When the kids were at school, life was all uniforms, homework, permission slips, money for whatever, park here, attend this, work on that, bring this, rehearse that, bells, whistles, conform, conform, CONFORM! I had bucket list of things I wanted to teach the kids but never got the time what with school, after school clubs, outside school clubs and homework. It all felt like one irksome, endless treadmill that we wouldn’t get off until the kids were 16 and then they would be jumping on another treadmill for A levels and then another for university or work. Time was in short supply, pressure and stress were stalking each of us like deadly predators.
We would live our lives doing everything we were “supposed” to do and little that we actually wanted to do and at the end of it all we wouldn’t know or understand each other. How could we? Our family, the people we hold most dear, we only saw on the way to and from things …. I used to have more “quality time” with my colleagues during my breaks …. and I don’t even like some of them!
We have been home edding for exactly a year now and our lives are transformed! No more endless treadmill feelings.
We are now steadily working through our bucket list plus loads more and the children and I are learning everything we need for a happy life along the way. My children will be useful, resourceful, respectful and productive members of society if I have anything to do with it.They will both know how to look after themselves, their families and the planet, how to cook properly, grow their own organic food, keep in shape, maintain their house and car, plumb in a washing machine, lay bricks, put up a level secure shelf, change a tyre, jump start a car, seek medical and pastoral help when they need to, stand up for their rights, make ethical consumer choices, manage their money, manage the changes they may face in their lives and most importantly learn how to be self motivated to keep on learning, growing and adapting to the changing world around them.
It’s not the “done” way but it is the oldest and most natural way of doing things – passing on knowledge from parent to child. It’s not the easy way either, for the parents or the kids. The hardest lesson to learn for the children is self-discipline and self motivation but these skills will take them through the whole of their life, give them reason to get up, get dressed and get out in the world. Learning that actions have consequences and that you can only control the consequences if you first make good choices and control the actions. That’s a tough one when you are 7…. some people never learn it ….. but the children soon catch on. It’s not easy for home edding parents, especially if like us, both parents work practically full time. Husband works full time days and I work nearly full time nights…. we “tag team it!” I would dearly love to quit work to exclusively home ed but we are a way off that yet. My minumum wage work, pays for all the home ed activities we attend and love. I don’t get much time with my husband but we both get loads of time with the kids. I am dog tired for the four days I work but it’s no worse than night feeds when the kids were tiny so you manage, somehow you adapt. Our house is not a show home (it’s the house where things come to break) but it functions, we always have clean clothes and are well fed, clean and comfortable ….. tidy? Well that’s another story but we can usually find what we are looking for given a bit of effort…..it’s a work in progress!
The time pressure now is very different – we are mainly (apart from work) dancing to our own drum instead of someone else’s. It’s up to us what we do and when we do it. The problem we have now is there are so many fantastic trips and clubs that it is hard to turn any down so we find ourselves with a packed social and educational schedule.
This term has worked out quite well finding complimentary activities to deepen and reinforce learning. Both children are doing an Arts Award which is complemented by choir, performing arts classes and photography classes. These activities are improving the kids’ confidence whilst teaching them about the various art forms around them. Photography is something we all do and we managed to scrape the finances together enough to buy the children their first DSLR cameras last week and they have already taken some outstanding shots.
As we settle into the home ed world I am realising that we can further improve our quality of life. There’s not much we can do about my husband’s job, unless we win the lottery but I am researching cutting back my hours at work and finding ways to generate some additional income from home. Maybe we can make products or provide services we can sell, take in typing, lay on home ed classes? Who knows, there’s more than one way to suck eggs but there are alternatives, it’s just finding them that takes a little time.
In the meantime life is less stressful, we still don’t have enough hours in the day, life is full and hectic, life is good but having lots of time with the kids is absolutely priceless.