It comes to my mind often these days. The demands of the little ones, the unpainted bedrooms, the list of to do’s longer than both my arms; and so the thoughts of whether to continue to home educate, or send my children to school, come to mind.
They come with all the many questions. Am I spending enough time with my eldest? Is she learning enough? Is she up to grade one standards? These thoughts lead me to uncertainty. I begin talking to my husband about what the local school might be like, or whether part-time schooling may help.
But what is it helping with? What do I wish to achieve? Are my children really worse off than those in kindergarten and school?
I sit back to observe my children. They challenge each other, have laughs, play around. And then I witness the results of my daughter’s ‘school lessons’ we do along with the little ones. My two year old daughter asks the others what apple starts with, then my four year old says ‘you spell it a-p-p-l-e?’ Then they ask me what various other words begin with and how they are spelt. I breathe a sigh of relief. This is why you home educate, Amy! Your children are learning just fine and they are having fun at the same time.
Here comes the flow of positive thinking and I am back to being content with our home education life. Along with the positive feelings, I realise all that I am learning from this way of life. I learn particular things about my children that I perhaps wouldn’t if they were in school. I have learnt that my eldest daughter likes to play and run about in the morning and that her concentration for ‘school work’ is best later in the day or even at night when she should be getting ready for bed. At this time she also has most of my attention. The other two are happy in bed either asleep or looking through books. I should have seen this coming really. As a child I used to have to keep a pen and paper by my bed as my best ideas for stories and poems came at night time. Everything is peaceful and quiet at this time. It is the best moment for thoughts to come about.
I have learnt that children like to follow the path they did when they were a baby to toddler. They like to learn something till they either master it or discover it is not something for them. My youngest is a great example of this. Once she learnt to walk, it was climbing, and then feeding herself, then dressing herself and now it is caring for the chickens; getting their food and water, letting them out and cuddling them. She is determined and likes to focus on the one thing day after day till she has ‘perfected’ it and is satisfied.
Perhaps one of the most valuable things I’ve learnt is about myself. We are all learning and growing and changing at every age. We never stop. Having my children at home with me since birth has certainly taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t know before. One thing I do know now is that the up and down flow of negative and positive thoughts about home education may always be there, but perhaps it is there to reaffirm that having the kids at home is working in many beautiful ways. My eldest daughter may not know all that a grade one student in school may know, but she is definitely associating the things she is learning with happy memories.
What more could I ask for?