Home education was not what I had in mind. I’m an introvert and a single mother of an only child. My daughter is an extravert. I like peace and my own company. She likes action and lots of company, especially mine. School was giving me the space and time I needed and giving her plenty of action and company. Result! Right? Wrong.
The reality was that for the past six years, my child has experienced school as highly stressful. She’s a high-energy, highly sensitive, strong-willed, social little being. For six years I have coaxed her through the process, confident in the belief that learning to adjust to school was important for her mental, emotional and social self. She did adjust, and became highly successful at holding herself together at school, working extremely hard to meet everyone’s expectations, both teachers and other children.
Then she hit her breaking point. For nine weeks our home was more of a war zone than usual. She was completely determined to be home schooled. I was completely determined that she should go to school. She refused, I insisted. Some days she won, some days I won. The battle dominated every morning and every evening. Sundays were the only respite (she spends Saturdays with her dad). We were both emotional wrecks. Gradually I began to consider what home education would mean for us. In my head and heart inspiration battled with conventional wisdom.
She had forced me to think harder about the purpose of school and about what I think she needs to learn in order to thrive as an adult. She had forced me to clarify my values. She was teaching me to trust her take on her own life.
So two weeks ago when I spoke with a home-educating acquaintance about how it worked for her and her three children, she said, ‘You’ve already made the decision. You just need the courage to do it.’ She was right. That night I took a very deep breath and made the decision official.
My daughter is ecstatic. I am cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned for further developments!
What keeps your kids in school, or what made you choose to home educate?