Forms and approaches of alternative education Anarchistic free school. Artful Learning. Democratic education. Deschooling. Free school movement. Forest kindergarten. Jiddu Krishnamurti Schools. Sudbury school.
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Hi @Lenny80, I'm really glad to hear that you've been looking at alternative education options to best support your son. Unfortunately, the traditional education system in its current form, can often be exclusionary to students who need some considerations to best support them and their learning. I was able to find a couple of resources which might help you and your family when looking into Virtual VCE options The education department of Victoria has an information page here which details some information about study options for students wishing to learn online. They also list the Virtual School Victoria, which is a government virtual/distance education school which offers full-time study options for students wishing to learn from home. You can take a look at their website here , and their enrolment page here , which lists their 5 enrolment categories and the requirements for enrolling at the school. From the sounds of your post, I believe your son would be able to qualify for the medical (social/emotional) category.
I hope this helps! Please keep us updated on how you go
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Hello @Lenny80 , and thanks for sharing with us. I am sorry to hear that you have been going through some tough times with your son lately. It sounds like things have been really hard for your family. It is great that you have been so supportive of your son already and that he has been linked in with so many different supports. Hopefully your son has been finding them to be helpful. I am just wondering if you have had the chance to talk with someone from the school (your sons teachers or possibly the school counsellor) about any reasons why your son has not been wanting to go to school? Has he had the chance to see the school counsellor/psychologist for support yet? I also just wanted to quickly let you know that I have had to edit some parts of your post to make sure that it fits within our community guidelines
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Hi @Lenny80 ,
Welcome to the ReachOut Parents forums, we're so glad that you've found this space and hope it's helped a bit to vent about what he, and you, have been going through. I just wanted to let you know that I made a small edit to your post to remove the medication name and dosage just to keep the post in line with our community guidelines.
It sounds like you and your son have been through a lot in the last couple of years- we do hear quite a lot from parents whose kids are experiencing anxiety and school refusal, and it must have been incredibly distressing as a parent to see your son wanting to take his own life. It sounds like you've been really proactive in helping to look for different supports for him, it can take awhile to find the right combination of health care professionals/ treatment approaches and/or medication, and that process can be really exhausting. From what you've said, it sounds like he's done really well to remain in schooling especially after trying a few different schools, that cycle of anxiety and avoidance can be such a hard one to address. The fact that he has such a supportive parent and has been accessing different support services is hugely positive though, even if it does take time to find the right combination of approaches for him.
Apologies if you've already tried these services, but I just thought I'd share some resources in case they are helpful -
Monash University have a list of different mental health professionals who specialise in school refusal, as well as some other options that exist for alternative schooling.
School refusal support services through CatholicCare
(these are available to students at any school, not just Catholic schools, and fees are charged on a sliding scale)
have a lot of information on their website and also provide specialised support to help keep kids in education, apologies if you're already aware of this service.
You've mentioned that your son wants to complete his VCE, does he have any idea of what he would like to do after school?
I also just thought I'd share this ReachOut resource on school refusal, it includes a video from a mum who went through similar things with her teenage daughter, and I'll also come back tomorrow and tag in some other parents on the forums here who've trodden a similar path with their kids. It can feel incredibly lonely and isolating as a parent when your child is experiencing these kinds of challenges, but you're definitely not alone.
It sounds like things have been pretty exhausting for you, do you have any support for yourself? If you think it would be helpful we do also offer a one to one parents support service, where you can chat to a family professional here - it's a free service that's available over the phone or online. Often as parents our needs can end up at the bottom of the list, but it's so important to also take care of yourself.
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