So yeah, we’ve been home educating for nearly 2 years and this
September finds us in the same position as before, carrying on as we
do with Home Education. I’m excited because this year there’s going
to be a lot of big changes, such as Warren starting University, so
we’ve got a lot to look forward to as a family.
I imagine as the years roll by we’ll be used to this crazy
journey, but at the moment I still find it new, sometimes scary and
certainly with its challenges. The negatives are hugely based on
outsiders, strangers, people who are pretty against anything not
considered ‘the norm’, but even with that knowledge, sometimes you
can still be worn down by other people’s opinions…
So I thought I’d write this for the newbies, the ones still at the
start of their journey, or the ones like me, who are still getting
themselves ‘bedded in’ to a world of wonder and enchantment. Because,
if home ed works for you, that’s exactly what it is!
The judgement of others…
It’s very hard to not take other people’s words to heart when you
embark on this journey, because it means so much to you and your
child(ren), how can you not be hurt by harsh, rash and often
inappropriate comments? I’ve had absolute strangers question me about
my life and our life choices, something I’d never dream of doing to
somebody else. So what advice can I give? Ha! Well, firstly I’d say
if you wake up in a fragile mood, try not to engage too much with
strangers, or if you do keep it minimal. I often find my fragile
times cause me to come home teary if a stranger has told me how home
education can’t offer socialisation (!) or the chance to experience
bullying (I will NEVER understand this one!), BUT if I’m in a good,
strong and positive state of mind I either cut the conversation short
or I do my best to allow this person to see things from an
alternative point of view.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day…
The problem with indoctrination…
Some people will NEVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER see things from a home
educators point of view. They can’t. They believe life should follow
the path of birth-NCT classes-pre-nursery- nursery-
school-college-university. I jest, of course, because it can follow
this path, but it can also follow many others, such as home education
for a few years, or forever, or no degree because college is enough,
or maybe they want to work in Tesco straight from school; whatever
choice a child makes as they grow up, parents need to remember, it’s
their choice. My children are fully aware that they can go back to
school whenever they like, all my job covered was taking them out of
a place that they didn’t feel safe or happy. It’s called
safeguarding, and it’s my main job as a parent.
The people that will never let this ‘norm’ go may see, one day
many years from now, just how special home education can be.
Why you should hold your head up high…
You’ve made this decision with information, research and passion. Not on a whim. You can’t do it on a whim, even though that’s what people like to tell me I did. I didn’t even know it was a legal option until about a week before I took the kids out, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t do my research. I’ve always loved a bit of research, so that’s what I did. I found websites, statistics, the law and I also found a vast community of beautiful people on Facebook. People I could talk with, cry with and people who would listen and advise. You’re doing something amazing, you’re brave because you’re not simply conforming, you’re not doing what you’re told, and that kinda scares people. So hold your head high, because you are wonderful.
Things might change…
I think sometimes it can be easy to continue as you are at the start of the journey. I did. But then I began to realise that our lifestyle wouldn’t always work alongside other people’s. I realised not everyone ‘approved’ (and this used to worry me. But why? Why do I need anyone’s approval for doing things our way?!) and I realised I couldn’t carry on as before. We’re a bit more solo as a family where we live now, but with this peace comes more time to do. More time for home ed sessions, or long walks in the forest, or more time to cook together or read together, or more time to sit and really concentrate on a project without the confines of a timetable ruining the joy of having a passion for something. Sometimes you need to shed, shed your own skin and shed the negativities around you, shed the old and make way for the new.
Not everyone will judge…
The strangest of times are when you pre-empt someone and they totally surprise you. I’ve had people remark, ‘How wonderful!’ and ‘You’re so lucky!’ to the the children, as well as people genuinely interested in why and what we do. These moments are amazing, they shock me because they happen a lot less compared to the negative comments or disapproving remarks. But when they happen they make me feel as high as a kite.
Go to groups…
Home Education groups, when you find one that suits your family, can be a wonderful thing. Just seeing another home ed family gives me a buzz and I feel re-energised once I’ve attended a group. There’s a sense of belonging, a sense of understanding and a sense of love.
Live for the now…
I’m a born worrier. At the start of our journey I used to spend a lot of time worrying. But over time I realised it wasn’t really getting me anywhere, in fact, it was hindering my day-to-day mood. So, I decided to live more in the moment, because each day is precious and worrying about other people, their opinions are thoughts, it just wasn’t worth it.
So, be proud you’re doing the right thing for your children, be proud you’re breaking free from ‘what’s expected’, hold your head high and enjoy every moment. Because, in a blink of an eye a year passes by…
So, good luck on your journey, wherever your family may go.