It all started on a whim….you know, I read about homeschooling and I liked the idea of having the children (than only 1) at home with me and teaching them myself. So much so that I started doing so practically straight away when G was only 1.5 years old.
Until not so long ago, my idea of homeschooling was to recreate school at home. While time and again during my times of doing this, I saw that this does not work (at least for my family), I still tried to opt to do so.
In between, we started kindergarten for my oldest and then for my second child. So now I was only homeschooling part time – generally during Summer holidays and trying to recreate a sense of identity through seasonal celebrations. I had also read quite a bit on Waldorf education which I instantly loved but at the same time, kept back from it.
My oldest was not happy at school and his anxiety levels (although I hadn’t realised that was it at first) were skyrocketing badly. So now the idea of homeschooling full time had a different dimension. It was not any more a whim… something I wish to try, but more focused on a reason. Despite M seemed to quickly adjust and enjoy school, I eventually could see milder versions of high stress levels in different contests than the ones of G. Whereas he would have tons of meltdowns, high levels of anger and complete behavioural and eating pattern habits changed, plus unexplained 24 hour sicknesses; M would pest her brother, an un-explainable never ending dry cough (like an allergy cough) and tons of whining- her food patterns changed to wanting just sweets if at all possible! So I still wished to keep her home to.
Than about 2 years ago, I met a woman who was trying to legalise homeschooling here. I joined forces and through her met other parents who felt the same need and urge. It is now on the verge of being legalised and the reason I want to homeschool is changing again.
We have now changed the children’s school. G adjusted pretty quickly, M not so much but her being in first grade made the transition harder. Now my son is going to school most of the time willingly and relaxed. We have not witnessed behavioural changes this year and his eating actually improved. He feels enough comfortable at school to express his feelings there despite getting punished for doing so! My daughter on the other hand, tells me daily she has a headache and asks more often not to go to school than she used to (although again generally speaking she goes happily, comes out with a smile and interacts with the children), she is more choosy on friendships and taking more a stand for her wants and needs. For many, that would mean the change has been perfect and can carry on in traditional school.
Yet, I wish to homeschool even more my children….when they come and tell me about their day, what happened and how their class mates and/or teachers reacted it gives me a pause. The children are not left to grow, experience their mistakes, resolve problems between them, giving them empowerment and well most of the life skills needed to live in this world. It makes me more determined to teach them at home.
The system wants them to comply easily and quickly to the teacher. The teacher still uses the carrot stick motion of giving stickers, stars, toys etc for good behaviour and punishments when not. They do not ask for explainations most of the time or try to understand the need behind the behaviour. They take sides in an argument on assumption only. So much so,children are encouraged to tell about their mates, rather than try solve problems between them, where then the teacher takes sides with whom seems the weakest or has the best argument rather than on facts of what she has seen for example. It carries on really if I wish to, but…..
Homeschooling is obviously not the answer to all problems or to all people, but I have known in my heart that this is the way we should be going when the time comes. I still feel it so and I would like to test it and see how it bears its fruit for a year or two before reviewing our decision.
All I know it will change our family dynamics into a better loving, flowing home and just for that I can’t wait for it to get going.