It’s harder than we expected….
And so it happened, the day we had both basically been dreading – Cameron went back to ‘proper’ education after being world schooled for 2 years, and yes it really has been a LOT harder than we expected both logistically and emotionally.
The first year we travelled was beyond perfect and we truly did live the dream, most importantly though was watching Cameron blossom as a new world unfolded in front of him. January/February nights were not spent in darkness glued to an ipad or TV screen but playing on the beaches in Australia until 9pm, running, leaping, singing – happy & completely care free, just as his childhood should be. I won’t pretend otherwise, at the time those days felt endless and I never wanted it to end.
At the end of that first year, I just knew I was doing the right thing, he was learning SO much, and his education was so much broader than anything he could possibly learn in the classroom. Whilst I knew at some stage he would have to return to school, I just knew after 12 months that neither of us were ready for it to end and so we decided to extend our travels for a second year.
We had 3 months back home in the U.K. and during that time Cameron attended Worthing Tuition Centre twice a week and worked really hard keeping up with his English and Maths.
By January it was time to set off again, but by the end of March covid 19 had shattered our travel plans and after just nine weeks we were forced to return home. I had worried about Cameron going from the big wide world back to school, but a school where all his friends were, where he had the most incredible teaching staff and where he had 40 acres of land to play in – never in a million years did we ever foresee that he would return from that incredible experience to ‘lockdown’
When I first knew we were returning home early, my initial response was ‘well I am going to have to send him back to school a term earlier than planned’ – but alas the schools themselves were closed so immediately that was not an option. Whilst online classes were being offered by his school I didn’t feel that was the right way for Cameron to be reintegrated to mainstream education so I decided to homeschool through the to end of the academic year.
Alas, this last term has not been a positive experience though, with my Dad going into end of life phase for 15 days and then dying, then a funeral to plan, my Mum locked down in a care home after suffering a major stroke in March and subsequently grieving for my Dad, dealing with my own deep grief and trying to keep my business a float whilst changing my own classroom based training to zoom courses. I’ve been running up and down between Sussex and Somerset to sort out my parents as best I can, but alas it has meant that Cameron has spent way way to many hours in his ipad than he should have done and the home schooling which had been so successful up until April basically went out of the window.
So September approached and we set out to buy new school uniform and tick off every item of sports and stationery equipment known to mankind, – I ‘thought’ we were both more than ready for the return to school. Cameron would have the familiarity of his old school again, he’d catch up with his old friends and teachers, whilst meeting some new ones as well.
Alas, right now things are not at all rosy. I guess in an adults life 2 years is not that long, but in the eyes of an 8 yr old it’s a quarter of his life and half of his school life. Cameron left school at the end of year 1 and I guess in his little mind he was expecting to go back to year 1 level of education but of course he is suddenly thrown into year 4 work and he feels that he is struggling. We have tears, sadness and anxiety most days and it breaks my heart, he told me after 3 days that he was a “failure” because he struggled with something they were dealing with in R.S. which he didn’t understand. My initial feeling was of course one of remorse, feeling guilty that I had jeopardised his education, but as I chatted with him we spoke about the different places of religion we had visited on our travels; cathedrals, temples, mosques, cemeteries etc, we spoke about different religious practices, some of the rituals we had encountered, and the friends we had made who were from differing belief backgrounds. As we spoke it was a precious reminder to both of us of exactly how enriched his education had been, he was NOT a failure. Yes – he has missed out on certain chunks of a set school syllabus, but he has certainly not missed out on an incredible education.
Religious Studies around the globe:
I am sure he will settle, he’s only 1 week in so far, but it’s hard for Cameron and it’s hard for me as a parent to watch.
I still believe world schooling has been the most amazing education I could possibly give to Cameron, and yes it’s hard (very hard) watching him struggle to settle back into main stream education, but his school and his teachers are amazing and I know they will help him the re-adjust the best they can in times which are incredibly difficult for everyone. Perhaps more than ever this is the best time for him to return when ALL of the children have been off school for 6 months and extra measures are being taken to help them settle and become familiar with a ‘new normal’
Oh what I would give to turn the clock back two years, and with hindsight would I do it all again???? Hell YEAH!