Before I go on, I just want to put out a little disclaimer that when Archie was at school, it was a really lovely school and he was blessed with a wonderful teacher, T.A and class (with a brilliant bunch of parents too), so this is not a decision we took lightly!
School just did not suit Archie. He developed some anxiety and became a shadow of himself. A couple of weeks after he finished at school, he was properly belly laughing about something, which really took me by surprise. He’s laughing. I haven’t heard that sound in what feels like forever. My 4 year old free spirited, happy little boy had stopped laughing.
Let that sink in for a moment.
You see, it has become normal in our society to send our children off to school at the age of 4, regardless of our situation. It has also become normal to just breeze along with “oh they’ll get used to it soon enough.” This is something I had stated many times in the past, before it was my own child, so I know this only comes from a good place from most people, who are trying their best to support you in a seemingly impossible situation. But let’s think about that for a moment…
They will ‘get used to it’. Get used to what?
Get used to their feelings not being validated?
Get used to being sent somewhere against their will 5 days a week?
Get used to being told that they will be fine, even though they feel anything but?
Get used to feeling like the people who they rely on the most in their life are not really listening to what they are saying?
Get used to being in a room full of strangers (when they start), when all they want is some sense of stability and comfort?
Get used to being watched, assessed and judged?
Get used to a feeling of total exhaustion day in, day out, not least because you are not sleeping due to the anxiety the thought of going to school is causing?
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.
Now let’s place those same feelings onto an adult suffering from anxiety in the workplace. We just wouldn’t, would we? We would say to our friends “Leave your job. Get a new job. Go to a Doctor.” We would NOT say “Oh it’s fine. You’ll get used to it!” This has surely got to be a contributing factor to the rise of mental health issues in young people these days.
I know we are so blessed to be in a position to make the decision to home educate our children, even if it does raise a few eyebrows, and not everyone is or wants to. This is not meant to be a guilt inducing post for those who send their children to school (I know the large majority of children love it!) But I just felt it was important to post this, for anyone feeling the same and like they are trapped in this never ending cycle. There are always other options and it’s good to open up discussion.
Do you home educate for similar reasons? Or are you thinking of doing so? Do your children absolutely love school and thrive there? Maybe you teach and have children struggling in your setting? I’d love to hear from you if you are willing to share or have any questions!
Thanks for reading!