Re-starting the Home Education adventure

The time after the Christmas hols can be a bit gloomy! Families go back to work, back to school and back to routine.

So I always felt a sense of joy that home education didn’t have to be like that. It was like restarting an exciting adventure of doing it a bit differently!

Course, it’s a fine line between excitement and sheer panic. But then it was the same with the children in school, except none of it was exciting.

Panics like whether they’re really well enough to go, whether they’re going to be in trouble because they’re bored, whether they’re going to be picked on again – and I don’t just mean by the other children! And why they had a radical personality change in term time and always looked so glum.

Home Education took those panics away. They children remained mostly well, they had radiant smiles and remained cooperative, motivated, achieved and were great to be around. We just loved being and learning together.

There is a view that children have to ‘get used’ to school stresses to harden them to life’s stresses. But we, and other home educating families like us, feel that this is not the case. Children learn how to deal with stress as and when they need to because they are confident, competent and in charge of their education and their lives, have learnt that they have some control over it and how to manage it.

Besides, there are a few things about education that we learnt as home educators that belie what you might think from schooling:

  • Education doesn’t have to be stressful.
  • It doesn’t have to be a fast and furious treadmill to be effective. Nor dulled with routine.
  • It doesn’t have to be constantly measured (or tested) to be successful.
  • Neither does it necessarily need to be structured, timetabled, curriculum bound or age related, to work well, although all of these are useful tools at times.
  • Children learn better when they’re relaxed, engaged with and enjoying their learning.
  • And it doesn’t take years and years of practice to learn something. Children learn very quickly when they’re inspired, motivated, developmentally ready and see the purpose, are stimulated and happy!
  • Which means they have far more time for other personal pursuits; as developmentally valuable as anything labelled education!

There are plenty of home educated young people now out in the world living successful and productive lives who are living proof.

Just wanted to remind you of those things as you settle back into your home education after Christmas! Although when you lead a home educating life, learning never ceases does it!

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15 thoughts on “Re-starting the Home Education adventure

  1. To any homeschooling family,a cool thing to do with the homeschooled kids is to start a family business, everyone helps out.It has so much to offer everyone involved.And a bit of entrepeneurial experience is priceless.

  2. Hi Ross
    I am brand new to HE this term after thinking about it for some time. I have 5 children, the ones I am home educating are 11 and 14 and thoroughly miserable at secondary school. My son, the 11 year old has Aspergers syndrome which has its own challenges. I have read your books, I loved a ‘funny kind of education’ and didn’t want it to end. I am suffering with the panics and wobbles that you and many others are describing but I am telling myself its a trial and they can return to school at any time. I will be using your books and blogs to remind me to relax and enjoy it and keep me strong. I will also be using many of your ideas, so thank you for the inspiration,

    kind regards

    Gaynor

    • What a super comment – thank you very much Gaynor. So appreciated! Panics are perfectly normal, especially at the start – but then we’re anxious about them in school aren’t we! It’s not exclusive to HE! Have you joined some of the HE Facebook groups? They’re so supportive – especially for sharing wobbles and you’ll get a wide range of ideas from confident parents who have gone through the same as you! Might help a bit. All the best and thanks again for taking time to leave me your lovely remarks about the books! x

  3. Thank you Ross.. first day back for schooled kids usually gives me a little bit of anxiety that mine aren’t going back because it’s just the norm that they go back and none of my friends HE their kids…. however it soon passes. As we unschool then they just carry on as they were throughout the holidays and the days can be different and since I’m a go with the flow kind of person this isn’t too difficult for me, I’m not a structured or routine person and nor are the kids.
    I don’t think it’s just education for the kids though either I think it’s also for us, what we do and what we learn too, either on our own or through/with them. I love it all really but do still have wobbles even after 2 years. Thank you for your blog posts : )
    Yvonne x

    • What a super message Yvonne, I so appreciate you taking time to tell me that. You’re so right in that we learn as well as the kids – I think home educating taught me as much as the children, albeit different lessons! You carry on loving it all – that’s how education should be! 🙂

  4. You are always so encouraging, Ross – what an uplifting post, especially the list of reminders at the end. It’s so easy to get caught up in stress-inducing comparisons with state school education or even what other HEors are doing – this post was like a deep calming breath of fresh air, helping us to slow down, not panic, and just enjoy! Thank you 🙂 xx

    • What a lovely endorsement Rachel – that was just what I wanted it to be! You see – I also remember those days of comparisons and panics, which is what prompted me to write it. Great to know it did the job! Thank you for taking time to tell me! All the best. x

  5. Thank you for a great post. Whenever I get a bit stressed and worried about our HE journey (are we doing ‘enough’ maths, reading, writing…..) one of your wise & calm posts seems to appear and all is well again! 🙂

  6. I’m about to embark on term two and am slowly managing to leave the stresses behind. These are useful reminders as the new ‘term’ starts. Especially the last point, so true! I think it’s significant that our first bits of learning this week will be thank you card making on the computer, book making (birthday photo book that I’ve always done in the past) and building the solar power racing car that my son got for christmas. No more will he have to wait for weekends to explore his christmas gifts!

  7. Hi Ross

    I would like to ask for your advice please. I’m not sure If It’s ok to ask here but I have a bit of a dilemma. I have been home educating my two daughters since July of last year, I and they have enjoyed It, but I have had a few problems with both really. I myself have struggled a little with understanding my ten year old’s math’s work. I usually have to ask my older kids to help me. They are twenty one, soon to be nineteen and thirteen. My youngest who is seven isn’t keen on reading or writing. I try to let her write about whatever she wants to, but even that usually ends with just one sentence. She loves drawing and is brilliant at it. Yesterday we were looking at some of their old school work and my ten year old said that sometimes she feels like she would like to go back. Then my seven year old said that she thinks she did better reading at school. She didn’t mean the books were better,I think she meant that she read because she had to. I said they could go back to school if they want to,and neither of them refused the Idea. I will really miss the freedom of learning whatever we want to, when we want to, and not having to get them up so early every morning to get to school on time. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time time at home with them and will miss It loads. What are your thoughts Ross?.

    I’m sorry I went on a bit!

    Kind Regards
    Nicky.

    • Hi Nicky, this happens to many of us who home educate. And I think it’s inevitable really that we draw comparisons and question. In fact children who are questioning are demonstrating intelligent inquiring minds which is what we want. The snag with comparisons with schooling though and the ‘apparent’ levels of attainment, is that they are often inaccurate and since HE approaches are very very different, they will not show the same progress in the same terms. Home education tends to lead towards a much broader education whereas schooling tends to educate for short term ‘attainments’ which are easily measurable but often soon forgotten! I think you have to decide on what you want for your children, your reasons to home educate, balancing this with what you want longer term and what your children want too. Home education is a very different philosophy to learning and education and developing children in broader terms than schooling, which takes some time to develop and you’re really quite new to it I imagine – there are always doubts and hiccups at the start!
      This question sometimes comes up on the Facebook groups for HEors and discussion and support from the families there can be very helpful so it might be worth a visit to get a broader opinion! All the best.

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