How Will Children Learn to Deal with Conflict?

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39 Responses

  1. Heather Cantrall says:

    This is a great post! I am often asked about this when people find out my son goes to a virtual school. It is rare that a person I meet thinks it’s a good idea, they think that if my son isn’t in a traditional school setting, he won’t learn how to get along socially.  I’m thrilled to see the new ideas I’ve read here. For us personally, the vitual school just works so much better. My son has an autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome and sensory processing disorder. So a traditional school setting doesn’t work for him on a few levels. He will never be a social butterfly, he’s just not wired that way, even if he was in a traditional school setting.

  2. Karis says:

    I haven’t been homeschooling for very long, and this was a big concern of mine when I was considering homeschooling.  However, my personal experiences have been very reassuring.  I agree with Carrie, that children educated outside the Brick and Mortar setting simply have a wider variety of social experiences.  I love it that my 10 year old is just as comfortable speaking to a teenager or a toddler as she is to another 10 year old.  Personally, I was out of college before I had fully embraced that skill.  Where in ‘real’ life are you sequestered with a group of people all within 12 months or so of your own age?
    As for social conflicts, they are almost as common in the neighborhood, or on the sports team, or even in the youth group, as they are in the classroom.  There’s never a shortage of opportunities to teach your child how to deal with the bad stuff – I wish there was!

  3. Heather Sandy says:

    Personally, I don’t think the B&M social experience exists anywhere else….as an adult, I don’t deal with cliques, jealousy, namecalling, bulling….so why is there this mis-conception that someone MUST be exposed to it at all? I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars – but yet in no way is my life sheltered by not “experiencing” a bar/stripclub. Coping with conflict is a part of maturation, teen/young adults don’t have the same coping skills that adults possess – but if exposed to other adults they learn from example.

  4. theresa schickling says:

    Hi I was really glad to see this post cause I have been struggling with if I did the right thing for my daughter’s.Just like most parent’s that make the choice to home school there children.My girls have been with CCA for two years and I have gotten those questions are you sure you know what you are doing, they are gonna be unsocial, well let me tell you I have two girls who socialize with the neighbors, with toddlers also with kids from kids zone at the church they attended and to me they are just fine. I give all the parents around of applause for what they are doing cause to me it shows are kids that we care about them and we are teaching them different ways to handle the kids today.I am so glad I did what I did for my girls
    Thank you for this post

  5. Amy Murphy says:

    I think there is a fallacy in the thinking that B&M school is going to teach our children to deal with challenges to their beliefs and other such conflicts.  My experience with B&M school is that it’s very much a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ situation as far as anything that might be called a ‘personal belief’ goes.  Sure, children will wear jewelry or clothing that is relevant to their religion or favorite sports team…but nobody actually TALKS about it.  Certainly if they do challenge one another it’s not something that’s addressed in the classroom in anything other than a superficial manner.

    Think about what happens to an adult who isn’t ‘in with the in crowd’ at work.  They go home.  They get training to change jobs.  They volunteer, they join a house of worship, they join a sport or club.  Their social network is drawn from a much wider base than just ‘work’.  This is also true of kids who are educated outside of the traditional model.  But most of the ‘networking’ that B&M students experience is drawn only from their immediate neighborhood and class.  Scout groups, sports teams, drama and chess clubs…it’s all based around the school.  There is NO ESCAPE.  (This can also be true for parents of these kids; certainly the folks in my own scouting service unit have very little to talk about other than school-based activities)

    So which one is better prep for adult life?  (The fact that so many people draw a division between ‘school’ and ‘the real world’ really is very telling) 

  6. Carolyn Cornelson says:

    I was that kid everyone bullied. I didn’t find that the same situations existed in the work place. I am sure it’s possible it can, but I never had to be concerned someone was going to beat me up after work. I didn’t have to worry about someone in the workplace bashing into me pretending it was an accident. Nobody followed me home and I didn’t get ganged up on by several of my coworkers in the parking lot.

    As a kid who was bullied, I was beaten up after school, rocks thrown at me. kids actually got off their bus to push and shove me while I walked home. I was called horrible names regularly. I had to hide during recess and lunch. This carried on after school as well – I had to be ever watchful when I went out locally in public. I stayed off the streets where I knew bullies lived or hung out.  I repeatedly begged my mom to take me out of that school. She never took my complaints seriously and the few times she did, she did so by talking to my teachers, the vice principal or the principal, which resulted in making things all the worse.  Many years later I asked her why she didn’t listen to me, she said “I didn’t think it was that bad!”

    I tried every course of action I could think of. Many of those things I have read kids should do today. They don’t work, nothing does short of hiring a bodyguard. Now, ask me what constructive knowledge I learned about being bullied in school… Absolutely nothing. But I learned lots of destructive things! I learned to overreact to situations because of fear of physical violence. I learned to assume everyone is out to get me. I learned I was not valuable and had nothing to offer. Oh the list goes on and on.  The bullying finally stopped when I moved away. So I learned to run away from conflict (which isn’t always the wrong thing to do, it’s knowing when to do it). Fortunately we grow older and hopefully wiser and can see certain actions are no longer helpful. That coupled with years of therapy for post traumatic stress disorder and depression — I was well adjusted for many years.  However now due to my growing up in an unsafe environment I deal with anxiety disorder, depression and panic attacks. Yes, this is what can happen to children living day to day wondering if they will survive. As an adult looking back it seems a ridiculous notion but as a young girl it did NOT feel that way.

    I have 2 daughters. I have used a combination of home schooling and brick and mortar. When my 12 year old started having continued stomach issues, even though she didn’t see it as being a result of anxiety, I took her out and home schooled her for 7th and 8th. Interestingly enough the stomach ills went away. Next year she will go to a typical high school. If we have the same troubles I will monitor how things go in high school. If there is no improvement, I will take her back out.  

    I know, for the most part, that the working environment, as well as college, is not quite the same level of immaturity you deal with when you were 5 to 17 yrs old. So I am really not concerned her about learning to get along in an aggressive environment that exists nowhere else in quite that same way on the average. If either one of my daughters found themselves working in that type of hostility, I would certainly hope they wouldn’t stick around!

    The school of hard knocks has never really been beneficial, just painful.

  7. Karen Bonk says:

    I feel that as an individual that went through the terror of several different brick and mortar schools and some private schools, that a child should not be forced onto the ground bleeding in front of peers nor should they be forced to fight even if the argument started over a stupid statement of I don’t want a boyfriend right now, nor where they buy there clothing or the fact that they don’t want to learn to speak Spanish, or that they aren’t gay or a lesbian, nor over things like that they don’t want to be a cheerleader or that they like things or people of the opposite sex even though they don’t even know that person exists.  I wasn’t a popular girl, but the things that I was exposed to at the age of eight would astound people that don’t know what really goes on at the so called brick and mortar schools.  I was approached by two boys at my elementary school and told to take all of my clothes off, luckily a teacher came to see what was going on.  Ever since then I had problems, because of that I didn’t want a boyfriend and was the girl in class to not have one so I didn’t become popular and then in middle school was called a lesbian which was against everything I believed in and was.  It ruined my middle school experience, but kids are just so cruel, not to mention that I went through being bullied by my peers and then tormented to the brink of being suicidal.  Luckily Jesus is now my savior and has released me of all of my past suicidal thoughts and of my regressions.  I am so happy that my younger two sons don’t have to go through any of that.  My son Marck is only in second grade this year and I am proud to say that he won’t have to go through anything that his older brother went through in a top rated Illinois brick and mortar school.  He was sexually harassed by a girl in his second grade class and then he was blamed for the whole and labeled by the school as a sexual predator at the age of seven.  It took me the whole year to get him to tell me what happened and the little girl didn’t have anything happen to her.  My son was suspended for three days and had to be taken out of his class which was a first grade second grade split class and put into a regular class.  After the incident I couldn’t get anyone to come to his eighth birthday party and he has had trouble making friends ever since.  This year Patrick is in an ESE class due to the fact that he was run over by a truck last summer which has created even bigger problems.  My youngest son Luke will be attending Connections Academy next year as a first grader and Patrick will be attending as soon as they tell me he can get back into a regular classroom. 

  8. Shanyn Coblentz says:

    I like that my children watch how to handle conflict by how I and older individuals they know handle it.  Luckily everyone has a positive way of dealing with these things in our family…. I raise them up in the way they should go…. It’s better than someone their own age telling them how they should deal with things.

  9. Ted says:

    We put our son in CA because his last year of schooling in a B&M school was a total waste.  He had nothing but negative socialization.  Academically the school was set on ‘team peer learning’.  This means the teacher presents a concept and then the kids work in groups.  All in the name of learning good socialization skills.  So my child (who is high functioning Aspergers) was always the last one picked, pushed out of the group.  When I was a child that was the biggest fear on the playground when kids picked teams.  I remember how awful it felt. Now my son was getting the same thing only this time it is inside the classroom.  He had low self esteem, low grades and felt lost.
    Since we put him in CA last fall, he is blooming.  His grades are up, he feels more organized.  He finds it very rewarding to follow his schedule.  When he turns in an assignment and gets a good score – he knows it instantaneously.  He calls me at work to tell me the good news.  He has a lot of socialization because we have him in sports and youth group, family game night and get togethers with friends and family.  His social events are positive and encouraging.  Not like he had in the B&M school.
    When people tell us that they don’t see how an online school can be better than traditional school, it is heartwarming to hear my son tell them all the cool things he gets to do and learn.  I guess the best part is hearing that he is happy now.

  10. Heather T. says:

    Personally, I don’t feel children *should* be exposed to such mean behavior when they’re so young. They don’t have the maturity to cope with such situations, and instead of correctly identifying bullying behavior as the bully’s problem, they instead internalize a faulty feeling of unworth. What’s the point in that?

    Children learn much more valuable lessons from observing adult interactions. Are the parents able to talk about their conflicts in calm voices, using reasonable arguments? How does the parent deal with stresses at their own work? How do the parents treat their children: with respect, or as if they were little brats that nobody wants around?

    Parental behavior is most often what kids emulate at school, or respond to (by sending it on down the line). Sorry, but I have no patience for psychoanalyzing some random child’s parents through the actions of their son or daughter, as it applies to my own child. That’s just a little too complex. =) I’d much rather work on my own behavior, and hope that I find ways to respond to conflict that will be useful for my child years down the road, when they’re at work.

    I don’t care to force my child to be surrounded by highly emotional and irrational beings who, through lack of guidance, tend to develop fairly harsh measures when dealing with conflict. Since my child is also highly emotional and frequently irrational (that kinda goes with the “child” territory), I’d much rather expose him to (supposedly! heh) rational behavior and responses at home and in our own circle of friends and community. That’s a set of examples that seems a whole lot more valuable to me and to my child!

  11. Sharon Konnick says:

    All children, including homeschooled children, encounter social situations with other kids in many places, not just in a school setting.  I, personally, think children learn to deal with these things more appropriately outside of a brick and mortar school environment.  I believe that children who are taught by their parents tend to have a closer, more open relationship with them.  Therefore, when such situations come up, they are more likely to openly discuss what happens and how they feel about it with their parents.  That gives the parents more opportunity to talk to them about appropriate ways of handling both the situations themselves and the children’s feelings about those situations. 

    Our homeschooling situation is different than most.  Although my daughter is taught at home, my husband and I both work and she attends daycare three days per week.  She encounters the situations other children would in school at the daycare.  We have a very close relationship, and she talks to me about how the children interact with her and also how she sees them interact with each other.  An example is that one day my daughter saw that one of the little girls at the daycare was sad.  She wanted to help her feel better, so she complimented the little girl on her pretty hair bow.  One of the other children was upset by that and started saying that the hair bow was not so special and Katie was silly for complimenting the other little girl.  Katie thought that was mean and was upset by it.  We talked about how the other little girl might have felt hurt because someone else got a compliment and she didn’t, and she said mean things because she was jealous.  I suggested to Katie that a good way to handle a situation like that would be to find something nice to say to the other girl as well.  The next time that happened, Katie followed my advice and she and the other girl became good friends. 

    I get compliments all the time from the teachers at the daycare that Katie, even though she’s only six years old, is known throughout the place as a peacemaker who is always considerate of other people’s feelings.  Instead of picking up bad habits and meanness from the other children, Katie influences them to do better.

    On a side note, we encountered a lot of opposition from family members about our decision to teach Katie at home as well.  They have since come to me and told me that seeing Katie’s progress, both in her studies and socially, has changed their opinion of homeschooling.

  12. Liz Gunderson says:

    Wow, these stories are just unbelievable.  I’m so sorry all of us have had to experience the hellish things that we did; however, I’m glad for the wide variety of options we have for educating our kids differently. 

    I’ve been with MnCA since mid-December, and took my first-grade daughter out of her private school because of another little girl’s bullying and inappropriate attachment to her.  The big thing I kept hearing from people was this exact topic: how will she learn to deal with conflict?  Oh, right, the only way she’ll learn to deal with conflict and difficult people is by being physically pushed around and verbally tormented. *rolls eyes* What does that “really” teach her?  It teaches her that the only way you get what you want is by being a bully to someone else.  No thanks.

    Another homeschool Mom put it this way to me:  Where are big ships built?  Huge barges that carry cargo from all around the world to places all around the world, gigantic cruise ships that carry hundreds and hundreds of passengers every day, powerhouse tugboats that pull ships ten times their size, fishing boats that haul in tons of fish for food. . . where are they all built?  On the open sea??  NO–they’re built in the safe harbor!  A safe harbor where even the smallest details of the ship are attended to by caring and experienced shipbuilders, so that when the ship is set to sail, it can withstand even the toughest waves and the roughest seas, and come out whole and intact and strong.

    Our children are the ships.  We are the shipbuilders.  And our homes are the safe harbors.

  13. Lindsey C says:

    I am a 6th grade student here at connections academy. I actually switched from a traditional public middle school. I have naturally been able to deal with bullies, conflicts and negative socialization. Finding ways to deal with it is found everywhere, from their own experiances to books and t.v shows. It seems to come naturally to children.

  14. Stacy Germany says:

    Good post Carrie.  I am glad you posted this.  Socialization, dealing with bullies and peer preasure is on alot of peoples minds when we say our children go to school virtually or are homeschooled.  I live in an appartment where there are alot of children of different ages and my daughter deals with negative behavior one day someone likes her the next day they don’t.  Also at the boys and girls club my daughter deals with more positive behavior and a wide range of aged children.  We, as parents, can reach out for association.  A person that thinks a B&M school is better to deal with conflict should read Carolyn Cornelson and Karen Bonk posts.  That is enough to make a child commit suicide.  I am glad you gusys made it through that is horrifying.  Carolyn, it is horrible that you were not only scared at school but you had to be scared in your city.  I am so sorry you had to go through that.  Liz Gunderson – I love that story about where are the ships built.  Very good reasoning.

    Everyones posts were very encouraging.

  15. Steph C says:

    Dear Carrie Jean,

    What a wonderful response rate I have gotten to my question, because you have made it into it’s own website.  Thank you so much!!

    I assume you have noted my conclusion (2/17 blog at the bottom of Answering the Socialization Question), which was in response to AngelBB’s very insightful blog, and was also in response to face-to-face conversations with some friends.

    Thanks to your response, I have come to some additional conclusions.  You’ve alerted me to the very helpful website, ‘Stop Bullying Now!’.  I also looked up bullying under Wikipedia (the same poignant picture you posted above, is posted in Wikipedia too).  I found some good information there, as well as from other websites.  Including websites that are specific to bullying in the workplace. 

    I conclude that there are other resources than school, to teach about bullying, without experiencing it first hand.  ‘Stop Bullying Now’ has a multitude of cartoons and games, that children can identify with, to teach them how to respond in such situations.  This is a wonderful link and resource.  I now highly recommend it, and intend to have my children use it.  If I investigate further, perhaps I can find more resources.  I had not considered a web search on this subject before, so thank you.

    I still maintain one of my conclusions, though, as in my response blog to AngelBB, that it remains difficult to thwart off verbal and emotional onslaughts that occur, even with experience and training.  Most onslaughts are unique, therefore, it is difficult to prepare for them.  It is only in 20/20 hindsight that we can figure what to do, unless you’re one who can think quick “on your feet” naturally, as Lindsey C does (see blog above).  Unfortunately, I’m not one of those.  Again, life is short, so why expose yourself or your children?  It’s unnecessary. 

    I also agree with you, Carrie, that there are more social situations that I have not considered, such as the ones you’ve listed in boldface above, which provide lots of opportunities for learning how to conduct oneself. 

    I like your input on the modeling of social skills from parent to child, and the impact that it has.  Although, again, I do not provide a good example of how to handle these situations, because I am weak at it myself.  This is an area where I am constantly trying to improve my defense skills.  It’s just not there yet.

    I do see your point that, “just because kids are educated in a home setting (either as homeschoolers or through a virtual school) it doesn’t mean that they are sheltered from life’s experiences. They just experience them from a slightly different perspective than their bricks-and-mortar classroom peers.”  Thank you for pointing that out.

    I like how Karis put it, “There’s never a shortage of opportunities to teach your child how to deal with the bad stuff – I wish there was!

    I also love this quote (as well as her lead up to the quote) from Liz Gunderson:  “Our children are the ships.  We are the shipbuilders.  And our homes are the safe harbors.  This is a wonderful analogy that I can identify with.

    I like that Ted (see blog above) has found a better, more nurturing and conducive, learning environment for his child with Aspergers.  That “team peer learning” in his B&M school sounded cruel.

    I noticed that many people responded with respect to overt, physical bullying, rather than to the original scope of my question, which revolved around covert, social and emotional bullying.  This is the type of bullying that usually occurs between girls and often goes unnoticed by most, save the victim. 

    I, thankfully, have never experienced, nor have my children experienced, the physical bullying, or any type of physical violence, in school.  Therefore, it is harder for me to identify with it, just as it is probably harder for someone who hasn’t experienced social or emotional bullying, to identify with it. 

    However, on the heels of the Deer Creek shooting, in rememberence of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and others, I can no longer overlook the possibility of real violence in my child’s school.  If the term “sheltering” causes dismay, then let’s just call it “protecting” our children, by teaching them at home.  I can now see that this is nothing to feel badly about.

    I’m sorry for the experiences of those who blogged about the violence they’ve experienced.  My heart goes out to them, and I wish them full physical and emotional recovery and a happy life to come. 

    I have now learned that finding the proper school situation is about finding happiness for your child, and about finding a good fit.  I think that it is wonderful that we no longer have to be stuck, or imprisoned, in a system that doesn’t work for a particular child.  We now have opportunities to provide different modes of, and venues for, learning for our children.

    This has been most enlightening for me.

    Carrie, would you please blog to me after you have read this?

    Thanks so much for everything, and thanks to everyone for their input and advice!

    Best wishes to all!

    Steph C

  16. Steph C,
    So happy that you are able to use this forum to get the answers and support you need.

    As you can see by all of the wonderful, heartfelt & personal responses above, physical bullying and emotional bullying result in the same devastating results in a person’s life. It takes away an individual’s power, self-esteem, and dignity, leaving them feeling helpless and unworthy of love and respect.

    Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but preparing yourself (and your children) to thwart verbal and emotional onslaughts isn’t done through mastering some special technique. I believe that it’s done on the inside, by preparing ourselves and our children to cope with any attacks (physical or emotional) encountered.

    There are two things that we all need to deal with personal attacks. First, to see ourselves as valuable, and to value those around us, in every type of relationship . In this way our children learn self-esteem and to respect themselves and those around them.   When a person has a healthy inner confidence, they are able to face a difficult situation and ask themselves “Do I deserve to be treated like this?” Naturally, the answer is no! That’s what gives Lindsey C the ability to “naturally…deal with bullies” (way to go Lindsey). Second, is to know where your “safe harbor” is (great illustration Liz).

    Everyone here is to be praised (including you Steph) for seeking the very best for their kids. I know you doubt your ability to model a good example of dealing with difficult situations, but you shouldn’t! You are doing it right now! You found the confirmation you needed to make sure you are capable of caring for your kids and that your choices are showing them that they are loved. Steph, repeat after me, “I am a capable person and deserve the love I get! My children are capable and worthy of being loved! I don’t deserve to be treated poorly (and never have) and neither do my children!” Even when you are having a bad day, keep saying that to yourself and reminding your children of the same. Do this and they will be prepared. When you or your children see someone or read about someone being treated poorly, say it out loud, “I wouldn’t deserve to be treated like that and neither do they.” Keeping this deep down inside and it will be the best defense skill you can have.

    You are a good person Steph, and your children have a wonderful, loving, caring mother. Keep loving them and providing them protection, and you will do just fine.
    I’m printing out your closing statement. It’s going up on my wall. You said this beautifully!

    “Finding the proper school situation is about finding happiness for your child, and about finding a good fit. We no longer have to be stuck, or imprisoned, in a system that doesn’t work.”

    And this is what it’s all about!  More power to you! 

  17. Steph C says:

    Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’ll etch that into my memory.

  18. Laurie D says:

    Thanks for this post wonderful information and feedback. My daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome as well.  Virtual Schooling has allow my child to gain back her confidence and is now more willing to try and interact with her peers.  We have a neighbor community center that has a free after school program for teens.  She attends at least once a week, more often during the summer when there are more programs.  So far no emotional breakdowns.  

  19. Maria Mahaney says:

    Our world has gotten so competitive that some parents push their children so hard to be the best/succeed and in turn these children bully their peers because they cannot push back on their parents.  This does not excuse the behavior at all.  Some are just plain mean because they are how they are or they have not been taught any boundaries and discipline.

    We are our children’s first teachers.  They learn from us first.

    With all that being said, bullying can take place anywhere, even within our own families.
    Just recently my 15 year old son had to exercise this restraint in the midst of a conflict.  We are at my husbands’ parents place—his sister lives there with her son as well  He watched his aunt “spank” her 5 year old son on the hand with a game control for accidently pressing a button on his game control that interrupted her portion of the game.  My son opted to walk out of the room and remove himself from the situation & not continue to play the game himself because he knows that it is not his place to say anything to her about disciplining her son.  When she asked my son why he wasn’t going to play, he states, “Because I don’t have to.” (with a little attitude I admit but I felt it wasn’t out of place because he was upset about what he just witnessed).

    My sister-in-law proceeds to turn everything off, pick up her son and leave.  She calls her mother to screamingly complain about us (me and my husband) not stepping in when our son gave her attitude.  Five minutes later she returns to confront her mother for not answering her phone when she called back a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th time.  She screamingly accuses her mother of taking our side of the situation (to everyone still there, there was no situation— as far as we were concerned she left to blow off steam).  Well long story short, she advance on her own mother & my husband steps in to protect her, so she(my sister-in-law)physically attacks him and he physically restrains her after walking away didn’t work because she continued to literally attack him from behind.  Their father gets involved & my sister-in-law turns on the water works & he goes into the “there there, I’m not going to let anyone hurt you” mode.

    I call this manipulative bullying.  Because after the police officer listened to both sides, even seeing the teeth marks, bruising, and bumps on my husband and not a single mark on his sister, he basically refused to file a report telling me & my husband that we needed to resolve this on our own because it would not turn out good for him to press charges.  No other explanation than that would he give.  Because she cried that she was hit first, he refused to file the report even though there were witnesses to the attack.  Apparently his mother and I were not creditable witnesses but my 5 year old nephew was. 

    This type of bullying encompasses the physical and emotional aspects of bullying.  I say this because of the physical attack and the ability to convince the authorities that she’s the one who was attacked shows to her and everyone around her that she can get away with anything no matter what it is.

    Our solution to this problem is to break off all contact with his sister.  No matter what help she requires, she will have to get it from someone else we will not in any way help her with anything.  As for my husband’s parents, we have agreed to continue to see them but his sister cannot be anywhere nearby.  We refuse to associate with her at all. 

    It’s sad it has come to this but you don’t need to get burned more than once to know that it hurts.

  20. Millie says:

    Carrie this is a great post. I am often ask about the big S 😉 It is funny no one asked me or is concern if they are learning. They mostly focus on the socialization part. Anyway as you suggest on your post. My daughters are very active. They volunteer at the library. In addition socialize in our church. They can carry a conversation with people of any age without a problem. I try my best of find activities and events in your area for them to be part of and meet new people.

    They also participate in sports ( gymnastics and tennis) still my MIL is concern but I noticed that my children have more social interaction than their cousins that go to a M/B school. Another thing that I noticed is that home educate  children behave a lot better and I always received compliment in the behavior they have. Last but not least I went to public school and I was also bullied all the time. I was very shy and not until high school was when I develop a little more confidence.

    An important part of how well the children socialized is how much they are expose to everyday activities. My girls are always engaged in the daily and normal activities such as ordering their food in a restaurant, paying for their purchases at department stores, checking out books at the library. Also they had learned a great deal of how to run a household. I am very confident that when become adults the would be prepare for anything they confront.

  21. deb black says:

    unless children are living an extremely sheltered life, they are exposed to all of the normal issues of children.  they just arent over burdened with them, as they would be in a school environment.  my son attends church and there is the same exact environment as in school, swim team, playing with other kids in the afternoon, playing with cousins.  we take our son with us every where, so socialization isnt a problem.  And, sorry to say, the same kids that are mean at school, are mean at church, swim meets, playgrounds, etc.

    the only thing i would wish for in this schooling environment would be live lessons 3 to 4 times a week.  i think some kids feel isolated from other children in their educational peer group.  Personally, I think more interaction with the teacher reinforces the fact that there is authority in their school environment, and they can witness themselves the personalities of their class mates.

  22. Steph C says:

    Dear Carrie Jean, I highly recommend the following sites: (interactive for girls) (education about Relational Aggression)
    What do you think of these?
    Thanks, Steph C

  23. These are both great Steph!  Thanks for sharing.

  24. Denise S says:

    Wow!  What a great post with so many different experiences shared!  Our 9 yr old daughter was once enrolled in a B/M school for K-2.  Overall, it was a pleasant experience for her, and our decision to school her virtually was influenced more by the need for flexibilty (due to us being older parents, and having physically needful parents) and for her health (she has allergies and asthma, which wasn’t discovered till she went to school!).  And, as all of you, the big question we get asked is the social one. 
    Like many of you, our daughter is socially exposed to a variety of different situations through family, groups, outdoor activities, and community exposures.  We also have a 2yr old, who has challenged her more socially than most other relationships (isn’t that  true of most sibling relationships, it’s the first place we learn what is fair, what is just, how to share, how to be kind-even when you don’t feel like it!). 
    In Sociology 101 in college (in 1983), I learned that the first and most basic form of government is the FAMILY.  If there is a breakdown of the family, it will affect the whole community, the whole government.  I don’t remember much of anything else I learned in that class, but that stuck to me like glue.  Whenever anyone asks me the social question, I let them know that I also am concerned, so that is why I make sure she is exposed to a variety of interactions.  
    Since virtual schooling our daughter, we have seen her confidence grow.  In the B/M school and in other social situations since virtual schooling, she has had to deal with peer pressure, rejection, and bullying-even by some adults.  In each situaltion, she’s had to learn and grow.  In her Language Arts class in FLVSCA grade 3, she was required to write a paper about being herself-she drew upon her experiences to write this: 
    …”I’ve tried to be what they wanted me to be, but it made me feel trapped in darkness, which made me feel more lonely and unhappy.  …I think and I have learned that it is more fun and important being yourself rather than trying to be something that you’re not.
    Big answer to the social question:  There is no way to avoid being socialized since we are part of a community!  It is most important for our children to learn to be confident and comfortable with who they were created to be!!!!  (It took me a long time to learn this, and thank goodness I was older when I had children, so that I could pass it on to them).
    May God guide us all and lead us into the knowledge of Truth!

  25. Deedrah Hatfield says:

    I have one child enrolled in this program. We have interaction with our church, and we attend the field trips. My son has brothers and sisters, and he also has friendships established before Connections Academy. We are not concerned about learning how to deal with bullies, we are more concerned with learning without distractions.

    The worst times of my life were in school, the bullying, fighting and feeling empty because I didn’t get the work. I feel as an adult I have not really had to deal with bullying so I don’t see that as an issue that is very important.

    Sibling rivalry is enough to keep us on our toes, the online education is something I wish I had growing up, not only are the students safe from any attacks on the public school systems, but they are safe from other predators, and bullying, I say HOORAY! Instead of asking what did you do in school today….I know what happened in school every day. God Bless the Connections Academy! My son was labeled as ADD/ADHD and he is actually enjoying learning! We are so happy and he is now an A and B student! Praise the Lord, I am so happy. Good luck to everyone. We are all truly blessed.

  26. Angie Homoelle says:

    This is a great post and a great question!  My father-in-law posed the same question to us.  My answer was that no child needs to suffer through a classroom experience full of conflict, and I don’t believe the classroom is the place for learning social skills.  That whole piece is actually a distraction from the real purpose of school, which is to learn to love learning. For us, school is about learning new things, and extra-curriculars are about socializing.  The whole idea that a bricks and mortar school is an ideal location for learning social skills is kind of silly.  It’s an extremely limited environment.  Besides, as far as dealing with conflict goes, I doubt any household lacks conflict between siblings, (I know our house is full of it!) and what better way to learn to deal with people, than practicing in a safe setting, where kindness and forgiveness can be taught on a daily basis.

  27. Rhonda M says:

    I look forward to getting my grand-children back into CA. Since we have moved to Texas where up until maybe the school year 2010-2011, it only went to the 8th grade (we need high school) it seems they care more about sports than academics and have a blind eye to bulling. As the subject matter here is conflict, we have 4 generations in one house (fixing to be 5 generations) I feel we deal with all kinds of conflict and problem solving daily, with at least 7 different view points (ages 76 to 13)thank you for your views.

  28. Tammy says:

    I too am in TX and have been thinking about changing my children from their current schooling situation to something of this nature.  I have read all of your posts and appreciate all of you sharing your experiences.  It is amazing for me to be in the position to make this kind of decision for my own children when I am a certified science teacher.  However, I have found that not all teachers work up to the same standards that I held in my own classroom.  It is sad to lose faith in your own peers, but I have.  My son was bullied and the school did nothing on his behalf.  He is also GT and is bored to death because the teachers are not held to a high enough standard to differentiate their teaching.  My daugher falls behind because the teacher has such bad classroom management. Neither one is a discipline problem and they get all their work done at home, so I am just stunned at what happens in their school.  I know that when I ran a class my goal was to ensure all students were engaged and all were respected.  But I did come from a district that made its teachers work to higher standard, and I have high standards myself.  So when we moved we changed districts and this new one is the one I am seeing so many problems with.  I recently took a break from teaching to work more on the curriculum side of things and I think that is why I am seeing all these classroom issues come to light now.  I have a big problem when I see teachers slacking off, in my opinion, in the classroom when I never did. Even when I was tired, I found the energy to make the class energized, I feel that is/was my responsibility since I took the job to be an educator, no one forced it on me.
    So, now I am considering pulling my own kids out and looking in to alternatives.  I am worried that they will miss what friends they have made.  I know we can do outside of school activities and have friends over, this is just new to me and I want to be sure I am making the right decision.  My daughter is going in to 2nd and my son in to 5th.  I don’t think TX has a 2nd grade yet, so she may have to stay one more year.  And I agree with the above poster as well, TX seems more concerned with sports over all than with education.  I came from New England (CT) myself and education was number one. I hope I can do right by my children because they deserve so much better than what they are currently getting.

  29. Elena says:

    wow, thanks for posting this. This was very helpful!

  30. Yvonne wilton says:

    Wow, this hits home. I started getting teased in about 1st grade and it just got worse and worse until I was coming home crying everyday. My parents told me to deal with it and I did by developing low self esteem, depression and was a Maury teenager. I was so out there as a teenager that I think I blocked out the pain that way. I am just now realizing that being bullied has had a hold on me since then. Bullying is serious and it hurts especially when the teachers dont care. One of my teachers used to laugh when other kids teased me. My kids are now going through the same issues but I tell them to stand up for themselves and they end up in trouble while the other kids gets off scootfree. My son got punched in the nose by a girl and the school loaughed it off like it was no big deal. Its wrong.

  31. Lori says:

    I went through school grades K – 4th grades successfully as a child, straight A student, loved school, loved having friends, loved being a social butterfly, Then almost overnight it changed, my father went into politics, got elected as the sheriff and school life changed drastically for me, I had no friends, I was shunned, ridiculed over every little thing, I began gaining weight, which only added fuel to the fire by the time I was in high school I was a miserable wreck, from having grasshoppers squished down my back, being called every name you could laugh at, totally friendless, I isolated myself afterschool in my room, no self esteem, stopped caring about school, I sat in class every day writting in my notebook “only a few more hours and I can go home” over and over again. I started drinking by 14 and realized the words of the kids stung less if I had a couple drinks before classes. I was truly a wreck and sometimes wonder how I ever really lived through it all without killing myself or becoming an alcoholic. I started out life being an adventurer, a social butterfly and by the time I graduated high school I was shy and withdrawn, I married an alcoholic because I knew I couldn’t do better and lived miserably through that too. When I had children I knew I would never send them to school so I homeschooled them. I moved away from my hometown for several years and upon returning to this small town and running into people who were so cruel to me now they are nice and want to be friendly and I have a problem with it, I do not want to be mean to them but I want away from them, still after 40 yrs I shy away, some of the effects of my school years I have grown through and other things I have not but what I am trying to get across here is this. Had I not been bullied in school I probably would have continued to do very well in school and then went on to achieve my career goals but after experiencing high school there was no way I was going to voluntarily submit myself to more ridicule through college. My self esteem wouldn’t have been crucified and I probably wouldn’t of felt the need to marry an alcoholic and allow the abuse to carry on for as long as I allowed it. So not everyone learns to deal with the pressures of being bullied in a positive way, I believe it is more likely to remain a negative spot throughout their whole lives. I also think that “meanies” in the work force are alot fewer, at least at 1 time compared to school where the peer pressure to be in the “in” group allows others to follow the bullies just so they can be accepted and its rarely a single bully but tends to be a group, by the time people grow up and enter the work force they have matured and the ones who just followed along aren’t as concerned about being as popular now as they were in school. So did my kids miss something by not going to a bricks and mortar school setting? Did they not learn how to deal with “meanies?” My eldest daughter works in a prison, she is around some of the meanest of the meanies (the ones who didn’t grow up and mature) and she has never once voiced any concerns about not knowing how to handle herself in a situation. She has a high self esteem and thinks she can take the world on by the horns. Am I sorry I didn’t allow her to be “bullied?” heck no, she is a 25 yr old woman who can socialize with the inmates and put them in their place, in the evenings go volunteer at the nursing home and communicate with the elderly with a knack I have seen no other do and on the weekends get 15 of her closest friends together for a bbq. I do not see any negative social effects from my homeschooled child but still see lots of negative effects from this bricks and mortar school child.

  32. Minn Kota says:

    I love  that my daughters watch how to handle conflict and I’m glad to see that it has positive impact to them. They’ve learned to how to handle different struggles in life .. I’m so glad that they are growing like what really wanted them to be…Thanks for sharing this article

  33. Marion says:

    I was bullied elementary and middle school, by neighborhood kids and in school. High school we moved 2 hours away and I had a fresh start. I ended up being a class clown and lowering my grades so it wouldn’t happen again. If there would have been CCA then, I would have gone far in my life… Now my 5th grader has been bullied also, schools calling me saying she should let it go.. I pulled her out of that school and joined CCA this past spring. Best decision we ever made…Her stress level is down and feels safe! We love it so much that we are starting our 6th grade daughter this fall, and she doesn’t get bullied, is straight A student, and lots of good friend .. we believe CCA will help them concentrate on the future and not multi-tasking in life then in one building all day..

  34. Jayme M. says:

    You know, in 5th in 6th grade, I had problems with some who were bullying me. I didn’t understand why because my only goal was to be friends with everyone. I remember the fad was Jordache or Sasoon jeans. My parents wouldn’t buy me designer clothes unless I paid the difference for them. I got my first pair of Jordache in pink denim, and I was picked on for those. Go figure. There were also two girls that were terrible to me. I asked my teacher if I could address the class one day in the 6th grade, and basically asked them what I ever did to deserve to be treated badly. No one had an answer of course, but from then on, I was mostly friends with everyone. There was one other girl who was best friends with one of my friends. I remember at my 8th grade graduation, she asked my friend why she would lower herself to be friends with me. It never bothered me though, because I had earned the respect of everyone else. In fact, after we moved away several years later, when I was about to begin my junior year, most of my friends didn’t see each other until I came to visit. I think the one young lady that posted earlier had it right – dealing with conflict actually happens naturally. Bullying is NOT natural or normal. Sometimes, even as an adult you meet mean people, and you have to choose how you are going to deal with them. I once worked with a woman that didn’t like me because I was so happy all the time. How sad is that? Hopefully your children have been around people who have always been good examples of how to effectively deal with conflict, and if your children are home or virtual schooled, then hopefully they have plenty of other socialization opportunities.

  35. Tracy Cowles says:

    This entire section is fabulous – thank you all for your insights, as it has helped me tremendously.  Physical bullying is criminal, and in the adult population would result in assault charges.  Verbal and emotional bullying is cruel, unnecessary, and damaging to the spirit and self-esteem.  Being on the Autism spectrum and being told to “socialize” like everyone else is like asking a blind person to read a newspaper or a deaf person to listen and critique an opera. 

    Our situation is different:  My 8 year old son is gifted, is the only gifted child in his class, and at this moment, is one of only two gifted children in his school (the other is in sixth grade).  He has been held back in his classrooms since preschool – always ready for the next topic, but doing endless review and “waiting” while his peers try to catch up.  He has been treated for an ulcer.  While he tells me that his teacher does not make him feel like he always needs to be #1, his classmates rely on him to carry conversations, have the answer, and explain it to the rest of them.  At 8, his “role” amongst his peers has already been established, and he hates it.  He would prefer to be just “one of the kids,” but is never given the opportunity to do so.  I know it sounds crazy, but instead of being the kid left out, or the kids who is bullied, my son is fought over during recess by as many as 6 kids who all want to play with him.  Because he is kind, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and is constantly pressured to do things he doesn’t want to do.

    We will be joining cyber school this week.  The beauty of cyber school is that, no matter where your child is and what issues he/she is dealing with, you, as a parent, have direct impact on how it is handled.

    Beyond all of that, I have not seen enough parents express this attitude:  I love my son.  I want him to be happy and healthy.  I am SOOOO excited about being able to spend this time with him.  I love to read books – so does he!  We’re going to read books together, and discuss them.  Captain Underpants?  Poo….we’re going to read Little House on the Prairie.  Weekly Readers from school telling him the world is going to end due to global warming?  We’re gonna watch Fox News.  We’ll deal with conflict resolution while we deal with his chores, his allowance, his TV time, and while he tries to work things out with his teenage brother.

    To Steff, who writes that she doesn’t deal with conflict well, and is concerned about teaching that to her children:  Steff, the only people who like conflict are the ones who create it.  The rest of us get belly aches over it, don’t sleep, and rehearse what we’re going to say for three days.   Don’t let anybody tell you different.

    My son had to stand against the wall today during recess.  Why?  Because, I, his mother, forgot to sign his homework book last night.  I forgot to sign it, because he had no homework.  Ergo, I did not sign off on his homework when he had no homework, and my son got punished.  Conflict?  Yes.  Resolution?  Are you kidding me?  You can’t deal with these people, so our resolution is to remove ourselves from the situation.

  36. Charlotte Collins says:

    I am proud to see posts in this section and though I haven’t read them all, I see that most people will come to the conclusion that as the parent we CHOOSE…what our children should be exposed to or not. I have been using Connections for the last six years. My two daughters have grown into outstanding young ladies in our community. They have experienced being around all age groups for years and can handle an adult conversation as well as take care of a toddler with no effort. They are leaders because I have had time to instill in their character to be such. Without bullying or peer pressure they have grown up to understand I am preparing them for real life. They can handle setting their own schedule for school, chores and extra outside activities in church and community. They have gone to our Education Legislative committee meetings in person and stood for our right for choice at the Capital in Atlanta. We have rallied for our right for virtual charters. We have given out product in this community to support choice options in education like Connections. They have watched me as founding board and board member help make change come to a slow evolving education environment which is why we are on the bottom totem pole in the U.S.

    My girls thank me that they don’t have to get up early and stand in the cold and rain. They have developed their own personality toward making their impact with their peers be such that most want to be like them. They are strong and don’t have a need to be in combative environment to know to stay away from troublemakers. They know how to with words remove themselves from uncomfortable situations created by those that don’t. I teach them compassion for others and how to be a blessing, even to those that may not like them or be jealous. That is ultimately our job, like some one else stated, what we model for them is what counts.

    Believe me this has been the best investment in our family life. And no one can ever take away all the time my husband and I have spent together allowing every moment to become a teachable moment for LIFE skills. They know how to cook like chefs, WRITE, dance, sing, and are in groups like People to People (P2P) and will travel the world. They are also members of the local unit for P2P and have been working on things to add to their educational resume. To be able to compete on a international level is what we need them to be aspiring to do. Not worry if our kids will be socially acceptable according to people that don’t understand what 21st Century learning is all about.

    I can assure you, we are the trailblazers of the future. And there are other options becoming available everywhere. Check out the new blended schools for high schoolers that Connections is opened called Nexus Academy schools. I just came back from a totally eye opening look at what education is going to look like in the next few years. These schools will give another option for those that want to mix online learning and going to a place locally for 4 hours a day (2hr @ home). Where kids can choose to be with other kids or not, have access to a Success Coach (teacher/counselor) during the day in a secure, fabulous, fun, free style environment. I’m going to fight again to bring this next option to Georgia. Our children deserve every opportunity they can to become the best they can be. 

    Jump for joy that you have found something that may well be passed on to your children’s children as a way of teaching and learning. Don’t fear, allow yourself to be free to enjoy the best years of child’s life. It is good and VERY GOOD:)!

    Charlotte Collins 

  37. Phil says:

    I´ve taught in public schools for about 17 years. There is no way I would ever want my son to go to any of public schools where I taught. However, I did allow him to go a Spanish immersion school which doesn´t allow new students to enroll after the first grade.
    I´ve seen first hand on a daily basis the garbage that these kids have to internalize. Disrespect to teachers was pretty much a given and became part of the social culture. I´ve had to admit to very concerned parents who hesitated about placing their child in the public school that yes I have personally noticed the toll that coming to the school had on their child due negative peer pressure.
    Parents would be shocked if they were to go to their child´s school for a week.
    One day I decided to sit in one of my foster son´s classes. He was already attending the school when he came to stay with me. The teacher had absolutely no control of her class and I said to myself I can´t believe my foster son has to sit through this daily. After sitting there for about 12 minutes, I honestly couldn´t take it anymore and left the class with my foster son. I did my best to get him switched to another class but because of scheduling conflicts I wasn´t able to so. I wanted to call and alert each and everyone of the parents of that class to come and witness what appeared to go on daily in that classroom. My only option was to remove him from the school entirely.

    Kid´s don´t need to learn how to deal with problem kids on a daily basis growing up. Socialization is important but that´s what after school programs are for. That´s what the YMCA is for. Important factors to take into consideration are the type of school your child is attending and whether or not your child is a leader or follower. At the same time, keep in mind that it´s very easy to go from being a leader to a follower due to peer pressure.

  38. Andre Jones says:

    It’s not an easy subject to teach and I’m not sure if teachers at schools have the right qualification to tackle this matter. I’ve been bullied when I was at elementary school and I remember that my teacher didn’t know what to do. She just said: Stop it to the bully, but he never stopped. After all these years, now I’m a grown man and I ended up lifting weight to be strong and protect me against bullies, but it’s unfortunate to see that the reality is still the same at schools (or even worse).

  39. Amanda says:

    I believe that education and preparation for children know how to handle any kind of problem, should start early and at home with parents. It is also very important in school and day to day, parents to follow everything that happens. Often the child suffers quietly without speaking, at that moment the support needs come from the school, from the teachers and from all who are coexisting and any sign of bullyng.

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