Damien and I started out parenthood with the idea that our family unit was important, and that being connected and supported in our relationship was important and that supporting each other and our child(ren) was our priority.
Our main priority for ourselves when we met, was happiness and to have a happy relationship. This was our vision for our future, and this has been the motivator for many of our decisions.
We started home education, because it seemed convenient for relocating back to Australia. We stopped home education because Willow needed more social contact. We returned to home education because Willow's happiness and our own family harmony were more important to us than the schooling system.
With Willow being in school (in Scotland), home educated in Scotland, France and Adelaide, and back in school (in Adelaide) it became clearer to Damien and I that some of our own problems as young adults were purely to do with school and its systemisation. We could see some of this appearing in some of the kids in Willow's school in Adelaide, certain behaviours that the 7yr olds were developing to cope with being in the system, that parents explained away as a stage, and that Damien and I with our new perspective could see was the kids finding ways to cope with have too few adults to spend time with, be supported by and to model grown-up behaviour from.
Within a very short time of removing Willow from school the anti-social behaviours that she was displaying at home vanished, and when on further questioning on my part, about how much happier she seemed, 7yr old Willow declared, "I don't have to act any more Mummy."
So this formed the basis for our decisions around education, these transformative experiences, started us on this wonderful and at times challenging but always inspiring journey that has lead us towards a usually contented home life based around education and learning. This has meant that only Willow attended school, and that Gabriel and Arden have never been, and that Irving is heading towards being registered for home education next year. For the littler ones in particular this experience has been all encompassing and nurturing, being surrounded by their family that loves them most of the time, and having an understanding that learning is inspiring and interesting and exciting.
When they go out into the world, they transition into being independant, and they are not rudely and sharply separated from their family, and the feeling of safety that that offers them. The separation that happens does so gently over the years: time at classes with parents present, time at classes without parents present, time with friends, time at home alone, time walking to the shop,etc. Each skill is built up gradually and gently and each separation is partly encouraged by Damien and I, and by our child. In the early years, this can feel very slow, but in a larger family there are so many other activities happening that the later years of school travel past quite quickly and all of a sudden, home education is coming to an end, and new experiences past school are being planned and created.
One final note, in our family, one of the main occurrences during the years to keeping life happy and content, is to always resolve emotional disturbances and disharmonies on the spot. Some days this has meant at home learning has gone out the window, as we sit and work out and sometimes have a good cry, about life and what has been going on. But these times of disharmony, have always worked out in our favour, as we as a family, have learnt about emotions together and have language and skills to problem solve our feelings, and the problems that they can create. For me pre-children this was the path that I was starting that lead us to this place, the path towards being able to find and create happiness, and be content most of the time.
So my question to anyone starting home education is...What is your goal for your family?
Some of our moments...
Coffee mornings with Damien have become a thing around here, after him missing us all in the mornings! (We tend to be later risers)
Hanging out at the playground with everyone...so nice to have teens that have fun with everyone, that like to chat with people, and to have a family of people that look out for each other. (Little one has a way to go with this obviously!)
Things to do whilst waiting for your older siblings...."pop"...umbrella fun!
One of Arden's latest passions, photography. Hot chocolate on a cold day!