Monday, 23 August 2010

Operation Funsies.

So, there are two weeks until school starts. I have mixed feelings.

I am still knee-deep in 'research' about home education. I am fascinated by people's stories of their own HE experiences, and the more I read, the more I think it's a great idea. I think (as usual) I am stuck in a well of diminished self-confidence when it comes to esteeming my own abilities to home educate my children. I don't know if I've got the guts. It makes sense on paper and in my head. And I think it is the best option for J who is 6, and shows a keen-ness for learning outside of the school environment that has surprised me lately.

What concerns me most at this time is the behaviour of the boys when they are together. Individually, they are wonderful, talkative, interested, compliant where necessary, fun and responsive. Put them together and they fight and bicker, scream and shout, ignore me and defy any attempts to restore peace and quiet amid the storms. In short, they go mental on a regular basis. The focus of my research in the next couple of weeks is going to be how do people deal with manic children and difficult behaviour in the home education environment - I haven't seen much mention of it in the blogs I've read so far, so I'm going to have to dig a bit deeper.

That being said I've got a couple of books coming from Amazon, one about home education (Learning Without School, by Ross Mountney), one about loving my children (How To Really Love Your Child, by Ross Campbell) which I'm hoping will throw out some pearls of wisdom that I can put into practice to bring some calm to this home of ours. I'm trying to fight the feelings I have of looking forward to the children going back to school and pre-school.

How can I home educate if I don't enjoy spending time with my own kids?

So, my other focus for the next two weeks is to get out there and enjoy my time with the children, get down to their level and have some fun, give them some attention and ignore the housework while they are awake. It's operation funsies!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Introductions, And Contemplations.

Hi there.

I'm Rach. I am married to a wonderful man (for nearly 9 years!), and we have two fantastic (and totally boisterous) boys, J (6) and D (3).
This is a blog about our family life. The ups, the downs, and the round-and-rounds. Because let's face it, we have a lot of those!

Right now we are contemplating a big decision. A turnaround. A lifestyle change. 

We are thinking of home-schooling our children.

Wow. I actually said it. That means it's a real possibility, doesn't it?

I only really started looking into it yesterday, exploring blogs, websites and articles, checking and re-checking that I'm not totally mad to be thinking about this.

Today I went into town to try and find some books on the subject. Disappointingly, unless I was looking in completely the wrong places, there were no books on Home Education in our library (or any other local library for that matter). Neither were there any in the two largest bookshops in town. Sometimes it's very frustrating living in a semi-rural area. Shops and restaurants close early (or don't open), public transport is rubbish, and bookshops don't stock the right books. So, it's back to the websites for the time being.

Thankfully, there are some very helpful and informative websites around. This one, this one and this one have done a good job of introducing me to the basics, and providing further links for a more in-depth investigation. I've also discovered some blogs by home-educators, with their own insights and stories to tell. I'm looking forward to finding out more about this fascinating alternative lifestyle, if I nobody minds me calling it that. (I'll list the blogs I like on the left-hand side, and I'll try to keep it up-to-date).

There's just one thing bugging me.

How on earth can I be contemplating home-educating my children, when I have been tearing my hair out with the two of them most days since the summer holidays started? I've cried twice today since breakfast, dragged them literally screaming and shouting around town, been embarrassed by their unsociable behaviour in the library (could they have been more loud?), and threatened to take toys away left, right and centre. I'm hardly the model of a perfect parent, much less qualified to teach them an entire life-time's worth of stuff-worth-knowing.

I have to admit I'm having real discipline issues at the moment, especially with my three year old. I have to sit down every five minutes to catch my breath and read another chapter of some parenting book or other just to keep myself sane. Sometimes I wonder if I am cut out for parenting at all.
And I am thinking of a change that would keep my children home with me 24-7?

Seriously, what's gotten into me?

But then my elder son (age six) said something that made me stop and think again.
The conversation went a bit like this:

"Mummy, how do you learn about things?"

"Er...well, you can look at books, watch DVDs about things, ask people, that sort of thing."

"Because I want to learn about super heroes and the Justice League."

"... Um, Okaaaaay.  Well, you know they're not real, don't you? It's a TV programme."

"Yes, I know....  I want to learn about dinosaurs too!"


And with that, I was back on the track of investigating the possibilities of home schooling the boys. I'm looking at the hows and whys, and thinking and praying it through. Even in the last day or two, I have started to look at my children differently, and see educational opportunities everywhere we go. I am encouraged by this.

 My husband and I are going to read up and talk about it, and hopefully make a decision by December, as that is the deadline for school applications for our three year old. It'll also be a good point at which to take J out of school if we decide to go ahead, and it'll give us time to prepare both children for the changes,

 I've got so much going on in my mind today that my head is spinning. I'm going to end with a quote from this blog:

"Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he’s not interested, it’s like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.”

~ Katrina Gutleben
Food for thought!