Monday, 24 August 2015

Homeschooling is Better for MY Health

Almost every article or blog you read about the benefits of homeschooling, list a multitude of positives for the student, sometimes the family unit as a whole and about your lifestyle.

Most are written by parents, like myself, who recognise everyone else and the benefits to them and forget to explain how beneficial it is to us.  

I remember the 'me' who was taking my son to school everyday.  A place my son struggled to be in, struggled to function in. A place my son fell apart in.

I remember 'me' as being a complete emotional train wreck.  
I was extremely sleep deprived.
I was on the verge or tears ALL THE TIME.
I was stressed beyond any level of stress I thought was possible.
I was depressed.
I was extremely anxious.
I was heartbroken at what my son was going through.
I felt completely helpless and hopeless. 
I smelled like either vomit or disinfectant after cleaning up my son's daily anxiety vomiting.
I was exhausted from being at school with him all day helping him, then going home with him and copping the brunt of massive meltdowns.
I was angry.
I felt completely let down by school and felt belittled by staff.
I felt defeated after fighting so many battles, over and over again. 
I felt I'd let my son down and was a failure as a mother because he became suicidal. 

He was broken.
I was broken.

Amid all the feelings I went through when I pulled my son out of school and over those first days, weeks and months at home, one was relief. Pure relief.

Relief that in our decision to remove him from school, I would have my son back, I would no longer be dealing with school, with teachers, with school parents, with school run, with daily meltdowns, with daily vomiting, with anything.  Relief that we were back in control and we could do this better than any system ever could. Relief that I had a second chance. 

Over the years, through our changes with curriculum and learning styles, social ups and downs, my son's medical rollercoaster and life in general, I have found that the benefits to my overall health to be huge. 

I have considerable and complicated physical health issues and I recognise that I would be much worse off if I was still dealing with school.  The fact I can rest and recover from physical setbacks while homeschooling is a big plus.  I am not struggling with schools runs and vomiting and meltdowns.  I have a child who can learn with me while sitting next to me in bed.

My emotional and mental well being are being looked after too.  Sure we all have bad days and down times when dealing with life's curve balls (like our recent period of being out of work). Financial stress is always a big issue, but that would be there regardless of our education path choices.  But really looking at it, I have never gotten to the low point that I was at during those school days.  I do recognise that I have high anxiety and I deal with that, but it's not to the degree it once was.  I find homeschooling assists me with managing it as I am not as stressed and have time to breathe.

I find peace through the day.
I still have that pleasant sense of relief every day when I wake up.
I wake up after actually getting some sleep!
The only time I smell of vomit is after a tummy bug goes through the house and that's maybe once a year.
I am not angry.
I am not depressed.
I am not helpless or hopeless or heartbroken.

  I have my spirit back.
I can laugh with friends.
I have my Warrior Mum attitude back and can tackle issues when they arise and when my son needs me to dig my heals in and fight for him. 
I am not defeated and I do not let people belittle me.
I am stronger.
I am better.

The changes that homeschooling has made to my life, to my health, make this choice worthwhile.  If I am better, happier, healthier, then surely I can be a better mother, teacher and role model for my child.  

Many people have said that if my son was at school I would have time to rest and it would be better for my health.  They can't see that the school issues were making my problems 100 times worse and by eliminating them, we all benefit. Sure my son is home and with me 24/7 but he is calm and happy and will play, read and do work quietly, especially on days I am not well. That gives me true peace and the ability to rest rather than if he was at school which would be a few hours child free where I am still stressed and worried about him. 

The child I have now, is NOT the hard to handle child I had all those years ago.  I guess what I am saying to the struggling parents reading this, is that while you might have a difficult child and don't think your health could possibly cope by homeschooling, you might be in fact making things harder for yourself and your child by not giving homeschooling a chance.  School will always be there to go back to if you find it's not working well at home, but just don't rule out homeschooling altogether because you have health problems. 

I'm just putting this out there, because we forget to look at ourselves.  We as parents make decisions and think of everyone else.  We ask ourselves is it the best thing for them, can we afford it, etc.  Most don't think to acknowledge if it would benefit them as parents.  I look back and know my decision was based completely on what my son needed and not what was best for me, but I am happy to report it's been the best thing for me too! 

My recent 'aha' moment came when I was going through days of high anxiety and dealing with too much.  Once again we were dealing with unemployment, too many bills, a broken government department offering no help and I was starting to crumble.  As I sat there, upset, I thought wow at least I can sit here and have a cry and crumble a little.  I can stop and breathe and go back to bed if I need to. I don't have to rush to school or deal with all of that.  I can take the time to deal with this, we can take a break from school work and de stress.  We can get through it without me falling into a completely broken heap.  I have the freedom to breathe and to deal with my anxiety and overall this is better for my state of mind.  
Homeschooling has given me that and I am forever grateful.