I must admit I have not thought of home education as a job before but I recently read a post – homeschooling like it’s my job and some comments my daughter made recently made me think that possibly it would be helpful if I started saying it was my job, at least, to the outside world. There is a part of me that does not want to label it a job because I enjoy this journey of discovery that we are one and I am really enjoying all the learning that I get to do along with the kids (and I never wanted my kids to think it’s a job). But it is time consuming. And I have come to realize that people who are not actually home educating don’t always realize how time consuming it can be. So maybe if I started talking about it as my job they might start understanding that it is full time, that it is not just an hour here and an hour there.
I have struggled with this outside view of home education for a long time. Around 4 years ago I had a neighbour that assumed I was just the local day care centre and would send her kid over if she needed to do chores with no regard to what our plans were or what we might be in the middle of. I found this incredibly frustrating. But then I must also admit I have not been that good at saying No to people, I tend to try and accommodate which often means people just take more and more advantage of the situation.
If I start saying I am working then possibly there will be an understanding that I cannot drop whatever I am doing to suit others.
It is a tough one because what we as home educators are seen doing during the day and what our kids are seen doing does not always look like tradition learning.
This past weekend my husband and I watched two documentary series to assess if I could use them for History. I am glad we did because there were sections that I did not like but there were also very informative sections. So we had a chance to decide if we show those sections and then talk about them or if we just skip those sections. For me that is part of my home education research. I was spending my weekend figuring out which resources were right for the kids, but it was very time consuming.
I have a friend who unschools. And I love going to visit them because her kids always have something new and fascinating to tell me (okay I also love just having some tea and a chat with her). But if you were an outsider looking in you probably would not see all the learning that is happening. You might think the one child is playing around on a screen, but actually he is recreating a business, with income and expenditure and figuring out how to run his business (totally blew me away). When we were speaking he understood concepts like income and profit and used them in the correct way. That might not fit into a typical school model, but if someone interrupted him to tell him to go and read or do maths (both of which he was already doing as part of this activity) they would be interrupting an incredible learning session.
So why is it asumed that his style of learning is less significant than what happens in school?
My daughter gets very upset when people suggest we stop home educating or when they imply that her home education is not as important or as good as tradition school. She recently told me -“I have no intention of going to school, there is no point. Home education means I get to focus on the areas that I find fascinating and go into a lot more detail that they ever would at school. I think being a home educator is the most significant job in the world and anyone who does it should be proud and appreciated. I would be honoured to home educate my own children one day, it is the best JOB in the world.”
So I think I am going to follow my daughter’s suggestion and start telling people I do have a job, it is home educating my kids and yes it does include a LOT of overtime but hey what could be more important than investing my time in giving them this gift.