Having gone to some efforts to homeschool the kids over the last few years, and especially, the last eighteen months, I was surprised when our youngest boy asked to go back to regular school. He has previously been enrolled at three different schools, and hated all of them. It was always such a struggle to get him to go.
Despite the fact that he gets a larger workload through homeschooling than regular school, there is also a lot more downtime. I part it is because the boys education has to fit around the workloads of the adults in the house. He is often bored and lonely. This is a reasonably constant issue we have struggled with here. His best friend now goes to the local school, and this was the major driving factor behind his request.
It was a strange moment for me. On the one hand, I felt like I had let him down by not being able to provide a sustainable social group for him to fit into. There was also a sense of disappointment because it has been a major logistical exercise setting this up and we finally had it all working so well. It feels like a large scale version of spending all afternoon cooking a magnificent feast, only to be told that he ‘doesnt really like it.’
At the same time, I had to admit that he kind of had a point. More than that, he was able to very articulately state his case. He had clear points to make, and also pre empted any potential counter arguments. He gave answers to them before they could even be raised. If nothing else, I was impressed with his ability to do this as well as he did. Despite not much liking what I was hearing, in the end, we had to take the fact that he was able to argue all this with such clarity as a sure sign of his capability.
So we re-enrolled him at the local school. In theory, he is supposed to be doing year 5, but he has already finished a year 5 curriculum so we pushed to have him skip a year. He did a series of tests, which he sailed comfortably through, and ended up in a composite year 5/6 class. I am not entirely clear if this was due to his assessment scores or just space availability. The classes are all crowded. Regardless, he takes some pains to ensure he is recognised as being in the year 6 section of that class.
The first time we withdrew him from that school, we were firmly warned not to try and educate him from home. It was curious to look back on those warnings as we discussed the idea that even if he learns nothing of value at school, we can always homeschool again next year and so catch him up.
He will still get drawn into our weekend lessons, but for all practical purposes, the two boys are now on completely different pathways. Overall, I am a bit saddened by it, but honestly, I think they will enjoy having some space apart from each other.