Changes

The change in this kid in the last year is just phenomenal. From bright and bubbly, carefree and crazy, to withdrawn and unsure, emotional and unsettled. But wow, we are coming back fighting.

We have been out of school for over 7 months now. Longer than we were in school in fact and I could honestly burst with pride.

7 months ago, this warrior wouldn’t have asked for something he needed from anyone other than myself or Rex. He would spend days shouting at his little brother, out of sheer frustration, confusion and jealously. He would shy away from standing out in any way and would strive to blend in and not be noticed. He wasn’t eating, or sleeping and he just lost the Archieness of Archie.

But now…well let me tell you… He boldly and bravely talks to any of the many people we meet every day, asking questions and talking to them with such a genuineness. He picks his outfits, without fear of standing out (I had the pleasure of having dinner at the pub with Archie the elf a few days ago). He makes friends everywhere he goes, no matter what their age is. He learns from those who are older than him and helps those who are younger. He has shown such courage walking on to a pitch full of strangers when joining a hockey club, just occasionally giving me a wave or a smile, to make sure I’m still there, cheering him on. You bet I am. I always will be.

This kid will go far. The boldness, bravery, courage, inquisitiveness and kindness I see in his heart daily show me this.

We may be doing life a little different to the norm. But I love it. And so does he. And loving life is high up on our agenda! Sorry for the ramble, but it seems fitting to share, even a day late for mental health awareness. I hope, more than anything, that we have prevented any long term mental health issues that Archie could have suffered from, having stepped in when we did and listened to his cry for help. ♥️

(Originally posted on our Instagram on 11/10/18)

I’d love to hear from anyone on a similar journey to us, or anyone who feels their child is going through what Archie did. Do get in touch on here in the comments, on the @thelifeschoolers Instagram page, or by emailing thelifeschoolers@gmail.com. Lucy x

They’ll get used to it…Won’t they?

 

 

So…life schooling!
Its a position that we didn’t expect ourselves to be in, but now that we are, we LOVE it!

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!

Lucy x

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The Sad Donkey

The boys absolutely love going to feed the donkeys and pony when we visit our family in Norfolk. This time, Rocco (age 2) hung back, just watching one of the donkeys really closely. When I asked him if he was coming yet, he stayed looking at the donkey and told me, “The donkey is sad. He’s sad.” The genuine concern on his face stopped me in my tracks and I got down on his level to ask him why the donkey was sad. He looked closely at the donkey’s face again, then at the other donkeys further away in the field and told me “The donkey is sad. He wants his Mummy donkey.”

Such a simple conversation, so why has it inspired this blog post (my first ever in fact!)? Firstly, Rocco’s emotional intelligence and the fact that he could demonstrate such empathy really surprised me. To look at someone or something and notice that they are sad is one thing, but to then remain there with the donkey out of concern for him was another.

It also amazed me that he was able to explain why the donkey was sad. It was as though he had a little think to himself about what makes him sad and decided that it must be the same for the donkey.

It is moments like this that we often miss, due to the rushed nature of everyday life. By getting frustrated that our children are not coming when we call them. By constantly needing to move onto the next thing. I hold my hands up knowing that I have definitely been guilty of this myself! But by slowing down and taking the time to talk to our children in these moments can really reveal parts of their personality and what is important to them right now.

Archie, our 4 year old, tends to live life at 100 miles an hour, so our challenge in moments like these and on days out is to make sure that these moments with Rocco are not missed, whilst also keeping up with Archie and his excitement over whatever we are doing! The boys really are so different!

Have you experienced any moments like this with your children where their emotional intelligence has really shone through, or you have seen a little glimmer of an unknown corner of their personality? Or do you also have one child who is always in a rush, whilst the other breathes in every moment of life at a much slower pace? I’d love to hear from you if so!

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