Tag Archive | home school parents

Give your Home Ed time to grow slowly

I think I’ve discovered the reason I could never really get into gardening in my earlier life!

You’d think I would be. I love nature and plants. I love to be outside and look for any excuse to be so. I walk whatever the weather.

But I can walk briskly, I can cover ground, accomplish distance quickly and then tangibly see how far I’ve come.

Can’t do that with gardening; it takes too long for the outcomes to bloom. I’m just too impatient!

With that admission you’d be surprised I was able to home educate. Many parents say they haven’t the patience for it.

I like to think I had lots of patience with the kids. They tell me I did. Discounting the occasional tantrum which I describe in my book ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ and I think bad days come up in ‘A Home Education Notebook’ too!

But to home educate wisely you have to practice patience. Because education, like plants and gardening, is a slow growing process. Not that you’d guess that with schooling.

The trouble with institutional education i.e. schooling, is that they try to turn it into a fast forced process – if a process at all. It’s very much based around quick and instant results. About ticking objectives, neglecting time for deeper understanding, and rushing onto the next bit. In fact, our whole culture is increasingly like that; a driven culture that wants instant results, with little time for deeper, mindful development.

However, that isn’t how education works.

Educating is about the gradual development of real people, not just output. And that’s a long term, slow grown affair involving the maturation of skills and personal attributes that become whole through all manner of diverse ingredients and experiences over a long period of time. How those integral skills all influence each other is not something that is readily apparent or successfully forced.

Like plants; forced plants are never as healthy. And you have to wait a long time for a garden to mature into something wonderful and lasting. Patience and time are required.

Education is the  same. It’s not something to be rushed, not if you want it to mature into something meaningful and sustainable and serviceable for life.

And, contrary to what the schooling system has us believe, you CAN give it time. The system promotes the idea that you have to accomplish certain objectives within certain time frames or you’ll fail. That’s balderdash!

You can take time with your home education. Step back regularly. Have patience. Stick with your own tailor made approaches however long they take. If they’re right for you, they’ll be successful – whenever!

Gardens, kids, education, need no rushing.

Maybe I’m a better gardener now because my patience quota isn’t being used up on home schooling any more – who knows. And maybe the small amount of growing and gardening that we did together taught the kids a good life lesson along with the science; that life isn’t about quick fixes and short term highs. Some elements of life require long term maturation to achieve their full potential!

Home educating is one of them.

As important as the home educating bit – a little reminder!

Home educating was a joyful and inspirational period in our family life.

Most of the time.

There were times when it was downright gruelling and bloody and I struggled to stand another day of it!

But that wasn’t because I didn’t like it, regretted our decision, couldn’t handle it, or wished the kids were in school. Especially not that.

It was because of a simple but overlooked fact: I wasn’t looking after myself adequately!

I wonder how many of you reading this have been guilty of the same?

It’s hard enough home educating. It’s been made much, much harder by the circumstances the pandemic has thrust upon us. It’s stressful, makes us anxious, inhibits our activities and will make even the joyful things seem like hard work sometimes. So there is even more need for you to be:

Looking after yourself as well as the kids!

This makes sense because not doing so is counter-productive. It doesn’t do anyone any favours. And it’s not best for the child either.

Look at it this way, a parent who is stressed, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, is less likely to be able to deal with the challenge of parenting and home schooling than one who’s rested, relaxed and happy. So it’s in the child’s interests too, to pay attention to our needs.

It’s also in the child’s interests for another reason. A parent who is sacrificing their own needs is giving the signal to their child that parents don’t matter. Parents matter enormously – that’s what children need to know – everyone needs to know it.

Children also need to learn how to look after themselves. Your demonstration of how a person does this, through the way you do it, is going to teach them this.

Another thing; neglecting yourself constantly just gives them licence to disregards others’ needs to fulfil their own. And although very young children do that, as they grow they need to learn differently. We all need to relate to others.

You will want to be the best parent you can be. The best way to do that is to look to your own wellbeing too. For all your sakes.

You want your kids to have respect. Respect for others and certainly respect for themselves. They learn that from the respect that you have for yourself – so what demonstration of that are they getting through the way you look after yourself?

So, now I’ve given you some reasons to, how can you look after yourself?

Take time for the things you love to do
  • Prioritise time to do so.
  • Get out by yourself as well as with them.
  • Borrow time or do time swaps with others.
  • Remember to work on things that inspire you, at your level, not just the children.
  • Keep contact with friends and others for some adult chats.
  • Feed and exercise yourself well for your sake, not just for theirs’ (essential lesson for the kids in there).
  • Do things you love, just for you, not always tagging it onto something they love!
  • Rest and relax at times, letting them know that it’s a way of fulfilling your needs too.

Whatever form your ‘looking after yourself’ takes it’s as invaluable a lesson as anything academic, so don’t neglect it. And I reckon it’s doubly important during these challenging times we’re going through right now.

(A previous post about time away from the children and why it’s necessary)