‘Why are you making it so hard for yourself?! I was frustrated and fed up. The daily arguments about the school work at home. It was taking a toll on my mental health and affecting the whole family. It was like pulling teeth. Then it hit me. He wasn’t making it hard for himself. It was hard for him. I felt awful. I had been so focused on getting him to do the tasks, keeping up with the work and making sure he wasn’t falling behind that I hadn’t noticed he was struggling. Not struggling with the work. The amount of work and level of work set I believe are reasonable. He was struggling with this way of life. This ‘new normal’ which is totally crap if you’re an adult. Imagine being a child. One whole year of your childhood snatched away from you. So I stopped and I thought. We took the rest of that day off from school work and went for a nice long walk.
Later that day I contacted the teacher to explain he was struggling with home schooling and we set up for them to have a chat one to one the next morning. His teacher was very helpful suggesting some strategies Isaac may find useful. Isaac agreed to everything and told him he was doing ok. The fact was he was not doing ok but was doing a very good job of not showing his teacher that. We tried the strategies later that day but the strain started to show again so I backed off. I had seen an increase in challenging behaviour over the weeks, the difficulties getting to and staying asleep, and the tics had returned. This was something that appeared through the first lockdown also. I made a decision. He would attend the daily class teams meetings and look at the work. I would encourage him to do them and reward completed tasks. If he didn’t want to do them I would try and make up a learning activity at home and weather permitting daily exercise. I had to prioritise his mental well-being. He can catch up on school work and in any case the whole world is in the same situation. What I cannot do is watch his well-being deteriorate. Broken children are not easy to fix.
Our focus now is on learning through practical activities that are fun. Some days he goes for the school work. Other days we might build Lego, create slime, bake a cake or paint. I saw a great activity on Instagram how to learn times tables using a Nerf gun. We look at the world map and talk about different countries and the people who live there. There are also some really interesting and informative YouTube channels for animals. Brave wilderness is one of our favourites. I have signed myself up for a virtual challenge of walking Lands End to John O’Groats and we have been going out as a family to get my miles in. I have signed Isaac up for his own challenge so that his miles will count towards his own reward. He is doing the Inca Trail challenge and I can’t wait to virtually explore it with him. I have seen a change in him already. He is getting less difficulty going to sleep and the tics have become less frequent. He is smiling and laughing a lot more. He needs to be with other children. To be silly with his friends. To play. I hope that time comes soon.
So there we have it. I am not worrying about home schooling anymore. If he wants to do it he can and if not we will fill our time with other activities. Nothing is more important than our health and that includes our mental health as well as physical.
Take care and stay safe my lovelies. You can get me over on Instagram if you ever need to chat. Lots of love xxx