There is good news: homeschooling helps bullied children heal!
Homeschooling Helps Bullied Children Heal
In my work as a counselor, I often help children who are being bullied at school work to develop bully-proofing skills. Sometimes the problem seems to have reached crisis proportions and the parents decide to remove their child from the toxic environment and homeschool for a season.
I was tickled when I ran across an essay in Psychology Today called Mean Girls and Homeschooling Moms. In the article, Laura Brodie, an instructor at Washington and Lee University, discussed a trend she has noticed: when children are being persistently bullied at school (despite the school administration’s best efforts to stop it), some parents are bringing their children home for their education.
She noted the story of Katrina Stonoff, author of the Stone Soup book blog, who brought her elementary-aged son home after repeated bullying (name calling, teasing, being stuffed into a trash can). She homeschooled her son for several months, later enrolling him in a charter school.
Brodie also told the story of Beth and Shari, who moved to a new town when Shari was starting middle school. The first year went fine, but by 7th grade, she became the target of a particularly sly and cruel group of girls. She was pushed, had clothes stolen, was harassed by phone, and more. At one point the police were involved. Alert teachers and administration could not stop it. Finally, Beth brought Shari home to finish out the school year.
This is what Beth had to say:
“By taking her out of the situation and homeschooling, we showed Shari that she was the most important factor in this equation. We love her and would do anything for her. It enabled her to take a breather, to let her figure out what she was made of, to role play and learn how to say “back off b****” (oh yes, we taught her many fabulously foul phrases), and to grow as a person and gain her self confidence back (totally absent at this point). It may not be right in every situation or for every family, but it was right for Shari.” (www. Psychology Today)
In my 16 years as a homeschool advisor, I have worked with some families who made this choice for their bullied child. Sometimes the student takes the chance to get back on his/her feet emotionally and then heads back to school. Often, the family becomes immersed in the supportive homeschool culture, loves it, and never returns to a traditional school.
Either way, the parents were brave enough (and had the resources and support) to help out their suffering child.
One way to help a child heal is to give them empowerment is their social skills. I feel PASSIONATE about the importance of arming young people with the basic skills for knowing what to do when! 7Sisters Social Skills for Children is a fun, simple how-to on the 10 social skills kids can learn and empower themselves for their entire lives!
Here is help from Candice Dugger about helping your teen become bully proof and organization overcome bullying. Also, for tweens and teens, poetry is a tool for health and healing.
- Here are more excellent, practical tips on handling bullies in this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast.