Improved mental health during lock-down helped us decide to homeschool.

As of today, my children have spent 79 days in lock-down. Sounds rather hectic but the the fact is Ashton has gained improved mental health and we as a family have gained immense clarity.

improvement mental health
Improved mental health during lock-down

The upside of lock-down

Lock-down is tough, there’s no doubt about it but we are a family who chooses to operate from a place of positivity. As a result we feel that lock-down has presented us with several opportunities in some regard. I therefore am beyond grateful for the opportunity to:

  • Be able to work from home while seeing to the needs of my family (without the guilt)
  • Figure out what truly does and doesn’t add value to us as a family
  • Save money as well as figure out where we overspend or waste money
  • Up-skill my children and myself
  • Cash in on family quality time that I normally miss as a working mom
  • Figure out if I am cut out to be a SAHM (nope not for me, but being a work from home mom is a definite yes)
  • Experience homeschooling (Yes I know that doing school from home during the lock-down isn’t “homeschooling”, but it’s the closest we will get to test the process

The upside of lock-down is that it has been a blessing in disguise and we are beyond grateful for the clarity and our newly found direction.

Lessons learnt as a result of lock-down

I preach it daily, but my children have finally learnt that a positive attitude and a life filled with gratitude we will see you through the most difficult of times. We have learnt a lot about ourselves over the past two months. That we are actually homebodies despite our love for wanderlusting. We can’t wait to travel again, but have learnt to be content with slowing down and just being. Prior to lock-down I had slacked in terms of my cooking. I cooked quick and easy meals which I thought were the bomb until Skylar said, “Mom, lock-down food has been the most amazing you have ever cooked”. We also learnt that our lives are so fast paced that we often don’t listen to each other.

Our biggest eyeopener has been the improvement in Ashton’s medical conditions. My biggest concern going into lock-down was how he would cope with his anxiety and depression, but the boy has thrived. He’s found a sense of calm and peace through fitness and a slower paced lifestyle.

ashton improved mental health
Thriving amidst the pandemic. Improved mental health for the win!

Officially homeschoolers

Yeah, you heard right. I bit the bullet and made the decision to home-school both Ashton and Skylar. Truth is I’ve contemplated homeschooling ever since Ashton was diagnosed with ADHD and Mental Health disorders. But it is a tough decision when you are a working single mom. There are always sacrifices to be made matched with an insurmountable level of guilt when you are a working mom. I’ve always felt torn between being there to fully support my kids and working to provide for them.

The decision

Our second term went well given the circumstances the world is facing right now. The boys schools were awesome and continuously sent school work that didn’t overwhelm the boys. I adopted more of a homeschooling approach towards the school work and I saw them flourish as each day in lock-down passed. Both boys are happier, less stressed and love having me around all the time.

Neither the school nor the pandemic is the reason for my decision. We are all aware that approximately 2/3 of the country with get Covid-19 so that’s something out of my control. What is in my control is ensuring that firstly, the boys complete this academic year and secondly and most importantly that they are coping in terms of their mental health.

With the ongoing uncertainly, poor decision making and planning from the Department of Education I had to draw the line and make a decision. This was an easy decision for me despite the increased workload on my part. Seeing as I’m able to work from home, I see this as an opportunity to help them transition and adapt so that when I do return to work they are able to work on their own. I want these boys to be independent thinkers and workers. To take ownership for their lives and their future, but most importantly I want them to be happy and stress-free. I believe that our new normal is a massive step in the right direction.

The admin of co-parenting

Over the past few weeks I did research regarding homeschool options. That was extremely intense and stressful. Once I had made my decision, I consulted with their dads. Initially neither of their dads were fully onboard with this decision, which is another exhausting area of my life. As a mom who runs a tight ship and does it all on her own, I know what’s best for the boys.

After daily conversations and back and forth on the matter, their biological dad (who lives in another province) and I came to an agreement to go ahead. Co-parenting is tough but it’s vitally important that we are on the same page so that the boys reap the rewards. While he’s a proverbial pain in the ass on a good day, I will be completely honest and say that he is a good father to these boys. On Monday, I headed to the boys school and gave immediate notice. I must say that the schools were amazing and extremely cooperative. I returned all their textbooks and donated all their uniform, completed the paperwork and received a partial refund along with their transfer cards.

homeschool no more
Tying up loose ends

Homeschool vs Public School

Homeschool was never the plan and I love public school. There are so many positives especially when it comes to the social aspect for teens and tweens. The pandemic however has taught us to adapt and be ever evolving. Public school will not be the same for a long time to come and the new way of doing things could create more anxiety and stress especially for Ashton. It’s just not a chance I am willing to take.

Ashton will complete his matric from home and Skylar on the other hand may return to public school in 2021 unless he fully embraces homeschooling. Nothing is cast in stone and we will continue to adapt as life so demands.

Our first week of homeschooling has left this mom running in circles, but my boys have made a speedy transition. I am going to take all the credit here and say that raising these boys to be adaptable and open to change is the best thing I could have done for them. Their feedback is that they love it and find learning easier. Skylar is smashing through his work at the moment. Ashton says that his concentration levels are much easier and the fact that noise levels are limited means he is not triggered unnecessarily. We are working around the clock to complete Term 2, so the pressure is on.

The pros of homeschooling (for us)

The reason I say “for us” because this decision is a personal choice every family will need to make for themselves. What works for one family won’t necessarily work for another. Here’s our pros:

  • No more waking up at 5am on a school day
  • No rushing out the house at 6am so that we can hopefully make it to school on time
  • Improved mental health as a result of a reduction in anxiety and stress. We normally have to contend with the horrendous Midrand traffic on our way to school which creates an unbelievable amount of anxiety for the boys
  • The boys get to stay cosy and warm this winter
  • They have fur baby Nugget with them for all the cuddles and love
  • Improved health. We normally get a cold or the flu in May of every year but our health is currently intact
  • Less medical expenses for mom
  • Opportunity to teach them other life skills (ie. gardening, diy, cooking, baking etc)
  • No more disruptions in the 2020 academic year
  • We get to eat our meals together as a family. We are so loving the quality time.

Understanding our privilege

I realise I am very blessed to be able to make this decision for my children and us as a family. It is extremely important that these boys appreciate and understand their privilege and don’t take the opportunity for granted.

We would love to hear what decision you have made regarding your school and the academic school year. Also let us know if you would like us to share more about our homeschool journey by dropping us a comment.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. Love this 🥰

    1. Author

      I hope it helps you or someone you know

  2. Please share more about homeschooling journey and how do you join homeschooling, which company you registered with. Love all the pros to homeschooling you mentioned.

  3. My son was diagnosed with add since grade 1, he has been on meds, special teacher at school, always issues with school etc. We eventually took him off meds as it didn’t make any difference.The last of the straw was last year when he moved to high school. I guess due to private schools being so expensive we always delayed moving him and then finally made the decision to move him. He is not anxious, don’t have sleeping problems anymore, more relaxed as he can now work in his own time as we have until January to produce all marks. Some days it seems that he is lazy but other days he works and I also noticed that the work is not so hard at all and not overwhelming. For now it’s the best decision ever! All the best to you and your boys!

    1. Author

      I had goosebumps reading this. You response gives me so much hope for Ashton Thank you for sharing

  4. I fully support your decision! I am grappling with the same decision at the moment…please share which homeschooling company you went with?

    1. Author

      Hi there I eventually decided on Think Digital College but there are so many options

  5. Glad you have made a decision which works for you. Nicky is loving being at home and I enjoy teaching him. Being an only child I just feel he has to go to school and make friends, although how he is going to do that in the new set up of social distancing etc I have no idea. Will have to decide closer to the time.

    1. Author

      luckily you have a long schooling period ahead of you. The socializing aspect can be achieved in various ways. He looks incredibly happy though

  6. Love this!! Best of luck.

    1. Author

      Thanks a million. Really hope this is a solution for him

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