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I feel a slight left turn coming. Both on this blog and in our family life… The last two or three months, we’ve been increasingly interested in the idea of home educating our kids. And right now, we’ve pretty much decided that we’re going to take Wilf out of school at Christmas, and leave Hatty in school, for the time being at least.

How did we get here? It’s complicated. But the short answer I guess, is that Wilf has been struggling at school, which also means struggling at home. This has felt like a much bigger challenge since the kids started year two, which comes with more traditional academic pressures and the start of regular tests. Struggling for Wilf means not wanting to go to school. Most mornings are a battle. It means more extreme outbursts, including becoming more violent when he’s upset. It means we all find life harder and more exhausting. We’re concerned about what his trajectory looks like if he stays in a mainstream school setting.

A big chunk of this, we think, comes from the structure and pressures of traditional schooling. So, we’ve tried to look at school through a lens, and think about what we want for our kids and our family. We’ve tried to be critical about the practicalities of an alternative model. We’ve spoken to others who have taken a similar path and read an awful lot around the subject of home education. We continue to read and think and plan.

It’s worth saying that our kids school has been great. Wilf does not have a formal diagnosis (yet), but he’s been given lots of support and structure from the SENCO and the school generally. We’re really happy that they’re doing the best they can, and that they genuinely get Wilf and our current challenges. But I don’t think that changes things. We want out. We want a different, better way of doing things.

There are some privileges we have which make even considering an alternative route an option. And there are some daunting pragmatic challenges which we’ll have to overcome. It’s going to put some financial strain on us. I’m worried that it will erode some fragile sense of self which I have. And that we’ll all just burn out. I’m worried that it might be the wrong choice and that it will be more difficult to get back into traditional schooling at some point in the future.

But also, somewhere in my gut, I feel it’s the right thing to do. For Wilf and for the whole family. I think Hatty will likely join us home educating too, not that far down the line once we’ve found our groove with Wilf.

It’s daunting. It feels like the biggest decision we might ever make. I hope it’s the right one.