Homeschooling Thus Far…

busy-lady

I am so busy!

So…. here goes my first bit of writing about how Homeschooling has been.

First of all, the first week was amazing. But I was terribly mentally exhausted. Yet I felt so fulfilled deep within me! And I still do!

Now we’ve hit the end of Week 2 and I am starting to feel burnt out. I am giving myself a day to myself this Sunday – I will head out and do my own thing for the day. As much as I love my baby girl, I really really need to recoup and bring myself to ME.

One of the sad realisations about Homeschooling so far is that the time I do spend with my baby girl is all educational. We really haven’t had that free mummy & child time, where we just sit and cuddle and read books and do nothing. By the time School Time is finished, I just want to BE… and do nothing. I don’t want to be ‘mum’ and this has been a sad discovery.

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In saying that, Homeschooling can virtually be anything you want it to be – so this brings me to the next lot of mental exploration that I’ve been having:

Basically, I have been actively teaching Leah at home with practical activities and worksheets. We get started at about 9:30/10am and we go till about 2:30pm. After that, we’ve generally been heading out to the School so that she can play with her friend Marnie. This week in particular was interesting in that my own Mum needed me to be with my little sister Jeannie on Wednesday for the afternoon, and instead of chopping up our day into bits, I decided to go to Mum’s place straight away and be there for the whole day. (Which was awesome cos Leah got to do craft with her grandma).

At times I have battled in my head with whether this is really the point of Homeschooling? I know that lots of Homeschooling parents go out a lot and let their children delve into nature-based play or they get involved with homeschooling activities. There is a local mum who organises lots of different activities, including horse-riding lessons and science projects I’m starting to feel that I should head that way a lot more than I have been (because real, live learning doesn’t compare to being at home doing worksheets). (I regress – I’m being harsh on myself because it hasn’t been all worksheets).

I do want to believe that I BELIEVE in real, live learning – and yet I’m not doing it. So I’ve been wrestling mentally with myself as to HOW I am going to shape this journey for Leah.

At the same time, Leah is a real homebody and doesn’t ever really want to leave the house! So with Homeschooling I initially wanted to give her the opportunity to not have to leave the house if she did not desire to. I was looking forward to enjoying just being home most days (yes, even myself!)(Surprisingly).

These are some of the few different topics playing out in my mind.

I also had big plans to continue her Montessori-method of learning but I don’t have any Montessori materials just yet. I feel like Time is getting away from me, even though it’s only been two weeks. But I guess it’s been a big two weeks.

At the same time on that note, I have been wondering about Montessori too – because Montessori work is also based inside 4 walls. And well, I have begun to wonder: is that really what I want for Leah during this Homeschooling time? Why not make the utter most of it and give her what Nature has to offer?

As you can see, I have lots and lots of different thoughts and questions and feelings on this whole matter.

I’ve also realised that I need to schedule Mummy & Leah time in. Because this is not coming naturally to us at the moment. It did the first day of Homeschooling – we had plenty of gorgeous cuddles between tasks. But not since. Maybe if I incorporate more fun outings (with just Leah and I) it could re-create those moments between us?

I’ve also realised that I really do need time out –  every week.. I thought I would be fine with just once a month because Ilovemybabygirlsomuch. But that is a fallacy. Being Homeschooling-parent and parent is just too much to ask. I can only really do one or the other.

I’ve been going to a PT Group twice per week. I know that many mums see exercise as their Time Out – but I totally do not. While exercise absolutely does help one to cope, it does not feed the soul. It is this soul-feeding that I really, really need; possibly more than ever.

The other thing that has come about with Homeschooling is that because I no longer have time during the day to do my own stuff, I am staying up late at night to do my own stuff. I’m talking about work for mine and husband’s business and add to that my own projects. So for the first time in many years I’ve been going to bed at past midnight. I think this is also catching up with me.

I’m starting to lose my patience with my little girl, and to be honest,  I’m really not happy with that.

So from here… I really want to try something new:-

(a) More outings
(b) Start meeting other Homeschooling parents
(c) Get in touch with our friends Fernando & Belen a lot more (seeing as they are Homeschooling their 6 year old son Jaeden – whom Leah loves so much)
(e) Schedule in Mummy & Leah Time, or Mummy & Leah days (independent of whether the activity involved ticks off Homeschooling requirements or not)
(f) Schedule in Me soul-time (and no, I must tell myself that this is not the same as working on my own projects!!!!)

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Thoughts Prior to First Day!

girl-doing-homework-350pxI am very excited as today is the the First Day of Homeschooling!

I am forming my own curriculum this year because I’m a little bit adventurous like that (or maybe I’m just OCD – I’ll let you choose that one! Ha!)

I have big plans although I am a realist and I realise that we may not get through all of the plans.

Today we will have:-

  • Outside Time (including gardening & exercise – jumping on the trampoline – nice and easy to kickstart the year)
  • Bible Time – We are currently reading through The Plagues
  • Reading & Writing
  • Maths – A simple activity sheet regarding shape – focussing on circles, includes colouring-in (a really good easy one to kick the year off with). I will talk about the circles in relation to bubbles.
  • Science  – We will learn about what forms a BUBBLE! We will blow bubbles, and then create soapy water and wash down the dogbed and/or the car
  • History – Leah has an interest in Egypt and we will start going through an educational kids book that we have on Egypt today (and it will be perfect to align with the Bible story of The Plagues, which occurred in Egypt)

Afterwards, we will go to Leah’s previous school (Montessori) where she will get to have some after-school free play with her best friend Marnie.

Then we head off for Leah’s first Gymnastics class!

I am hoping she will crawl into bed and crash.

 


 

pen-and-coffeeOther thoughts I have had include the fact that I really think Homeschooling will be the best thing for our little family all-round. I can see many benefits to being at home with the child. I feel like she will have a much more rounded life.

I was talking to a friend from church this past weekend, Jocelyn, and she revealed to me that she was homeschooled all her life. Jocelyn is the most accomplished young woman I have ever met and deeply and highly (secretly) admire her – a lot. Not only is she extremely pretty but she is very, very clever. She is a deeply humble woman who loves the Lord so much. She is kind and can carry a conversation with anybody, age is completely irrelevant to her. She has a great sense of fashion. She has wonderful musical abilities – I love the way she plays the piano and she has the most beautiful soprano voice I have ever heard. And she is an Accountant.

To have discovered that she was Homeschooled her entire life has given me hope that everything will be alright.

I don’t worry too much but I do worry sometimes that I might be setting my child back in some way. At other times I am confident, knowing that in fact it will be the opposite.

I also have a grand plan of how Homeschooling will be executed in my home. I have a Sample Week I’ve created that I am working from at the moment, but I know that this will be shaped as moulded as we go along.

I have also read that the grand plan is changed completely by the end of the first year of Homeschooling. I’ve also read that the grand plan has to change with the child’s learning and growing needs anyway.

I like to think that I have an open mind to this.

Jocelyn told me that her mother had an approach to give her girls “a wholistic life” rather than “controlling the child’s environment.” Jocelyn said that, from her perspective, many parents – especially conservative Christian parents – choose Homeschooling as a way to manage and monitor and control their child’s environment. Jocelyn’s personal belief is that this can fail the child and they end up growing into an awkward adult.

I think that she has a point.

I am glad she told me that because I have indeed come into this with a desire to provide Leah with a more wholistic life.

Now, let me go and wake the child and let’s do this!

More Zen

zen

Maybe I really should start Unschooling in my life.

I am part of an Unschooling Homeschool Group on Facebook and I got really really angry at some posts yesterday and I felt that Unschooling was clearly not for me. I didn’t understand how a mother struggling with her 11yo boy wanting to play ONLY console games all day was STRUGGLING. How do you STRUGGLE with that? You’re the parent, c’mon! Get your act together!

But part of me felt that I was missing something.

Then another lady posts that she is happy with Unschooling because she had told her kids that she would concentrate on her own job list for the day, and she said that helping their mum was optional. I was thinking, how on earth is helping OPTIONAL??? So when her 14yo boy reminds her that she has to drop him off at the local shopping centre for him to meet with his mates, she felt angry deep inside, but realised that dropping him off was never contingent on his helping her. So she stops doing what she’s doing, drops him off at the shops, and comes back to the utmost surprise that the rest of her kids have worked through her job list while she was away.

I was thinking, ‘That’s all well and good but does that happen for you EVERY day?’

I still don’t think Unschooling is for me. I think it would be way too radical for someone who was brought up with very authoritarian parents, someone who is “the eldest”, someone who has always enjoyed organising, scheduling and dare I say it, controlling (or what I like to call CREATING), to suddenly throw everything she’s known out the window and say, “Let’s totally Unschool !!!!!”

What I want to do with my homeschooling is a mix of , what I think is mostly referred to as Natural Learning, and Structured Learning. And pockets of Unschooling, where for sure we’ll do whatever comes our way and go and LEARN.

BUT…..

I am seeing value in the Unschooling philosophy, not so much for schooling, but for the rest of LIFE. (In saying that, Unschoolers will tell you that Unschooling IS Life).

Today I have felt frustrated because I had planned a Family Day Out today. With the husband on holidays, I wanted us to go to catch the ferry, walk through an art musuem, go bikeriding along The River, and take Leah to the awesome nature-based playground near there.

But the day started off on a bad foot. We all woke up in spirits of wanting to delve into our own thing. I was on the computer – writing. The husband was on his phone – scrolling and websurfing. Leah was playing with her Lego.

Then I thought, ‘Well, I want to have the family day out’. I told Leah that IF she wanted to have a day out with Mummy & Daddy, to please go and get dressed.

An hour later and she was still in her pyjamas. I asked her why she hadn’t gotten dressed. She said she doesn’t want to go out today but would like to go out tomorrow. That she just wants to play with her Lego today.

I didn’t quite know what to say to that because she is in her legitimate right to not wish to go out today, and the husband is on holidays so tomorrow is perfectly available for going out.

I felt frustrated.

 

But I came away thinking that maybe Unschooling has some real value for life lessons. Unschooling is where “nobody tells you what to learn, nobody tells you how to learn, there is no authority but the unschooler themselves, you learn to deal with uncertainty and you learn how to motivate yourself.” (Leo Babauta, in http://sett.com/unschoolery/defined). Just to share a few key points.

Although it is not something I can do with Homeschooling (I do believe there is great value in structure because society won’t always afford your child the opportunity to become an entrepreneur – which is what Unschooling seems to be geared towards), perhaps it is something I can take with me into LIFE.

I began to ask myself some questions.

Why is it that I need to schedule our family calendar? Maybe there is a silly so-called “need” of mine to simply have control.

Today being a perfect example – when nobody else showed an interest in my plans of a Family Day Out it made me really mad. And why? Is it because I feel the need to be in control and to be in authority?

Unschooling takes that out of the picture.

Why do I need to be the authority in our home? I don’t need to be. I am merely mirroring what I saw in my childhood home – my mother was the authority of the home. Our home was very matriarchal, with the confusing preaching from Mum about patriarchy and respecting our father because he was our father, and he had utmost authority “apparently”. (But he never did). I am awakening to the fact that I am merely repeating history.

I am realising that I don’t really want this for my home or my little family. But you see, I just don’t know any other way. Being strict and creating the rules and standards etc etc etc, comes from the belief that my mother always taught us – that one must guide the child. That one must guide the state of the home, the essence of the family, in order to produce healthy, happy & successful human beings. But maybe, just maybe, I could open up to a different way of doing things?

 

I think that I need to relinquish control. I need to just BE.

And that’s really what I want for 2017. I want more zen. That’s my goal this year.

And maybe it starts with realising that … “nobody tells you what to learn, nobody tells you how to learn, there is no authority but the unschooler themselves, you learn to deal with uncertainty and you learn how to motivate yourself.”

A Thing to Learn from Unschooling

My friend Ella, who is a school teacher, had told me towards the end of last year that I had a huge task ahead of me if I had decided to create my own school curriculum. She had exhorted me not to try and invent the wheel and to keep it as simple as possible. She pleaded with me to get a hurry on the task. I just wish people would understand that ‘simple’ just isn’t the way I operate!  I want to be creative! I want to make my own way in this world! I have been like this since childhood and I ain’t gonna change now! 

My neighbour Tracey is also a school teacher and she had kindly offered to help me with writing up the curriculum and planning for the year. I was thankful but not entirely sure I wanted somebody else to know in great detail about what I was planning or not planning. To be honest, I’m a little bit of a private person when it comes to my ventures and I just don’t want the feedback (or criticism). Reason being that I rarely jump into new ventures and adventures without heavy research of all the pros, cons and in-betweens to begin with. By the time I’ve made a decision and announced it, it’s very much set in stone for me.

When we were away on our trip, my mother in law Louise, who is also a school teacher explained to me that school teachers don’t limit the child’s learning to academic learning but rather see it as a wholistic paradigm – meaning that the child gains so many more things from attending school. 

hippy-lady-playing-guitar

I wanted to say, “My wholistic is bigger than your wholistic.”

Of course I didn’t. One must use self-control in society and put on a polite and cooperative smile.

I’m just starting to see that I will not be receiving open support from school teachers all-round, that’s for sure. We have vastly different perspectives, that’s why. And for that reason alone, an agreed fusion between homeschooling parents and institutionalised teachers will never work. In the end, the teachers surrounding me will just have to have a little faith because I am pretty confident that I am going to LOVE this gig and it’s going to be frgn awesome for both my daughter and our little family.

excessively-strict-teacher

All in all, I am still working on my Homeschooling application. I have discovered that it is actually more difficult than you’d think. Mostly because it is hard to get onto paper what I have in my mind. I know exactly and perfectly how I am going to deliver my teaching to my child. (I realise that every Homeschooling parent’s plan changes along the way). But how to get that down on paper?

In my search for ideas on how to write my statement, I have been searching through the many Homeschooling Facebook Groups I have joined. One of them is an Unschooling Group. This is different to Natural Learning. From what I gather, Natural Learning is the acknowledgement and understanding that every facet of life present an opportunity for learning. I really resonate with that. I love learning. My life purpose is learning. Continual learning. I am always researching a topic of interest or another, and I read and I self-inform and I gather information. It’s my life hobby. So I totally resonate with Natural Learning.

Unschooling? Not so much. I really hope I’ve glimpsed an extreme of the philosophy, but if the snippets of Unschooling forum discussions that I have read so far are anything to go by, it seems to me that Unschooling is allowing the child free reign to self-learn. (Sounds great in theory).

Or in my more sinister way of viewing it at first, I saw it as the lazy parent’s great Out where they don’t have to take the child to school every day – because who wants to do the dreaded school run, right – so they choose Unschooling where they don’t have to teach the child either cos the child can have free reign to do whatever the hell the child feels like doing at any point in time and the parent can pretend it’s called Learning. Overly sinister much? Perhaps.

It was just that when I read about an 11 year old boy not wanting to learn anything because all he was self-choosing and self-directing to do was to play console games all day, I wondered, “What did you expect your 11 year old would do when given free reign – choose to create new policy and become the next president?”

cute-that-you-let-your-child-get-away-with-everything

I get that there are different modalities of anything in this world. Different paradigms and perspectives. Different shifts in society and with that comes different opinions, beliefs and philosophies. I’m all for everyone having their own views in this world, and to live their own lives and walk their own paths according to their gait. I’m just saying that Unschooling is – clearly – not for me.

And smack-bang: I’m the intitutionalised teacher with cane in her hand. “Don’t invent the wheel,” I say. “You need to give your child a wholistic approach to learning,” I say.

“But maybe our wholistic is bigger than your wholistic,” replies Unschooling.

Whatever, I retort.

I proceed to gather a few examples of curriculum statements, thinking that it will be easy to just edit as I need to. And I am under the false assurance that, voila, I will be able to present someone else’s edited curriculum statement. Now there’s a great example of not inventing the wheel, Ella!

But I discover that this isn’t how it works either. And I will tell you what I discovered – quite simply, every parent / home educator is different; every home is different; every family is different; and every child is different. Quite simply.

I quickly learn that Unschooling must totally work for those families who Unschool! While I’m all wrapped up in judgment here in my little corner of not having begun the Homeschooling journey yet, there are parents who have probably been Unschooling for 20 years and who have perfectly able and capable children-turned-adults creating policy and becoming the next president. Because those very parents made their own mark in the world!

I realise that I could learn a thing or two from them. Perhaps I could learn that one must make waves if one wishes to gain momentum in this world. One must step boldly forward and do it all on one’s own. (I still don’t think the 11 year old will become the next president unless taught how to make wise independent decisions, but that’s just my haughty opinion remaining).

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So I am left to my own planning.

Now if I could just pick my teenage brain from the 1990’s who was great at planning, self-organisation, ticking lists off, completing projects on time and actually going to bed early, I might be half as successful as I was back then.

At 1:15am, my teenage self could really help me right now.

Oh wait, she’d have been 5 hours asleep.

It’s definitely my own gig here.

 

 

 

 

Overwhelm at The Plethora

As Christmas is fast approaching and before I know it, it will be the New Year with its new journey of Homeschooling, I have begun to reach out to others so that I can perhaps join a group of other Homeschoolers.

I thought it would be easy. But little did I know…

I asked the simple question in a Facebook Group if there were Homeschooling parents that met in my area. The answers were varied but essentially all agreed that I needed to search for these groups myself. One lady was kind enough to actually post the link for some directory that exists, which allowed me to trawl through many Facebook Groups.

WOW. How many of these groups have to exist ?!?!

I was overwhelmed at first, but trudged on through reading descriptions and Closing any Groups that did not appeal or were not relevant to me. As I have been added to each of the Groups I requested membership to, I have noticed that it is still virtually up to me to reach out.

I began to wonder why there was no official body or association that could create and manage these Groups and why is it all so unofficial? There was a plethora of different Groups! They ranged from activity-based groups to area-based groups to homeschooling-style groups. Some where Christian, some were Pagan, some were Muslim. Some were HEU-based (Home Education Unit) and some were Natural-learning based. Some were for parents who are Homeschooling children with disabilities, and some were for parents Homeschooling children who are completing high school. 

As I thought about this vast array of people, I realised that Homeschooling is definitely not one shape fits all. It is no wonder that it can be so ‘unofficial’ and so overwhelming.

I have a few friends from childhood that already homeschool their children, including two best friends. So you could say that I don’t desperately need to seek out new people. But I know that we all homeschool for different reasons, and via different means, and have children of different ages. Relying on these friends for regular get-togethers is not what I want to do. In fact, it will be near impossible.

So I would hate to be a parent who is entirely new to the Homeschooling concept. It could be pretty scary!

Thankfully, along these searching travels, I met a lady called Sarah who was willing to impart lots of information about a most wonderful group that gets together to provide a vast range of topics to children of all ages on a regular basis. It is held on the other side of town by for something like what the group offers, I myself am willing to travel.

As I also scrolled through all the new Facebook Groups I was added to, I became excited about everything that is available for Homeschooling children these days: nature walks, science workshops, French & Spanish classes, safety workshops, camps! 

cougar-climber_oregon-parks-and-recreation-department

I am really looking forward to next year. I can’t wait to start our new journey. As neither can Leah to be honest! She was asking me this morning if we could start soon. I told her that we virtually could start now if she wanted.

(Never mind that she basically already has, what with school holidays and so far we’ve had discoveries in the garden, playing with a calculator exploring addition and division, wearing an educative-toy wrist-watch where she could move the hands to suit as she watched the time move on the wall clock throughout the entire afternoon, playing with rhyming and alternate twists on song lyrics, making a huge jug of iced tea all by herself, dressing up like an Egyptian with cardboard bangles on wrists and ankles, self-made science experiments, and baking with daddy!)

But then I said no – we should really just enjoy “doing nothing” for awhile. There’s my birthday to come, her closest cousin’s birthday to come, Christmas and New Years to come. After that, I said, we will begin.

She just can’t wait 🙂

 

 

 

 

Mixed Emotions and All That Jazz

I haven’t even begun Homeschooling and already it has been such a crazy journey!

On 18th October I gave official notice to my daughter’s school that I would not be re-enrolling her at the school for next year. I was nervous, happy and sad – all at the same time.

For a little while I couldn’t help but think about all the things that she would be missing out by not going to school; things like School Photos, School Sports Day, performing before an audience with peers, that kind of thing. I shared my thoughts with my close friend Renee who has just begun her own Homeschooling journey with her 10 year old daughter and she expressly assured me that there are so many exciting aspects to homeschooling that these things are not missed.

I knew that Homeschooling would be very exciting. I knew that it would be AWESOME. But whenever we move on from one phase of life to another, we have these mixed emotions, don’t we. And that was a phase that I certainly experienced.

abstract-mixed-emotions

I then went on to feel just plain sadness. Sadness about leaving my own community, my own friends. It’s my daughter’s school – but it’s my community. I felt sad for a long time, it lasted quite a few weeks. I almost did not WANT to homeschool my child. The feelings of loss were quite strong.

I asked the question in an online forum for Homeschooling parents about their own journeys of having left a school and their own community also. Again I received an overwhelming response from parents reassuring me that I WILL meet new people in my Homeschooling journey who will be just as wonderful, and that my own daughter will too. At the time I wasn’t feeling strong and I just wanted to cry, and I wanted to say, “But I don’t want to meet new people”.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…

I giggle at human emotions. They are incredibly fickle and childish, and yet so intricately important and valid.

Since getting through that phase of mixed emotions and then sadness, I have been really happy and very resolute in my decision. My own little girl is excited !!!  As the year draws to an end, I told her that she had just two more weeks left of school. She responded excitedly, “Oooh! And does that mean I get to start Homeschooling after that?” I said yes, not realising at first that, in her child’s mind, she would think starting homeschooling meant starting the very next day after school finished! I then said, “Well, not straight away. You have school holidays first – and then we’ll start Homeschooling after New Years.” She was a bit disappointed! So funny.

I have been slowly sharing my decision with different parents at the school. My own family is very happy and excited for me because I come from an alternative upbringing which means most of my family members see a lot of value in Homeschooling and are happy for my decision. My parents carved the way for alternative living, against all manner of criticism and status quo, and it is not an easy path to take. I admire them very, very much. A lot of my own decisions are ‘alternative’ by hangover! But I’m not as strong as my parents are. It’s easier for me because it’s easy to state the case that ‘alternative’ is what I know. So when sharing my decision with others, I have chosen to tread carefully.

My daughter currently attends an independent Montessori school so a lot of the people that are part of the community are alternative thinkers in the first place. Sharing my decision has been met with understanding most of the time and, surprisingly, with many parents saying that they would love to homeschool their children too, if not for work restraints. Other parents are Montessori enthusiasts and do not see alternatives to Montessori as a valid choice.

Reading through Homeschooling blogs and forums has kept me open-minded to the fact that many more people might be adamantly against my choice. I brazenly shared my decision with my neighbour, Tracey, who is a school teacher. I knew that, her being a school teacher, would mean she might have her own opinion on the matter. When I shared it with her, she didn’t jump for joy but she did offer to help me with ideas and where to obtain educational materials from. I really appreciated this.

My own mother in law is a former school teacher and she stated that if Homeschooling were to be “done correctly”, that it could be very beneficial for the child. She also offered help with ideas.

But little was I prepared for the onslaught that was brought on when I shared my decision with my close friend, Ella, who is also a school teacher. She wanted to help me to “make the right decision” and talked to me about the need to keep the child at the centre of the decision, and not my own whims. She talked about the need to keep my marriage as a consideration because “teaching isn’t as easy as everybody thinks”. And she told me that I have taken myself completely out of the picture and that I am just going to run myself into the ground, stressed and exhausted, falling at the seams.

She had also told me that I must believe I am Superwoman – to be able to do it all. Run a business, launch my counselling service, and home-educate my child. This accusation came as a real shock to me because we’ve always had a very solid and supportive friendship. And if anything, I admire HER so much for all of the things that she accomplishes – she is the real Superwoman! And I mean that with love! She is an author, she is a community awareness ambassador on safety and the environment, she is continually quoted in newspapers and tweeted about, and she has a local park named after her! How was THIS woman accusing me of trying to be Superwoman? Was she JEALOUS ?! I felt sad, to be honest. I never expected such a tirade from my own very close friend.

jealousy-is-when

Of course, she made VERY valid points and looking after my own is certainly one of the things that I have kept in mind in my lead-up to the decision. I have been informing myself as much as I can. What people don’t often know about me – and this may come as a surprise to many because I can be so happy-go-lucky and go-with-the-flow and super-social and bigger-than-life – is that I am a massive researcher. I mentally strip myself of what I know or have been taught, then I gather information, I analyse it, I re-analyse it, I methodically categorise it, I tick off boxes, I make lists and schedules… all before making a massive decision that will impact my child, my  marriage, my little family.

The conversation with Ella left me shaking afterwards and I couldn’t shake off the assumptions she’d made about me for the rest of the day. This was a HUGE opportunity to take stock of none other than Me and where I stand with myself. I kept thinking about what Ella had said and realising more and more that these were HER fears, HER worries, HER reasons for not homeschooling her own child “even though she is a qualified teacher”. I started to realise that she could only speak from her own life experience and that, at the end of the day, she is not ME.

And I realised for the first time what these Homeschooling blogs were talking about. Ahhhh… I thought. So this is what it can be like.I read a quote that said, “Choose to feel confident rather than angry and insecure.” And isn’t that such a strong message: CHOOSE to feel confident.

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I read another playful one later which brought giggles.

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And after that, I moved on with strength.

PS, Ella and I quickly made up and we are still best friends.

Thoughts on Homeschooling

So I just want to explore the concept of Homeschooling.

This is something that I was interested in about 3 months ago when I started thinking about the possibility of SAVING MONEY by doing Homeschooling. Wow, isn’t that so incredibly superficial, but there you have it! (Sometimes a great concept can begin as a not so humble superficial thought!)

At that time I started reading about Homeschooling for the pure purpose of finding out how it all works. As I got more and more into reading on the topic, I started getting EXCITED because I began to see that Homeschooling really paves the way for TRUE LIFE LIVING. I began to see that I could have such an amazing life. I could have the dream I always dreamed (but always thought was out of reach). I could give my daughter that amazing life! I really started to see, albeit, the very rosy side of Homeschooling.

In all fairness, I did also come across a blog about how difficult Homeschooling can be. It was a blog written by a Homeschooling mother who runs her own business from home, her husband does too, they’ve got 5 kids and it all gets very chaotic. But the whole point in her blog entry was this: despite all the chaos, Homeschooling is still not impossible.

Anyway, for awhile, during those few weeks that I was looking into Homeschooling, I was keeping my thoughts from my husband believing that, for sure, he was not going to agree on Homeschooling our child (because he is generally such a traditional type of guy). But I was sweetly surprised, as he always does surprise me. He said he didn’t mind the idea of HOMESCHOOLING but his only concern was whether I would be able to keep up with a strict schedule of academics, or keep a schedule at all, because he knows that I am naturally a bit haphazard. He kind of had a point and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to leave this on the backburner’. Reason being that it did touch on a weakness of mine. I thought, ‘If he’s already got that concern, I just don’t want to delve into it any further.’ It suddenly got too hard.

The other reason was that I thought he wasn’t actually interested in opening up his mind to Homeschooling but perhaps was not able to tell me straight out. (It’s hard for us women to reconcile that what a man says is truly what he actually means!)  (I also sometimes buy into the fallacy that others believe regarding us – that I wear the pants and he shakes in his boots. I appear very fierce but it’s a strong man who can tame a Latin-American woman, let me tell you that much!)

So the thought regarding Homeschooling is niggling at me again – and not just niggling. It’s woken me up and slapped me across the face today. The compelling feeling within me was so strong today that it almost had a life of its own. This morning I woke up and I felt with all my heart that I did not want to face the day. I get that this happens to the best of us from time to time, but this heaviness came so out of left-field, given that we’d had a wonderful last few days. This seeming darkness was so strong that I really felt there was something in this for me. Something strange. Something I wasn’t sure that I was ready for. And then it came to me:

This school routine kills my spirit.

And I thought – BAM – Then why do I have to put up with this? Why can’t I live a life that lets me have my full spirit?

I’ve talked to God about it. I asked God what He thought and I listened quietly. Sometimes God guides your thoughts to give you an answer immediately. Not always, but if you listen to the quiet inside you, He can. And He pointed out to me something that I had grossly chosen to overlook at our last parent information session – that the school is heavily Evolutionary (versus Creationary). I had convinced myself that I just had to keep the conversations flowing with Leah regarding God and His wonderful beauty, purpose and Existence. But here was this thought: The school ignores Me and calls me ‘something’ and ‘universe’ and ‘whatever you want to call it’. I’m not any of those things. I am the LORD your God.

This thought seemed to reveal itself to me completely out of context, popping into my head out of the blue and that seemed to be my first coin dropping.

Three months ago I didn’t mention my thoughts regarding Homeschooling to Leah at all whatsoever. She is only 6, after all, and these were just thoughts of mine at the time. All I did was begin to make mention to her of other kids that do HOMESCHOOLING. Such as Leaf, who was in her classroom, but is now doing HOMESCHOOLING. Most recently another little friend of hers, Dustin, is now going to start Homeschooling. Coincidentally, my little sister Isalia was also considering the possibility of leaving school and doing HOMESCHOOLING. So Leah has heard this word coming and going over the last 3 months. I’ve never said THIS COULD BE YOU but today I did.

I started the conversation about ‘a new school’ and it surprised me to discover that Leah was really excited about the prospect of trying a new school. If I could only explain to you just how out of character this is for Leah, who has always been so wary of new people, environments and situations – to the point where she said No to starting Gymnastics this Term because she felt intimidated about the idea of meeting girls that are a few years older than her; to the point that in 4 years of attending the same church, she still sticks by my side while I enjoy coffee with my church friends afterwards. To me, her excited reaction regarding ‘a new school’ was a big thing. It was another coin dropping.

Then I mentioned HOMESCHOOLING to her.

Her face was beaming.

I told her that HOMESCHOOLING isn’t just hanging out at home. It’s doing lots of different jobs, “You’re helping mummy, you’re learning mathematics and spelling, then we might do music, then you  might do sports, then you might do some cooking, then you might do some gardening”. She seemed REALLY keen.

The only thing is that , this would be a whole new vocation for me. A whole new direction in my life. What I’ve been trying to do the last 3 months is to work on my own business as well as working on OUR business. I’ve been wanting to work on my own business, and I’ve been getting myself active with that sort of thing – attending business lunches, information sessions, seminars, webinars, reading up on entrepreneurial tips  – actively gathering information and trying to get the word out there.

But with these sudden thoughts of Homeschooling my child, I’m sort of at a crux now.

Does it mean that my energies are now going to be focussed elsewhere? Is it just NOT TIME once again to do what I really want to do? I have to laugh. I had to put my business off because I suddenly found myself pregnant, then I had to put it off because I found myself launching a business with my husband, and now I’m putting it off because I’ve suddenly decided I should be Homeschooling my child? Somebody slap me!

What if I just focussed on other things I can do online such as selling my art, or my writings, or start blogging?  Or what about being able to do Skype sessions with people across the world between my timezone and others in their timezones? Maybe I could sell my tips in a book? Maybe the business structure that I thought I was going to give my business, isn’t? What if it’s something I can do at night when my child has gone to bed?

I don’t know how exhausted I’ll be after a big day of Homeschooling.

So I don’t know. These are all just thoughts at this stage.

But you know what, I think I’m getting really EXCITED about Homeschooling. That right there is a big clue that this should be something I should follow. Why don’t I follow it?

The only thing is that I would still like to be able to attend business information sessions or seminars and at such times, what would I do about my child? I would need to turn to a Babysitter. In that regard, I’m going to have to really do my research on  a bunch of local babysitters and see how much they each cost and work out whether they would be able to help me with this or that. In saying that, I do have my little sister, Chelsis, who does babysitting for us when we need a night out. It could just mean that this could be an opportunity for Chelsis to gain more work hours.

All in all, for me, this year has been a year about getting in touch with the essence of, the core of, Me and what I really, really WANT to be doing. And you know, this is a massive and surprising curve ball. A very surprising but a very good curve ball because maybe I THOUGHT I wanted to throw myself into THIS kind of  business, but maybe I just really want to be HOMESCHOOLING my child and working an online / blogging business?

Either way, I think I’m getting very excited about this. So watch this space!