Our new adventure!

Published November 8, 2015 by thefamilyof5

We made a tough decision over half term, it had been on the cards for quite sometime, over a year in fact, but the issues we were experiencing with high school made it all just feel like it had become ‘too much’. So we de-registered all of the girls and have decided to give ‘Home Education’ a go.

School has always been an issue for the girls. We originally started with a large primary school, after 3 years we made the decision to move to a smaller one in the hope the girls would begin to feel safer. Even with masses amounts of support and understanding from the amazing staff at primary school, the girls still struggled. Then big girl moved to high school, and well, the less said about that experience the better I think!

So here we are. We’ve just completed our first week. Its actually been much better than expected. I expected exhaustion, frustration, an unkempt house, a piled high laundry basket and bickering kids! I expected it to be an absolute nightmare!

Its been nothing like that! When we made the decision, which the girls were all involved in and given the choice about, they instantly relaxed, their sleep that evening improved dramatically! (I think that says it all really). There has been no bickering, at all! I’m not exhausted and the house and laundry have all been managed! There hasn’t even been any of that stressy, sweaty stinky pong (there was lots of it half term, they were worrying about going back to school they said! In fact, its actually been quite a lot of fun! The girls stress levels have all reduced dramatically and life feels so much easier and happier in our house right now. I can already feel my relationship with the girls blossoming and MrFO5 has been able to become more involved too.

I didn’t really plan on doing much ‘learning’ for now. I thought we’d spend some time getting out of the routine and practices that school came with. It hasn’t quite worked out that way because the girls have all wanted to ‘do learning’. So along with baby girl insisting that we keep ‘morning break’, we have already put some structure in to our days and have devised somewhat of a timetable for our week, it doesn’t look much like a school day, its much more flexible, we even did some learning (Sunday) today!

We’ve included daily diary writing, swimming, science experiments, math, spellings, hand writing practice, and have even joined some local Home Education groups!  The girls have been amazing, they’ve become so eager to learn. They love writing their diaries each morning and showing me their sentence structure or neat writing or how they used a good ‘describing word’. They sit at the table for written work without fuss, they listen and they hear, even baby girl! We’ve incorporated learning into nearly everything we do, so much so that they all keep pointing out the ‘learning’ or asking what the ‘learning’ is. When MrFO5 gets home each evening they’re all super excited to show him their work folders and tell him what they’ve learnt that day and what exciting adventures we’ve been on.

There is so much that we have done this week that I couldn’t even begin to list it all, so here is some of it:

I’ve accessed online resources both free and paid for

We’ve carried out experiments about colors and noted our findings

Learnt about what some of the vital organs in the body do

They’ve played educational games on their tablets and even learnt about ‘algorithms’

We’ve been learning a new song that we found on youtube

We written some poetry about popping candy, that was a lot of fun because of course we had to eat it first!

They’ve all learnt how to spell at least 7 new words each.

They’ve swam over 100 meters each

Had fun with paint and glitter at an Art Club

Made new friends

Learnt about different types of measurements in the park with tape measures

We’ve laughed, smiled, and snuggled a lot!

Like I say, there is just too much to list, and that’s just this week!

We plan to get a math tutor in the new year. We have music tuition lined up. We have plans to visit science museums, art galleries and historical places. We may even do our own Christmas performance for friends and family to watch. I’m hoping to finally get round to being able to do some baking with them as well. We’re even hoping now they’re sleeping better that they will be more able to manage some extra curricular clubs and activities. Middle girl really wants to go to a Dance class! We do hope to get them back in to some sort of formal education later on, perhaps for college. We may need to look at getting a cleaner in once a month, we may need to employ the services of an ironing company (only for Mr FO5 work shirts, us girls are happy to wear creases). We may even need to change our car to one that’s more economical now we’re doing more than just the school run each day. So we may also need to do the lottery more often too!! 🙂

I’m not naive enough to believe it will always be this easy or that they will always be this willing, or that it wont get exhausting either but for now, it really does feel like we made the best decision for our girls and I just wonder why we never did it sooner!

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17 comments on “Our new adventure!

  • That sounds so exciting! We’re a little over two years into our home education adventure, and the boys are making fantastic progress. We have tough days, but it’s been more than worth it to see them relax and enjoy their childhood at last.
    I think you’re very right to take it easy at first. There’s no rush to learn everything, and a period of deschooling can be very helpful.
    Wishing you lots of luck on your new adventure.

    • Thank you so much! Your comment about them ‘enjoying their childhood’ really means a lot, it was one of the main reasons really, no child should ever be as stressed out as they were, all kids deserve to enjoy their childhoods 🙂

  • This has actually made me cry. I read so often about the difficulties your children, and others, have had at school, and I’ve often wondered whether home education might be the solution for some families – I know it would not work nor be the right choice for every family. It’s a huge risk and a huge leap into the dark to remove your children from school, and you are very brave to take that risk. I hope it continues to bring your children the relief you describe. I have supported home educating families for many years, since before I was a foster carer or had my own child, simply because I believe there is more than one way to do things, and home education can be the very best choice for some children (and some parents!). For others, school is the best decision. I have never been against school, just in favour of helping families to explore all the options and make informed choices. I expect, as you say, you will have good times and hard times with your home education journey, but I suspect your children will never be under as much stress learning at home as they have been in their schools. Best of luck, and if I can help in any way, or answer any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch xx (Although it sounds as though you are doing pretty fantastic already!!)

    • Thank you so much!!! I also have nothing against traditional schooling, after all I have tried for 5 years to get it to work for my girls, but sadly, it just seems its not for them. It would have made my life easier if it was, but it wasnt and so here we are! :0) Thanks so much for your supportive words, it really does mean so much x

  • Wow that’s amazing, but the same time so sad that the education system has failed you so badly. So many adoptive children struggle at school and so little provision is made for their needs no matter how great the staff.

    You’ve made a huge, brave step, and it’s right for you – the best of luck and its great to hear your kids are responding so well!

    • It is sad. I really wanted them to be able to manage school. TBH if i could have kept them all in primary forever, then there’s a chance it might have eventually got easier for them, but they couldn’t/cant stay there forever and I cant risk wasting more of their childhoods hoping things will get better, when in reality, they’ve not improved much in the last 5 years and the gaps in their learning have widened.

      In an ideal world they’d have gone to a small school from the start, they’d have had a key worker that stayed with them through their entire school journey and that journey would have remained in 1 school, with the same class teacher, in the same classroom, with familiar faces and a familiar environment right through to age 17+. We don’t live in an ideal world though. The nearest they can get to that is Home 🙂

  • I can the remember the relief that washed over Buzz when we made the decision to remove him from school. So glad the girls are doing well. Buzzbee loves using Pinterest for project/educational ideas, especially at Christmas time. I hope it goes well for you all

  • I’m so delighted to read this post. This has been a long time coming for you and I know you agonised over the decision. For what it’s worth I think it’s probably a good decision and seeing how the girls have relaxed this week I think that says everything. School for them has been a big stress for so many reasons and sometimes it’s all too much for mainstream educators to understand. It sounds like you’ve made an excellent start. xxx

  • Well done on taking such a big decision. I’m sure it seemed like a huge undertaking, for you personally, to have them all at home all day. Sending all the best wishes that long may the initial success continue for you all.

  • Over the last few days, I have realized the sheer quantity of stimuli that a traumatized person must process and try to regulate emotional reactions to. Totally neutral stimuli gets filtered through the lens of a huge variety of dangers and overwhelms. You can’t keep up. Then you meltdown because you can’t keep up. Your decision makes a lot more sense. More “knowns” makes it so much easier to cope and concentrate on learning.

  • That’s amazing. I am jealous just having one homeschooled. He has learnt so much the last year and a half. I wish we had done it much earlier. And we meet so many great homeschoolers too. I think at this time of year it is especially nice to be able to be outside in the fresh air whenever it is a fine day, not stuck in a classroom for the limited hours of daylight. And then the evenings and afternoon are free of anxiety and stress on those dark winter days. And then in the spring and summer it gets ever better. There are so many opportunities for structured learning even when home educated, and yet you are free to choose what you learn and how many hours you do it for. And someone with a 13 year old said to me who has always home educated her three, you don’t miss out the oppositional stage, you just work through it together in a much more constructive way. They genuinely learnt that they want to be independent rather than it being foisted upon them before they are ready. And they start being independent in so many ways because they are more confident and relaxed.

    And more importantly there is still time for you, all the time you save from not dealing with officialdom.

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