Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy out of school

School began yesterday for children and teens in Ireland.  But not for my son, and I will gloss over the early morning.  But once I had agreed that he wasn't going to school, he was happy.  

I explained that there would be no consoles of any kind before 4pm. 

He was still happy. 

And what followed was not at all like a typical day in this house.

He got up at 10, got washed and dressed, emptied the dishwasher and practised his handwriting by addressing envelopes for me.

Then he began to find out about all the things that I have to do while he and his sister are in school.  I'm currently trying to gather information and ideas for a necessary revamp of Smiley's shower room, to save my back.   So he came along to a bathroom showroom and even offered a few suggestions.  There was a visit to the library on the way back, as another nod to his education.

After a quick lunch at home, he walked around to the post box with a letter, all by himself.  When he returned we took down the christmas tree decorations together and cleaned up all the needles.  Then he read a few chapters of his history book.

He was happy, helpful and almost annoyingly cheerful all day!  Food for thought definitely...

Today he had promised to go into school, but it didn't happen.  As I write this, he is researching cacti, and I have even persuaded him to set up a pinterest board to pin up his favourites.  Is this the start of home education perhaps?

I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

But he is certainly very happy out of school.

36 comments:

  1. That's good. Really happy and hope something like this keeps up. I regret nothing more in life than the years spent in school - the suffering just wasn't worth it, particularly considering the jobs I've been doing as an adult. I know people who were out of school as teenagers (due to chronic illness) who seem much better adjusted than I am.

    (Although I do suspect boredom will set in. But if you can organise home tuition for a while that might stave it off. Perhaps if I'd been able to take time out when there was a crisis - which when I was about a year older than your son - I might have been spared all the suffering I went through at boarding school.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Matthew for commenting on this, I was really hoping that you would, as this is an area in particular, that I really value your opinion, after everything you went through.

      Delete
  2. It's very telling how comfortable he is to be out of the school environment. It's really important to challenge our kids by removing them from their comfort zones, but if they are pushed to a point where they are too stressed to learn, then the writing is on the wall that school is failing him.
    In an ideal world a perfect school would exist. It must be very tempting to remove him from school, but I wonder how long you'd last before you'd be pouring gin on your cornflakes.
    As far as I know you're not a teacher, plus you're already caring for a family by yourself 24/7.
    The thoughts of home schooling my son makes my blood freeze. Much as I adore him, I need the break from him.
    Would the powers-that-be consider providing a home tutor? At least that would take a bit of pressure off you?
    My heart is broken for you with the struggles you're having over your boy's education. Much love to you XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jean, especially for your concern. I did find the last two days tiring and stressful, but I could really get used to the way my son was :D

      Delete
  3. He's very relaxed and helpful too. Would it be possible for a half day or a shortened week in the school, perhaps? Or maybe he could start his own business from own and show us all up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure he's ready to start his own business, but half days are another idea, definitely :)

      Delete
  4. Maybe consider home schooling in exchange for Scouts or some other social activity?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh wow, that is great news. Delighted for ye. Your intuition seems to have brought this positivity today. x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Could you isolate the particular parts of school that are giving him grief? So if there are some lessons her does like he could maybe go in for part of the week and have a home tutor for part of the week, and maybe a project to do on the computer that he can work on himself at home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one of the things I'm trying to do, is work out exactly what the problems are...but for someone who is so articulate, he really struggles to explain stuff like that, but I will keep trying x

      Delete
  7. Maybe you can just take it day by day as it comes, and perhaps it will turn out to be the right way for you both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm trying, but it's trying! Things change day by day, because no decisions have been taken...

      Delete
  8. This might be what you were looking for..Wouldn't that be wonderful? It sounds as if these two days were lovely...and certainly needed. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found them a bit stressful at the time, but it was lovely that my son was so happy :)

      Delete
  9. We started home Ed-ing our eldest as a six month "break" ( we were having major issues) 8 years later and it is our greatest blessing. Our kids are calm and relaxed and most of the time on an even keel. It may not be for you at all, but maybe state a specific time you are going to try it for and play by ear? Whatever happens, very best of luck xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your comment Emily - I would have always said that I was terrified of home schooling, but my experience this week has certainly made it seem more doable xxx

      Delete
  10. I had missed your post before Christmas. This break was just what you needed. I have one friend who has a boy now eighteen with Autism. When he was younger he hated school with a passion. She had fought so hard to have him accepted at school but it was clear to all he was not doing well. She eventually managed, after a lot of hard work on her part, to get him into a more specialised school and boy has he thrived.
    I really hope you find the solution. Maybe it is just trial and error on your part but hopefully eventually you'll both get there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too think he would thrive in the right environment - he is sociable and has always enjoyed some aspects of school

      Delete
  11. I haven't replied to your blog before, even though I read and enjoy your posts regularly. For what it's worth, I ended up taking my 9 year old out of school earlier this year as his mainstream primary school wasn't working out. He was totally stressed, and I was on a fast-track to a mental breakdown (after spending 4 years of my life trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and not getting very far). I ended up home-schooling him for 4 months through no choice of my own, as there were no ASD unit places available at the time. At first it was a huge relief for both of us, as my boy is definitely at his best when he's at home - he's happier and so much calmer. I used to do a solid hour of schoolwork with him every morning, then we'd play games, go on a field trip (i.e. trip into town, trip to library, write a shopping list and go to the supermarket), do some baking. I enjoyed it all initially, and seeing my boy so happy made it all feel very worthwhile. It was a lovely opportunity for us to strengthen that mother-son bond which had become very strained with all the stress of school. But as time went on, the burden of the responsibility I was carrying really began to dawn on me. I was fully responsible for his education and was alone in figuring out how to go about it. He would ask me cheerfully every morning what we were doing that day, and I felt under immense pressure to have a plan a place for each day. When I thought about continuing on like this til he was 18, I slowly began to realise that I couldn't do this, well not without going bonkers in the process. Now I should add that my son has serious motivation issues. He would not sit on his own and read a book on cactii. He would not sit addressing envelopes unless I had a gun to his head. And obviously, this added to the pressure I felt, as I couldn't leave the room if I wanted him to complete a task. At least you do not appear to have that sort of pressure. So it could work out very well for your both. But do think of yourself too. It's a lot to ask of us mothers when we already do so much. My son finally started in an ASD unit last September, and I was quite surprised at the overwhelming sense of freedom I felt those first few weeks after I'd dropped him off at school. It was only then that I realised what a relief it was not to be responsible for his education anymore. Good luck with whatever you decide. And by the way, you sound like an amazing mother. Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it really helps to read it - and it's the going bonkers bit that worries me too!

      Delete
  12. As I was reading that I almost couldn't believe you were talking about the same child. What a peaceful day! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has many different sides - but I guess we all do xx

      Delete
  13. As you will most probably already know we are huge fans of home-ed (having been thrown into it unwillingly because of a lack of educational provision for ASD where we are). Although it would never have been something that we would have chosen willingly to do as I never thought i'd be able to, it has been wonderful and we've had the most amazing 3 years. J has academically acheived far far more than he ever would have at school and I really am confident that is true. Even our younger 'neurotypical' son went back into school in september with a reading age of 11 (he is actually only 7) and ahead of his peers with things like spelling. Bizarrely enough, today was J's first venture back into school after 3 years of home-ed - We have found a specialist ASD unit which he feels really happy about going to. So we will see what happens. I have kept hold of our home-ed resources just in case though! I will watch to see what you decide with your son. I had to tell myself that it was for a season and we just took each term as it came without thinking we were home-educating forever. So now I see them being at school for a season but well aware that they may well wish to be home-schooled again in future. much love R xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great to read such a positive tale of home-schooling and I will definitely be hounding you if I make a definite decision to home-school :) Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your story xxx

      Delete
  14. Wow, Blue Sky.. that is just amazing. What a difference it makes to keep him out of a stressful situation, although in the long run, the stress factor for you will be difficult. I wonder if a compromise can be made?

    ReplyDelete
  15. You have been on my mind ALL week, I was wondering what was happening. I agree with Jean and Midlife Singlemum.... and Lisa too. It really is very telling that he's not only happy out of school but happy to do some work and to accept the no-consoles rule. That speaks volumes.
    Advocacy to get what he needs?

    Fingers crossed that everything will work out.

    ((xx)) Jazzy

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just wanted to give you a nod to say I have read this. I think it speaks to volumes that he is happy to stay home and not play on the console - but I think it is sad that if you do home ed it feels like a forced choice because he is not happy at school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very good point, Pinkoddy, about feeling forced to home educate. But it seems to be a common outcome in Ireland when no school can be found that can cater for a child's needs. Following a bit meeting last week, he is back in school for half days, and it seems to be going okay, but his behaviour at home has deteriorated sadly,

      Delete
  17. It's great that he's so happy but I can imagine it will cause you stress. Love the fact that he's fine with not having consoles before 4pm and seems willing to learn too. I know people who are great advocates of home schooling children with special needs so maybe it's the way forward, for now. Maybe if you continue like this he may open up to you about the problems he's facing with school? Hope it all works out for you xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Heather, I'm just taking things day by day xx

      Delete
  18. We made the move to home educate since September and it is the best decision we have ever made. I am getting to know my child again and it is great. Can't believe the difference in mood, progress, speech, socialising etc. All anxiety gone and he has started to actually live life. School - even the so called ASD units are not for all our children. There is a big wide world for them to study and understand because that's where they will be living - not in the books! Delighted for you. Even for a little break for both of you. x G

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for commenting Grainne, and I'm so glad that home educating is working out for you - my son is back in school again now just doing half days, but his mood etc has deteriorated, which is worrying x

      Delete