Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Thoughts of school refusers

If you are at that point where your kid hates school so much you are physically sick with having to pick them up off the floor where they have hurled themselves face down, clung with their fingernails to the door frame, hung from the top of the curtains, screamed till their faces turn blue, or suffered total body paralysis which requires them to be manoeuvred to a classroom in the ironing board position, then you are not alone.

Some kids are badly affected by school. They hate it. They dread it. Believe me. I taught Lizzie who spent an entire year of her school life being kicked out the office by the nurse. I was under strict instructions never to let Lizzie out my lesson when she clutched her head, grabbed at her stomach, announced imminent vomiting, rolled around the floor emitting death rattles, or passed out thanks to not breathing. Some of these symptoms were just a normal part of every one of my lessons for most kids, but Lizzie was a speciality at all of them. And the reason was simple. She hated school.

Well her parents were not exactly fizzing with the idea of having Lizzie with them all day, what with the drop in necessary income, so at school she had to stay and learn to live it. She's probably grown up now so I don't know what she'd say about having to be schooled for so many years.

I suppose I am rattling on about this because it is December. When term breaks up in a few weeks, some kids will be so relieved that the holidays have come that their characters will change, and you'll notice how bright and alive and happy they are. And it's not just Christmas sparkle doing that.

And I guess we've had a pretty good day at this home education malarkey ourselves, what with a theatre performance of Alice in Wonderland in Wellingborough this morning and a tour round Rockingham castle this afternoon. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger mostly loved all of it, except for the squaring up in the theatre foyer over the packet of crisps that I hadn't even bought. Unusually, I enjoyed the day too, since it took my mind away from more pressing household matters like mice and no hot water. I didn't particularly enjoy being patronised by posh people at the castle, nor facing out the woman with the Labradors, but it's probably a better way to spend the hours than peeling Tiger off the curtains.

I don't want to convert you to home education. Not at all. That is not in my interest because we enjoy our private museums, cinemas, swimming pools, art galleries and the rest, thank you very much. No. School can be a great place to learn survival strategies.

I just wanted to say, if you are facing January and a child up the curtains, that home education is possible, that's all. It's possible.


Pig in the Kitchen said...

you see i'm feeling that i shouldn't comment on anything becoz of my 'bollox' comment...

but very interesting to see your take on HE. have you ever told the story of squirrel, tiger and shark? Ive always wondered.

Howz your December going?!
{ogx that was Pigx

Katherine said...

Middle son - who incidentally is at the moment half way through a post-grad diploma in parasite behaviour and racing towards a Master's Degree, was a bit like your Lizzie. Except he was too much of a wreck to do any symptoms at school. He just silently vomited at home every morning, beginning on Mondays. When the vomiting moved backwards through Sunday until the only time her was really happy was Friday evenings, I knew Something Had To Be Done. We started homeschooling (older bro didn't want to miss out) and it was wonderful! Eventful, and busy, but wonderful!
Thank you for your posts. They are too.

Grit said...

hi pig! i am very glad you comment! please continue! if tiger had gone on to school from nursery i fear we would have been in big trouble. my own experiences teaching had a lot to do with the decision! i am posting two days at a time for december. that way i'll get it over and done with at twice the speed.

Grit said...

that is both a sorry and happy story katherine! and i hope he hits that master's!

Samurai Beetle said...

I remember my school years from kindergarten to 8th grade spent at a very small private school sponsored by my church. Some of my classes were so small, it was just myself and one other student so the teacher packed 3 grades in one room and rotated lessons which meant I was often with my brother who is one year older. My mom taught there so we'd see her throughout the day. It was like living in a cocoon. We didn't do as many cool things as you do with your kids but I remember going camping and fishing alot. Anyway, high school was a horror story because the church my parents attended required women to wear skirts and not cut their hair. I was a moving target in HS and robbed of all sense of personal security learned in private school. I managed to work it out and grew a thick skin but I spent too much time dealing with social issues and less time on my studies. Thus low GPA and and having to pay full college tuition due to no scholarships. I know the days can get challenging, but I think what you are doing for your girls is magnificent.

screamish said...

wow. This must be hard work, though. I havent read all through the older posts so I'm not sure as to why they hate school so much...just hate the setup and the system or were there issues with the other kids??

I did home schooling a little with my folks when we lived in New guinea...I kind of liked it...didnt do it long enough to settle...then we moved to a small school which I think is the solution to lots of problems...

Grit said...

thank you sb! we have a fairly good mix atm between doing stuff with the family and working with other, sometimes much larger groups. i think the gritlets have life fairly ok; they of course would argue that one!

welcome, screamish. the grits have never been to school beyond nursery, and goodness knows why we did that. it ended after hours of tiger suffering terrors and an eye wound for squirrel.