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Change is afoot

Over the last several months my husband and I have been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of talking, reading, learning, and soul searching. Because we’ve had this problem, you see, and it just didn’t seem like it was going away, at least not without compromising and doing things that we weren’t entirely comfortable with.

The problem was that our eldest was unhappy. Hugely unhappy. Crying every day for hours, wishing that she could just hide under a rock, unhappy. And this unhappiness also showed itself in anger, and frustration, and raging against the world for no particular reason that we could fathom. It meant conflict about everything as she struggled with life. And all of these un-fun emotions were being directed at our family.

I just want to make it clear that Ivy is NOT the problem. But her misery was. We needed to help her. To find a way to make the world make more sense to her. It is not okay for a child of seven to be feeling like the world is a terrible place. We love her dearly and it was heartbreaking to know she was feeling like this. And so we got help, which included therapy sessions every week for the last four months, a fair few tests to see if they could figure out what was going on, and finally, a trial of some medication for ADD which they determined is the cause of Ivy’s struggles.

Except the medication didn’t work as I was told it would. In fact it had the opposite effect which suggests she doesn’t have ADD, though they are leaving her with that diagnosis for now. I took her off it as quickly as I could – neither of us were thrilled about trying them to begin with, but we got what we wanted from it.

On reflection, with this diagnosis of ‘ADD’ and the discovery that she has difficulty focusing in a classroom environment, and the knowledge that while she was holding herself together during class, she losing it within moments of school finishing, we realized that maybe the real problem here was school. It was a huge contributor to her misery. And we decided (after lots of consideration) that what we wanted to do was home school her.

Prior to this, I’d had thoughts about pulling her out of school approximately 10 times in the last couple of years. Incidences would crop up, things that made me uncomfortable but weren’t big enough issues, or solid enough to really place my finger on the cause, but there, all the same. But school is what a lot of people do, and I had never really considered being a home schooling mum, and didn’t I want a career at some point in the near future? And didn’t I desperately need the break from Ivy’s misery that those hours at school gave me?

Well, I did. Until I realized that so much of our conflict revolves around school. Until I realized that in the school holidays, when it’s her at home, being a part of the family, she’s actually really happy and I love being around her. I can and will still have a career at some point, but my time as a stay at home mum has now been extended by a few years, and that’s fine.

In fact, I’m really freaking excited about this. I have so many plans, and every time I talk to Ivy about it she comes up with plans of her own, and we bounce ideas and I can see her brain working overtime, being creative and being excited about learning, which is so wonderful to see because she’s been so resistant to regular schooling.

One of the things I think is important to gift to our children is an innate sense of curiosity about the world. Creativity, a desire to learn and explore and the skills with which to do those things under your own steam. And I can see that already. I can see she has the desire, and I can be the one to teach her the skills she needs.

We’re going to be embarking on an amazing adventure. Not just for her, but for our whole family. Lauren is thrilled that Ivy will be home and is keen to get in on the learning. Natalie will enjoy it too, and Ivy… She is so happy. She can’t wait to get started and has been telling everyone she can about it.

It’s going to be very interesting finding a new groove once we get the exemption certificate through. But I can’t help but be filled with hope. It feels like finally we’re onto a winning thing. Finally, we can help Ivy follow her passions, encourage her dreams and support her in learning the way that suits her best. Very exciting. Very exciting indeed.

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12 thoughts on “Change is afoot”

  1. I am very, very excited for all of you. I give you a huge pat on the back for not medicating your daughter. Doctors are so quick to medicate instead of trying to find the issue. My son has been having really bad headaches. He’s been through a battery of tests and they decided to put him on two different meds for migraines. He doesn’t have migraines. I have lived around migraines. My husband has migraines. My son does not have migraines. The doctor wouldn’t even consider pain in the shoulders, muscle spasms, diet, etc. All they wanted to do was medicate. One of the pills they wanted to put him on was an anti-seizure med. I refuse to do it. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and look for other routes to take to help your kids. I applaud you for doing what you’re doing. Go with your gut. You’ll never go wrong.

    1. Thank you so much! It most definitely feels like the right decision. Ever since we made it, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off us.
      That’s really shocking that they aren’t trying to look for other reasons why he is getting the headaches. It’s very concerning when they just want to skip straight to medicating. As soon as they raised ‘ADD’ I knew that was where they would want to go, but thankfully we have a really good psychologist who is totally on board with what we’re doing, and believes it will be really beneficial for her.

  2. Wow! That is so exciting for you and Ivy! She obviously thrives being in the home environment, but struggles with the social aspects of school perhaps, so doing it from home, while still having interactions with her siblings is fantastic. And there are ways of getting her out there, swimming classes, after school athletics – they will give her the opportunity to spend time with her own age group.

    You go girls!

    1. Thanks, Karen! We’re all really excited. It’s going to be a great change for everyone. Ivy will get to come along to Playcentre with us twice a week, and there is a decent sized home schooling organization here as well, not to mention all our regular visits with friends after school and weekends! No lack of socializing going on, that’s for sure. And in the more personal environment, following topics she is interested in, using ways of learning that work with her, she will thrive 🙂

  3. Lucky girl to have such a terrific mommy!

    Must be so difficult to see her unhappy.. Great you have a solution!
    Good luck, JC. I’m sure it’ll be an experience for you all!

    1. It has been very difficult, but she’s much happier now 🙂 I think the therapy has really helped, combined with knowing that she’ll be out of school sometime in the near future. It feels wonderful to be able to make this change and know how beneficial it will be, not just to Ivy, but for our whole family 🙂
      Thanks Jennifer!

  4. Heck Cassie, thankfully you may just have saved Ivy’s life! Instead of falling into the dwindling spiral of thinking there is something “wrong” with her and being dependent on prescribed drugs, she will be free to express herself and explore the world and her life.

    Your post about Ivy has really affected me. I hope she really flowers into the person she wants to be. Good luck in the amazing adventure!

    1. Aw thanks Kaden 🙂 That was a really sweet comment and brought tears to my eyes. I think I was in a dwindling spiral, and I’m glad she never got to feel that. It’s an amazing feeling, to know that you can, and will, make a huge difference in a child’s life. I feel like for so long we’ve been trying to fit her into a square hole. But she’s a little bird, not a square! Birds shouldn’t be forced into holes. Birds need more space, and they need to flit where the air takes them, and they need to sing, all day, which might occasionally get on my nerves but it’s lucky she has a beautiful voice 😉 Yeah it’s early and I haven’t had a coffee yet… lol You get what I mean though. She’s found her voice again now, and it’s a sign that she is happy.

  5. I was just thinking that the hours while Ivy was in school, the hours that were a respite for you, were the worst hours of the day for her. I’m so glad that you’re going to homeschool her. You can do this. Together.

  6. Cassie, I’m so glad things are looking up! I’d love to hear more about Ivy’s experience with the meds. I’m still in the oodles of research phase of dealing with my disorder and am also wary of the fact that Jake may yet end up having adhd himself.
    Sending you love,
    Fran.

    1. I’ll drop you an email soon – I started a reply ages ago and never got back to it!!! lol I hope you’re doing well hon. Been thinking about you

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