Near the end of a school year that had had more “downs” than “ups”, I told the teacher that my son wouldn’t be coming back after summer vacation. We had decided to try an online distance learning program.
Word got around quickly. The principal heard the news and came to find me a day or so later, when I was volunteering at the school library. My son spent quite a bit of time in her office, and she had a good sense of his strengths as well as the challenges he and I would be facing together. She was worried that I may be taking on too much.
My son was getting extra support in the classroom, and he had teachers who believed in him. He was a bright, likeable kid. But in spite of everything, he was struggling; he could not seem to cope with the demands of the classroom, and ended up in the principal’s office most days when his behaviour inevitably got out of hand.
I told the principal that I felt like I had to see if this option could work, and I think she understood. After our chat, I went back to putting library books away on the shelves, feeling good that the school team was looking out for my whole family, and not just for my son. Leaving this school community was going to be hard.
I knew that home learning would have its challenges; I wasn’t naïve enough to believe that taking my son out of school would magically fix the things that were hard. But my instincts told me that it was worth a try, and I was learning the importance of listening to my instincts and believing in myself. And it turned out that choosing the harder path was the right choice after all! My son rediscovered his joy of learning, and with a lot of support we gradually saw a new, calmer, confident kid emerging.
Penny Mayo and I are writing a series of joint blogs this spring and summer. You can read Penny's post - about a comment from a complete stranger that helped her to believe in herself and her son - here.