Let's Talk About: Making The Choice
Is there a ‘right’ one?
Wow! What a September we are having at Kleos HQ. We’re onboarding the most new students ever. It’s a record breaking start-up for us. New students mean a lot of extra work for the Kleos team and a lot of extra work for families getting sorted out in this new way of doing school. And it’s definitely worth it! We get really excited to show families and students what’s possible.
But it got us thinking about something important. Last week I talked about how much I struggled with the decision to home learn my oldest. It was definitely one of the scariest decisions I’ve had to make as a parent. Things were supposed to go according to plan, meaning a linear line from preschool to grade 12 graduation with no hiccups along the way. Right? But that didn’t happen. And a choice needed to be made. Some of the weightiest decision we make as parents revolve around educational choices. It seems like there is a lot at stake, because, well, there is. So was my decision final? Was my decision to pull my kiddo from regular school definitive back in grade 2? Were we now on a linear course, second star to the right and straight on till grad day? Was my choice the right one?
The short answer is heck no! We did some traditional home schooling for a while. We did some unschooling, for a little longer than a while. We eventually landed on guided home learning. Then home learning supported in part by an amazing group of EAs and support people at a learning centre. And eventually he transitioned back to public school to complete highschool (and yes, graduate). BUT there were so many factors involved in this evolution. My willingness to be okay with where he was at (full disclosure: in the beginning this looked like 15 minutes of academics and a whole lotta lego and audio books - anyone else with me?). His willingness to start being more independent and responsible (read: compliant) with his school work. My willingness to let go of my high ideals (okay, I may have been temporarily obsessed with giving him a classical arts based education and his dad was determined to introduce latin which he definitely did not get on board with). His willingness, eventually, to buckle down and do less preferred work, saving time to play Minecraft until after ‘the work’ was out of the way. And in the end, ironically, my willingness to let him go back to public school where he was suddenly back to being one of many, which felt just a scary as pulling him from school in the first place.
I’ve talked to a lot of parents over the last decade working at Kleos, agonizing over what to do when traditional school isn’t working out. And I feel you all in a very real and very personal way. And I get that I’m just someone on the phone, or at a kitchen table, or in a conference room who is saying we get it, it will be okay, so it might be hard for you to believe me. I know you are on your own journeys and that your course will be potentially as winding and adventurous as our’s was. And I also know that it’s equal parts important for you to listen to what your child needs AND what you need every step of the way. It takes time and patience and a willingness to sometimes get it wrong before you get it right.
The questions I hear most often, whether asked out right, or whispered between the lines, is this: which choice is the right choice?
The truth is, the right choice is the choice that is right, right now, whether right now lasts a month, a minute, or years. Be gentle with yourselves and patient with this process. Together, we’ve got this!