Home Education, or Home Schooling, as it’s more commonly known has never really been on my radar. I did once toy with the idea of it when my son was being bullied at Primary School, and if I’d known then what I know now, I probably would have made this decision a lot sooner.
Around 3 or 4 months ago my son was diagnosed as having depression, a common occurrence for teenagers these days, he hadn’t suffered a major traumatic event, there was nothing to pinpoint his depression to, it was just the result of an amalgamation of things. Life things. With his depression came a short lived bout of self harming, it was quickly dealt with and luckily it hasn’t happened since.
There was obviously something wrong though and I have always made it perfectly clear to Christopher that he can talk to me about anything and everything, if there’s a problem we can sort it out together. He’s always been pretty open and honest with me and we have a pretty awesome relationship. However the only answer I could get from him was that he didn’t like school (who does!)
I didn’t really know what to do and in my parent mode I thought we’ll just deal with this one day at a time, I kept telling him that he only had a year left to do and it would go quickly, just wait it out and then it’ll be over! This worked for a few weeks and then suddenly he felt really low and didn’t want to be in school, he took a few days off, with a doctors note and I thought he would start to feel better, then it was the Easter Holidays. In school holidays Christopher tends to perk up, he’s still a grumpy teenager but his mood lifts. But not this time… he spent the majority of the holidays in a slump. He didn’t want to do anything, he was tired all of the time and generally looked like shit.
On the Monday that he was supposed to go back to school he sent me a text (yes, from his bedroom, which is right door to mine) he didn’t want to go to school. No. He couldn’t go to school. He had developed an anxiety so bad that he physically could not go to school. This might sound stupid to some but I have been in that position, I have developed an anxiety so deep for a place that I could not return there. I could no longer keep pushing Christopher back to a place that made him ill.
I phoned in his absence for that day and then we discussed the possibility of him never going back to mainstream school. I did a quick Google search to see what we had to do and by 9 am the next day I had emailed his head teacher to inform him that from now on Christopher would be Home Educated.
And do you know what? I honestly believe that this has been the best decision I have ever made for him. Instantly his mood lifted, he has smiled more in the last few days than he has in the last few months. We’re about to embark on a whole new, exciting journey! We’ve made lesson plans, thought up ideas for days out, he’s chosen the subjects he wants to pursue and it couldn’t be more incredible. It’s going to tough at first to keep him motivated but the best part is, if he doesn’t like something we can swap it for something else or find a new way to look at it. There will be things he loves and things he hates and that’s just life anyway.
We’ve chosen this because it just feels like the right thing to do, I’m doing what I believe is the best for my son. His mental well-being is more important to me than any assessment, grade or class report. I already know that he’s an extraordinary person, he’s kind, sensitive, well mannered and now, for the first time in a long time, he’s actually happy and I believe he’s about to kick some ass!
“I never stop to wonder why I’m not like other people. The mystery to me, is why more people aren’t like me’ – Florence Kennedy.