Re-adjusting to life at school
It is amazing how quickly we have become immersed in the school system again. Monday to Friday revolves around school, homework and after-school activities—and so life rolls on. Kai has played his part well, for the most part, by getting in on time and doing his work, reluctantly, but getting it done. He has done well to re-integrate back at school: showing an interest in taking part in after school activities such as a bake sale to raise funds for a trip to Southend and even having a part in the Christmas play!
But three months on, things have deteriorated. He has had a number of days off sick, complaining of tummy aches and struggles to get in on time. I have also seen a significant change in him: the best analogy is that of a dimmer switch being turned down. Sounds horrible, but the change is pretty drastic. The only way we can negate these effects is by spending as much time doing nice things (when we can find the time), which sometimes means taking the odd day off school here and there.
The lack of time and freedom are a source of constant frustration. Kai stays up late to read and then struggles to get up in the morning. I’m concerned that he does not have as much time to focus on the skills he began to develop while being home-educated: he had become quite interested in birds and his piano playing was really beginning to improve. Since returning to school he has shown little interest in these activities.
Hardly any time to do nice things
One of the first things you notice when you re-enter the school system is just how limited your time is, especially in the winter. Once school is over its straight home, no trip to the park as they’re all closed by 4 pm. Kai will usually go on the computer for up to 40 minutes and then maybe play with his Lego or dance. He has a strong need to move around and will often use the front room as a gym. After dinner, we may do an activity together and then it’s time to get ready for bed—only to repeat it all the next day.
I can’t ignore the impact that the return to school has had on Kai: he thrived while being home-educated but at school he just isn’t being stretched or even stimulated! From the school’s point of view, all is well. But I’m not happy. It isn’t a question of if he should come out of school, again, but when.