This time last year I was losing sleep. I was reading and re-reading. I was listing pros and cons. I was stressing and battling inside my own head. I was dreading the morning nag-fest that was the breakfast routine. I was miserable inside hearing snippets of the events of the day. I was thinking out loud on the phone each day with my Mum in UK to get her feed back. I was so unsure.
Fast forward and here we are. We bit the bullet and withdrew our kids from PS. I planned and read some more and once we knew what we were doing everything fell into place. We are now 6 months into our HS journey and it has been truly amazing so far. Yes there are days when I would love five minutes alone to gather my thoughts but I discovered mid afternoon bubble baths where I can read and soak for a few minutes!
T1 was struggling in PS. I actually think it was harder on me than him in many ways. He was oblivious to some things, not phased by others. I don't think he knew how hard school was for him physically, mentally and emotionally but I could see it. He would stumble to the car, he and T2 would argue all the way home. both wanting my undivided attention. When we got home he would disappear for a while - he needed to decompress. It wouldn't be until around dinner time that he would start to chat or relax and then there would be the homework battles. It didn't matter when homework was done it was a constant battle to get him to focus and get the work done. He would act like it was our fault he had to do it. Often work came home home from school incomplete. Often homework went back to school incomplete. Many days he would complain of head aches or nausea and I would keep him home, often turning around halfway to school rather than to drop him off knowing he was feeling anxious and crummy. The accommodations and Special Ed help he was having helped a little but it didn't tackle the main problem. This was the school environment. It was sensory over load to him - all the noises, the lights, the distracting sounds of a busy classroom. All the rules to remember, the order of things, keeping track of his belongings, prioritizing. Then there were the social issues. Recess was hard - he didn't want to play soccer, other kids didn't want to hang out and talk about science. He spent many recesses alone. It was heart breaking.
Mornings now are calm. T1 has trouble getting to sleep so now he sleeps later and starts the day slowly. This gives me some time to either get some chores done or work with T2 on her school work. When I set T1 some work to do he can choose what order he does it in. He likes having that control and as long as it gets done and he puts effort into it then I don't mind which he does first. I try to incorporate the computer as much as possible because he prefers that to pencil and paper. He eats a good lunch instead of no lunch. At school he was either not hungry due to side effects of the ADD meds or something would put him off eating like someone's smelly lunch or a child chewing with his/her mouth wide open. When he seems overwhelmed he can go and play catch with the dogs or practice guitar for a while and continue later.
That really is just the tip of the iceberg with T1.
T2 was loving school but I still see many benefits from bringing her home. She has learned so much and enjoys the flexibility of the day but she does miss some aspects of PS.
I wish a year ago I would have known how relaxed our HS lives would be. I certainly didn't realize how much I would learn - not only academically but also about myself and my children. I realize how little I knew them before when they spent so much time in PS.
When I see parents from the PS and they ask how HS is going, I can tell they are expecting me to pull a face, roll my eyes and say how hard it is but for the most part it is way easier than keeping track of who has gym/library, who needs field trip money, keeping on top of homework, school mail, school fundraisers and I certainly don't miss ALL THOSE GERMS!!
HS is rocking our world and I don't regret making the change one little bit (but at the same time I do not feel anything negative towards those who choose to send their children to school either)