This will be a home education post, so please feel free to skip if that doesn’t float your boat (though I’d rather you didn’t, if I may be honest!) This is not at all intended to be anti-school. It’s about very serious, very real issues many kids are facing.
One of my biggest concerns for children is their mental health. We know that today, depression in children has skyrocketed. We know about the problems bullying causes and how kids are killing themselves because of it. So many children are dying inside because the school experience hurts them so much. Now of course there are kids who love school but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the kids who are suffering.
I have seen firsthand what can happen to kids, especially those with special needs such as Autism Spectrum Condition (I hate saying ‘disorder’. ASC is my area of interest), who are bullied. I was a child who was bullied every day throughout primary and high school and let me tell you, those feelings stay with you particularly if you’re a very sensitive person! It can be a lifelong source of anxiety for many people who have been bullied at school.
A friend of mine is both a teacher and counsellor and has worked in schools for about forty years. She deals with the kids who are bullied and fall through the cracks because their academic and social needs are not being met. Often, these children are highly intelligent. She is deeply concerned about the number of kids she is seeing as young as six who are being bullied and are depressed. She counsels eight year olds who want to die, because they can’t cope with what is happening at school.
I know children who have sustained medical injuries (not ones that go away quickly) because of the physical bullying.
Many parents have withdrawn their children from schools because of mental health concerns and bullying. And many of them report how their children improve drastically in their emotional, social and academic area once they are removed from the stressful environment. This is not to say there’s an immediate ‘cure’ but for so, so many families, the changes in their child have been nothing short of amazing. The kids themselves report how much better they feel and how they’re better able to cope with what happened to them, when they’re no longer in that environment. These stories are echoed worldwide to the point where there are medical professionals (such as our own) who tell the parents of their patients to get their kids out of school for a while, if not long term.
Which leads me to the main reason for this post!
The situation for home educated students in The Netherlands is currently very scary, to say the least. The Minister for Education wants to remove the right to home educate. In other words, force the children to go to school.
…so what happens to the kids with learning disabilities who do not get the help they require at school, or enough crucial one-on-one learning time, based on their learning requirements, like they’d get with their parent?
What happens to the kids who were removed from school because of mental health issues from bullying? These kids will be forced back in to the environment that was killing them inside.
What happens to the kids who are beaten up daily? Fact: even schools with great anti bullying policies still can’t stop a beating from taking place. I’ve seen it many times.
I can only tell you, without getting in to too many details, how horrifying it would be on all fronts if my children were forced in to school. Their mental health would fall through the floor (not to mention their dad’s and mine!). So that’s why I am linking here to a petition for the Dutch government to stop the ban on home education.
Please consider supporting the kids who simply can not cope with school due to trauma they have experienced because of school. It’s also about supporting the rights of children to be home educated. Please, if you’re opposed to home ed I urge you to simply learn more about it. Some of the biggest home ed advocates I know started off being opposed to it!
An example: I have attended functions centering around the education and inclusion of kids on the autism spectrum, particularly those with Asperger’s. There I have met psychologists, paediatricians, psychiatrists, special ed teachers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, doctors etc who hear that I homeschool then pull me aside and say how much they believe home ed is the best option for so many kids on the spectrum, but their professional peers never present it as an option which frustrates the hell out of them because they see how much the kids are suffering.
Please note that in this post I am talking about the kids on the autism spectrum who are not doing well. There are kids on the spectrum who enjoy school. I’m referring to children who aren’t and there are many!
here’s the change.org petition:
I’ve decided to disable comments for this post. I really don’t want to have to deal with comments opposing home ed as they do cause stress and I want to avoid that here. I want my blog to be my ‘safe space’ and not have to defend the choices I’ve made for my family. Don’t be naughty and comment negatively elsewhere! 😛 If you don’t want to sign, that’s your choice, but I would very much appreciate it if you did 😀