. Our boys play in a few local soccer comps, including a homeschool team, so that takes them out of the house 2-5 nights a week depending on the time of year. They do gymnastics classes, and we meet weekly during the summer with other homeschoolers for swimming. If you live in an area with lots of other homeschooling families it can be easy to fill your entire week with activities.

S.S. it sounds like your son might have a particular personality. I've found routine very helpful in getting our kids to do what needs to be done, but with those who push back a bit it can be very helpful to explain why what you are asking is important. Different stages can make things a bit complicated. I've found that boys seem to go through challenging stages at around 5 years, 10 years, and some extra moods in the teen years. Plenty of sleep helps, too!

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S.S.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2018, 01:20:00 PM »
Livethedream and JLR, thanks for the insight.  I figured it would be this- just maintain a routine and stick to it.

tweezers

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2018, 03:10:18 PM »
That is too weird . . . We homeschool and have a huge world map on the wall as well, right by our dining room table.  [Twilight Zone music . . . ]

So do we....homeschooled 9 and 7 year old, and a giant world map by our kitchen table.  Creeeeepy!
:)

Homeschooling has been great for our kids.  We've always done it....first just us at home, but now we're part of a parent-teacher partnership (i.e. public school lite) which they attend two half days/week.  It provides a helpful framework for curriculum, social opportunities, and gives my husband a break.  Our kids are doing great (testing at the 99th percentile in math and reading STAR tests), and it gives them more time to pursue other interests (music, art, being outdoors).   

FINate

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2018, 03:38:48 PM »
We are doing preschool followed by a couple of years of elementary school. I think it was beneficial for my kids to get out of the house and into a structured environment when younger. We also needed a break. And it gave them a taste of public school, which the Introvert hates and the Extrovert tolerates. The quality of education is fine, though IMO a lot of time is wasted, and we certainly waste a lot of time doing drop off and pick up.

The biggest issue with public school for us is the forced scheduled. An early start time is not good for students, esp. as they enter adolescence. There's no need to start so early except that parents have to get to work. But not us FIRE weirdos, we could sleep later and start on our own time. We'd also like the flexibility to travel more and make the world our classroom. Learning anatomy? Let's catch a fish and cut it up and find the organs then learn how to cook it!

So in two years (when the youngest starts 2nd grade) we plan on starting homeschooling. We'll likely do something similar to "public school lite" and join a homeschool charter. This would provide curriculum, assessments, and check-ins with credentialed teachers (DW is also a retired credentialed teacher). And we'd also get money from the state for enrichment activities. The structure would be good for keeping us motivated and on track, but we'd have a lot more schedule and travel flexibility. 

We'll try homeschooling, evaluate, and go from there. If we like it we'll keep doing it. Otherwise, no biggie to send them back to public school.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2018, 02:48:10 PM »
Our world map is on the living room wall instead of in the kitchen... ;-)

We homeschool because we live in a tiny town with bad schools (unsafe as well as academically). It was initially difficult but we have found a ton of extra classes (art, PE, dance), some geared specifically for homeschoolers. Kids get to see their peers regularly in classes every week.

About the refusal to do school work, our kids are involved in sports, art classes, swimming, PE, dance, etc. Our rule is that these "specials" are only available if the core work (reading, writing, math) is done. Refuse to finish your math and you find yourself sitting out of PE with your math book. That stopped the refusal after one test by our youngest.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2018, 07:43:22 AM »
Ooops. I just put up up Home Schooling as a topic.

We recently moved abroad and are traveling. So we are homeschooling our kids. So far so good. They are young so it is pretty easy.

Nothing beats having science class at the beach!
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AMandM

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2018, 10:51:35 PM »
I guess I'm the exception.  We homeschool without a world map on the wall... but we have a globe in the dining room. ;-)

We've homeschooled our kids all the way, except when we lived in Germany and they went to the local schools. So far they've all gone on to college, and we have two more at home.  The flexibility can't be beat: in time, in subject matter, in curricular methods and tools, in scheduling.

The hard part for me was keeping on top of things organizationally, because I'm naturally averse to schedules and record-keeping. Also, I'm pretty introverted so it took real effort to support my extroverted kids.

Now that we're nearing the end of our homeschooling and have several kids out, I can see benefits I didn't realize we were earning at the time. (Though of course there's no way of knowing how much of this is due to homeschooling directly.)  One is that our kids have spent far more time with each other and us than they would have if they'd gone to school.  As a result, they are still very close to us as adults; all three of our married kids chose to live within a couple of blocks of us, so we all see each other frequently, and the grandkids are almost like siblings instead of cousins. It's like living in a Norman Rockwell picture.  The other is that, for lack of a better way of expressing it, the world seems more manageable to them than to lots of other kids.  They have a sense of themselves as agents, not merely consumers or passive recipients.

I was going to write about high school, but the OP doesn't need to think about that yet. You can take it year by year, and kid by kid. When they are little really all you need to do is read aloud to them and do stuff with them that involves handling the real world and talking about it. Enjoy!

Livethedream

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2018, 01:07:07 AM »
Thanks for all the great responses, encouraging to see all the different ways it can be done.

The trial for preschool we have been doing is going good. My wife and 3yo spend about 45 mins a day working on a letter of the week, doing some tracing of it, Bible verse, and some kind of fun activity for it. He seems to enjoy it and be learning better here. 3yo has loved books since a baby and it would be normal to read him 20 books in a day.

It’s been fun just incorporating facts into the day, songs for days of the week and months of the year we’re some he liked. For the past few months he has enjoyed being asked what meals, lunches, and snacks he might like the following week. We decided any fruit or vegetable he asks for we get, he has surprised us a few times but actually eaten them.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2018, 10:19:05 AM »
Huh.  I grew up with maps covering the kitchen walls.  World map, US map, maps of Europe and the Middle East, maps of South America.  National Geographic sells great laminated maps in their online store.

My kitchen is smaller than my mom's, so we only have the World map and U.S. maps up by our kitchen table.  When my sister bought her house, my housewarming gift to her was a World map for her kitchen.

No homeschooling, though.  Just the maps.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2018, 06:26:44 PM »

We just finished a difficult stage like this with our 3.5 son. Similar situation, great behavior out in public etc, terrible at home. We dealt with kicking,hitting, and spitting as well. After some professional help we realized that he was reacting “normal” in public due to the expectations that our society has placed on what is expected. He was reacting at home because he knew it was a safe environment to do so. After a few months of hard work we have nipped 90% of it in the bud.


We are still dealing with our 5 year old being very physical with his brothers/sisters and other kids.  Can you share what strategies you used?
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Livethedream

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2018, 07:27:00 AM »

We just finished a difficult stage like this with our 3.5 son. Similar situation, great behavior out in public etc, terrible at home. We dealt with kicking,hitting, and spitting as well. After some professional help we realized that he was reacting “normal” in public due to the expectations that our society has placed on what is expected. He was reacting at home because he knew it was a safe environment to do so. After a few months of hard work we have nipped 90% of it in the bud.


We are still dealing with our 5 year old being very physical with his brothers/sisters and other kids.  Can you share what strategies you used?

I’m not sure how well it will work for an older kid but this is what we did. Also, we did seek out professional help from a counselor and pay for a session which my wife and I attended and talked about his problems and solutions, well worth the small cost.

We set up a sticker chart with small things he could do to earn stickers during HF the day, some easy some harder. Brush teeth, behave at dinner, etc. You can add in some harder ones that you want to focus on removing the bad behavior too, like didn’t hit anyone today, spend 15 mins or playing by self. Then each 10 stickers he could earn a small prize, book, cheap toy, go with a parent and get rice cream, things your kid would enjoy especially some 1v1 time.

I forget the name of the method but it’s a combination of love and logic and something else. We use the term “reset” when they are doing something they aren’t suppose to. They have to stop, take a deep breath, then if that calmed them down we tell them thank you, reset is over. If it doesn’t work, we send them to their room for a reset for 3 mins, a 5 year old could probably do a bit longer but that’s up to you. After that is over we walk to room and ask if they are finished resetting and ready to rejoin us, if any apologies are needed they will need to go make them now as well. As the parent you need to try and do these things with no emotion when resetting, our school definitely fed off our frustrations.

During the day, not really compliments, but tell him things he is doing right. I see you are sitting there reading a book, I see you are sharing your toys, thank you for following the house rules of stating in your chair at the dinner table. A lot of this is showing them that. You are recognizing their good behavior and not just bad, because the bad behavior is what is getting you to respond to them.

It’s fine for there to be certain behaviors that result in a reset straight to bedroom. Hitting, kicking, spitting etc. Just make sure to let them know.

We also made it clear that if he couldn’t stop from hitting or kicking st home rhatbprobably meant he would act that way at friends so if he wanted to go out that would have to change at home first

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2018, 08:52:17 PM »
We are still dealing with our 5 year old being very physical with his brothers/sisters and other kids.  Can you share what strategies you used?

Is he physical in an aggressive manner or is he naturally touchy/feely? Was your child always like that?  If this only started happening recently then this sounds like there are deeper issues your child might be dealing with.  How is your child with communicating his emotions, I know he's only 5 but do they say if they are sad, frustrated, or scared?  Children will only resort to outbursts and physical actions if they are unable to communicate their unmet needs or feelings.  They could also be modeling the behavior, if it is being done to them or see it done, then children will think that it is the appropriate way to act, regardless of what adults say otherwise.