One year ago I found myself deciding on a school for my daughter to attend kindergarten. For those of you who are unaware of our previous struggles, she is a highly sensitive person and had challenges functioning in large groups as well as too much noise in general so school was a challenge, to say the least. She was essentially kicked out of her Montessori school because of her erratic behavior and had lots of difficulties in the others (though they were a little better due to the smaller class size).
For those who wonder why she was in preschool at all if it was that challenging, let me add a little more information. Zoe is a highly gifted individual (which is where the sensory challenges come into play). As a result of her giftedness she spent literally every minute of every day needing stimulation- in her case, she wanted storytelling all day long. Literally. (Like literally, literally- not the new Webster’s figuratively, literally.) I had no idea how exhausting that would be until it was my life. The prospect of school was just a little window of mental rest for me which I very much needed.
However, as I began my search for schools, it became very apparent that they weren’t going to work for her. (There were a couple of options which COULD have potentially worked, but they would have put us into bankruptcy due to the cost.) What to do? I attended some homeschool groups including MCGT (Minneapolis Council for Gifted and Talented) but was hesitant to commit to homeschooling because I honestly didn’t know if I could survive it. The prospect was just too overwhelming.
As I visited more and more schools, however, it became apparent that this was really my only option. If I wanted to spend my time in supporting her and her interests as opposed to trouble shooting and handling the ways in which her demanding needs were not being adequately supported in a school setting scholastically, socially and emotionally.
So I did it. I just decided to homeschool. I stopped looking at schools and started looking at other options. It was a tough decision, but once I had sufficiently ruled out the other options as possibilities, it brought a lot of peace. I could finally relax and start focusing on what we could do instead. We ended up signing her up for weekly classes at the zoo, with farm classes and more zoo classes to come.
Zoe LOVES animals- she talks almost exclusively about how she is going to have a sanctuary when she grows up, so being able to support her in meeting, learning about and supporting animals has been amazing!
Just this week alone, we have started learning sign language, built a terrarium for little plastic animals, sold her handmade ornaments in a craft show, as well as playing in the snow, writing stories, reciting poetry, math skills on the fly, etc. We even started to set up an Etsy store for her to sell her ornaments online and plan to donate half the money to the Clearwater Aquarium in Florida (an amazing sanctuary for rehabilitating animals and re-releasing them to the wild).
This has been just the kind of growth experience she needed. She is able to pursue her interests fully and completely, avoid too many transitions, and truly enjoy learning.
I don’t say any of this to criticize the school system- I may make a completely different decision for my second daughter, but in this case it was definitely the right one. What I want to share is that sometimes answers come in places we wouldn’t expect. I never planned to homeschool. I never wanted to homeschool. However, when it came down to it, it was simply the right choice for us. I had a lot of fear to get over in order to take this leap, but the more I have relaxed into this homeschool role the more I come to like it.
This is much like any challenge in our lives. We need to be focused on what we want to be experiencing in our lives without dictating how we are going to get there. We can’t even begin to imagine all the possible ways that these dreams can come true, but the more we are clear on the end results, the more the universe can conspire to make it a reality. Things always seem daunting until they are decided or until they are done. The trick is to make decisions out of love instead of fear. Always choose love over fear.
What is it that you want to be experiencing more of in your life? How have you chosen love over fear this week? This year? How has it changed your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share in the comments below, and as always feel free to share this article with anybody you think would benefit from its wisdom.