After all the bad weather. The floods. The driving rain. The damaging winds. After three storms. Conditions which have proved too much for the early daffodils. The snowdrops are still hanging on. They are truly wonderful little delicate flowers.

Hanging on applies to the humans as well.

Son’s anxiety levels are definitely spiking now. He is returning to the outside world after 10 days of safety within the confines of his house and garden. Days of not needing to build rickety bridges between his world and the world of others. It’s been wonderful to see a kid enjoying being a kid again. Seemingly without a care in the world. But soon school will open the gates to its hostile environment again. As hard as I try the smiles are harder won and often just a little too forced now. Today he is hanging on.

His Dad is just hanging on as well. Son’s anxieties are sending shock waves through my system. A system which is operating on too little sleep. A system which is facing its very own localised storm. A Grief Storm. These storms don’t last as long as they once did. But they still can have an intensity which still takes my breath away. Sucking the life force out of me. They often sweep in without warning. Turning seemingly light into dark. It takes me back to my climbing days. Happily climbing looking into a dry sunny cliff face, blissfully unaware of the raging blizzard which is screaming towards my back. Within seconds I am are grimly hanging onto the rocks trying not to be swept into the oblivion beneath me.

I strongly suspect this Grief Storm was germinated in my fears as a single parent and the growing prospect of homeschooling.

  • Is it the right decision?
  • Am I taking on too much?
  • What happens if my work levels and our income are adversely effected by factors outside my control. My role is heavily dependent on community and sporting based events. These are likely to be curtailed if a certain virus takes hold in the UK. That would make our financial position even more precarious.
  • Are we giving up on school too soon?
  • How will I find the time to do those things which currently help get me through the day. Homeschooling is likely to make activities like running a bit of a rarity.
  • And on and on

Wrestling with these factors on my own. Thoughts then increasingly turn to the gaping hole left by my partner. Suddenly it’s a full on a Grief Storm. So I end up just hanging on. But at least I am still hanging on and that’s a start.

83 thoughts on “Hanging on

  1. Hanging on is soooo hard some times, esp without a partner to help shoulder the weight of the stress or provide a calming bit of sanity!
    “Do as I say, not as I do”… remember that you are allowed to change your mind and/or make new plans if things don’t work out. Most of my stress comes from forgetting that part.
    I hope you find a network of support, all goes better than you plan/hope, and you return to getting good sleep tonight!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry Gary. I hear and feel the pain in your words. You just hang on and hang on and hang on. And you deserve something better. Both of you do. I feel so for you un your Grief Storm. I can do nothing except send love and hugs, and that I do, gladly xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I work for a home school, funded by the local school district… (in the United States)

    Some kids strictly do online homeschool, and others who’s parents need some assistance or kids who need social interaction… come in twice a week and take either language arts, math or science/biology. We offer electives on Friday’s such as Spanish or art, computers, coding etc. if they take elective they come 3 days a week.

    The school district and our charter give the family student funds – for extra curricular things and also school needs, like books or whatever else… just a a school gets money for each child the family gets that money for the child’s education.

    Our kids do amazing – but you do have to make sure they keep up with their studies… it can be easy to fall behind if he gets bored and doesn’t want to do it because it’s not in a school setting – it’s at home. (Unless he’s going in for a few classes if they offer that)

    There are many parent groups you can join for field trips and what not… like to museums or whatever you are learning about and have access to.

    I don’t know how the UK operates their homeschools… so I can’t give you much info there… I just know how we operate and then also I homeschooled one of my own sons when he was in the 4th grade

    So from my own personal experience with it… keep a routine… it will be easier to keep him on track with a routine every day… like for example… wake for school maybe 7am… have breakfast together talk about the day ahead … start school maybe 8am… let him do his studies until about 10am… let him take a small break to refresh or stretch… maybe 15 minutes – setting a timer is good…

    Go back to studies until lunch, have lunch… maybe for his own physical education you could run together? Now you will have a partner (and will probably bring you even closer)

    Then maybe about 1:30… go back to studies and finish day about 3:30?

    That’s what we did. I kept it on a schedule so he would know what to expect and I what I needed him to do… I would help him along and plan out his lessons – meet up with other parents for outings (if he’s up to that – just sharing how I did it)

    I homeschooled in Massachusetts which is different from California where we are now. But both require the kids to take test at end of year to make sure they are on schedule with learning what they need to.

    The state would send me the test – he had one day to do the test and had to be back in mail by following day… It was graded and scores posted online

    Out here the kids have to come into our school or meet somewhere with their “ST” (student teacher who works with them while they are in our homeschool) they have to have their tests proctored by a teacher.

    Every state here in United States is different so I’m gonna assume you are also gonna have it very different.

    You will do good, it’s not bad and we loved it… it worked out well – the kids who go to my school love it… it’s gonna be good… it’s just unknown to you at this moment. But he probably flourish. Just keep him focused and try to keep a routine or schedule

    If you need any advice or anything else – feel free to ask ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is great information. Going to have a good think about this. Our approach is so informal at present. Only have to periodically show that a kid is getting some form of education. The parent groups are completely voluntary and each seems to differ. Some schools offer some homeschooling support. We also have a few National companies who provide various types of support. When he gets to 15 some of the colleges also run courses which are suitable as well. Again thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes parent groups are great and if they offer support is always good to look into.

        And at my school… we also offer college courses to the high schoolers – they can get duel credit … they get credit for taking the class towards their schooling with us – and then because it’s a college course they can also apply that to their college credits.

        They offer amazing classes for just about any career he might be interested in. Even kids who are lost with what to do find a spark in some of those college courses… there is everything from computers to EMT’s to art … amazing program – and I really love it gives them duel credit so they already start off ahead of the norm

        Just wanted to share how I handled it – my son was not loving school and was finding it difficult for several reasons… for him we needed a routine. Helped us tremendously!!

        Obviously do what fits for your family. Just wanted to share what we did and how my school operates 😊

        Homeschool is amazing in my opinion but I could be biased lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It does just pile on and pile on… You absolutely HAVE to get both of you out of the house a few times a week if you do homeschooling. It wont do his, and definitely your, mental health any good staying isolated. It will be even harder for son if he avoids people altogether. And you need breaks too. I shoulder a good 75-80 percent (if not more) of the responsibility with Ben. His mama is here, but she’s not…

    Whatever you decide to do, whatever happens, you’ll plod through it, making the best you can out of it! It’s what you do…it’s what I do…
    Anything I can do to help, I’m just a email away.
    💌💌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou good friend. Yes need to find that balance. It’s something I was thinking about just before I read this. I did write about it but got the tone completely wrong. Almost sounded like I was having a breakdown. Which I wasn’t. So will try again. We do just keep going. In my case bits might occasionally drop off but We keep going. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It may help to think of what you might gain…
    There is a great home ed community and organisations like education otherwise who do get together and camps and ever festivals so your social circle could broaden.
    Your son will likely feel less overloaded and anxious not going in so may feel more confident to do more activities with you.
    Your son will be able to learn in his own way and at his own pace.
    You will no longer have to waste your energy trying to get support from school or deal with the stress it brings.
    It will change things which may change how you think and feel about other things, for me home education was a revelation.
    You will be able to spend more time with the human who was created out of so much love and this may help you both with your grief.

    Remember your son can always return to school if it doesn’t work out, he is getting older and it is also possible to say employ a tutor for an hour or two for not ridiculous amounts of money to give you some time to run. Work is always precarious and problematic if it ends whether you home ed or not, perhaps you could look at what your options might be working from home for yourself or another company?
    I had so many fears going into home ed and it did change a lot but I also gained more than I could of imagined in terms of relationship with my son and how his confidence and happiness have grown.
    I hope some of this helps change is never easy or pain free but it can be liberating too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes so many positives. I’m sure it’s going to happen soon. It’s Son at the moment wanting to give school one more chance. My mindset is basically at the moment. I can’t control the work but I can control his education. So let’s focus on the latter and the other can sort itself out.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I homeschool all five of my children and work from home. On days when my two profoundly disabled children have severe difficulties – it is actually easier that I can adapt the routine to suit us, and not be part of the school run, it relieves a lot of pressure and gives us the time and space needed x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Once again you have begun a post with an appropriate photographic image. It strikes me that you are not quite alone in your decision making. Your son has already said that he wants to give it another go at school. Will he help decide when he’s had enough?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve just covered homeschooling with my students – not in depth and not as an expert. Suffice to say, it opened my eyes to the breadth of possibilities. Not least, educating your son doesn’t need to be nine to five. You can find a routine that suits you, in order to balance his education and your work.

    You might find that if your son is no longer subjected to the school and his anxiety levels go down, he will be more comfortable about being at home while you go for a run, for example.

    Also, if homeschooling doesn’t work, schools will still exist. So, you could make a reverse decision?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. But there. You are there. That is what counts. I think any looming horizon raises every fear going. Yes the crossing the bridge not looking in the water principle. Thinking outside the box too. I remember once teaching some home schooled kids and they were not doing 9 -4 and from what they said, there was a network. Now I take on board that you are rural and more isolated, whereas these children we across the river from a city. BUT they did, for example, go in a group with other home school kids to things likes swimming and did some other bits and pieces together too..maybe the odd class where a parent was taking, say four of them, for to do a particular subject. What is it they say, those who want to find a way, those who don’t find an excuse BUT a lot of that is down to just the simple understandable fear of the mountain that is to be climbed even if you want to find the damned way. OR it is right there before you. But always remember there’s ways back.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d worry more if you weren’t asking those questions. They are all valid questions that you’ll have to figure out. Hint: It’s easier to figure stuff like this out after a good night’s sleep … you should try that some time. 😉 Hugs, my friend! Keep hanging on, ‘k?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Writing can be cathartic in the sense that you release your emotions and reflect on a variety of possibilities. At the same time, one can become overwhelmed with so many options. I have found that creating a pros and cons list helps me determine the best possible option. However, knowing what your son wants and combining that with the fact that you can always try homeschooling with a nonpermanent mentality, it may help ease the worry. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I know it seems crazy but I do think you can weather any storm, meteorological or metaphorical.
    Also, as your son gets older, and as he relaxes due to homeschooling, you may find he is less clingy and you’ll be able to leave him at home long enough to go for your runs. That’s what happened with my two.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You hang in there Gary. Snowdrops are coming up all over the place here despite the recent bad weather. Today, we saw daffodils valiantly defeating the odds of rising water levels in the drains. The sun came out this afternoon, and for once it wasn’t chilly for a couple of hours. Hang in there, and hang on to your boy. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We homeschools our children for 4 years. It was during a phase when school did not suit their need. Read some of John Golf’s writings about unschooling. There are other ways of learning besides the structure schools impose on kids.
    Your son doesn’t seem to lack curiosity, a key ingredient for learning. Let him direct his learning and see where it leads. The only structure we put in our day was making sure there was a certain amount of writing time and Math. The rest fell into place.
    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Some days are just…just fog. And they’re cold, and clammy, and awful. But there is still a new day, with the promise of sunlight, and a son who looks on you as the center of his world.
    That’s pretty amazing.
    I had my own sort of rough day, starting the term, being offered a job that was yet ANOTHER bloody bait and switch, wondering how the hell I can do enough to support my family when shit like this keeps happening. We just have to keep breathing, doing our best, making every hug count.
    And extra hugs to you and your son from Wisconsin! xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Loss of a partner is perhaps the harshest thing one has to go through in life and it takes a toll on you. Single parenting is just as difficult as you have to be the mother and the father at the same time. Just stay strong and keep going on.

    Liked by 1 person

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