What I did after I took my child from public schooling.

Originally I wanted to write a blog to explain what to do when you have decided to begin homeschooling your child, because they did not fit in public school system. I realized this could not possibly work because everyone’s story and reasons are different. So here is what I did and I hope it helps you, even if you are on the fence about whether to begin homeschooling or not.

1. First I finally saw the signs.

My son has ADHD and high functioning Autism. I got phone calls almost weekly from his teachers and daily reports telling me of his bad behaviour, how he disrupted the class, would not sit still, basically would not conform to what was expected from him from the public school system. This was a huge sign to me saying “get your kid out of there!” But I continued because school is just apart of childhood, right. I didnt want him to miss out on that.

The school was great, we tried a million different techniques on how to help him in class, a lot of coping techniques were put in place, yet everyday I would drive up to the school to the sound of my son begging me not to make him go….Yet another “get your kid out of there!” Sign.

Then we moved house, the new school was his breaking point. And mine. After two weeks my son trashed the classroom he was kept in by himself (luckily nobody was in there). He was placed in the room because he would not be quiet during library time. That was it, he had chewed his lips and finger nails to bits and was not sleeping properly. I knew, the day I got the phone call about what he had done, that he was trying to tell me he was done. Why am I doing this to my kid, we dont need the duel income, he hates it at school, he is not missing anything, this is not the right learning environment. Finally, I got my kid out of there and brought him home, something I wish I had done a lot sooner.

2. After I finally made the decision, I let my son ‘take a break!’

This is a very important part of the transition. First I explained to my son that he will not be going back to public school, he will be doing school at home with me. He played video games, hung out, made lots of perler bead creations and simply made himself at home. During this time of him adapting, I researched every curriculum the homeschool world had to offer, especially for a unique learner like my boy. I also took the time to see what he was interested in, because homeschooling is not just transfering the school environment into the home, it is learning at home,in a relaxed, at your own pace environment. I was going to use that to rekindle my boys love of learning.

3. I decided to change how we live not just how he was going to be schooled.

I decided that if homeschooling was our path then we was going to start at home. What I mean by this is chores and self care. Before I finished my work on his curriculum I implemented a plan on his daily routine, brush teeth twice a day, make his own bed, put away his own clothes, tidy up his toys before moving onto the next one, etc. By himself. I also implemented a reward chart to help promote this and to use later in his school work. This also boosted his confidence and gave him something he could achieve.

4. I took away things that hinder his learning.

This was everything from junk food and drinks to watching youtube kids. There are several reasons for this, junk food and ADHD kids do not mix. His high levels of energy after a bit of chocolate could not be worn of from thing like recess at school. A health diet also promoted healthy family living. I even have him help prepare his own meals and use recipes as apart of his education. Youtube kids was a lot harder, I was a parent that was happy to let my babies watch whatever they wanted after school because they had been there all day. I thought it was a kindness. It is not, those shows, some not all, are not the best when your child has the potential of accessing the TV all day, everyday. They can promote all kinds of bad behaviour and even what I call the “new toy addiction” with those surprise box opening videos. The only shows I let them watch now is from PBS or Noggin, that is because they are fun, wholesome and educational. They do not go over two hours a day and after making the break from addictive shows, I have now found my kids are actually not that bothered with TV anymore and would rather read or play.

5. Then I implemented our homeschooling curriculum.

I transformed my house in hogwarts because I love harry potter and if i was going to be taking part in this homeschooling adventure, i wanted the environment to be inspirational and fun. By this point my boy was ready to learn and I was ready to teach, so much so, I even began schooling his little sister with him instead of putting her in public school. I found a great mix of different online resources and curriculums to use and we really dived in and have never looked back. Some curriculums worked, some have not, the first year or two of homeschooling is always trial and error so don’t be to hard on yourself.

6. Finally I took a deep breath and soaked it all in.

It is so easy to get wrapped up with the overwhelming and daunting task of becoming a homeschooling family, as long as you stick with your instincts, focus on yourself and child’s needs, everything else just falls into place. Some weeks will be perfect, some will be a mess but overall remember this is a family adventure that you get to enjoy every minute of, so don’t forget to have fun with it!

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My kids got their letter from Hogwarts……homeschool.

My son never fit in at school. It is just not the right learning environment for him. We tried a 504, IEP, interventions, coping techniques, nothing worked. I finally decided to bring him home to home school and after spending hours on pinterest and not much money at the dollar store, this is what I transformed my house into. Thank god my husband is nerdy like me and okay with my love of Harry Potter. My kids love it and I hope it inspires you.

I got demoted to military spouse

I know what you are thinking, “how dare she say military spouse is a demotion!” but hear me out.

I was going to be somebody, not somebodies spouse, not somebodies mother or home school teacher….Man I was going to change the world, all by myself. That was until I met him.

I was brought up in a small town in peak rural country in England, close to the beautiful big city of Manchester. At a time when kids where raised with the ideal that monetary wealth and a high paying career was what it was to be successful, not personal enjoyment or happiness, therefor my love of archaeology and the arts was squashed early on as a career goal.

After spending most of my teen years searching for job I enjoyed that provided a “successful” income, I was lost for a long time, filling in the gap of my creative happiness with weekends with my friends or simply finding new ways to pass the time, all whilst staring out of my parents house window to the big city that I so desperately wanted to be apart of. Towards the end of my teen years, a few disappointing relationships later I managed to get out of the small town I was held up in and found a job working in conservation on a 16th century estate….That was it, the chance to pursue a high income career in something that inspired and fulfilled my creative gap. Lucky or what!

That is exactly what I did for a few years and I can quite honestly say they was some of the best years of my life, I made friends, I LOVED my job and worked on a historical masterpiece everyday. It was heaven but there was still something missing, or someone, so I left the place I loved so much, not out of choice, my contract was up. I decided to move to Oxford to pursue a degree in Environmental Science/Management, my new found career-field. The first in my family to go to University, everyone could not be more proud.

About four months into my pursuit of my new life I met him and my god did my world change. Here he was like no guy I had ever thought about dating before, he was beautiful, kind, caring, interesting and American military. My jaw dropped the day he turned up to my first house party with my new student friends and ladies I was hooked. We spent every moment we could together, in between my classes and work and his work schedule, I showed him around my British world of beautiful historic Oxford. After spending the first few months of getting to know each other and him getting to know England through my eyes I knew there was nobody I wanted to explore this world with other than him. Then it happened, right in the second semester of my first year of university we found out we was not just the two of us anymore, we was soon to be three…

I will be honest, he was not planned but my beautiful little boy was a miracle, despite family being disappointed on both sides of the pond, we were shocked but very happy for the new arrival. When I was told by the university I should drop out and that it would be difficult to carry on my full time degree with a baby I decided to carry on, because my family, new love and circumstances where not going to take away my new career that I loved so much. I carried on through pregnancy, taking my final exam in my second year nine months pregnant. We made it work, my son came to classes with me, my new husband and I fulfilled our nomadic side by taking him on mini adventure to the zoo and castles in the UK it was perfect. Until a few months before I was about to embark on my final year at university, my husband got told he had to go home, the military was calling.

Well that popped my bubble, they say you cant have it all but for those few years in Oxford, I did, I had it my way but the military out weighs my wants for their needs, so that was it, we moved to America. It is a strange thing to be both bitter and excited at the same time, my family was also sad I did not get to finish my degree but excited for the adventure we was about to embark upon, my husbands family was so very glad to have him and their only grandchild home.

It was not until we moved and I was pregnant with our daughter that I felt the demotion happen. We was living on a military instillation and out of our recently created friend group, we was one of the only couples to have kids. The other military spouses worked through the day so I found myself pregnant, using my toddler as a distraction from the fact that my university friends was in the process of graduating. I had gone from being a student like my friends back home to a foreign spouse, unique only by my British accent. My bitterness and constant reminder that I was in fact not changing the world was strong. I was now know as Henley’s wife or Oliver’s mom (I know MOM not MUM!). I was back to my lost teen years but this time I was bringing two kids through the maze with me.

It was not until my husband deployed did I have my epiphany. I didn’t want to just be his wife and their mom, I did not want this dependent demotion. I wanted to be me again, the me that would win a noble prize or change the world environmentally somehow, I needed that back. At least I thought I did because lets face it, when you have been brought up as I have to be successful means an amazing career. Emmeline Pankhurst was from the city I was from so you should use the rights given to you, everyone before you has had to struggle so the last thing they want for you is to struggle. I was certainly struggling. Not financially but within myself, I needed something just for me, something to make me special. After struggling with two kids back at college we had to move again.

Luckily we moved closer to my husbands family, having the grandparents close by is great, we have finally got our village you might say. We have a lovely house not on a base and best of all great schools for the kids. So we settled in, third move in seven years. I applied for the local colleges as my son started his first year in kindergarten. That is when I got the phone call, it was my sons school teacher, she had had enough of his behavior, lets say with his Autism and ADHD my son did not take the move well and that is when it hit me. He struggled at his last school and now here, there is no way I can keep sending him to these schools, there is no way I am putting my need for career prestige over the needs of my child, I am home schooling him.

So here I am, A military spouse. I am a financial planner, home school teacher, a mother, a wife, a cook, a cleaner, a mentor to the two most beautiful little people I know. I am not just a dependent, I am the cogs that keep this clock ticking. I am still me, me with a creative niche I need to fill so I am starting this blog, I have decided to write a fantasy novel and I work on my art in between educating my muggles and sips of coffee. I finally feel like I have not been demoted. Despite the worlds view on stay at home moms these days. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world surrounded by my kind of people. I have the time to appreciate my life, the people in it, the adventures we have and the things that make me feel fulfilled. It has taken me a long time to realize that the pursuit of success is not a prestigious career like I was raised it to be but it is the pursuit of happiness, a happiness that can be so easily missed if you do not take the time to appreciate it.