A mother who took her son out of mainstream education vows never to send her children to school after she believed her eldest son was bullied by a teacher for being vegan.
Student nurse Kirsty Rothe, 23, from Queensland, has taken to home-schooling her three children after taking her eldest son out of traditional school and choosing to educate them herself, so they can choose what they want to learn each day.
Kirsty and her husband have three children, Byron Marley, six, Matilda Rainbow, two, and Luna Peaches, 10 months, who they openly raise as vegan and refer to them as their ‘Flower Children’.
Byron was taken out of reception because they didn’t feel it worked best for him and Kirsty believes he was singled out by a teacher who mocked him for being vegan.
So, they chose to home-school him themselves. However, this first round was a disaster and Byron was soon returned to the school for a few months.
Kirsty planned out the best way to home-school Byron while he was back in mainstream education, looking at the best ways to teach and what would work best for him specifically.
Now, Kirsty has mastered the best way to educate her children at home and they no longer have to stick to a routine, as she relishes in being able to spend time with her family seven days a week.
‘Sending Byron to school is not something we would ever consider again,’ Kirsty says. ‘So, we put a plan in place the second time and it’s been successful ever since.
‘Regular school didn’t work for us because it needed a set routine. We were also extremely upset when Byron was bullied by a teacher who didn’t agree with him being vegan and singled him out because of it.
‘I found that a lot of what they were teaching Byron was the opposite of what we were teaching in the first place, so it was extremely counterproductive.
‘We aren’t restricted to just weekends or school holidays to do things. We can trial and error and adjust our learning program to what suits us at that particular time. Byron can choose what he wants to learn, rather than be told.
‘You also learn a lot about your children – their strengths, their weaknesses and their personalities. I believe seven days a week with them compared to just two makes a huge difference.’
Kirsty usually starts her morning with the children with yoga, meditation and affirmations ‘to give them a positive start to the day’.
‘The children start their yoga or meditation anywhere from 5am to 6.30am depending on when they wake up,’ she explains.
‘Then we plan Byron’s day out with a white board with his usual learning program and ask him something in particular he is interested in learning that day, so we can incorporate that into his learning.
‘We teach them things such as geography, culture, art as well as the classics of science, maths and English. Byron is incredible at maths and he really enjoys it.
‘For example, yesterday we spent the whole day on English, so we did four hours of reading, activities and handwriting. But sometimes we may only spend a couple of hours doing it or we won’t even need to focus on English in a day.
‘In the meantime, we can organise activities to keep Matilda entertained so that she is also learning but at her own level. She really loves things like reading and art.
‘She’s still very young but has managed to pick up an incredible amount so far.’
All five members of Kirsty’s family are vegan, even down to Luna Peaches who drinks vegan smoothies from her baby bottle.
Kirsty chooses to educate herself and her family on the lifestyle they have chosen as opposed to a lifestyle of consuming animal products, to show her children the work of industries who are cruel to animals for the sake of consumerism.
‘We are happier and healthier within ourselves and so far, I’ve lost 7st since going vegan,’ says Kirsty.
‘We don’t contribute to any of the industries who condone animal suffering. We wouldn’t ever want to go back to consuming animal products.’
Kirsty has faced criticism in the past for choosing to home-school her children because of the possible effects this can have on the child’s sociability and the level of education they receive while growing up.
‘My children don’t miss out on anything from being home-schooled,’ adds Kirsty. ‘Some people say that home-schooled children don’t get any socialisation, but I find this funny because I remember when I was in school and my teacher would regularly say ‘you aren’t here to socialise’, but our children socialise regularly.
‘We have met quite a few friends from places such as local libraries, parks or home-schooling events.
‘I also believe that in a classroom with thirty students and just one teacher it’s impossible to spend that individual time with each student. But now we home-school Byron we have the time to sit with him as an individual and really help him to understand concepts.
‘School was a very negative experience for me. I had teachers that damaged my self esteem which lead me down a path of not carrying for my education.
‘By home-schooling them myself, I hope that we can have many memories together, that our children have close relationships and that our children aren’t moulded into the same person, but they can remain an individual.
‘We receive more positive comments than negative ones, but like anything in life, if people don’t know enough about it they tend to criticise it. But we just ignore the negativity.’
You can see more of Kirsty’s lifestyle by visiting her Instagram, @raisingflowerchildren