It is a hard truth that many kids who are now homeschooled were once students in a regular school. They were perfectly content there, though they might not have fit in perfectly…until something changed. Maybe it was a one-time friend who changed their colors. Maybe it was a complete stranger who suddenly took notice of them. Maybe it was even a teacher. Whatever the case, your child suddenly experienced something that parents would give anything to be able to prevent for their children: bullying.
If that’s the reason why your child is homeschooled, they’re already familiar with it. They know how much it hurts, and they likely know all of the different forms that it comes in. Boys tend to be physical; girls tend to use their mocking, hurtful words. Even more hurtful, and almost invisible, is the group bullying that takes place when someone is excluded just because someone popular doesn’t like them.
Many, many schools have programs in place that are supposed to diminish, if not entirely eliminate, bullying—but it still happens. Sometimes, it happens behind the backs of the teachers, where they are incapable of doing anything to prevent it. Other times, it happens right out in the open, and no one does anything to put a stop to it.
Kids are cruel. Teach yours to speak out. Teach them kindness above cruelty, and patience, and tolerance…and then teach them to speak out.
Teach them to tell their stories. Teach them to explain what happened to them, and why they were so deeply hurt by it. Teach them to do more than merely suffer in silence, even if they have now removed themselves from the situation, because there are others who are still suffering. Teach them to be proactive, because that removes the victim mentality—and it does more.
It spreads the message. It reminds people that bullying still happens. It reminds them that it is unacceptable, and it is hurtful, and it is not a “normal part of growing up.”
It also gives them back power. It takes them out of the space where they were nothing more than victims and allows them to make a difference. It gives them a sense of peace, and of closure. It allows them to move on.
And maybe, just maybe, it will help to prevent another child from suffering so badly that they can no longer attend school.