I thanked Helena’s teacher for making her school experience positive, as judged by Helena wanting to go when she was sick and me not having to drag her in. I also said something to Helena’s teacher about how school can be hard for introverts to which she replied that this was just due to “some teachers” ie not her… This is not true but at this point I was looking forward to getting out of there as fast as I could and it just added to my pile of avoiding confrontation regrets.
Helena doesn’t like groups of people, ones that she is supposed to interact with. Helena’s first comment about school to me was that she knew all the names of the kids in her class… there were 8 including her. Helena watches, she has to get a handle on people before interacting with them, she won’t even speak to some of my friends who she has known for years… she just withdraws, she thinks she’ll get it wrong, she sences people expect things from her. I think people think she is rude. Helena has friends, really good friends, but very few acquaintances. She meets friends of her friends but with out the friend in common she’ll blank them unless they make a major effort, or if the game is something she knows, something absorbing. I try to give her ideas to help find ways to talk to others but mostly she holds on to me and she really truly is happy playing her own game, following her ideas and she’ll often do her own thing at the cost of doing it alone. When she saw her friends recently having not seen them for ages you couldn’t tell she was pleased and excited, she wouldn’t look at them.
There is nothing wrong with Helena, unless there is something wrong with being inteoverted, shy….
In her 4 weeks at school she learnt nearly every ones name (the school has 23 kids, it’s why we chose it) and was proud of this and that she had played with some of the kids in the senior class as well as having run her own game. She found one of the other children confusing as this child said said things like “I can’t play with you I’m playing with…” or “I’m so excited about after school” then refusing to say why. Helena does feel sad about leaving the other children but not school.
We have been back in homeschool land for only a few days. Last night someone she knows and loves (that isn’t me) asked her how she felt about school. She said she had felt nervous the whole time and she had felt this nervousness in her stomach. I didn’t know this, couldn’t see it. Helena doesn’t know why she felt nervous at school but she did. Now like me she has a hangover, I always feel worse once the stress is lifted. Helena doesn’t feel this stress at Everyone out, for a start I am there, and as she says “I have been there from the beginning” “I know the most about it” she has the same sense of mana whenua as she did at Playcentre and this mana whenua is what I try to give to the kids – this is your place, you can do what you want… maybe you would get this at school after a while but schools do tend to have a lot of rules to learn, lots of things to get right, and here in Nelson this includes choosing what you wear…
Helena hasn’t been converted to going to school, and she isn’t going to become “normal” anytime soon.