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Why we’ve decided to Home Educate our 8-year-old son — not a sentence I thought I would ever say, never mind write! This is a very recent decision for our family, so bear with me while I explain our reasons. You might wanna grab a brew for this, just sayin`!
We have spent many months coming to this decision, we included Richard (our son) in the decision-making process and I kept him fully in the loop about legalities and processes involved regarding home education.
It might surprise some that we included Richard in this process, it surprises me daily just how mature he is.
Which is lovely, but it is also something I keep a check on and make sure he also has lots of fun and silliness because even though nowadays I think kids are just naturally more mature than say, my generation was. He is still a child and I don’t want him to miss any of his childhood.
A few things I wanted to get out of the way.
Are we anti school?
No, we are definitely not anti-school. We both believe school, in the “normal” sense of the word, is an excellent fit for the majority of children. Most children thrive and have a good experience at school, both in a learning and socialising capacity.
Are we anti-establishment? (i.e don’t like to follow the system, against authority)
No, neither of us are anti-establishment and neither of us has a problem with authority.
Have we lost faith in the UK schooling system?
This one is a little more difficult to answer. The short answer is no, we haven’t. However, I haven’t been impressed with what I have seen going on in schools or what has been being reported in the news.
I also strongly believe that teachers are walking a double edge sword, most of the time.
What with multiple changes in curriculum; every time the government changes. Masses and masses of paperwork, assessment and pretty useless meetings. On top of pushy parents and kids who know far more now than the previous generations gone by.
So we haven’t exactly lost faith in the schooling system, we have just arrived at the conclusion, that for our son, at this time, having a home education would be the most beneficial.
So why have you chosen to educate him at home?
Richard has an ongoing medical condition that he has had since he was 6 months old. He withholds from going for a number two.
Over the years we have tried everything. I’ve spent hours upon hours researching and testing things. Nothing seems to work. It took our doctor close to 4 years to refer him. But in the last two years since his referral, it has got worse and worse.
The school did what they could to help but honestly having spent the last two summer holidays trying to sort it out but always running out of time hasn’t made the condition any easier to deal with. We feel enough is enough. With the aid of home education, we know we can sort out this problem once and for all.
On top of his medical issue, Richard has different ways about him that make him react to situations differently to most other kids, not that I tend to compare him to other kids often.
Educationally in some subjects, he is far, far advanced for his age. Then in others, he`s at the correct level and some he`s behind.
Over the last couple of school terms he’s gone from just about coping on a daily basis with school, the noise (he hates loud noises, and in a school, well, you know what I mean if you’ve spent any time in a school!), the hustle and bustle of it all, he hates being pushed and shoved around. He’s struggled with a little bullying here and there but I will acknowledge the school did sort this out quickly and effectively.
During my research, I found these two sites really helpful (they will open in a new window).
The above is a UK website advising and helping inform about home education since 2000!
My main point is he started school a bubbly, chatty and inquisitive little man and over the last 4 years (including reception) we`ve slowly seen him deteriorate. He’s become withdrawn, shy, gets upset at the smallest thing.
He comes home in the evening and it takes him about half an hour to relax and wind down (nothing odd with that, I agree) once he relaxes I can see him come alive just a little bit, chatting to me and his dad, wanting to play on his Switch.
He’s the same in the morning. Right up until we walk out the front door. Once we get out the door he won’t speak a word to me, he won’t look at me and I know for a fact if I push him to talk he will just burst into tears.
Now the thing I’ve not explained here is that Richard just isn’t like this normally. We’ve always told him its ok to cry, let it out if you need to. But he’s not really that way out, most of the time.
In the school holidays, I can see him almost ridding himself of worries and troubles, day by day he starts to become our happy, chatty, inquisitive young man again. But right at the moment I mention buying his school uniform, boom, its like that walls come up, and he’s gone back into his shell again.
I do just want to make it clear here that we have tried so much to help him with all this. We finally have an appointment with a Pediatric consultant. However, before we got that, I have been working with the school, the doctor, the school nurse, mostly about his medical issue but I’ve always been open about how much he seems to struggle.
If I hear “oh he’s just a kid, he’ll get over it” one more time, I will scream!
If an adult acted like this for any length of time they would most likely be diagnosed with stress or something, I don’t know. But I do know my son and I know now that the school environment isn’t right for him, at this time.
Maybe it will be further down the line. If he asks, can he go back to school? I would talk through what he’s thinking and feeling and make sure he understands what he’s asking but of course Id let him go back into mainstream school.
We`re only doing this for him, to make sure he’s got the opportunity to enjoy learning and being educated as well as having the opportunity to develop himself and his emotions, without all the fear, worry or stress he seems to have been carrying around with him for years already.
I’m beating myself up for not doing this sooner, but there have been glimmers of hope, the odd day he has enjoyed something, a friend saying goodbye to him after school, getting an invite to a party (he loves being invited but doesn’t enjoy the party environment, so we always appreciate the invite but more often than not Richard asks me to decline) all the above things seem to have helped him get through the next day.
So, as you can see the decisions are long, complicated and varied.
I’m not for one minute saying that if your child has any of the same symptoms or issues as mine, that you have to home education, no, not at all.
I’m writing this post and further ones down the line to help other parents struggling, to help children realise, if they are similar they are not alone, keeping a record helps me to keep a track and record our journey forever.
Every child is different and so is every family; what works wonders for one might not work at all for another. You have to discover what does work for you and go from there. This is exactly what we are doing.
You may also enjoy….Why we give our son 2 birthdays every year
Thanks for reading this far! I’ve had so much going on and so much to get off my chest, I wasn’t expecting this post to be so long!
I intend on writing separate posts for how to remove your child from school to home educate them and what does my home educated child learn? And how do home educated kids socialise?
Another little note, which I’ll delete after the fact. We start our journey as of 25th Feb, after the half term, so I’ll be better placed to answer any questions after then, but feel free to send any messages and I will answer what I can.
Do you or did you home ed your child(ren)? How long for? Did you use a curriculum or do autonomous based? I would really love to know, please feel free to don’t me a comment, email or pop over to my socials I always reply.
Thanks for reading and TTFN!
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