Today a friend and I took four children out for the day. One was T, the other was my friend’s child and the other two were our other friends’ children. All of the children went to school together, until I de-registered T in December 2018. They have known each other through school since they were 3 years old.
One of the children asked me “Why is T homeschooled?” my reply was staggered, I wanted to say because T wasn’t at all happy, and that school (not just their school but any school!) is not right for him, but I refrained and simply said “Because I am able to home school”, T interrupted “No its because I wanted to be homeschooled” to which the asking child replied “Aw I wish I could be homeschooled, I absolutely hate school”. T and the child then proceeded to have a full-on conversation about school and how bad it is!
I then interrupted and asked the child if there was anything good that he could think of about school, his reply was “Lunchtime, but that’s not enough”. It reminded me of the endless conversations that I would have with T trying to get him to see the positive side of school, asking him to try to learn to enjoy it, when really deep down I knew that him just saying that he hated school was enough, but at the time I felt powerless as I wasn’t in the position to do anything about it! I know ‘hating school’ is a common thing said at some point in most children’s lives and in the past I would have just said “Oh well school is school” without much thought. But now I’m on the other side, I feel like a fraud saying such things as I know there is an alternative, well for us anyway!
I know children are going to be curious about T’s journey but I also do not want T’s schooled friends to feel down about their parents not choosing to home educate, it’s an entirely personal decision and not everyone wants to do it, or would ever want to entertain it, but how do I explain this to an 8 year old?!
Struggling for content to write in this post. Not because of an unwillingness to document and share, more so because the week has been very quiet and chilled out (apart from our exciting site visit!)
T’s task chart has been wonderfully helpful, to both him and me. He knows what he is doing each day, and completes each task with no trouble. As said previously these tasks are not massive tasks, just daily things that he needs to do (chosen by him so that I don’t have to keep asking him!) including cleaning teeth (self care), feeding the animals (caring for others) and 10 minutes maths work out (keeping brain switched on). Once he has done all of his tasks he is free to do as he pleases, and if it’s after 3pm he is allowed some screen time.
The limit on screen time has been imposed after noticing that if he went on a screen (to watch Youtube or play Minecraft) in the morning, he would end up being on the screen for longer. Many will say that this is part of deschooling, however after watching this happen for a few days, I decided to step in and regain control of it. I read somewhere that kids becoming bored often leads to greater creative play, this is so true in T’s case, since moving the screen time until after 3pm, he has engaged in more imaginative play (after his tasks), just like he did in the first week home educating!
There is also something else that I’ve noticed in him (apart from the crazy dancing, singing, shouting random words as described here), he is so much calmer, he is not having any tantrums, and I’ve not seen any tears for AGES. The other night I asked him “Have you noticed that you’ve not had any tantrums – especially at bed time?!” and he smiled and said “Yes, I used to feel so sad about going to school, I didn’t want to go to bed because I’d have to wake up and go again!”
Seeing his little face smiling, reflecting on what was, and looking at what is now, absolutely warmed my heart and gave me even more reassurance that this lifestyle is the right one for him.
We’re off on a little 4 night break tomorrow (taking advantage
of term time cheap deals!) so looking forward to what week 5 brings!