I loved home educating…

 “How on earth did you cope with home educating?”

I get asked this a lot. And I find it hard to answer because I never thought of it as ‘coping’, we just did it. And it was easy really because overriding any challenging bits were all the things there are to love about it.

I loved to hear the kids chattering away as they played. I loved the curls of laughter circling through the house infecting everybody. I loved the return of the children’s bright eyes, their effervescence, their enthusiasm and energy which had died in school. I loved their motivation and sparkle, their ideas and innovation and ingenuity.

I loved the diversity of the activities we did. The imaginative play and investigation, story making, make believe, craft work, sculpting, socialising, group work, study of what interested them when it interested them. The experimenting, gardening, cooking, constructing. The sports like canoeing, ice-skating, horse riding, wall climbing. The fascinating visits to museums, galleries, theatres, nature reserves. The den-making indoors and out – and even the activities that were unidentifiable and nameless. They were all fascinating and educative.

I loved the freedom they had to develop their own skills and talents. The flexibility their learning had; flexible time-tables and curriculum, dropped if something better came up. I loved the fact we could change plans for field study when the weather was good or just to go to the beach, or stay indoors snugly when the weather was desperate and not worry whether they were well enough to go to school of a morning. I loved the opportunity to go and play in the snow when it fell and come in and cook hot wholesome meals together afterwards and shut ourselves by the fireside with books.

I loved that we could take holidays when we liked and never worry about school runs or packed lunches or homework or uniforms.

I loved their teen years when their lives and potentials began to blossom and discussions about future pathways dominated the plans.

I loved being a Home Educating parent. I definitely preferred it to being the parent of a child in school. I loved it more than I ‘coped’ with it, even though there were times like that, but isn’t that the same for all parents?

Obviously there were times I doubted. Times when I lost focus and worried that the children were not achieving what everyone else was achieving. Times when we were at loggerheads. Times when I would have gladly sold the kids to the Pied Piper if he’d been passing. And no doubt times when the children would have done the same to me.

But the thing that helped the pendulum swing back again, as it did very quickly, was the fact that this really is the same for all parents whether they are Home Educating or not.

It is also the same for any job you do whether it is in the home or in a workplace. It is the same for life in general and relationships in general. Life takes some getting through at times whatever you’re doing. Worry and tricky bits are not exclusive to home educating or any worse because of it.

Tricky bits happen to all parents from all different circumstances. They happen in all family households and all family relationships. Not just Home Educating families and not just Home Educating relationships. I discovered that parents of children in school have just as many battles as we did except theirs were with getting them up and off to school, homework and friendships.

And just like with all aspects of parenting the home educating stage has gone now, all those problems got solved, the kids turned out okay, normal, happy. And are even still speaking to us!

So how did I cope? I didn’t have to cope in any way other than all parents cope with being a parent – you grow with it over time and learn as you go.

I loved home educating, I wouldn’t have done any of it differently, don’t regret anything about it and I wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world.

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17 thoughts on “I loved home educating…

  1. Spot on, Ross! That’s a good point to make – the distinction between parenting struggles and HE. Struggles are normal regardless of the way the family choses to educate. It’s one of those things that I’d never thought of that way before, but when reading what you wrote, I thought, ‘Of course’. The gift that your excellent writing gives – clarity of truth. And entertaining to boot 🙂

  2. I also sometimes wish I could do the home educating bit again, but perhaps my grandchildren will be another opportunity. My boys both say they will seriously consider it for their children so I am imagining that! I guess sometimes when you are in the midst of life you are so busy doing it that you dont realise how good it is until its over. I have very fond memories of home ed and hope the new home edders settle into it fast and enjoy it immediately as there is nothing to worry about!

  3. we often get asked the same question and i often want to reply in kind! it’s our lifestyle and we love it. not a day goes past that we have regretted the decision (although that doesn’t mean there aren’t stressful days!)
    thank you for your writing and for reminding us that your kids turned out normal. it’s a great encouragement to those of us just starting out on our home ed journey.

  4. We get asked the same thing all the time too. I love being with my family and they love home ed too. I wouldn’t want it any other way and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I have not had one day when I have regretted our decision (although there are tough days!) I want to ask them, how do you do it? sending your family away for hours every day and rotating your life around school?
    Thank you for being such an encouragement to those of us just starting on our home ed journey. It’s nice to know the kids turned out okay 🙂 lol

  5. Great post!

    I think that the home educating part is the easy bit. If all I had to do was the home educating – without all the other stuff that needs to be maintained or juggled – it would be a breeze 🙂

    Although the early HE days with three young children were sometimes (ok, often) tough, when I look back it’s been an wonderful journey. I’m even a little envious of those just starting out on the journey with their young children, as my kids have already grown out of many of those early activities we did. But on the plus side, as the kids get older, I’m finally catching a glimmer of some of the outcomes of our leap of faith, and it’s amazing!

    • Thanks so much for posting that…It’s so inspirational for others to know of people going through it and out the other side – even if a little remorsefully! I think what I miss the most with the very young ones is their complete and utter awe at the world, it’s beautiful to witness and home educators get it all the time! BWs x

  6. Very nicely put. I’m with you both, children are a blessing from God, not a heavy burden to be borne.

    One of my favorite things about learning at home is going to museums, zoos and such when almost no one else is there. Now it’s hard to put up with a super busy time at these places when we have to attend then for some reason. I feel for the parents who have no choice but to go on the weekends and during the holidays because that’s the only time available for them!!

    I really like how you remind us that all parents have tough times to get through with their kids, just ours are a little (or a lot) different than the norm. 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for your wonderful compliments Joy. It is a joy to receive them. Obviously, since we think so much alike, it must surely therefore be that we both have great minds! 🙂 x

  8. I love how, time and again, you voice what I’ve been thinking but in a much more articulate way *lol* I know parenting isn’t easy but I find it a bit sad sometimes when people use negative words – like ‘cope’ – when talking about children, and how they look forward to the holidays being over for the little ‘uns to go back to school …
    I LOVE home-educating too; I think its the best thing you can do as a family and if I had my way, I’d get every family to try it, at least once. As the boys get older (G will be 17 in just over a week! Eeeek!!!), there’s a part of me that feels a little melancholy that our home-ed adventure will be over in only a few years *sigh*
    Btw, loved reading about how your girls are doing now — well-done to them, and to you too! And you’re still inspiring us – Thanks! xx

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