Some of you will know that a few months ago we took the decision to de register Jack from school. It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly but it was one that we both agreed on. There were many reasons but the final straw for us was that Jacks anxiety had gone through the roof. He was unwell with tonsilitis or ear infections on a weekly basis. I’ve never seen so much antibiotic pumped into someone.
His anxiety was to the point that he refused to spend time with anyone but me. He didn’t see his dad for weeks on end. Things that once weren’t a problem were now becoming mountains that he couldn’t even look at, let alone climb. He insisted that we took an alternative route to the doctors surgery so that we didn’t have to go past school, we weren’t allowed to play on the park opposite school. In a nutshell, school wasn’t to be mentioned.
Over the last 6 weeks or so I’ve seen a dramatic change in Jack. And so have the people around him. For the most part he’s happy. So very happy. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw my child this happy. Of course he still has struggles and moments where he can’t cope but he’s really stable emotionally right now. His eyes sparkle, his fun has returned. He’s cheeky again and I’m realising just how much I’d missed my little monkey.
With that comes the realisation of just how much the education system was destroying him. His zest for life was almost non existent when he went to school. He was on edge all the time, closed down, in his shell. Stressed and aggressive.
Jack is an individual with some really quirky sides to him. Jack is interesting and, more importantly, interested. He wants to learn, he wants to absorb information; he wants the freedom to just be him and to follow the path that he chooses. He doesn’t want to fit a box and in many ways he can’t fit a box no matter how hard he or I tried. Jack is Jack.
Jack is blooming right now. His numeracy is beyond where it ‘should’ be, his play is coming along nicely (he now plays with toddler toys appropriately and,to a point, in an imaginative way!), his passion for knowledge is on fire. With him directing our learning (and making use of YouTube ) he’s telling me things that I didn’t know before! He’s a delight to be around. His literacy is coming along but he struggles in this area. He’s learnt to write and recognise mum, dad and his and his siblings names and we are working on some basic high frequency words. He loves having books read to him so I’m confident that when he’s ready developmentally that this too will click. It’s about going at his pace and not forcing things.
When I look back, 6 months ago he was a wreak and I spent my days subconsciously concerned about how his day would be going. Would he manage to eat in school? Would his nappy be changed as often as it should be? Would he feel safe and listened to? Would his wishes be respected or would he have to fit that all important box? Was he happy? The list was never ending!
The decision to home educate Jack has been the best decision we’ve ever made but it was emotionally difficult to get there. Pulling a child out of a system that seems to think that it’s the only ‘right’ way to educate a child was challenging. Teachers trying to change your mind, effectively telling you that they knew what was best for your child and you didn’t was very hard. Looking back, I can 100% say that the last few months have, for me, cemented the fact that I know what’s best for my child. Just as every other mother out there knows what’s best for her child. Im so excited to see what the next few months bring for my happy little chap!