We have reached the end of our home education journey. This morning marked the momentous occasion as I dropped both my children off at their new school and walked away, knowing that they were nervous but happy. I can’t tell you the enormous relief I feel typing this, it’s been an emotional year this year and I don’t think I realised how much this means to me.
Let me give you a brief recap, (for more details, you can read about our decision to home school here, what we got up to here, and how I really found it here), at Easter, after much agonising and debate, we made the decision to remove my daughter from her school and home educate. It was not an easy decision by any means, when I say we agonised for months, believe me, we really did. I researched and researched, I joined every home education group going, took advice from several wonderful wonderful friends including other home educators whose beautiful lives looked like the dream, Jenny, Monkey and Mouse I’m looking at you, just check out her instagram!
View this post on Instagram
It sounded idyllic but actually, it had been a huge deal for me to give up my new found freedom, (my little boy had started school that year), I’d been working so hard on my blog, my emails were overflowing, I was getting some great work in, my social media channels were growing and I felt great. I knew that if I were to do this, I would be cramming work into the evenings, missing time sensitive jobs and generally putting my life to one side to devote everything to her.
I had the option to do it though, and what else could I do, although there was nothing wrong with the school, my son was happily settled and lots of our friends are happy there, it just didn’t suit her and her unhappiness was tragic to watch. When your 7 year old is sobbing her heart out about school on a Monday on a Friday evening, spending all weekend miserable, you feel truly awful. We are supposed to soothe our children’s woes and make everything better and to continually force her through the gates and ignore her heart rendering pleas to take her home, turning away from her stricken, tear stained face, hiding my unshed tears from the other parents, faking some cheerful smiles and good mornings and going home to feel horrible became my daily ritual.
So we did it, we sent the deregistration letter, (we got the template online, it was much easier then I’d expected!), she left for the Easter holidays and never returned and so began our journey. It was lovely, my girl and I, having adventures, watching her grow, her shattered confidence and self esteem repairing itself in front of my eyes, I’ve not felt happier then when I sat at the beautiful forest school and watched her charge breathlessly around the woods playing a game with her friends, a huge grin splitting her face, stopping to check in with me every now and again, making sure I was ok. I get quite emotional thinking that that’s over actually. Although there are holiday camps we can go to.
She was very busy, we had something most days and there is so much going across the UK, when people say home educated children aren’t socialised and don’t have friends, well, that couldn’t be further from the truth! The trouble was that her brother was still at school, and so we were still tied to the school day, he was happy and I didn’t want to disrupt that. I could tell she was missing the school environment though and we couldn’t do as much as I wanted, trips to London to the museums were out as we wouldn’t get back on time and so there were periods when I was trying to do an hour on my laptop to catch up and she was bored. So we started looking for schools, flexi schools being our first choice, a mix of school and home would be perfect, none of them felt 100% right for us though. Finally, we met an old acquaintance from pre-school who told us about a school we hadn’t heard of. Long story short, she started going 2 days a week and loved it so much she asked to go full time. I was beyond gobsmacked, I genuinely never believed she would ever be happy to go back into a school environment.
It was difficult getting to two different schools a distance apart in a short time frame and I felt torn in the 5 weeks she went to her new setting, I could no longer speak to my boy’s teachers when I needed to and was relying on breakfast and after school club, which didn’t sit right with me. I have nothing bad to say about anyone who uses them, and I realise that I am incredibly privileged to have the option to be a stay at home parent, but I made the choice to work around them so I could be there, and so to not be around for my youngest in his first year at school was very tough. So we made the decision to move him too, which was maybe even harder as he’d settled so well and had a big group of friends there, I just wanted them to be together and one drop off and pick up point is just so much easier for me, selfish maybe. Also, even though they denied it and fought a lot this summer, I could tell that they wanted to be in the same school as well, it has been tough for them to be apart and their bond definitely suffered.
View this post on Instagram
Oh my little wildling. Time for you to swap sandy toes for school shoes, beaches for books, tangled locks for tamed tresses. We’ve had an absolute blast in France, 17 days of barefoot, campervan fun, mussels and chips, cheese and pastries! Balanced out with bike rides, swimming, walks and exploring galore (see my insta highlight ‘Wilma Adventure’ for more!) but now we’re home and it’s time to get the uniform ready and get back to school. It’s a stressful time for all of us as both children are starting afresh at a new school and feeling wobbly. Particularly this little home school baby though. Anxiety is a bitch, especially when you’re 7. She is so so nervous about going to school full time. Wish us luck! 😬
Anyhoo, after a summer of angst from them both, after a very successful ‘meet the teacher’ induction afternoon yesterday, this morning I had two happy and smiling children, up, washed and dressed before the alarm went off this morning and both went in with just a hug, a kiss and a goodbye, thrilled to be back together again. The relief that they were happy was overwhelming, and I got to go and meet a friend and chat work and the next Cotswold Blogging Award event and plan how I’m going to take my blogging career to the next step. I feel I have the balance back and I am so excited to pick them up and hear all about their day knowing I have my time back to write and take photos too.
Whether we come back to home education in the future, I have no idea, but I do know that if it comes to it, there is an exciting and fun home education community out there that is only growing and I know I can do it and it’s fun for us both!