It only occurred to me, very recently that it’s now around 5 years of home education for us! I use the term home education so very loosely, because I feel like, I haven’t really been the teacher, but a student too.
The most common line we hear, as soon as we mention HE is:
I don’t think I could do that! I’m not a teacher!
Well, nor am I, I am actually just a mum when it comes to this stuff, that is how we approached this whole thing. We tried a lot of things, we tried having a really rigid schedule, we tried Montessori style, we had a stint of unschooling. We basically did as much as we could to find out what would work for us, what would work for her. In the end, that is what home education is about – in my opinion. It’s about finding what works for the student first, and then how to make that work as a family unit. It’s got a fluidity to it. The things that worked when Poppy and her siblings were younger aren’t necessarily the things that work now. Some of that is due to her age, some of that is due to her interests, and some of that is to do how life changes for everyone over the years.
I’m the marker, the tester (if we do them), the activities arranger, the one who takes care of new projects, the buyer of new books, art materials and so on. P is the one who decides what shape the learning becomes.
The autonomous nature of it is likely one of the things I love the most about it. Without knowing it, because it’s so very natural, she has taken charge of her education. We do have a timetable up on the doors in the house, and she can check what is on the agenda for that day but there is room for discussion. She can swap her Maths for English, swap Science for Art, so that it fits with her or the day. I have, on more than one occasion, gone to say goodnight and she is reading study books, or doing maths work.
In the last few months she has joined a local youth club and taken up rock climbing, football, basketball, singing, and cooking classes. I think however, the day she really shone was when she came home to tell me she had help found the Kindness Club – for anyone having a difficult time, people who didn’t have friends yet or that needed space to talk, her reason being that everyone needs someone. While she perhaps would have always been this sensitive, caring and aware child, I can’t but feel that the last 5 years have reinforced the qualities that she loves most about herself in a way that maybe traditional schooling wouldn’t.
We will never know for sure.
What I do know however, is that we have grown together over the last 5 years of home education and I have a much clearer understand of the person she is, what drives her, where her strengths are and mine too.
And that, is pretty special – just like her.