What Would You Suggest?

Updated on February 01, 2014
E.L. asks from Boston, MA
22 answers

Hello everyone, I am having a little debate with my husband and I would like your opinions, I'm happy with a little debating, I'm interested in hearing everybody's opinions.

So my husband and I have a thirteen year old daughter, after I had her my husband left his sold his business to raise her so I could focus on my career, he jokes that it was just his excuse to quit his job and become a writer, he has raised her very well I might say and he is a very good husband, he keeps the house nice and clean and cooks dinner, so I was happy, now he made the decision of home schooling our daughter and he did a pretty good job at it, she has impeccable manners and speaks very well and she is well ahead of most high school students in the way of science and history (her favourite subjects) and she can recite religious scriptures from the bible and the book of Mormon, however my sister thinks we should enrol her in a school because she is bright enough and she needs to have friends her own age and socialize a bit more and just have the school experience.

My husband wants to keep home schooling her, it is clearly working, he does not think it is important for children to be in the school environment, he seems to dislike schools as a whole, our daughter does not really enjoy the company of girls her own age, schools tend to be a breeding ground for bullies and bad behaviour, our daughter is well ahead of our grade.

On the other hand, we don't want our daughter to become at all snotty and it is important she socialize with girls her own age, she does not have any friends her own age, we think it might be better for getting into good universities, our older daughter chose to go to a foreign school and seems quite well for it.

We have asked our daughter what she wants to be, everyone involved are not sharing their opinions so it is fully her own choice, (my husband was very stern about not trying to influence her over this choice, his father used to use a lot of emotional blackmail so he avoids that behaviour at all costs)

But while she is still deciding, what do you guys think, pros and cons for both sides of the arguments, your personal opinion, any help would be greatly appreciated.

My sister gave me some private schools to look at if our daughter agrees with the idea, I think at the end of the day though this is up to her, I have to agree with my husband about the age group thing, but it is important she have some friends, we will see about youth activities and things like that, good thinking.

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So What Happened?

Hi everyone, thanks for your opinions and your insights, it was great of you to take the time.

I see I worded it a bid badly she does in fact have a few socialising opportunities, through the church activities and she has a fairly good grasp of social behaviour, we are also part of a home schooling group in our area.

You all raised good and valid points but she has decided to finish this academic year being home schooled, which works out well because if she wants to enrol in school next year, she can go straight into high school.

Thanks again everyone.

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

Well, her not having *any* friends her own age is an issue. She should know how to relate to peers, she's going to be around "people her own age" for the rest of her life. On the other hand, academically, my opinion is why fix what isn't broken. Clearly homeschooling is working for you in this regard.

Look into opportunities for her to socialize more. And get her opinion on the matter.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

It is very possible to homeschool and be social. She can find friends through sports, youth groups, volunteering, etc. You all just have to work to find a good balance.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would hope to heck she currently has some friends!
Does she?
If not, I think you should consider at the very least a homeschool group or something, if not public/private school.
Kid's gonna hit the world at some point--you don't want it to be foreign to her.
Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

School is about much more than academics. She DOES need to learn how to work with and interact with other people her own age. She needs to be able to work on a group project with other kids in her class...this teaches her many, many skills needed for a future career job. She needs to learn conflict resolution with her peers. She also needs to learn to deal with peer pressure and how to handle the inevitable teen drama. So, yes I think that she needs to do something to have more interaction with other kids...whether that be public school, athletic teams, clubs etc...

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Personally you all have a lot of preconceived ideas about schools.

I do believe that in real life it is good for children to not only have an education in academics , but also a social education.

At some point your daughter will attend college, will have a job, date, marry.. have friends to depend on.. and then hopefully have her own family because you and dad will not live forever..

She needs all types of experiences to live an independent life.

She will encounter all sorts of people so she needs to recognize how to interact with them, how to assist them and how to ask for assistance.

She needs to know how to work with other people, how to work as a group member, how to lead a group of people. And this includes people that are not all just like her, but people that she normally would never have any reason to be around in any other situation.

She needs to learn to be a team player and how to be a coach,.

Our daughter is not the most social person, but she can certainly get along with almost anyone. She can get things done in a group or alone.

Even as adults we encounter people that may bully or ignore us, but we have learned how to deal with this.

As adults there are people we do not respect, but we can still work with them.

Sheltering a child from real life is not doing her any service.

This of course is based on my experiences. I was raised to be independent and encouraged to make my own decisions, how to ask for assistance and clarification, and to question even people in authority if I do not agree, and how to deal with all sorts of people.

This has helped me sometimes way more than a education based only on what was taught in books.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

The problem I see is that your daughter doesn't have relationships with other kids that will help her as an adult. She doesn't like girls her age - that's a huge deal. How are you and your husband going to feel when she can't keep a job later in life because she has absolutely NO social sense about how to deal with office politics? Even if she doesn't work in an actual office environment, she will HAVE to be able to navigate all sorts of personalities in whatever work she chooses.

And what about boys? How is she going to learn how to react to them? At some point her doting daddy will want her to marry, right? How will she know how to discern good marriage material from bad? She needs to be around boys to learn what they're about before the hormones take off.

I don't think that homeschooling is wrong, but I think that your husband has not done enough to find her groups to work with so that she is comfortable around kids her own age. This is something he simply must do. And you need to be part of it. You are a girl too. Talk to her about this.

I'm not just talking about youth activities here. I'm talking about a network of homeschoolers, maybe a co-op. Perhaps your husband could start one. This way he could choose the group. Make sure that it includes boys. Perhaps they could all take ballroom dancing together. A friend of mine's kids went to a private Catholic school and once a month, they all were required to take ballroom dancing lessons. By the time the prom came, they were all experts at ballroom dancing. Even better, they learned to talk to each other and act like little ladies and gentlemen.

I want to also say that just by virtue of going to a school, it won't mean that your daughter will have friends. If she doesn't know how to act like a friend, she isn't going to make friends. You all are behind the eight ball here in helping her learn how to do this. Rather than throw her in school, start now to give her a chance to learn how friends act with each other so that she doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. If she thinks she wants to go to school later on, then she'll have a chance of fitting in better.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Have you checked the home-schooling resources in your area? Around here, the home school kids I know have many activities, which involve them with peers as well as giving them good experiences. One is speech and debate, which some of the teens (12-18 or so) take as seriously as others do athletics. Which reminds me that you should check whether home school students may participate in the athletic programs of your nearby schools. You'll have to see what the local and state policies are. Check out music and art opportunities as well. There may be a way to have the best of both worlds.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'm a public school teacher and I support homeschooling if the family and child feel it is working. There are lots of ways for your daughter to meet and interact with other teen girls. I see suggestions here for dance, sports, etc. Most homeschooling associations organize both enrichment and social opportunities. Doesn't your LDS ward have activities on a regular basis?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At age 13, has she had no outside socialization with anyone in her age group? Does she have friends? Does she only socialize with you and dad?

We live in an area where the 3 public senior high schools are all rated in the top 100 in the country. Our school system is highly rated and it is one reason we chose this area to raise our daughter.

I know that many people homeschool and you can have homeschooled children who are very well rounded but that takes a LOT of effort on the part of the parents and the child.

My personal feelings are... you can have the brightest child in the world but if that child does not know how to socialize, interact and communicate with others in a diverse environment, then they cannot fully use their abilities. It is important to have friends, work with people you like as well as people you don't really care for because that is LIFE.

Colleges look for great grades but they also look for well rounded individuals who can excel. They don't want someone who has had their head stuck in a book for 14 yrs. They was to see if a student is a leader, follower, involved, can socialize with peers and adults.

As a business owner, I would not hire someone who I knew had no concept of working with others and proving themselves as someone who can be a go getter. I don't care how book smart someone may be, there is also common sense and interpersonal skills which are crucial to personal development.

You mention that you asked your daughter what she wanted to be. It is a little early for her to be making career choices at this point. Maybe she knows a direction of interest but she is too young to pinpoint a specific career path.

If you choose to go the school route and she tests as highly as you say, then I would opt for Honors, AP or the IB program with basic courses which can be used for college credit. I would not put a lot of pressure on her where she could easily get overwhelmed. She needs to take baby steps if she's never been in a classroom type environment with others.

She does not need to live under a rock for 18 yrs then be pushed out the door to college and expected to succeed when she has no interpersonal skills, friendships, etc.

It is your family and your choice. Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Find some homeschool groups. We have a group in our area that does two formal dances a year, monthly events, etc.

Most homeschooled kid are better socialized then schooled kids, it all depends on how you define it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Why not just work on socialization and keep doing what your doing? Youth groups, art or music lessons, homeschool co-ops, sports etc. There is so much out there. Is she involved in anything? If she is not I am surprised this hasn't been considered years ago. I remember 13(middle school?) being some of the most brutal years as a teen girls. Maybe things have changed though.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

If both your husband and daughter are happy with him home schooling her, and she's doing well academically, then it ain't broke, so don't go trying to fix it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd say it's pretty lonely for a girl this age to be at home with only dad all day. I also think if she's active in her Young Women's group and goes to the Stake activities then she is getting the social interaction she needs.

I have to ask, is your sister a member? If not she may not see any benefits to your daughter not being around the school kids that are not in her youth group.

Since your daughter is a young teen and has no friends then she needs to be in school. She needs that interaction so she can learn how to manage conflict, understand group dynamics, problem resolutions, etc...being around people, annoying people, hurtful people, nice people, are all parts of becoming a person who knows how to do that as an adult.

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answers from Washington DC on

well, my perspective comes from homeschooling, so my bias is clear and should be taken into account.
if homeschooling is working, why on earth is the 'school experience' necessary? the socialization argument has long been settled by those who actually research it, and while many kids thrive and do great in a school atmosphere, there's nothing positive about it that can't be done as well or better by a diligent homeschool family.
lots of girls who are IN school don't like other girls. obviously if she's socially inept or nasty to her peers that needs to be addressed. but i'm always amused by those who assume that when a homeschooler is shy or awkward or unsocial it's BECAUSE they're homeschooled, while the same assumptions are never made for public-schoolers.
i presume you have her in co-ops and groups and make sure she spends time with other kids, right? the only time i see homeschooling crash and burn, outside of massive dysfunction in the family, is when people try to do it isolation. but i'm assuming that since your daughter is doing well, that you're doing it right.
if your husband has been the primary homeschool parent, i think his opinion (and of course your daughter's) should carry the most weight. your sister is welcome to share her opinions but should not be allowed to be a deciding factor. i had a LOT of family members who were very concerned about our homeschooling lifestyle, and almost all of their objections were, like your sister's, very nebulous and inapplicable.
my homeschooled boys were accepted into every school to which they applied. it is a fallacy that kids need a public school transcript to make it happen.
the only red flag i see in your post is 'it is important that she have some friends.' of course it is. and it's your job as a homeschool family to see to it that she has plenty of opportunities to make that happen. IF you cannot for some reason, THEN yeah, she probably should go to school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Have you ever seen a single snotty girl who goes to public/private school? Wait? Yes? Well, then that is not a good excuse to send her there for fear she might become one if she doesn't go that route.

Why would you want to give up her fabulous experience with her dad everyday and the freedom to learn and grow as her need/ability/interests lead her? Why pigeon hole this girl who is thriving in her current situation? Mass educational methods are not the best environment for learning. One-on-one tutoring is way better. To me, it's a no-brainer.

Does she not have any opportunities to be with people outside of her home? Most homeschool children I know are way more socialized than their counterparts at public school who are so constrained by schedules and homework.

And most importantly, your husband wants her to stay at home and continue schooling with him. Why is your sister even in the equation? Please respect him in this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

What does our daughter want? That is the only question I would need to ask myself if it was my child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

There are plenty of things she can do to socialize that don't include going to school. Is she interested in any extra curriculars? Sports, music, dance, gymnastics, cooking, whatever? Enroll her in something like that, or look for a homeschool group in your area to work with so she can do school like things with kids her own age, but still be primarily home schooled.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have friends who have homeschooled all 4 of their daughters. Their daughters are clearly well-rounded, well-socialized and a part of their community. Things you could do would be to enroll her in parks and rec programs, sign her up for local homeschooling gatherings, or join a homeschooling co-op (sometimes where one parent teaches science, one math, etc.).

I think that if going to a regular school is not for her, there are a lot of ways to find likeminded kids for her to be friends with. And kids her own age is kind of variable. Most of my friends were older than me and many of my friends still are. Are typical 13 yr olds just not into the same things she is? Then try to find the girls that are. It's kind of like when the kids are little and you become friends with the parents you see at the library because you all want to do that activity with your kids. I'm sure in Boston there are activities, clubs, and events where she can find kids she can click with. Volunteering is also good for kids and good on the college resume.

Also, if she remains advanced, you might want to consider her taking college classes as a junior or senior in HS.

All of which is not to say that I think regular schools are a cesspool. If I thought that, I would homeschool my own child. If she chooses a regular school, everyone needs to be positive about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Private and even religious schools can be just as bad if not worse as far as bullying/cliques etc. There are plenty of options for her to socialize through your church, through recreation activities in your community etc. Homeschooling is a personal choice, and if she is happy being homeschooled and dad is happy why change it? I personally do not homeschool, nor do I feel it is right for my child, but know many people who have been sucessfully homeschooled and who are very happy with the choices their parents made.



answers from New York on

There are so many home schooling groups,out there that get together to,socialize. There is dancing sports, debate clubs. Sounds like your husband is a real gem. Good for him. He has done well and I would not change a thing. Let her get involved in outside activities.



answers from Las Vegas on

Regardless of what your daughter chooses about her school situation, you really need to guide her toward making a few friends and learning to socialize.

I'm not talking about turning her life upside down and forcing her to join every club, activity, or group, but she needs to do something to learn how to be social with other human beings outside her family and with those her own age.

She can be the smartest girl in the class, but she still needs to be comfortable in social settings. It's an important life skill. She'll need it in her future jobs/career and in her future relationships. You can't learn that from just reading a book; you just have to get out and do it.



answers from Boston on

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.....

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