Wednesday, 19 January 2011
When we decided to pull ‘B’ out of mainstream education we had no idea how dramatically it would change our lives…
We pulled her out in September 2009, it was a tough decision to make and not one to be taken lightly. My husband wasn’t 100% on board with the idea but ultimately it was mine and ’B’s choice, we were the ones that were going to be doing the work. We were fortunate, in that the work I do (I am self-employed, doing several very different things and don’t have to work full time) made it possible for us to do this, if I had needed to be in full-time employment there would have been no way we could have even contemplated such a move.
I told my husband to trust me and if it didn’t work within a year we could revisit the situation and see what we would do next.
Not only did we have to think about her educational needs but also socialisation amongst many other things. I spent more than a few nights worrying whether we had made the right choice, it was such a responsibility. We found ourselves having to defend our decision to friends and family, who had their own opinions along the lines of ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing? This is her future, what about qualifications? Do you know how hard it is going to be?’. ‘B’ found her friends asking her constantly about what lessons she does, how long does she work, why doesn’t she have to write things down in books, what is home-ed etc etc etc.
On reflection, when she started nursery and even primary school, everyone commented on how smart she was, how much she knew about so many things, how good her communication skills were and that was down to us working together. I had done it then, so was this really any different?
Looking back, the energy I wasted trying to get the school to understand my daughter’s needs, seeing my daughter so stressed out that she wanted to die (yes, that did happen!), I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that if I had known how much it would change her life, I would have done it years ago.
So how does the new ‘B’ compare to the old?
She is now a happy, confident, relaxed, outgoing, bubbly 12 year old who isn’t afraid to try new things and go new places. Gone are the meltdowns (we have only had one near-miss in 18 months). She hasn’t been sick once (she used to get sooo stressed, it would make her physically sick at least once a fortnight). In fact she hasn’t even been ill! She likes who she is now.
Her obsessive compulsive behaviour has eased dramatically, we only see it surface on rare occasions and then it is only minor compared to what it used to be. Her anxiety is much better too, she has learnt it is OK to let go and cry every once in a while instead of bottling up her frustration and stressing out. Even her SAD has dramatically improved, mostly because I think she is going with her own natural rhythm, going to bed when she’s tired, waking when she’s had enough sleep and now with puberty not far away her body is changing hormonally.
When we reached one year of home-ed I asked ‘B’ if she wanted to return to school and to my delight she said ‘No way!’. Even my husband agreed she was a different child and that we seemed to be doing OK!
Life is good for all of us right now. We are not planning on ‘B’ taking exams, she can do that when she’s ready and if she needs to to get a job in the field she wants to go into. At the moment we are concentrating on building her a skill set that will enable her to set herself up in business, general life skills, using her strengths and helping her identify and compensate for her weaknesses. We have no plans for her to ever go back to school (alot of people seemed to think we were only doing this temporarily for some strange reason)!
‘B’ still has SID, she will always have SID, I don’t believe there is a cure out there but our children CAN function perfectly well, we just have to help them find their own unique way of life…
Till next time