How do you know when home-schooling is the best option for your child being bullied?

Phoenix psychiatrist Michael Yasinski MD discusses his approach to treating children who are unwilling or having a difficult time leaving the house and hence going to school regularly:

As the only Phoenix psychiatrist who will see children in their home, I often face the situation in which a child is being either bullied or teased at school to the point they literally refuse to go to school. Parents usually go through the same steps when this occurs and usually they start by trying to force their child to attend school.  Next they get the school counselor and admin. involved and depending on the school, they may do anything from offer to come and pick the child up or they recommend seeing a good Phoenix psychiatrist in order to figure out if there is an underlying problem like severe depression that has resulted from the bullying.

Since I practice a personalized house-call model, I often get calls from desperate parents and by the time I am brought in, children often are extremely depressed and simply forcing them to go to school is not an option. This is when home-schooling becomes a viable option, even if only a temporary basis.

Nowadays, home-schooling is quite dynamic and a very different experience than it was 10 years ago.  No longer is it complete isolation with a child and his/her mother for 8 hours a day. The school usually requires a letter and form from a psychiatrist who evaluates the situation and ultimately recommends the use of home-schooling. Depending on the school, they offer a range of services from a teacher coming to the home on a regular basis, or multiple teachers coming into the home to help the child learn the work and work with them.

Also, there is often a group componenent where multiple kids are taught by different teachers or parents involved in the program at a variety of different homes depending on the day, week or subject. The dynamic field of home-schooling has created a truly viable option in the face of bullying when it causes so much hurt and isolation in a child that the child is no longer learning any of the classic “social skills” that were once thought to be only available in a traditional school setting.

Every psychiatrist likely has a view that is slightly different however I personally discuss the option with the child and the parents and am guided very strongly by how the child feels. If the child is to the point where they are dreading school each day but are really open to home-schooling than I usually will really endorse this option. My only criteria is for parents to work extra hard on extra activities to maintain other avenues for good social skill building, however social skill building simply does not happen when a child is absolutely miserable, terrified or fearful in a traditional school setup.

If you have questions regarding whether or not home-schooling is the right decision for you and your child please do not hesitate to call me.


Michael Yasinski MD