Happy New Year, and a happy new start to your home education!
As a fresh approach to it, which we were always ready for when we got back down to it again, how about adopting the philosophy of Wabi Sabi?
What is that, I hear you ask?
Well, I’m not going to be able to give you a clear definitive answer, basically because there isn’t one. I’ve read it’s as difficult to define as love; we all have ideas about love but to express what it is in words is almost impossible. It’s more a matter of feel than of definitions.
And it’s the same with Wabi Sabi.
Wabi Sabi is a Japanese approach to life which holds within it lessons about letting go of trying to make everything perfect, of letting go the idea that life can only be happy if we meet our expectations of perfectionism – many blasted at us through social media, and of accepting and appreciating things as they are in order to get the best from life. Acceptance of the fact that things don’t have to be perfect in order to be good.
If you’re anything like I was you’ll probably be worrying about making your home education perfect. You feel the responsibility of living up to this decision you’ve made to do it, of making it better than school, along with the inevitable comparisons and weight that subsequently brings. Worrying over the judgements made about you if you’re not getting on perfectly. Heavy weights indeed.
Having been through all this my advice to you would be to stop that immediately. All that will do is create tension and anxiety, stress and conflict none of which will be good. Certainly isn’t helpful in making a good learning environment.
Far better instead is to approach it with the wisdom this concept of imperfection brings. Understanding that imperfections are still experiences and all experiences teach us something; often show us the way forward, even when they’re the wrong ones!
And understand this about the educational process:
- It doesn’t have to be perfect to be valid
- Learning approaches don’t have to be perfect to be worthwhile
- Each day doesn’t have to be perfect in order to usefully contribute to the overall development and progress of your youngster
- Becoming educated is a diverse, sometimes messy, varied and experiential journey that has as many imperfections, as life does, and which never ends.
- There is no perfect time frame, no perfect approach, no perfect outcome, no perfect strategy, no perfect answer.
- But a perfectly imperfect education still works!
Many of your days at home will be less than perfect. Many days at school will be less than perfect. We wouldn’t actually expect them to be so, so why put that pressure on your home educating days?
And of course, children are not perfect either. Thank goodness for that, for all our diverse idiosyncrasies. Diversity is essential for our perpetuation. Accept your children as they are, where they are; they will change. Wabi Sabi embraces the concepts of impermanence, imperfection and incompleteness. As things are in all nature; as are we – children particularly!
So go gently with your days. Ditch any ideas about making them perfect.
Enjoy the good days. Accept and move on from the difficult ones. Take each day as it comes.
And allow imperfections to be naturally part of the rich pattern of home education.
Wishing you a happy new home educating year
(The book I read was ‘WABI SABI Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life’ by Beth Kempton)