Here’s another unschooling story with a happy ending from a mother who truly believes in her son!
When we first decided to homeschool Greg, it was a very scary time for us parents as we didn’t know what to expect; and quite frankly, didn’t know how we were going to homeschool him. But we knew we had to do something because Greg was getting so upset and unhappy about going to school.
He started having night terrors every night, crying out for help, repeating that he is dying. In the mornings, there was tears and talks about wanting to die as we walked to school. In the afternoons, great big heart-wrenching tears will spill from his eyes again as he spotted me standing outside the classroom.
We didn’t know what was the matter with him while school kept assuring us that he was fine and was one of the best student in his class. He was fast-tracked into the reading group two years ahead of his class.
But we knew, whatever he was so unhappy about…we wouldn’t know until we gave ourselves and him a chance to find out. And that will mean taking him off what we felt was like a “runaway train” and settle him back down onto the ground. And so, in December 2006, we deregistered six year old Greg from his school and our homeschooling journey began. We had sent a happy, bubbly independent child into the education system, and it returned to us a nervous, clinging child who wouldn’t leave my side nor the house.
We thought we were dealing with quirks of a gifted child as Greg was tested to be gifted at age 4 by an educational psychologist. But little did we know, 18 months into our homeschooling/ unschooling, Greg was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
A year later, Greg was informally diagnosed to have Sensory Integration Disorder. It basically means he has faulty sensors in his body. They are either over sensitive, or under sensitive to a point of not working. Now we understood how school had become such a horrible experience for him. The noise, smell, tactile issues and the temperature fluctuations. It was all playing havoc on him, and confusing his mind.
In 2011, Greg was diagnosed to be suffering from allergies that was effecting his moods and behaviours. After a diligent few years of gluten free, egg free, potato and tomato free diet…we saw huge improvements.
Unschooling has allowed us to strip everything down to bare basics and just focus on Greg with minimal variables interfering. It has allowed us parents to understand what and where is the root of the problem, and help bridge or fix it.
It has been quite a journey for all of us. No matter how dire it may seem sometimes, it has never crossed our mind that it cannot be done. We have always had faith that with Will and determination, anything is possible. And so it is, as evident in Greg’s confidence in himself.
I want to share my happy story here!
My son Greg has done a mock exam for his German language and passed with 94% mark. Yesterday practise mock exam scored 100%. He is now registered to do the CEFR German language exam in this coming April..the first out of the four that he can complete over the next 3 years.
This is quite an accomplishment for a 14 yr old. And a big sigh of relief for us parents! What matters most for me is not the exam scores but more of the fact that he WANTS to do it. He is happy and confident to do it. He is challenging himself to do it.
Not bad for a kid who spent the first 18 months of our unschooling life shutting me and his dad out, just focusing on playstation gaming . We were housebound as Greg refused to go anywhere. Greg was suffering what can only be described as school phobia. Any sight of school uniform or school going kids will make him nervous. Any school books or worksheets will result in him having an emotional meltdown. He hates writing (still do but not so bad now) and absolutely detest any form of timed activities. So any form of test or exams will be absolutely out of the question. And digital gaming was his only safe haven.
It is not hard to see how we became unschoolers. We had no choice. He was definitely a child who knew his mind, knew what he wanted and most of the time WHAT HE DOESN’T WANT! I don’t think I have much of a tongue left after all these years of having to hold my opinions back when dealing with Greg’s habit of not wanting to try anything. Or he could start something, doing really well with it..and then completely drop out of it.
I can only console myself that it is just him trying things out. Practising, I call it.
Over the years, we saw Greg growing up in his own pace and time, and trying out new things. It all has to be what he wants and nothing of what we suggest.
In the last 18 months, Greg have decided to try languages. He started with Mandarin because it was something to do that will get him out of the house. Then he asked for German language lessons. Two months ago, he started Russian language lessons and now he is keen to start French this coming June. Last month, he told me that I have to teach him the Malay language.
And so, I have been informed by my son that his ambition now is to be a translator. Not bad for a 14 yr old to have figured out what he wants to be in the future. When i was 14 year old, I was too busy worrying about school!
I have to say, I am very proud of my ” eat, sleep and dream” video-gaming son to have figured out what he wants out of life. That itself is quite an achievement. But most of all… him being the perfectionist that he is, allowing himself to take some risk and try something…this is the true achievement that I am so very proud. This is the final barrier to him being his very best….BROKEN!!
No more “I can’t do it” and more “I can, and I did!”
As I have always shared, small steps can lead to big things. All we need is Faith. Every story shared here in this group, signifies something important and valuable. It tells us, it can be done.
Every achievement, no matter how minute and insignificant it may seem to be, forms part of a solid foundation that will launch many more great things.
Have faith. Especially to parents with avid digital gaming kids….good things can come from digital gaming.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story here. For more encouraging true life home schooling stories, please come join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/362320523854093/permalink/791785650907576/.