Updated: Jul 8
Well not literally, more metaphorically.... you see recently we began our journey back to what we know to work best, and that is home education; at least that is the case for 1 of our wonderful children. A little over 6 months ago we moved house and a number of factors contributed to the reluctant agreement that we needed to cease home education, at least for that point in time. This was a hard decision to make as we had unschooled our children for a few years and by the choice of 2 children they had begun part time school/part time home education with a different school approximately 1.5 years ago while another child continued full-time home education this worked well for our family. However, on moving we had not only a change in home location but also a change in life circumstance including my husband obtaining a good job with decent hours. Unfortunately, this meant I no longer had that second set of hands to help out or that licenced driver (I am still on my on Learner licence and working desperately towards obtaining my Provisional licence) to help us get to the many activities my children had. We also had a number of other things going on in our lives at the time which made it very difficult for us to be able to continue home educating.
I enrolled my children into a school full-time and I did not once expect that it would be my daughter who would struggle the most as it was my other 2 children who had the various diagnosed disabilities and delays. You see my daughter had done part time school at her previous school and was thriving including being on par or ahead of others in her year bracket. However, when she started at the new school she almost immediately dropped to the bottom of the barrel with her academic abilities. This was a HUGE shock for not just her but for me as these schools are in the same state, both public schools, and both following similar frameworks or curriculum yet my daughter did well at one and struggled at the other. The teacher when she began last year had the expectation that my then 8 year old should be able to read young novels rather than the picture books which she had been so proud to be able to read, and the pressure of this plus unrealistic expectations of an 8 year old pushed my daughters confidence down incredibly low. From here we introduce my daughters struggling to cope with the sound of the very crowded school environment 5 days a week and of course the bullying that I am not sure ever seemed to be dealt with or even noticed by the staff at the school. By the end of week 2 my daughter stopped wearing her hair the way she liked due to being teased, week 3 saw further changes in the way she dressed or carried herself as she feared what the other children would say, by the end of the first month she asked if she could stop calling us Mummy and Daddy but call us Mum and Dad instead when we neared the school as the kids would be mean to her otherwise. Every day she would come home and break down. From here it progressed to fear of going to school, to fear of the nightmares she started having every night along with the fear about going to school. By the end of 6 months our once happy, confident daughter was having at least 2 nightmares per night and she ended up in our room at some point during the night almost every night. So I got in contact with family and friends where we came up with ways to ensure that despite my inability to drive to home education social meets or activities without a fully licenced driver my daughter could always get to those meets with or without me (but with another adult) provided the meets were located within the ACT or Queanbeyan NSW. This was all I needed to sort out so that I could ensure all of my daughters needs (academic, spiritual, emotional, and social) were all able to be met and from here I submitted the paperwork for home education registration and withdrew her from the school.
My other 2 school aged children are coping well at the school at this time and this factor alone allows me to continue working towards my Provisional Licence so that I will have the option of withdrawing them too should the situation change where they are either no longer coping with school or simply requesting to do home education again too like their sister. However, for now my focus is on my daughter and building up the confidence that she lost during her time enrolled at school. At the moment it already seems to be slowly working. I am seeing slight changes in her including her picking up books again to attempt to read, she is jumping back into the arts which she loves, reverting back to some activities or style choices which she used to enjoy but had ceased, and even a massive decrease in the nightmares that she was having each night as a consequence of the fear she held within. Furthermore, she is working to make friends with children in the home education community and building friendships that she had previously established prior to our departure from home education.
For me the return to home education is meaningful, beautiful, joyful, and important; however, it is also exhausting and does obviously make my work/life balance much harder. For example: I have had little to no time to do business work during the daytime hours as my focus is on my daughter (which is totally fine and absolutely important as my number 1 goal is to build her back up again into a wonderfully capable, confident young woman) so I am having to squeeze in work after the children are all in bed. As I type this blog post it is 11pm at night because I have not had another opportunity arise to write anything and don't foresee having another opportunity arise again until some time next week if I am am lucky. This is because the remainder of this week is full of home education activities and/or social meets. I am also working incredibly hard to schedule meets with clients around not only my husbands ever changing work schedules (he has a different roster each week but works 30-40hrs every week) alongside school pick up, but also ensuring all of my daughters home education needs are met as well - including ensuring she attends every social meet, activity or gathering. So it can be tricky but I will tell you what I wouldn't change it for the world. I am able to provide my daughter with exactly what she needs and watching her begin to flourish again is worth every second of this tightly woven but still semi flexible (to allow for my husbands weekly roster changes until I have my Provisional Licence) routine I have to fit everything into.
That said I am going to wrap this blog post up as I think it would be best if I get some sleep before the start of another big day tomorrow (client to see bright and early in the morning followed by a home education meet with other home education families to attend with my daughter).
I will no doubt post some more blog articles about this journey along with articles about other topics again soon.
Blessings ~ Lee
ARTICLE DISCLAIMER: Lee is a Canberra based Birth Keeper (Qualified Doula) who is currently studying to become a Naturopath. Lee spent 5 years working in the childcare field as a childcare educator (including as a Room Leader); she holds relevant children's services qualifications alongside Doula qualifications. In addition, Lee holds a wide range of additional qualifications and training in fields that include but are not limited to trauma and natural therapies. Lee is a proud Aspie (Aspergers/Level 1 Autism Spectrum) woman and mother of 4 earthside niblets 3 of which have disabilities. Information within this article is for informational purposes only. It is not designed as medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. If you have concerns about your child's development, family member's well-being or your own well-being speak to your Midwife or another suitably qualified healthcare professional. This blog article has no affiliations to declare.
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