The current state of traditional schooling with its high-stakes testing, early academics, bullying, and more is enough to make even the calmest child anxious. However, for a child predisposed to anxiety or suffering from a more severe anxiety disorder, this creates the perfect storm where they become paralyzed with fear.
Often, simply removing a child from this stressful environment is enough to calm the anxiousness and homeschooling can wonderfully benefit these children. However, children that suffer from abnormal anxiety may need even more than simple homeschooling.
So how can homeschooling help children with both normal and abnormal anxiety?
Homeschooling for a Child with Normal Anxiety
Some anxiety is normal, and we all feel it from time to time. Traditional school thrives on injecting tension into learning, and our children feel this. There is stress over grades and testing. Then there is stress over social concerns and worries over fitting in. They can also be anxious when they just aren’t getting something as soon as others.
For many children, this is just the stress of growing up. They adapt and learn to manage their anxiety. However, for others, this stress builds over time, and they begin to crumble under its weight.
In these instances, simply removing a child from the school environment may be enough to eliminate unnecessary stress.
How does homeschooling help the child with normal anxiety exacerbated by school?
Eliminates Arbitrary Rules
Many people find arbitrary rules and standards to be stressful, and children are keenly aware when a rule doesn’t make much sense. So learning in an environment where they are free to go to the bathroom or get a snack can go a long way towards decreasing their anxiety.
No Pressure of Public Performance
Many children freeze when called on in class, they panic over being asked to read aloud in class, and they may be uncomfortable to walk in front of everyone to turn in a paper. Some of this social anxiety will be outgrown, but it might become exacerbated if they are forced to deny those feelings.
Homeschooling provides an environment where the anxious child can feel safe and secure, which will help them overcome their nervousness on their town timeline.
Personalized Learning Free from Comparisons
The environment of a school is based upon comparisons and measurements. Anxious children can feel so overwhelmed by how they measure up to everyone else. Was their presentation the worst? How did they compare on the test, and even wondering if they have the “right” brand of clothing?
Homeschooling creates a personalized experience where the only person you are trying to beat is yourself. Did I do better than I did yesterday? Do I understand the material? The focus on doing better than you did yesterday and not being concerned with others can significantly reduce the stress of many anxious children.
Homeschooling and the Child with Abnormal Anxiety
Unfortunately, for some children, being homeschooled isn’t enough to curb their anxiousness. These children may suffer from an anxiety disorder that affects them no matter the circumstances.
It can seem mystifying to those who don’t understand how they are feeling. We may wonder why they can’t just get over it; there’s no reason to be stressed. But, it isn’t always that simple.
For these children, homeschooling is beneficial for all the reasons above, but it also has an additional advantage to help them manage their anxiety.
Provides Time for Therapy
Children with an anxiety disorder often benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and homeschooling provides the time needed to make therapy a priority.
It can be stressful for a parent to navigate the requirement of school absences as well as opportunities for therapy appointments. Homeschooling eliminates that stress, and in turn, places the focus on the child and the help they need, not the demands of school.
Consider the Benefits of Homeschooling the Anxious Child
Whether a child suffers from a higher level of anxiety than most or has a diagnosed anxiety disorder, homeschooling can be the means of reducing their stress level and receiving the care they need.
Homeschooling may not eliminate all anxiety, but it can go a long way towards a child benefitting from education, and not being paralyzed with stress.