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!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I think it's great that you are thinking of home education - even if you decide not to go for it, exploring all of your options and making a positive decision one way or the other is always better than just going with the flow. I'm going to be really daring and give you some advice from a mother who has made lots of mistakes.

    1) Be VERY cautious about reading parenting books. The worst things I have ever done to my children - you know, the ones that keep you awake at night - came out of books like these. Spend that time reading to your children instead!

    2) Even if it's culterally very alien to you, try looking at some Homeschooling Mom blogs from the USA. http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/ is a good one to start with as she always has interesting links in her side bar. Her book, Real Learning (available via the shop link at the top of her blog) is the best book I have read about home education by far.

    Another goodie is http://wildflowersandmarbles.blogspot.com/2010/07/considering-charlotte-mason-and-our_05.html

    Also try http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/2010/09/try-this-little-secret-of-mine-instead.html for GREAT parenting advice from a real mother, not an expert!

    3) Explore the differing apporaches to Home Ed - there are lots! I love Charlotte Mason's style, personally, but there are lots of different approaches as well as lots of ready made curricula, though these come at a price.

    Some more links:


    As much as I LOVE books, I find the internet is the best source of information and inspiration when it come to home ed. Good luck!