Homeschooling was something I considered right from the very beginning. My daughter R is a highly sensitive child with unbelievable depth of feeling. She is happiest when working by herself, in a peaceful room at her own pace.She is easily affected by other peoples words,actions and emotions and assesses her environment very carefully before feeling comfortable in new situations.
I did however feel that R could benefit from that feeling of belonging you get from being a part of a school. I was right. When R was four and a half we found a small school and she settled in and began to grow in confidence and ability. It became evident that this quiet, shy little girl had very strong leadership abilities and an innate love of studying. School though was always a challenge for her, not academically, but studying in a classroom environment. In many ways she embraced school. She loved her studies,her teachers, the routine.Shes the most conscientious student you could ever find. Popular with her classmates and teachers alike. But she would often come home with complaints about not being able to concentrate because someone was talking,annoying or distracting her.
More recently she has been coming home in tears because of the frustration this caused her. Its rare to find a school as sympathetic and understanding as this one with only 16 students in the class you would think it would be a good option. I do believe it was our best option for the last five and half years and I have no regrets sending her to school. She has grown in confidence in a secure, safe environment among people she has taken her time to bond with and feel comfortable with. It took a lot of soul searching to make the decision to remove R from this school.
I started to consider homeschooling when the tears,anger and frustration after school just became too much and the most noticeable problem was that R was losing the desire to study.
I did lots of research and joined homeschooling groups and read books on alternative methods of education. One of these books was 'Learning all the time' by John Holt. When R first spotted this particular book lying on the coffee table she read the title and announced excitedly 'Thats what I want to do!'. Indeed we are all learning all the time anyway, so I asked R why she had said that? Did she not feel that she was learning all the time? Her answer was " Well I would be if I wasnt spending so much time at school!".
Basically R felt she was learning very little in school and that she learnt mostly when she read through her notes at home. She said she felt she would learn more by herself ,at home, only as school took up the whole day, it left her with very little time to study.This is what she found frustrating.
The answer.... take her out of school so that she can study at leisure and not have to deal with the stress that the classroom environment was giving her.
The conflict for me was wether I could provide R with the social situations she required to continue growing in confidence and maintain friendships.
I consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have not only the blessing of the principal of R's school but also her permission for R to continue being a part of the school community by taking part in school activities, clubs and functions as a friend of the school. All the teachers have offered their help whenever required by R in their respective subjects and R shall have use of the school library facilities.
I must say I have received an abundance of encouraging remarks and positivity from people around us with whom we have discussed our decision. It feels right so we are going to do it!
So with all this good fortune we embark on our homeschooling journey. Please join us as we take the plunge!