Monday, November 05, 2007

Worn Out, But Determined

On the whole, it was a quiet weekend, with Roarke recovering. I did quite a bit of cooking (hence the recipe in the last post!)

The boys spent time on the internet; William worked his way through an old, first reader, from Ladybird, with his Nan. Its pretty obviously that he is memorising what his Nan is saying that the words say, but still, that is how many people learn anyway, so I'm not bothered. He came running in and said "*finally* I can read!!"

Today we hosted a fireworks party in the evening, so the day was spent tidying up and setting up.

Roarke set the fireworks up around the garden during the day, and I prepared the food, putting a mild chilli into the slow cooker, and then doing lots of jacket potatoes, cheese, and beans.

We had 25 people in total, and with only 2 potatoes left, I obviously got the catering about right! Someone else brought another box of fireworks so that, together with the ones Roarke had set up, made for a nice display. One of the dads helped him, which was great, but he's still very much suffering for it now, bless him :O(

Several of the kids were young, and/or with special needs. In order to make the evening as accessible as possible therefore, we'd started very early, I'd got glow sticks for everyone instead of sparklers, and we chose the quietest fireworks available.

I was absolutely thrilled therefore that one of the HE kids, ASD, who up until this year was scared of fireworks, managed to enjoy himself. He'd spent the weekend watching fireworks from the bedroom window, which built up his confidence. This evening, he stayed in my Mum's room, with my nephew and Jonathan, and watched the fireworks through the window. He was really excited, and really enjoyed himself.

For me, his pleasure, made the entire thing worthwhile. Truly, it made my evening.

During the evening, in total contrast to the fun we were having, I took an EO enquiry. The poor lady had gone into school to collect her daughter today to be told by the teacher that she thought the parent ought to know that her 8 year old daughter had been "touched inappropriately" by a boy that day. Apparently, the school had decided not to tell the mum, but the teacher didn't agree with that decision so "told". The mum was incredibly distressed.

At times, I get very angry at "the system" and the abuse that it puts some kids through, and incredibly frustrated at my "little voice".

I look at my boys, especially my two funny, friendly, loud, frantic aspies, and shudder to picture them in school.

This week on one of the HE email lists, a lady was venting her total frustration at how hard HE had turned out to be. Her children were fighting, running around, running her ragged, and leaving her unable to cope with a young baby. She quite rightly pointed out that HE is usually painted as some pretty, fun, rose coloured world.

She's right. It isn't always like that. Over the past week to be honest, there have been days I would have PAID someone at times to take the boys out, days when their lack of interest in learning has left me furious, times (many times!) when their bickering, sniping and arguing has had *me* screaming and yelling, times when their constant presence has left me exhausted.

But.

When they were at school, there were times, outside of school hours, when I would have PAID someone at times to take the boys out, days when their lack of interest in anything other than the tv left me furious, times (many times!) when their bickering, sniping and arguing had *me* screaming and yelling, times when their constant presence left me exhausted.
In other words, not a lot is different in those bad times.

But!

There are fewer bad times. These are more than balanced by days when their sheer enthusiasm for learning leaves me breathless, when their fascination in some topic has me running to keep up, times (many times!) when I listen to them playing happily together despite age and ability differences, times when I hear them say spontaneously to each other "I love you" or when they stop on their way past me to give me a hug for no reason other because they can, times when their constant presence reminds me of everything that I love about being a parent.

And..

Every time I see the news, read messages on the lists, answer helpline enquiries, talk to schooling parents, I am *so* thankful that my boys are home educated and know that I would truly not want that to change.

So it isn't always pretty. Its very often hard work. It is exhausting. But fortunately for us, it is also exhilarating, interesting, stimulating, and fun, and has bound us tighter together as a family. I pray to God that the negative, for us, never ever outweighs those benefits.

6 comments:

Mieke said...

Thanks for your very honest post! I quite agree with you, all the way. Perhaps we sometimes tend to draw too pretty a picture in an act of defense, against all the negative prejudice that's often offloaded onto HE-ers. And I suppose for ourselves, too, it's important to emphasize the sunny and funny sides of it. If only to charge our own batteries, to motivate ourselves to keep going during those less pleasant times. Because we can't walk away from it. It's part of the deal, I suppose. So good for you to put it into perspective!

Philippa said...

When people say to me "wow that must be really hard work!" about HE, I generally tell them that it is like any other aspect of rearing children. The bad days can be awful but the good days are fantastic. The good always outweighs the bad. It is hard work and parents do need to understand that but anything worthwhile is hard work. The rewards are huge!

Elle said...

Very well put. The good days are so very fantastic aren't they, they far outweigh the days of bickering and frustration. Elle

Anonymous said...

Our children went to school all the way until they were 13,11 and 8. The system simply did not meet their needs, they were badly bullied and desperately unhappy.

We took them out as soon as we discovered the EO website.

I am not pretending they have been angels all the time, but hand on heart when someone says "Gosh, home educating three, that must be very hard!" I reply "Nope-not compared to sending three desperately unhappy children to school everyday-that is heart breaking and incredibly hard."

Yes they still had arguments-but oh so much less often than when they were in school and under such pressure.
I have done the putting a teenager through school bit with my stepson and now I have done three teenagers through home education.

Happy people live in our house!

Wobblymoo said...

I think I soon forget the bad times, I now have happy children and although sometimes they do drive me up walls at times, it is forgotten quicker.

Carolyn said...

I have missed reading your blog!!! When I found it in October, I made the fatal error of bookmarking it with an old post on screen.....I've been sitting here thinking you haven't been posting lately!!!!!
This post just reminds me of why I loved your blog so much...the honesty and similarities to my own situation....I have 4 boys too!!!
Carolyn