I recently had an interesting chat with one of my home education mom friends. It started because she has been reading a book about home education that was just disheartening. The author had a set idea about how you do this and who should be doing this and it did not fit my friend’s set-up. And really looking at this friends family they are so immersed in the home ed life and their kids are thriving (I love chatting to her kids because I always learn something new and interesting) so hearing that according to some book they should not be following this path Shocked me. I actually told her that I think she needs to put this book on her braai (South African for barbeque) and burn it. Yes burn it that is how I felt about it. For the simple reason that every family is unique – EVERY FAMILY. We are not carbon copies of each other so logic dictates that what works for one family will not work 100% for another. Yes there will be aspects that work well, aspects that work with some adaptations and aspects that just not do work. But that is the beauty of home education. You don’t need to copy school, you don’t need to copy other home education families, you can find what works for your family. There will be areas that you kids fly through – so let them fly, find extra items in that area that challenge them (and don’t worry if that is not covered in school curriculum – just let them fly). Likewise there will be areas that your kids struggle in, but that is okay let them work through that slowly, go back if needed, repeat, there is NO rush.
Think about this. My daughter might like a shirt your daughter has, she might even want to buy one for herself. But do you really think she would want to buy every single item that your daughter has? NO. There will be some items that suit her and some that just don’t. She is unique.
Think about watching a documentary or reading a book. I can read a book with my kids and you could read the exact same book with yours. Are our kids going to stop at the exact same points and ask the exact same questions? Are you and I going to stop to explain concepts or ideas at the exact same point? NO. Both our families might enjoy the same book but our experience reading it is not going to be exactly the same, there will be differences.
So if you are new to home education or if you are considering a change please, please don’t think there is a one size fits all situation. Please. And if someone tries to tell you that just walk away (or burn that book).
This is not a sprint that we are on, it is an epic endurance adventure and trying to fit into someone else’s criteria will exhaust you. It will. If you need some encouragement one of the things that I do is I keep examples of what we are doing in a box and every once in a while I go back and look at it – it always reminds me of how far my kids have come and it helps me to stop comparing us to others but rather to focus on us. On our own epic adventure.
Please enjoy your own Epic Adventure, build memories, find areas where your kids fly and don’t worry about fitting into some home-ed mould – there is none, home edders tend to break moulds.
Such beautiful truth! I’m so glad your friend has you to remind her that what she is doing is amazing and she doesn’t need a book to tell her how to home educate. It’s one thing to seek new ideas to try but no one should be telling anyone exactly how to do something that can be done effectively a million different ways. And how boring to all be the same! I hope your friend takes your advice. 👏🏻
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