People tell us we’re overthinking life by choosing to home educate. That they have fond memories of their school years, and so do all their friends. They’ve turned out fine, and so will our children. We’re just complicating things.

Of all the arguments against home education I find this the most jarring, because it completely ignores a chorus of young voices crying out for help. It trivialises real, lived experiences of pain. And even if we assume families only choose to home educate because of a negative school experience (they don’t), there are enough children out there struggling to make it a valid reason all on its own.

Perhaps you were fortunate enough not to be teased or picked on at school. Perhaps you didn’t suffer from crippling separation anxiety. Perhaps you didn’t sweat and feel physically ill at the thought of being asked to stand up in front of the class. Perhaps you didn’t dread playtimes, lunchtimes, or physical education class. Perhaps you never had to try and hide welling tears behind the lid of your lunchbox, taking bites of your apple through trembling lips.

Perhaps you were able to sleep soundly on a Sunday night.

But I can promise you there were children in your year, school and even classroom who were living through a very different experience than you. As have children in every year, school and classroom ever since.

It can be confronting to hear you’ve walked happily through life experiences that others have found hard. And it can be easier to brush their journey off as an anomaly than to try and see it through their eyes.

But these experiences, these hard stories, they are not uncommon.

And that must be heard.

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