I actually stopped and rewrote this post a few times for the simple reason that whenever I admit I have had a tough few days I normally get the response – “So just stick them in school ” – which is NOT happening so honestly is it NOT a helpful comment. But the result is I am very careful about what I say to anyone except for a handful of other home educators.
Let me start by saying my husband and I are committed to this home education journey we believe it creates the best learning environment for our sensory kids and we have been doing it long enough that we can see the incredible benefits and we KNOW the kids are learning amazing things and thriving. That is not up for debate.
But there are days when I struggle. I never imagined I would be a full-time-stay- at -home-educator. NEVER !!!! It was not planned. But then I never thought I would have 2 incredible kids you happen to have SPD, kids who don’t fit the school model. When we first decided to do this we agreed to do it for 1 year and then we would reassess. But honestly after I found my feet and got into it I knew it was the best fit for the kids. No Question. (We are now going on 7 years) But knowing that does not mean that there are not days when I get frustrated, days when I just want a break, days when I don’t feel like working on Maths or reading about some new animal. Some days I just need a break. I do.
But it really is me, not home-education as such. I am bad at switching off. I am always reading up about something, planning something, organising something. And I don’t take time to just Stop and step away, have a break. I don’t do that.
I also worry a LOT, I worry about the work we are doing, the work we are NOT doing, I worry if we are getting the written work to outing ratio correct, I worry if we are spending too much time on History or Reading too much (yes I worry about that), are we doing enough practical activities, I worry that I have not taught either kids an instrument yet (I play 2), I worry about which 3rd language we should learn, oh I could go on and on.
There is honestly only so many hours in each day and there is just so much we could do. The options are endless and there is no way we can fit it all in. Never going to happen.
But the more I do this the more I am changing my approach to what home education means. Yes I want my kids to be able to read and write, do Maths, understand the past and how it impacts us, know physics, know about the different countries etc etc etc.
But what I want more than anything is that they become Life-long learners. I want them to enjoy learning, I want them to find a topic they are interested in and then totally sink their teeth into it. I want them to understand that no-one will ever know everything but you can always learn what you don’t know.
So on those days when I feel like it is all getting too much for me I have started a new policy – we STOP. Just STOP. I breath, switch off social media and go back and look at old photos to remind myself of how far we have come. And the only thing the kids are expected to do is read something that day. Just read something they enjoy.
We did just that recently and guess what – I felt better. I reminded myself how much these 2 incredible kids have already learnt and how they are making amazing progress with some of their sensory challenges. Sometimes I need to do that, just remind myself of the progress, that we are getting there. It might not be in the straight line that I had originally mapped out but one thing I have realized about our scenic learning routes is – in the end the kids actually learn a lot more that I had orginally planned. I just need to keep reminding myself of this.
And the other amazing thing I also realized is I already have Two Kids who LOVE to learn. They have areas that they find fascinating and boy when I step back they are actually really good at directing their own learning. When I take a day’s break they still continue without anyone asking them to. They both read about topics they were interested in. My youngest drew a bunch of pictures based on what he had read and my oldest wrote a story about it.