Today I saw a different side to Pickle since she left school…
I am aware that deschooling (getting out of the school way of thinking and behaving) can take months, and during this time children can regress and generally be hard work, but Pickle has been taking this to extremes! In school she wouldn’t say boo to a goose and was always impeccably behaved (not herself!), then horrendous at home. Many people say they prefer it this way, but not me – I’d just like my kids to be themselves in all situations, and hopefully generally nice 🙂 I used to help out in Pickle’s class and found her behaviour quite upsetting really.
When we removed her from school the horrendous side took over and the compliant side completely disappeared (Goodbye Dr Jekyll, hello Mr Hyde!) I know I wanted her to be her but I really hoped this angry, defiant, aggressive her wasn’t going to hang around for too long. She also started to tic quite badly, something that we’ve noticed in Pickle since she was quite young, but always seems worse at stressful times – cue questioning if we’d done the right thing and me nearly having a breakdown after a particularly bad week.
Things have gradually improved and Pickle seems a lot happier to be her. Although her angry side still rears it’s head occasionally, we are all learning better how to respond (generally with a tight hug) and situations are diffused much earlier and with less shouting and stress all round.
She has been quite reluctant to sit down to learn on the whole (she found the whole ‘sit-down learning’ at school very boring!); this is something I’ve not been worried about as she’s still deschooling, is only six anyway and can learn in many more ways than sitting at a desk (see Where do we learn?!) but with a very keen older sister, I think she has felt some pressure to join in with activities (from Poppet, not me!)
Today however she chose to join in with no requests (I often ask her if she’d like to as I’d hate for her to feel left out) or pressure. Poppet and I were sitting up at the dining room table making really long number lines to practise counting in 3s, while Pickle and Piccalilli were playing on the floor in our newly created small world area (to make room in the lounge for our Christmas tree!) Pickle observed from a distance for a while before asking if she could join in, but could I help her to draw the lines? ~ of course 🙂 She focused on her number line for nearly an hour and was really pleased with her learning.
I’m sure the lack of pressure to be involved helped and I hope that she continues to enjoy learning alongside her big sister…