Do I home school my depressed teen?(12 Posts)
My 13 year old daughter has had problens most of her life, her father left before she was 2 for a woman that bullied both her and ger older sister, he rarely bothers seeing her now.
School hasn't been her favourite place but she excelled at primary where she was 2 years ahead of her peers.
Secondary school set off her depression and she had 6 months away. I have managed to get her into another school, however she has been bullied and her depression is much worse. Although she has had counselling this has not worked and has been referred to a psychiatrist to hopefully be prescribed medication.
She does not identify with girls her age as she has spent more time with adults, she loves technology and alternative clothes and music.
I feel it would be better to home school her, does anyone have any advice on this subject please?
I haven't had any experience of this so can't be very helpful, but wondered whether you were aware that there is a Home Ed section on here - I think you'd get lots of support and advice over there, certainly some posters seem to have been where you are now. Hope you find a way forward.
Oh no I must have missed that, thankyou I will have a look.
Just wanted to add that whatever you do, make sure that outdoor exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy are part of her education plan as they could really help change her depressive outlook before it becomes too entrenched.
Thankyou racingheart, she is going to a counsellor, we are starting from scratch again. Getting her out and about is proving a little more challenging but am not giving in.
Her school is being very helpful and says she can have a flexible timetable which will hopefully make things a bit easier. Still gathering information on home schooling but not jumping into anything.
I work with children who are depressed and on medication. Assuming they havent got severe depression and are completely unable to function as a general principle we encourage them to stay in school providing they are being well supported. Removing children from school because they are depressed is not usually the way forward it is important that they carry on interacting with friends participating in lessons etc as part of their recovery. I'm assuming you've been referred to CAMHS they generally do not advise you to home ed depressed children. You say that you DD find it difficult to interact with girls if her own age and this is another reason not to remove her. Many unhappy children have similar issues where ai work we believe that we are preparing a child for adult life we want our children to be able to fully participate in all life offers relationships work leisure etc and they have to accept that encountering difficulties is nomal and that they have to learn to over come them not run away from them this sounds harsh I know but we support our children extensively to do this. It sounds like your school is fairly supportive and the flexible time table is excellent, ideally an adult in her school needs to be indentifued who she can turn to when she's not happy, we also allow time out; half an hour to an hour where children like you daughter can go just to step out of school life but we then get them back into school. The bullying needs to be tackled it is very very difficult to do your school needs to address this.
Finally i just want to give you some hope. Last academic year we had a very depressed chlld he spent more time having time out than in lessons we were all beginning to think we were never going to help him we were also being critisised by some for allowing him so much time out and were really concerned that he couldn't stay in school. A few months ago I saw him I wouldn't have recognised him he was smiling laughing interacting telling me about his uni plans it was so wonderful to see I cant tell you how delighted I was with good support children can get over this and move forward with their lives.
Thankyou for your comments and advice, I have taken it all on board. I would rather she stayed in school too, home schooling would be a last resort. She is being allowed time out also.
She has other issues that contribute to her depression and is in counselling
Jaalai, I don't know whether your dd would do better or worse if home educated, but a few things you said suggest that school is part of the problem. You said you felt that secondary school "set off" her depression. You mentioned bullying.
Also, you said that your dd does not identify with girls of her own age. Many people would say this is a problem which can and should be fixed, but I disagree. I know lots of home educated kids who prefer to associate with people of a different age and it really isn't an issue unless they are forced to spend most of their time in a setting (school) socialising exclusively with people of their own age.
I would take with a big pinch of salt any generalisations from professionals that removing an unhappy child from school is likely to make her more depressed and isolated than she was before. Mike Fortune-Wood has written an interesting book on school refusal, in which he says that this view appears to be a widespread myth in educational circles. He says he has been unable to find any studies whatsoever which support this claim. Neither has he found any hard evidence to support the idea that home education is beneficial, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that home education can have a dramatic positive effect for some children. So it is well worth considering. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cant-Go-Wont-ebook/dp/B005ETRPDW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1311962387&sr=1-1 Anyway, if a psychiatrist or counsellor tells you that depressed teens are better off at school, it might be wise to see whether that is based on any hard evidence or whether it is just the uninformed speculation of someone who may never have met a single home educated child!
Here is an email list for parents whose children are school refusers (I'm not sure whether this applies to your daughter, but it sounds like she is reluctant at best): http://www.home-education.org.uk/forum-school-refusal.htm As you might imagine, the list is fairly pro-HE.
Jaalai I have no experience or advise to offer, I just didn't want to read and run. Sending you lots of positive thoughts, I hope all turns out well for your and your DD. x.
"if a psychiatrist or counsellor tells you that depressed teens are better off at school, it might be wise to see whether that is based on any hard evidence or whether it is just the uninformed speculation of someone who may never have met a single home educated child!"
Saracen CAMHS have very extensive experience of children being educated in all different ways from full time boarding to home ed.and they are as a general principle non judgemental This extensive experience means that they do not indulge in "uniformed speculation" they speak from extensive experience because this what they do all day. Some school refusers are home educated and it works well for them some attend state day schools others even full board.
We work with school refusers who are at school some are looked after by CAMHS, some are receiving counselling we have a high success rate of !. keeping them in school and 2. helping them overcome their problems and most importantly leaving school at 18 able to carry on with education or go out into the world of work. Nothing happens over night which is frustrating for all involved and often its 1 step forward and 6 steps back but it is I know not from "uniformed speculation" but real life experiences possible for children who are school refusers to participate in normal school life.
Following on from what Saracen said, I want to add that there's no reason why HE children need be isolated. Lots of H-edders join up and go on outings or attend workshops together. It's not necessarily just 1-2-1 all the time.
I agree with the point made by Saracen, that you are appearing to be saying that school is the problem and if she is bullied so badly it must be awful for her. I H.ed my daughter who had a positive experience of school and she is no less social than she was at school.
H.ed children are still able to access all the clubs, activities, extra curricular lessons etc from their LEA just the same as a schooled child.
The good thing about it is if you try it and its not for your dd then she can always go back to school again. FWIW if it were me she would be straight out of there.
If you post on H.ed boards I know there are several who have experienced what you are going through and will help.
Best wishes for you and your dd whatever you decide.
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