Tag: deschooling

With & Without: One Month Update.

It’s been about a month now since we made the decision to pull Sno from school and after a period of deschooling, homeschool her instead. After many many years fraught with anxiety and struggle it wasn’t a decision we made on a whim at all.

I’m so happy to report that our home has been like a haven since Sno has been at home full time. She has seriously been a different kid.

Let me explain.

 

With school, Sno had minimal tolerance for exercise. Any small amounts of physical exertion quickly tipped her from stimulated to overstimulated and then fast escalated into meltdown.

Without school; Sno actually asked me the other day to go for a bush walk. In the last month we have been on at least 4 bush walks together and I have even found her doing skipping and jumping on the trampoline spontaneously which hasn’t then led to meltdowns immediately.

With school, Sno would be arguing with pretty much everyone as soon as she got home.

Without school, Sno is actually laughing and getting along with her sisters.

With school, Sno was not happy. I actually can’t remember a time I saw her laughing and smiling.

Without school, Sno is smiling and laughing and finding joy in her every day.

With school, Sno would overload into meltdown from noise in no time at all.

Without school, Sno has the tolerance for noise to be able to even enjoy listening to music.

With school, any screen time at home meant S would fast get overloaded.

Without school, Sno is using screen devices regularly as part of her learning and daily life without getting overloaded and she’s loving  it.

With school, Sno had minimal social reserves left at the end of the day and would avoid interactions outside school hours.

Without school, Sno is actually asking to connect with peers and is requesting time being spent with others.

With school, Sno was unable to effectively communicate her wants and needs to others, instead resulting in immediate meltdowns.

Without school, Sno is using her words and is able to ask me to stop doing something or telling me she needs to leave, or that she needs help.

 

Basically, it’s like her system has been completely reset. And it’s purely because her primary environment has changed.

She has the capacity now to manage not only daily functioning really well, but she’s got joy back in her. Because we can control and moderate her environment now, she is no longer being pelted into daily meltdowns for hours and hours on end. She’s now finding things she likes to do, and is doing them, and when she can’t handle something she is able to stop immediately.

I’ve had people ask me how I’ll handle all the “extra work” of educating my child at home and all I can answer to that now is via a scoff of indignance. Because I can tell you right now that having my child at home full-time eliminates at least 90% of her anxiety,  the vast majority of her sensory triggers and it also ends all the back-and-forth following up and communicating her needs to the school, most of which have changed by the time we actually get to talk.

I’m just feeling awful that I put my incredible child through so much stress every day for so long. I feel bad that I forced her to fit into a mainstream model of learning which was completely the wrong fit for her. Asking that she dealt with six hours of school every single day and then expecting her to come home and function was just so selfish and ridiculous of me.

Nevertheless, it is what it is. Onwards and upwards we shall go, and we are all breathing far easier from the change. I’m just sorry we didn’t do it sooner.

After Ten Years; It’s Time for Some Happy.

Sno turns ten tomorrow. Ten years since she burst into our lives and made me a parent. I was admittedly completely unprepared, with no idea what to expect. Our beginnings were very rough; a traumatic birth which induced a double whammy of post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. I wish I could tell you all about her first six months but that would be lying – they were a complete blur to me. I was in a very dark place and her cries were often lost amidst the sea of dark thoughts. Eventually we saw the light, and together with the help from specialists I found my way out of the pit of depression and things got easier. We bonded, albeit later than I had hoped – but hey we got there.

I guess why I’m telling you this is because, Sno and I – we have had a hard road together.

around and around and around she goes

And it’s time for some happy.

After Sno got her diagnosis at age 6 (roughly 2.5 years before I began noticing real quirks), her schooling years have been a mixture of mostly tough times with a little bit of good in there. Now at the age of ten, after six years of formal schooling, I can say out of those six years she’s only had about 2 where she wasn’t completely miserable. That’s a long time for a child to be unhappy or struggling, despite support people doing their best to make things easier. That’s a lot of screaming meltdowns from a child who is unhappy and isn’t coping.

Last weekend we made the decision to withdraw Sno from formal schooling, and educate her at home.

I won’t be writing a post blaming the school, or the teachers, or the support people – because that’s not the case here. They have been wonderful. But despite the supports in place for Sno at school, it just hasn’t been helping. She has been keeping it all together during the day, and then the evening comes and she’s rendered mute and unable to express her thoughts or feelings, so overcome with anxiety that she has been unable to communicate. For the past six months every single day we have had to help Sno through roughly 3 hours of screaming meltdowns. Our house is tiny, so I’m sure you can imagine the impact that her upset has had on us as a family collective not to mention on Sno. That’s a lot of time for a child to be unhappy. It’s not okay.

I will mention here that the suggestion to homeschool is being fully supported by all the medical and health professionals involved in Sno’s life, as well. So this is a journey we will be taking with support from every angle. Which is so wonderful.

A week ago I told Sno of our idea to educate her at home and the look of sheer relief on her face, the way her body softened – just confirmed to me that it was the right decision. We will be taking the rest of the term off to deschool, with no pressure on any formal types of learning at all. The next few months Sno will be decompressing, relaxing and finding joy in her life again. There will be lots of time spent in nature, there will be a lot of time for her to read with the cats in her lap, there will be art therapy and Sno has expressed a keen interest in learning coding. The goal is to allow Sno to be able to heal so that she can be in a place to learn and take on new information. It’ll be slow, slow, slow.

Honestly,  I just want to see my girl’s spark back. She has been so flat, so jittery and on edge for way too long. After holding her in my arms on Monday night where she experienced a trembling panic attack we  just think she needs down time and time to heal. It’s absolutely devastating to see my beautiful, intelligent, amazing daughter so weighed down and so unwell.

 

Yesterday afternoon we were at the local reserve and she asked to take off her shoes so she could run around. And she did, she ran laps of the grassy area barefoot. There was giggling. So much giggling. Around and around and around she went, one foot in front of the other, at speed. She looked so free, so at peace. I want to see more of that. And I think we’re on the right track.

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