Being Home aka When School is No Longer an Option

Last spring we made the decision to pull our daughter from her middle school.  We did not come to this decision easily or without a great deal of thought.  Ultimately we decided we had no other choice.  Neither Richard nor I are “teachers.”  We are both far too impatient.  For the longest time I thought homeschooling meant recreating “school,” but at home.  This thought was both so awful and terrifying to contemplate, and was probably the reason it took me (I can’t speak for Richard) so long to come around to the idea, that having a child at home would be a good thing, and not bad.    

In many ways I wish school was still an option, but it isn’t. Richard and I know this. The conventional route is evidently not in the cards for us and frankly it never has been, but it’s taken me awhile to come to terms with what this means. That feeling of exhilaration and freedom, so many who do not have “school” as a part of their children’s lives talk about, is only now something I’m starting to feel and experience.  So it was with great joy that I read Emma’s thoughts on not going to school.  

Emma wrote, “Bathing for the first day of school is better when your classroom is closer by.”  When asked what she thought about not going to school, she wrote, “It’s invigorating.”  Then she paused and finished with, “I am a lucky gal.”   

When asked for advice on how we can help her learn and pursue her interests, she wrote, “Relax and relax some more.”

Which… yeah.  That’s sound, solid, advice for just about anything one is doing.

Back to school


20 responses to “Being Home aka When School is No Longer an Option

  1. Ariane ~ this is a good choice! Our daughter completed high school via homeschool. Until school districts fully comprehend what our kids need to learn in a healthy manner AND fund this way of learning – we have to do it ourselves. Glad you have the courage to try it your way. I have a feeling you will enjoy the flexibility very much! Good luck!

  2. We’ve been unschooling/homeschooling for awhile now, and I just posted today about a set back we had and how I had to come around again. I love it even if it’s hard for me to remember that the kids have this.

  3. Awesome! So glad that everyone is happy with the decision.

  4. I am so interested in anyone homeschooling an autistic young person as I see this is likely to be in our future and I am quaking at the thought, although I know I cannot subject my daughter to the current secondary provision where we live, which is as far from autism-friendly as it is possible to be.

    Wonderful to see Emma is so pleased with the arrangement 🙂

  5. You made the right choice, most definitely. This scenario is my dream! And from Emma’s own responses, this is the best thing ever. “It’s invigorating!” I couldn’t have put it better. Thank you, Ariane and Richard, for making the effort to deliberate this issue and being brave for Emma’s best interest! I am thanking you on behalf of all the autistic people (like me) who wish they could’ve benefited from homeschooling (with this level of planning and expertise) and those of us whose caregivers / parents are inspired to follow in your footsteps! 🙂 And to Emma: Big hugs and let the great adventures begin!

    P.S. As for being impatient, there are many many teachers at mainstream schools who are impatient at best… and… well, we don’t want to go into that, and you know you don’t have to anymore!

  6. “Relax and relax some more.” THIS is excellent advice for everyone! 🙂 Thanks Emma.

    • Victoriya Hageney

      I struggle with it tremendously. I feel my son is not educated at school and his abilities are greatly underestimated since he is nonverbal. He loves going to school & be around kids. But it also seems like a waste of time. I do not know what else to do. I can not teach, I don’t know how, I have no patience and also what about time/job. I feel maybe in some ways I am selfish.

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  8. susie christensen

    we have been unschooling our 11yr old autistic son for 2 1/2 years because school wasnt an option that was working anymore, even after easily prevailing in due process to get the “perfect” program. We do life, not academics…..and not because our boy is not competent but because he IS!! School concentrated too much on aspects of “teaching” and not much at all on “learning”.

  9. Have you contacted Easter Seals? They might have resources for you.

  10. I love that you’re homeschooling/unschooling. Been wanting to do this w/ my child. We are now partial-homeschooling due to major sensory overload and anxiety at school (he attends for an hour and 45 minutes in the morning) and life is so much better already. If I had my way we’d be unschooling full-time.

  11. One of my friends who lives one state away (but only about half an hour from me) is basically being forced to homeschool her son because he’s on the spectrum. Apparently the school system isn’t equipped to deal with children who are autistic…whatever that means. She is trying to fight with the school system to get her son into the school, but I told her that she would honestly be much better off homeschooling him. If the school isn’t “equipped” to deal with him, then ultimately he will suffer and not learn anything. I hope she takes my advice.

  12. Happy dance!

  13. And with your new resource of Dr. C. for science, not only is Emma learning at a High School level, but so am I!
    Add to the science program a history program of history-through-ancestors with Granma and Emma’s curriculum should make learning FUN for all of us.
    Remember, Ariane, that you have the right genes for teaching through your great-grandfather on the Nitze side of the family, and who knows, Emma may one day be a teacher herself!

  14. Catharine Alvarez

    Welcome to homeschooling! It won’t be long before you have a whole network of homeschoolers who can help with resources and strategies. I’m very happy for you and Emma 🙂

  15. So glad things are going well!

  16. I homeschool my three kids too and it took me awhile to not feel guilty for “Unschooling” Two excellent articles on this are:
    I was just reading some of your posts and Emma sounds delightful and brilliant. My kids would love her.

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