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Friday, 11 May 2012
Deep breath.
And... jump!

THIS is the reason for my epic case of blogger's block.
Not because I don't know what to say, but because I have so MUCH to say about it all!

I'll try and begin at the beginning (a very good place to start *cue Maria and the curtain clad Von Trapp children*).

For our daughter, school has been very difficult.
Maybe it was four teachers in her JK (Junior Kindergarten) year.
That was rough.
Probably it was the harassment from a peer in SK (Senior Kindergarten) in the form of inappropriate contact (how to say it so as not draw in the 'wrong' crowd of readers?) and the resulting impotence of the school to do anything to protect this or any of the other children from a troubled child (or the troubled child himself).
(Some day I will write about this, when I can process my anger and hurt and not just sound like a mother bear roaring in rage). 
 The bullying by the other girls was a factor.
And Rowan's own high sensitivity and what is suspected to be some sensory integration issues.

Add in the resulting Anxiety diagnosis and the appearance of OCD type symptoms to cope.
The failure to eat at school, like EVER.
The attention issues at school and behaviour at home....
Did I mention that for our daughter, school has been very difficult?

I know.
Why didn't we do this sooner?
I could ask that a million times, but the fact is we did it now.
We could do it now, with my husband working from home and my job flexibility.

And it was scary!
How so?
Homeschooling is not particularly common in our region, although there are many others (as we are discovering).
As a person in a community leadership role, I have striven to work with the school and to maintain that important relationship, and honestly, I always loved school!
My mother thinks it is going to warp our child.
(I am not sure my mother-in-law even knows!)
I think we might warp our child.

Coming to the decision to remove Rowan from school was difficult.
We had no objections to it, in theory, in fact, it fits well with our parenting philosophies.
But doing it is not the same as dreaming about it!

I think the largest concern was Rowan herself. 
With her self esteem being so battered, and her extreme resistance to change, we worried that this move might exacerbate those issues.
We had set for ourselves the principle that as long as school was more positive than negative, we would stay put and try and ride out the remainder of Grade One.
The scale tipped in February when the cumulative affects of 6 months of school were becoming obvious and miserable (for all of us).

For me, the penny dropped when I spent a day in the school as a volunteer.
It was a celebration to mark the 100th day of school.
I have worked with children for 25 years, and I was so saddened and disheartened on that day.
The problems are systemic, rather than specific (we have been blessed with kind and caring teachers doing their best).
But when as a culmination, a chair flew across the room at lunch time, and *I* wanted to scream or hide under a desk, I knew we were done.

I will continue~ you can decide if you want to continue reading! 
{{This is good 'therapy' for me to write it out.}}
I'll give you a little hint about where it goes... we have one happy child in our house (and two happy parents!)♥♥

I would love to hear about your journey to homeschooling, too, so please add your thoughts and comments!


learningtable said...

We had some similar issues to yours when my oldest was in K5. He had a good K4 year, but K5 was a whole different story. I am a former public school teacher, and I really didn't even know what homeschooling was, but I knew in my mother's heart that my child needed to be home with me. Honestly, everything fell into place one step at a time, and though I was very pregnant at the time, and thinking I couldn't handle homeschooling with a new baby, I was so mistaken. It has been the best decision we ever made. My younger two have the benefit of my oldest being the "guinea pig," and they have never been in a traditional classroom. My oldest will start high school at home next year. I haven't regretted our decision--ever. Even when we have rough days, it is SO worth the bond we have maintained, my boys' healthy self-worth, learning alongside them, and knowing they are safe and happy.
I'll be following your journey!

Abigail said...

I'm still pondering the homeschool journey and if it's one I'm capable of. I want to do it, I just don't know if I'm organized/smart/patient enough. My eldest daughter is coming to the end of her kindergarten year here in the US and while I am thrilled she has learned to read, I'm not impressed with other things she has learned(such as the teacher who taught them to sing and dance to "Shake your booty" - yes I guess I'm a prude to a degree. I don't need my 5 year old wiggling her butt in public singing shake your booty) and bad manners she has picked up.

Abigail said...

Oh, and I really want to hear more about your decision and how it's obviously going well!

Annicles said...

It is so sad when a school cannot or will not protect the children in their care. I teach at a small montessori school in the UK and many of the children who come to us after time in the mainstream are sad, worried, scared little people who have not been protected by adults whose job it should be. I completely understand your decision. I look forward to reading the next posts!

around Britain no plane said...

Good luck with your decisions. I just wanted to say that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You may find you do some homeschooling now but at a later date (when your child is older) that you could switch back to school. I think of school as child care and try to educate in the time when we are together. But I notice that it seems far harder with a teenager than a younger child to keep them interested and learning with joy. And ignoring moody moments.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for taking control of your child's education and her future. I have a friend whose son is a bully. She is in denial and won't listen to advice and blames the school. I don't know what the mom of this child is like but I imagine she's pretty hands off. My children have been homeschooled for years and you would think they never would have experienced a bully. They were bullied in the park ov a long period last year but I was there to stop the behavior and we eventually stopped going to the park. I know lots of good websites for little ones. My favorite for early writing is twisty but there's lots of other free sites.

Marsha said...

Welcome to the Home school world. The last line of your blog says it all- one happy child and two happy parents. That is all that matters. I am always thrilled when I read about another family making the jump. We home school both of our children and we love it.

Unknown said...

Thank you for every one of your replies :)
For those considering, as I will share, I was amazed at how quickly the common fears were dashed... The at home kid is not the same as the one going to school...
And while I don't consider myself a prude , either, but I totally object(Ed) to the ease with which inappropriate (for primary kids!!) behavior was accepted, even taught.

Joyful Mud Puddles said...

I am so proud of you for doing what is right for your family. As a parent you know what is best for your children and there is such a large supportive community online to help you out in your journey. Although family members may not always understand, be sure to stay true to yourselves!!

I used to be a school teacher but after my first was born I knew I wanted to be home with my children. My husband has grown on the idea a lot now too, with all the new social agendas being taught pushed into schools. Our older son is also highly sensitive and I know he'd get crushed in a school setting. Right now we are struggling financially, so we are praying we can sort thing out.

My little disclaimer is that there are some great schools and teachers out there. I used to be one of them =). Many families have really good school experiences, I think we all need to keep an open mind and allow people to do what works best for their own family. All the best to you!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read more! After this year of pre-k for my son we have decided to homeschool this fall. I am scared and worried. I am hoping it will be for the best though!

Pom Pom said...

I am a teacher in a public school and I applaud your decision. Homeschooling is a blessing for children. School can be terribly oppressive for creative children. I stayed home with our kids and only went back to school for my teacher license when our four kids started trickling off to college. I did not home school, but I knew a lot of good mama and papas who did. I feel so privileged to speak into the lives of young people every day, but I think home schooling is noble and wonderful. Learning comes in different forms and home schooled children turn into life long learners. Rowen is blessed with tuned in parents.

Paula said...

I'm so glad you see a difference so soon. I've been praying you'd reach the homeschool decision. Some of the previous posts about Rowan and school were breaking my heart. She's so much like my Ella. I couldn't imagine sending her to school.

Just because we homeschool doesn't make us anti-school. Part of it is living where we do. We don't HAVE school choices. There is one public school (30 min bus) -period. If I want to put Ella on the bus for over an hour there is ONE Catholic school. So the homeschool decision was easy for me.

I look forward to your homeschool posts. Especially since we are starting Oak Meadow grade 1 in the fall.

Blessings on your new journey.

Paula said...

I would make a suggestion to any of the moms here that are thinking about/worrying about homeschooling their little ones. Find out what the actual education rules are where you live. You would be surprised. Here in Ontario you don't have to be 'educating' your child until the September they TURN SIX.

Yes, that means that JK AND SK are voluntary!! That is a real eye-opener for a lot of people.

Rachel C said...

This sounds great for you - can't wait to read more!

Unknown said...

Thank you :) for prayers and kind words ♥

We aren't anti-school, either.
For our child and her particular gifts and challenges, it is not the best place, right now. Maybe it will be in a few years, maybe not.

We are just grateful that we could make this choice, as I know it isn't possible for everyone.

Sunny Simple Life said...

I have been hsing for 17 years and you will not be sorry for this decision. It will be hard but so is getting them to school every day. It will be the best decision you have ever made and don't sweat over all the things you think you should teach them. Just make sure they can read and write and keep up with math. After that the rest is fluff. Two have now graduated and one from college early and won women of the year this year. Hsing is wonderful for kids.

kelly said...

I took my children out of school nearly four years ago and honestly, we'll never go back unless they express a desire to return. Best decision ever. I promise you won't regretting!

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

I always said I'd homeschool if I felt my kids were having a bad experience, fortunately they're very happy but I think it's very brave of you to make a stand and step in when you can see yours is not. Sounds like an awful time, I'm sure she will flourish with you.

Kerstin said...

Good for you for taking the leap! I'm just graduating my first born from homeschooling. I am so very very glad we made the decision. My son has blossomed and also received a better education. He's going to college this fall, with a free ride and additional scholarships to boot. He is so so excited to learn more-isn't that just the best thing?! Wishing you all the best!

Marnie @ Carrots are Orange said...

I look forward to hearing all about your journey. We're just starting our homeschooling efforts on this end. Wish us luck! :-)

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