I started teaching children at home from 1999 when my daughter was born. It made perfect sense to me at that time. I could work and look after my baby at the same time. All the kids and parents were generous and understanding of my circumstance and provided amazing supports for my daughter and this new mum. We were and are blessed.
When Momo became 3, she started joining one of my classes. There were two other 3-year-old boys in the class and we just played in English.
As they became the 1st grader, one of the boys moved out of the town and other kids joined the class. We enjoyed reading picture books and played more activities.
As they became 5th graders, some left in order to study for the entrance exam for private junior high schools they wished to go including Momo. But this boy stayed no matter how his mum convinced him to leave. We started reading much longer books and played much more complex activities.
Over the years, children joined and left for various reasons. Yet he stayed no matter what. Now he is a sophomore at one of the prestigious private high schools in Tokyo, playing baseball from the early morning till the late evening. The massive amount of homework and hard practice wore him out yet he kept on coming to the class. Sometimes he falls asleep, but I can not dare to wake him up because I know he gets up at 5:00 in the morning and comes to the class after school and the hard practice at 8:00 in the evening. Lately, his grade radically dropped for the obvious reason, the severe lack of sleep.
I wish I could give him more options, but I won't be able to offer him private lessons right now. I won't be able to offer extra hours for him, either. But I know he just won't quit because it is NOT his option. No matter what his mum and his teacher at school say. With his awesome perseverance, intelligence and personality, I am sure he will success in what he wish to pursue. What he really needs is time to sleep and relax. So,I announced finally the most difficult and heartbreaking decision last night to him: Closing the class by the end of July. Other learners in the class can come to a different class but I knew he could not due to his excessively busy schedule (he also goes to juku). I don't really know how he really feels about this decision because he did not say a word.
On the very last day, I wish I could thank and wish him the best luck on his future without busting into tears.