It’s the end of the year, and all are weary. My heart is heavy, wrapping up the school term, as we have an announcement to make. A hard announcement. A life-changing announcement (well, for us anyway). We are picking up our lives, shaking them until we find ourselves somewhere completely different. We’re changing the way we do things, the way we look at things, the way we look at education. Next year, I’m not sending my child to school. Next year, we’re home-schooling.
We’re not home schooling because we’re Christians (though we are). We’re not home schooling because we’re hippies (though we could be mistaken for). We’re not home schooling because we don’t trust the government (don’t talk to Benji about this one). And we’re certainly not leaving because we hold any grudges against the school we have attended. The school is a beautiful little community, we have enjoyed our time there and love the friends we have made.
But, we’re tired. The past four years (including preschool) has been an exhausting experience for us, and it’s time we had a rest.
If you weren’t already aware, we have a child with ADHD (I’ll write a little more about that another day). This has informed our decision to home school, as the past four years has been a battle to get my child to school, and to keep my child in school. Asking them to conform to a classroom is like asking a puppy to stay in a box. It’s going to create a giant mess, and you’ll all end up in angry tears.
We’re often late to school, and we’ve missed more days than most. You may have seen me bring my child to the classroom still in their pyjamas, or without shoes. You may have seen me in tears, leaving the office after signing them in; late again from one hell of a morning. You may have known we often decline events. You may have seen my kid sitting in detention, or sent home from school early. You may have noticed we have had a few battles.
However, you don’t see my child crumple at home after a long day of trying to keep themself together. You don’t see our struggle to get ready on time, regardless of how much time we have, or what structures are in place. You don’t get to see the exhaustion we experience from battling this each and every day. You don’t see our frustration, our hopelessness, our desperation; we’ve tried everything, nothing works, what can we do?
And so, we’re taking back a little control. We’re re-evaluating our lifestyle, and slowly making small adjustments. Home schooling sounds like madness; believe me, I know. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
By home schooling, we can discipline consistently across the board. We can start our daily learning at whatever time we like (the earlier, the better!). By home schooling, we can cater to our child’s high-energy and short-attention needs. We can work their interests in, and take a more holistic approach to education. At home, the classroom ratio will be 1:4 at most. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I understand there are concerns around home schooling too; I’m not jumping into this thoughtlessly. It’s a lot of work, to be sure. Though, I plan to be a stay at home mum, and create a career from writing at home; I have the time. My husband also has the time to be the lead two days a week, and we have support from our family, too. And yes, kids need to be socialised and learn to work as a team; we plan to remain involved in our local community, and have sussed out a very active home school group in the local area to join.
Also, there is still coffee and wine. I will survive.
At the end of the day, this is a trial to see if it is worth exploring for our children. If it doesn’t work out, we will happily return to mainstream school. I feel the need to emphasise that while our main reason for leaving school is to cater for our eldest child, I am not saying that children with ADHD do not belong in school. They absolutely do. Every child is different, and schools should adjust to accommodate them accordingly.
This is a unique decision we’ve made, and I’m choosing to see it as the start of a new adventure. I’m excited to experience a little more freedom with my children; learning with them, and witnessing them grow and discover more about themselves.
I think that’s a pretty wonderful way to be spending my days.