Tag Archive | challenges

Now my daughters are home educating me!

I got in a right stress making the little talk on You Tube. I’m not good in front of the camera. filmmaking 010

“You can take a break and swallow, mum” advises the photographer in the family, grinning from behind the lens. ‘I can always cut bits out’.

Her skills with the camera and technology far exceed mine. Pity she can’t do anything about my grimace, I thought, as I try and rid my mouth of the fur balls that seem to have filled it.

When I look at it later I cringe with embarrassment.

“We can all think we look rubbish on film at times,” reassures the performer in the family when I whinge at her down the telephone and recount our film making adventures. “Play with the setting and light, and make sure you have something on that helps skin tone and things like that.”

I was picking out all the things wrong with it when I realised something; they were using the same strategy on me that I’d used when they were here full time home educating. Namely; polish up your courage, do it don’t judge it, use all errors to learn from, and above all have another go.

Throughout our home educating days, mistakes, or not getting it right first time, were a valuable opportunity to grow, discover and point us in the right direction. Not the mountain of shame that’s often associated with them in a classroom.

Mistakes mean you’re having a go a something new that’s obviously a challenge. When you’re challenging yourself, you’re growing and learning. Examining your not-quite-right attempts in an analytical (not self-demeaning) way teaches you things about yourself and your skills that will be developmental.

But being overly critical or judgemental in a personal or negative way is of no value to the learning process at all. Getting it wrong is a positive opportunity to learn, which helps us grow and extend who we are.

It took a while for the girls to recover from the scars of schooling where getting it wrong was terrible, humiliating, and a cause for pain. Now they set themselves challenges and see them as an opportunity for growth. Getting it right or wrong in the early stages of growth is not personal. And not a crime.

They were both so beautifully encouraging when I was having a go at this. And morally supportive. Stayed on my side. Helped me push on through the tricky bits.

This is just what any learner needs, me included.

I changed some things round in the film. And did it anyway – as I’ve always told them to do. (Funny how we forget our own words). We none of us ever have to be perfect, I was always telling them that too. And yes; they fired that one straight back at me right away.

Thank you girls, for continuing to home educate me!

(If you missed it last week you can watch the film on Youtube here)

Wild in the UK

Ben Fogle; ‘Lives In The Wild UK’

I’m totally loving the new Ben Fogle programmes; Lives in the Wild UK on channel 5.

I’m not especially an admirer of his but I love what the people featured in the programme are trying to do; trying to live their lives a little differently and not bow to mainstream pressure to do it the same as everyone else.

When you listen to the interviews with them during the programmes their heartfelt values and principles come shining through and I always admire anyone living by their values, even if it’s going to be challenging. For many of them it certainly is.

As a former home educator I know all about challenging. And I also get to meet some incredibly courageous people also living by their independent values, courageous because they have to step away from mainstream thinking and other mainstream lives, as home schoolers do.

Looking at these programmes it is comforting to see others, not necessarily home educators, but others who are upholding values outside the mainstream thinking of a heavily consumerist society, that tends to judge people by what they have rather than what they do or what values they uphold.

People who are finding that others ways of living, that are not to do with the treadmill of wealth adulation, are turning out to be more fulfilling than even that. Who are returning to their connection to the earth, in fact to ways in which we all must have first lived, living as much with their hands as with their computers, in order to restore something that modernity tends to be neglecting; our need for something other than big wealth, technology and a consumerist treadmill.

Collecting fuel for warmth, raising crops, farming and feeding and keeping a physical roof over your head can be just as much a treadmill as the commute to work to earn enough to buy it. But these people are finding that doing it for yourself sometimes, instead of always buying it in, can be satisfying in ways that buying cannot.

It’s making me look at my life and see if I can think more creatively and find little ways and changes that help me do the same, rather than always opting for the mainstream way, which so often seduces us by default. And the more we do this as parents, the more we encourage our children to question and examine their own ways of living, rather than always opting for the norm without questioning if it’s right for them or the damage it may be doing them.