Bringing on the tears

It’s not my intention to make people cry! But this seems to be what’s happening.

Many parents have told me that they read ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ and ended up in tears.

Not in a bad way I hasten to add. And not usually because of a tragic event that happens in the story.

They are instead mostly tears of relief and emotion to discover that someone has felt the way they do, tears of joy to find their own feelings about children and their learning are empathised with, tears on discovering they are not the only one!

Two little home edders volunteering as part of their education

Here’s a message I received recently:

“We have just started out on our home ed journey and we knew in our hearts that it was the right decision – but reading a Funny Kind of Education just hit home so much with us. I cried when I read the first couple of chapters because I finally had something to relate to – this is what we were going through. My two were being crushed by the system and I have been wholly disgusted that many children so young are experiencing so much stress, and their self-esteem taking a dramatic nose dive because they NEVER feel good enough, and never ever will at school. My son who is nearly ten practically got on his knees and begged me every night and morning not to send him into school – repeating over and over again I have had enough mummy no more please. Now only after two weeks of our journey his face and his sister’s light up with the thought of what we are going to be learning about on a new day. That sense of wonderment with the world is back big time already (it came back in the holidays but left pretty soon after the start of a term) – they are questioning everything and are coming up with all sorts of ideas of their own – and I don’t care that my kitchen is a tip or the dog keeps eating the science experiments or cooking ingredients that drip on to the floor -hahaha – they are happy little bunnies and we are just going with the flow. I know I will have my wobbles too I know and moments of needing to calm down when we are having ‘one of those days’ (dipping in and out of your Home Ed Notebook also) – but we are already starting to feel part of a lovely home ed local community online and in person”.

I can’t tell you how overjoyed I was to receive that wonderful message and I thought it worth sharing here for ongoing encouragement!

When I shared our story I hoped that people would find comfort and support from the fact that they are not the only parent to have a child who is not thriving in school. So I’m delighted to know it’s doing it’s job. And that the ‘Home education Notebook’ is also doing its job of supporting those wobbly moments.

I say so many times that schools work well for many families. But they don’t work for all. And that’s not the fault of the child.

If there is one over-riding message I’d like to get out there among the mainstream community it is that one.

Some children need something different. And it’s about time home education was respected for providing a doable and successful alternative for those children. About time it was not looked down upon as a second rate education just because it didn’t happen in a school. And about time people stopped being so scared of it!

3 thoughts on “Bringing on the tears

  1. Hi Ross

    I just wanted to say thank you for the blogs you post and the awareness you bring. I have been following you for many years. I found you when my now 19 year old daughter dropped out of education at 13 – self harm, depression, anxiety etc… later diagnosed at 17 with autism which she said saved her life. I worries then that I couldn’t ‘teach her, brought lots of education books etc… turned out that once we relaxed and let her find her own way she did absolutely fine without the need for useless information and lessons. She has gone into college and studying BTEC health and social care and is now on her third year with near enough 100% attendance and passed the last couple of years with distinction stars – not bad for someone who dropped out of mainstream education. She now writes a blog based around herself and her autism which I think is brilliant and I am so proud of her. So thank you for being a steady and informative guide over the years.

    I’ve continued to follow you as I have one daughter still in mainstream – just. She’s just turned 14 and struggling with the tears and tantrums of not wanting to go to school. So difficult hearing how they tell you they tell you they’re happy at school because they know it’s what they think we want to hear whilst inside they want to die and can’t cope. We let her ‘drop out’ effectively at end of summer term for last month and she was happier. She did say she would go back in Sept and was bored so we prepared for that and were surprised she went back (6 days off school since start of term so expecting letters home soon). So difficult as i think she enjoys certain aspects but can see the pressure and signs of burn out. 3 hours studying maths online last night for a test – maybe important but in my opinion too much. So much homework, pressure from tests, social media and peers, target setting, put into higher groups than comfortable with to make them aim higher?! No wonder the UK have such a high number of stressed and anxious teenagers. We saw a Dr as I was concerned about her talk of suicide, how down she was and the Dr basically said ‘tough, you have to go to school and it’s your parents job to get you there or they get into trouble’ and it was left at that. She now won’t go back to a Dr understandably and I don’t expect she’ll go to camhs (been on a waiting list for over 6 months). Started autistic diagnosing but probably another year and a half before that reaches a conclusion. I don’t know what the answer is any more to help these young adults. I often say I wish I’d started from really young and not entered school (used to do lots of what I now recognise as home ed when they were younger and before school which they remember and enjoyed).

    I guess the purpose of this email is primarily to say a massive thank you and to ask an opinion regarding my 14 year old. She’s upset this morning and I’m close to tears, what a crazy situation.

    Many thanks for listening.


    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

    • Hi Vanessa, thanks for your kind compliments on the blog; I’m so pleased it’s been a support and much apprecaite you telling me.
      I really feel for you and agree with everything you say about the system over pressurising youngsters – a common story. And so unnecessary as many HE kids go onto achieve without that. Very saddnened to hear of your daughters’s situation (can’t believe that idiot doctor!) and I know that camhs isn’t always as helpful as people need. Obviously I don’t know details of your situation but it does sound like your daughter would be better out of school than in. It would be best if that could be a pro-active educational decision on her part, (not a drop-out) giving her the opporunity to take charge of her education herself – make it DIY – get involved with other youngsters and activities. This will be a long learning curve for her, but she can take charge of her own educational journey and there’s plenty to do rather than be bored! Whatever happens I’m wishing the very best for you both. x

      • Thank you Ross for your reply. I spoke to my normal dr on the phone Tuesday and she said to trust my maternal instincts. My Dr has now written a letter to give to the school signing her off sick basically, sent another letter to camhs and asking for education support suited to daughters needs. Suddenly pressure is off, education welfare officer is going to find some help including maybe some help with interhigh online school. More importantly in the last couple of days it’s nice to see my daughter smiling and relaxing again so for now will be led by her and see where it leads.

        Many thanks again


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