Dear Parent

I get how overwhelmed you may be feeling at the moment, I’ve been there, done that!  I know the situation of educating your children at home has been ‘forced’ upon you in our current situation and that is where our journeys will differ slightly, but I thought I could share with you some of the journey my family took in home education.

My daughter found secondary school overwhelming; we ended up in a situation where school was no longer viable and we started our home educating journey.  It was a roller coaster of emotions for all of us. For me, who was going to end up with the job of main educator, the feeling of overwhelm was enormous with statements like: I’m not good enough, I was only school educated to O’ Level standard, how can I meet her needs, she will never succeed in life, I’m ruining her life, there will be no time for me, what about my job? etc etc etc.  We were in this for the long haul and I’m not known for quitting, so I pulled up my big girl pants, took a deep breath and made a plan of how things would look with a schedule of daily learning. My daughter had different ideas! She needed time to breathe and reset – no ‘formal’ learning happened for 6 months, she read, read, read some more – 40 books in 10 weeks – talk about a reading challenge!  Slowly, day by day my daughter returned and she started her own education journey. She wanted to learn, I found that I became more of a facilitator than an educator; I sourced courses (many of them free), information, You tube videos, documentaries and to see her actually enjoy learning again was the confirmation I needed that we were absolutely doing the right thing.

Here is where our journey may sound familiar.  She set her own schedule – for the first few weeks I was constantly nagging for her to get up or go to bed – it didn’t work, and I finally relaxed into a routine that suited us.  After 9pm she was in her room giving the adults in the house some down time and as long as she was up for lunch that was fine with me.

She chose what she wanted to learn about.  Have you been having battles about sitting down and ‘doing’ the 3 R’s?  Learning happens regardless of whether they are sitting at the table completing worksheets or just chillin’ watching videos.  Maths happens when you engage them in baking a cake. English happens when they read books; Writing happens when they help you compile the shopping list; Geography happens when you look at a map together; History happens when you talk about anything that happened before today.  Learning is not all about ‘formal’ education.  

My daughter is now 20, she educated herself and passed her GCSE’s with flying colours.  She has a passion for learning languages and is about to embark on a level 6 British Sign Language course in her quest to become a British Sign Language Interpreter.  She is also studying Korean and Norwegian! She has made it through – despite my initial fears that I was not good enough and ruining her life by educating her at home.

If I have one piece of advice to offer it is that life is short, these weeks when your kids are home, driving you nuts, constantly moaning they are  bored etc etc is actually just a moment in time. Stand back, take a breath, allow them to be kids – this won’t last for ever. Encourage them to complete any e-learning their school is providing, but also let them play on the X box, watch TV etc. 

If your journey is in essence the same as mine I promise you that not going to school for these few weeks will not damage your child’s education irreparably – and what they will gain by de-stressing, re-setting and chillin’ out  is so valuable.



Image by paperelements from Pixabay

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