Ensuring a sound education for your child ranks up there with meeting their basic needs. You stress over their academic accomplishments and when you see their struggle your heart breaks. You want to help, but the curriculum their school uses makes your head spin. Each school day brings on a new set of anxious feelings for both of you. As you drop them off at school, a quiet part of yourself can’t help but ask whether you should homeschool a child with anxiety.
Anxiety in the Classroom
Signs that your child is feeling anxiety about school can be difficult to recognize. Their nervousness about a test in class may actually be performance anxiety. Sitting by themselves at lunch or not participating in group projects may be social anxiety. Worrying about you and how your day will go while she’s at school can indicate separation anxiety. Each of these scenarios can make school a difficult environment for your child.
When you get an indication that your child may be struggling at school, reach out to their classroom teacher, who should have an interest in seeing your child gain academic success as well. Their teacher may already be taking steps to ease the anxiety they feel in the classroom by — for example — pairing your child with another student who your child is friends with to complete group activities. Your child’s struggles may be met with calm, supportive words of reassurance. Working together will help make the classroom environment as comfortable as possible for your child.
In some cases, that may not be enough for your child and you may find yourself considering homeschooling as an option. But it’s always worth sharing advice you’ve learned with your child’s teacher to be aligned on what may or may not work for them.
Homeschool May Be the Answer
Your child may have the greatest classroom teacher known to man, but that will not erase the anxiety that school causes. If that day arrives, homeschooling can be your best option. Part of what may be causing your child anxiety in the traditional classroom setting is how the curriculum is presented. Many traditional schools must follow a rigid course of instruction that is dictated by state and school district standings. It requires students to learn in a template fashion that allows for one approach to the solution.
For example, your child may be able to solve basic math problems in their head. School regulations requiring them to show their work with each problem may go against their natural learning process, causing them anxiety to spike when it’s time for math class. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to remove that stress by personalizing their instructional materials in a way that works best for her. You are not bound by state or school district restrictions when it comes to how they arrive at a solution to a problem. That change in instructional approach may ease their mind, boost their self-confidence about what they can do in school and make learning more enjoyable.
How You Can Homeschool Your Child
As you begin homeschooling, you may be tempted to start by replicating the classroom learning style she’s been using. If that method has already proven unsuccessful, work with them to find their style of learning instead. They may be a visual learner who needs to write things out and highlight the key parts when learning something new. They may require a hands-on approach, which means spending little time with textbooks and more time with the actual object being studied. Finding how and when they like to learn is essential to the success of your homeschooling journey.
Your curriculum choices should include what your child enjoys learning. If they have a passion for music, add a musical study unit into their school day. Let them dive into the world of finance and numbers regardless of what grade she’s in if that’s what they enjoy. You can easily incorporate their passions outside of school with the standard subjects of math, English, social studies, and science. There are no hard-pressed rules for how their school day looks when you homeschool.
You may want to consider joining a local homeschool cooperative group to give your child the opportunity to maintain social interactions with their peers. These groups often meet once a week for instructional time and offer opportunities for field trips, school dances, and other activities that traditional schools provide for students. Depending on their age, consider allowing them one or two social media accounts during an allotted time of day so you can monitor their screen use. These can help them stay connected with friends from their old school.
Your decision about whether to homeschool comes down to what works best for your family. Whatever direction you pick, you still want to give your child a relaxing bedtime routine and healthy food choices and help them learn to be present in the moment. Consider giving your child a homeopathic product, such as Brillia, as an additional way to help reduce their feelings of anxiety and help improve their focus and attention in and out of the classroom.
Aprel Phelps Downey is a brand storyteller, author, and writer, specializing in small business marketing services. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of South Florida. She resides in Eastern Tennessee with her husband and daughter.