Friday 5 October 2012

Wait A Minute, This is My Blog!

I have been deliberating on several posts I wanted to write for one of my blogs and have hesitated for quite some time on more then a couple of them. I kept thinking they were not quite suitable for this blog - some form of flawed thinking has set in and I have just uncovered a pattern!

One of those posts is about homeschooling - for those who know me or anything about me - we are homeschoolers, right from the beginning that was the goal and we have for the most part stuck with it. Both our children are learning at home at the kitchen table - and thriving because of it.

So, who better to comment on some aspects of home schooling then me, right? Why would I hold back? Believe me, I am wondering the same thing, because any other areas where I feel experienced, competent and knowledgable, I certainly do intend to put my thoughts out there.

This has been a lesson (there's that word!) for me - mainly because I am still shaking off the vestiges of my own lack of education but I am also seeing more of the ways it has held me back. One memory to surface for me this week was how I felt discouraged from day one in the school system...let me tell you about it first....

I am left handed (shock!) as well as an intuitive, smart enough, taller then most, and I have eyes that see right through to your soul - if you have one. My first day of school was not unpleasant, it was just that I knew I was entering a place where my needs would never be considered, let alone met.

Being who I was (sensitive, open, inquisitive) and perhaps a little shy about it all - this was a very sad day indeed. I don't remember if I had any expectations or what they might have been, but I do know the years in front of me were the most miserable of my entire life.

Homeschooling is all about me therefore and the lengths I am willing to go to, to ensure a decent, kind, gentle and real education for my children. 

I don't want them to feel anything remotely similar to what I felt, to be signaled out because they might be vegetarian, or eat whole foods (I know, what kind of a mother would make her children eat vegetables and fruits). Or to know without a doubt that their essence is ebbing away with each minute spent in a soul destroying classroom, with a teacher who is tired, underpaid, unhealthy and fed up with her life. And far worse.

These are things I see, hear and witness myself from adults around me - never mind their children! Life can be cruel, children can be worse - but knowing these things, why would I proceed to send off my precious much longed for little ones for someone else to 'teach' them 'a lot of 'nothing' I personally do not value?

But, I digress. I really wanted to give you some pointers on homeschooling - so here goes!
  • It's all about the parents. Just like having kids, you get to re-live (or at least I hope we do) our childhoods, well homeschool is the same. We get to learn (finally) what's important, things that matter to us and make a difference in our own lives. 

Since we started homeschool, we have taken up beekeeping, raising our own animals for food, growing a huge herb and vegetable garden, cob house building and cheese making courses. And, I know more about maths, chemistry (the stuff uni never taught me), writing, history and many other subjects because I am doing this every day, with them. 
  • Time consuming, you might be led to believe? Learning anything takes next to no time at all with  children and anyone eager for knowledge and fun. All of life is an opportunity to learn, so everything and anything can be pulled in as a lesson. From cooking to building a bird house - measuring, pouring, types of wood, species of wildlife and so on can be explored, researched and discovered together.

  • You may be feeling resistance from family members or those on the outside - well, hopefully if you are old enough to have children, then you realize you have been making decisions for them since the moment of conception. Choosing to teach and learn at home is simply another decision along the way, that parents can make all on their own. What I am really saying here in a round about way is that it is none of anyone else's business, so to the naysayers - butt out. 

  • Learning should be a gentle, easy process - an unfolding of information imparted through activity, fun, focus and experience. Facts and figures do not have to be shoved down anyone's throat - only to be regurgitated by rote. That's not learning, that's conformity through obedience (fear) and submission (dread and anxiety). 

A successful homeschool experience then becomes about setting your life up around learning and not losing sight of the overall picture - a few elements help things progress and hold your interest;

- have a routine
- plan outings, activities, celebrations
- do a bit of everything (science, art, reading, writing, cooking, carpentry, gardening)
- don't forget exercise, physical activity is for life
- create a lifestyle (healthy living, farming, sustainability)
- follow your intuition - when they are ready to learn something new, you'll know

This is only a brief synopsis of my personal experience when it comes to homeschool - each family and person will have their own take on how to go about teaching, learning and making this a journey for everyone involved. The bottom line is to not be intimidated by others, if this is something you want to do, jump in, just start and all will come right. 

An important element of overall lifelong health and satisfaction is a sense of safety and security in not only who you are, but to be free to develop your potential as a human being. Learning the things you need to learn at the right time,  appropriate pace and under gentle circumstances should all be a part of this. 

(Mom to Trevor and Dara)

Blue Moon Ceremony - me, Trevor and Dara -   August 2012 

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