I was filled with anxiety and confusion when it all started to unravel.
In the winter of Year 7, after a successful time in primary school, my 12-year-old daughter Avery began what would be a four-year disengagement from high school.
Why would a privileged, middle-class adolescent choose this, when dropping out was nothing short of taboo and would seriously complicate her life?
Side note: Check out the horoscopes home schooling their kids. Post continues below.
In Year 7, many days looked like this: Avery arrived home and shrugged off her backpack heavy with books and binders at the front door.
She may have intended to do her homework, but most of the time she didn’t. She charged upstairs to the computer.
Me: Do you have any homework?
Avery: Just a bit. I did most of it at school
Me: I find that hard to believe. You haven’t done any for days. I think you’re lying.
Avery: Our teachers are going easy on us.
Me: Your computer time is limited. You have to get off in half an hour.
Avery: Yeah, Yeah. OK.
Me: I don’t know when you decided homework was optional. This is your job. (Said in my best whisper scream.)
The school was forever phoning about her lack of effort, talking in class, and incomplete assignments.
Avery’s marks were variable – some good, some bad, and some failures. I started to dislike most of the teachers who only saw negative traits in my kid, always shining a light on them, which I’m sure made her less motivated than ever.
I wished they knew another side of her - how much she loved her dog, worried about her dad who recently had bypass surgery, wept during sad movies...
Listen to Mamamia's podcast for parents, This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.
In Year 8, things changed as suddenly as a cloud passing over the sun.