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I have been struggling really hard to find a job and managing everything is out of control but now the school has asked not to send out 7 years old to school unless a new term fee is submitted. Our son is very expressive in his own way, he hasn't asked me anything but he is drawing school buildings drawing and expressing his friends and school activities. ATM I do not know if we going to homeschool him or what as admission to any new school happens start of next term and he still got 9 months to go.

How do I talk to my son so that his unanswered & unasked questions get answered while not shattering his confidence of not being able to meet his friends and do activities?

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  • "...not shattering his confidence..." Please explain what is meant by this (likely a language issue). Do you mean expectations? Are you asking how to tell him so that it will not hurt at all? How common is this is your area (does he know of others in the same situation?) Are you unable to arrange playtime with his friends occasionally? Are you unable to do "activities" with him? It's not quite clear what you're trying to explain to the boy. If we don't know for sure what you're trying to express, we can't tell you how to do it. Please edit your post to include more detail. Thanks. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 16:04
  • @localhost: Can you add a country/location tag? In most places primary schools do not behave this way and/or their are good alternatives and/or help and support systems in place.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 12:56
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    Doesn't the UK have mandatory schooling for kids in that age range? So I would guess that if your (presumably private?) school asked you not to send your kid because of missing fees you are legally required to send him to a (free) public school instead.
    – quarague
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 13:37
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    Homeschooling is legal in the UK AFAIK, but very rare. Having said this, if you cannot pay for a private school the local authority is required to find the child a place in a local state school and this does not take 9 months. There is something else going on here. Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 4:25
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    You should contact your Local Authority immediately. They will be able to provide guidance and advice about home schooling if you take that route, or find your child a place in a state school. 9 months would be the next school year, not the next term - the next start of term is in February in my Local Authority, for example.
    – Showsni
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 12:16

2 Answers 2

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I know it's tough not to be able to provide to your children what they need and desire, when those desires are congruent with our own. I get that it must be heart breaking to not afford their schooling. But if you look at it from the child's point of view, what he will know for sure is the outcome. If it turns out he indeed will not be sent to school, he will of course notice. The only thing he may not have access to is an understanding of why. And given that he's not sent to school, isn't the fact that you cannot afford it the best possible explanation?

If you don't provide the answers, your child will make up their own. If you try to hide that it's about money, your child is left to assume that you somehow don't want for him to go to school. Or perhaps that the school has some personal reason not to want him. Those both strike me as far worse realities to live in.

A 7 year old doesn't have a mature understanding of how their schooling relates to their possible career paths and future expectations. If he seems to miss school, it's probably not because of concern over long term consequences, but because he enjoys being there, or part of his identity is that he belongs there.

I don't quite get from your question whether your child is already missing out on school, or if this is a possible scenario for the future. If you're concerned about something that may or may not happen 9 months from now, I'd say that's a far horizon for a 7 year old, and not something he needs to be bothered with now - especially if there's a chance it will resolve itself, but probably regardless. But 2 or 3 months in advance, you will probably be able to make a better estimate of whether or not he'll be able to attend, and I'd address it at that point. If he's already missing out on school, as I take parts of your post to say, then I would acknowledge that he's expressing this even if it's in pictures and not in direct questions.

To that end, I would simply raise the issue, and then let the child take the lead. "I see that you're thinking a lot about school. Do you miss it? I bet you must be wondering why you're not going?" He may not have much to say, but he will have heard your question, and know that the door is open. If he doesn't pick up on your offer to talk, you can end the conversation with an invitation to continue - "I'm always here if you have any questions about it."

If he does respond, you can reflect his words back to him. That keeps the conversation alive and prompts him to take turns talking without you leading the conversation. If he does have direct questions, I would suggest you answer them as honestly as you can, at age-appropriate complexity. Again, for every truth you'd like to withhold from him, keep in mind that the guesses he'll fill the gaps with may well be far worse than the truth. You're doing all you can to take as good care of him as possible, and that's what he needs to know. He doesn't need you to be able to do more than you can. Children can cope with a lot of hardship, if they feel they're seen and taken care of by safe and well-meaning adults. But don't burden him with all of your concerns about things he hasn't thought to consider. Answer honestly, but let the child ask the questions.

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The best time to tell your child that their life is going to change is before the change happens. For transitioning from school to homeschool, telling your child at least a week before the change would give your child time to work through their feelings and come up with questions, before the change happens.

If it's not possible to tell your child before the change, then talk to them as soon as possible. When a child's life changes they will wonder why, and if they aren't given a reason they'll start to make up a reason of their own, and sometimes they'll start to believe that they did something wrong, so it's important to give your child a reason for the change that's not their fault.

For a 7yo, your explanation could be something like this:

"I really like your school and I know you do too, and I wish you could continue to go to school there, but because I lost my job our family can't pay for your school right now, so you're going to go to school at home. I know you'll miss your friends and I'll do what I can to help you see them on the weekends. Is there a friend that you would like to see first?"

At 7yo your son will have questions, and all you can do is answer as best you can.

You don't know when you'll get another job, but you can reassure your son that you're doing everything you can to find a new job as soon as possible.

You don't know when your son can return to school, but you can reassure him that you understand that he wants to go to school, and you'll do everything you can to make that happen for him as soon as possible.

In the big picture, ten years from now when your son is 17yo, there will be a lot of important and wonderful things to know about him, things that matter much more than the fact that he was homeschooled when he was 7yo.

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    To tell him about my job is confusing because we live with my wife brother, I was putting in half of everything but not anymore. My son will have question about who is paying and all those kind of stuff and given my in-laws they are not really concern about my image, so this is hard situation. I tend to keep my son close to me
    – localhost
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 1:21
  • @localhost, I'm not sure that I truly understand your situation, but I do believe that you don't have to answer every question your son asks. My son would ask a lot of questions and at some point I had to say "I'm not going to answer your question because some things in our family are only for adults." This worked for me and my son. I don't know if it would work for you and your son, but it's something you might try.
    – user42851
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 1:38

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