For the first time in 6 years – all three of my kids were at the same school again. This certainly simplifies life – which was a good thing.
We had spent the summer holidays rearranging our space (physical, emotional and practical) to reflect the changes brought by Deans passing and the needs of three rapidly growing teenagers.
There was also a big social adjustment that became apparent….and wasn’t necessarily all that pleasant. Going back to when I became a single parent – the stigma and judgement that came with that status was not pleasant. I wrote about becoming one of “them” the lower class and how even I wasn’t happy to be in that position. Then, I was engaged and last year married – a real family in the eyes of society. Now when asked to complete forms that include the declaration of marital status I find myself ticking the Widowed box…and then facing the sympathetic look…the questioning eyes…. then I got ANGRY!!!!! HANG ON. I am the same person raising the same three children on my own…it matters not if my husband left me or if he passed away…the issues and challenges that I face a a person parenting alone are still the same – and I am still the same person, doing the best I can for my children.
HOW DARE PEOPLE CATEGORIZE ME BASED ON THE REASON WHY I AM PARENTING ALONE….
…SEE ME AS A PERSON AND SEE THE CHALLENGES I FACE, SEE HOW I AM COPING AND HOW WELL MY CHILDREN AND I ARE DOING AS I FILL THE ROLE OF MOTHER AND FATHER
Part of this super parenting role was recognizing when my children were doing ok…and noticing when they were struggling…socially, academically, emotionally etc and making the appropriate response to strengthen them and keep then on track. Over the previous 18 months there had been signs that Dianne wasn’t totally on track – sure she was happy, academically progressing, had lots of friends etc….but she wasn’t “right”. After some careful and clever questioning it transpired that school was boring! She was frustrated at the amount of time spent in admin, discipline, assembly, sport etc versus the time actually spent learning. She wanted to learn more, faster!!!
This was a challenge to face – and face it we did. After some research and soul searching we (Dianne & I) decided that Home Schooling was the solution to this problem. The application process was onerous and required the development of an educational philosophy and curriculum with evidence of adequate resourcing. I was advised that most applicants are required to revise and resubmit several times before approval is granted – however in our case thorough preparation and sufficient though went into the first application to receive immediate approval. My philosophy was simple- experiential learning opportunities focused around Diannes current interests with activities taken from the 4 R’s (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and Research). Our first field trip was a week long Central North Island exploration with Megan as company which cemented my decision to home-school. On visiting a historical site Megan was amazed that it was a real event – she had heard about it at school but thought it was an activity made up by teachers!!! Nothing like actually being there to make it real. All up I home schooled Dianne for almost 4 years and loved every minute of it.
Riki and Alisha remained in traditional schooling as this was the best environment at the time to meet their educational, musical and social requirements. They both had part-time jobs and plenty of band commitments to keep them out of too much trouble.
Parenting by yourself can be so rewarding…but it can also be very lonely.