I’ve just had a few days with my grown-up home educated daughter who is now living and working independently away from the home. And seeing her, I wondered what I could write that would help all you parents who have that wonderful joy to come, but who might be a bit swamped with worries right now as I was.
Perhaps the best thing I could say is; use your imagination!
I’d never have imagined, when both our children were here full time home schooling and it was a roller coaster of uncertainty, that one day they would be grown and flown. But then, I didn’t know anyone with grown up home educated kids who could reassure me and I didn’t have the network of the web, like there is now, to find any!
But imagination helps a lot when you’re a parent particularly a home educating one. Imagination helps you see beyond the millions of little concerns that bombard you every day. And I’ve learnt that it helps to imagine both BIG and small as you ride the pitch and tumble of that roller coaster.
Instead of staying stuck with their reading, for example, I used to say to myself; okay, she doesn’t get it now but that doesn’t mean she’ll never get it.
In her life a long way ahead I imagined my child reading, texting, typing, writing and living an ordinary life. And that’s exactly what she’s doing now and there was nothing special I put in place to get her there, just carried on encouraging. And I can imagine it will be exactly the same for you and your children – hard though it may be for you to imagine right now. But it will!
It really helps to employ this strategy whenever you’re overwhelmed. Imagine far ahead. Imagine what you want to happen, not obsess about what’s not happening.
In the bigger picture, very, very few children actually end up not being able to read, not being able to use number, or write effectively, or live their lives productively (and I bet most of them went to school), so stop worrying!
Imagine beyond the immediate stuff to the much BROADER picture and you’ll shrink down a worry that seems huge when it’s in your face.
Worry is a vicious vortex that can pull you down into it. Then you end up being negative when in actual fact there are so many little things to be positive about and positivity is a far more effective practice. (And sometimes, it needs practise!)
That’s when it helps to think small.
Take a small minute to think about the positive things your child can do. Change focus; focus on their lovely smiles and hugs, how they’ve grown and progressed already, doing things they once found hard. Or just focus on the beauty of a tiny flower, a butterfly, a picture, taking your mind away from the big concern. Little things we take for granted every day often can dilute bigger worries. We just have to notice them. Appreciation is part of being positive.
And sometimes an issue just left alone resolves itself. And that’s also true with learning. Sometimes kids need time to develop a bit and what was a major hurdle suddenly becomes easily leaped.
Coping with the issues of parenting our beautiful kids, educating them, showing them how to grow and how to be, is challenging. Always. But it is also a blessing. Always! A blessing some never experience.
Thinking both big and small helps take the sting out of these challenges. And to use your imagination to help you overcome them, as well as for education, will make them more easily surmountable.
As I return from my holiday with my lovely grown up daughter I now know that to be true!