Those of you who know me will know that my lovelies moved on from education at home a while ago now.
But I’m still a home educator – as in; I’m still learning for myself at home even if they’ve moved on! Once you lead a learning life in that way you always do.
My new book to help support parents who also want to educate without school is coming out very soon and that’s been a steep learning curve for me. It is a book containing some of the writings that I did over those years to help alleviate parents’ inevitable wobbles. We couldn’t include all of it and I found this one among the archives that I thought would be worth a re-post as it’s not included but is an issue we all confront; learning to see education without time frames.
Our youngest is back here again for a while and I still find it difficult not to launch back into that Home Ed role that was predominant when they were little; ‘come see the moon, it’s fantastic’ or ‘want to come for a walk?’ Or, when I’m really irritating; ‘seems a shame to be stuck in front of that screen on such a beautiful day’…
My daughter would be rich if she were paid every time I slipped in a bit of advice. She’s very tolerant – she knows I’m on a learning curve too; learning to let go!
But these little regresses aside, the home educating I do now is not really for them, it’s for me. It’s self education and much of it still takes place in the home and it’s still ongoing.
Because that’s the way we’ve always seen education. Not as something that happens between the ages of five and eighteen. But as an ongoing, lifelong process. One that integrates into all aspects of life and work at any time. Throughout life. And is not confined to ‘doing’ education. But is just the way life is led – continually learning.
Learning can extend or develop you personally whatever stage you’re at, six or sixty, whatever you are doing or want to do, change, or develop, whether it’s dexterity with your latest device or cooking something new, drawing, driving or gaming, learning business, budget, or new job skills.
Education is not just for kids. We can all do it, parents included.
And the useful thing about this idea is; if you can view you child’s education like that, in that bigger context, it puts into perspective those little worries about whether they can read yet, write yet, understand long division or the periodic table. For just because they haven’t got it now, doesn’t mean they’ll never get it – you have an ongoing chance at learning, a lifetime’s chance, it doesn’t have to be confined by time or age.
You don’t need to do GCSEs at sixteen for example or a degree at twenty one. Or coding at four, or spreadsheets at fourteen, not unless you want to. You can take up anything anytime – there are ways.
And it’s so often the case that once you stop worrying, pressurising, and trying to make learning fit into certain time frames (often dictated by a system that doesn’t work that well anyway), learning becomes more natural and easy and gradually clicks into place.
Think of your child’s education as part of something much bigger than this age now, as part of a learning life that can be updated at any time.
Take the pressure off your children and focus instead on giving them a wide, diverse and enjoyable experience with learning and with life. This way they’ll feel able to continue with it whenever they need to, to get where they want to go. Whenever. Wherever. Which sets them up for life far better than anything else.
Both my daughters learn new skills constantly, in their twenties; I envisage that they always will.
And I’m learning the new skill of backing off and allowing them to!