I had home-schooling in my mind before my daughter started school, but she wanted to go. She was excited to go…and so go she did. What surprised me was how pear-shaped it all went and how I hesitated to take her out. Despite how bad it was, I hesitated, because I knew what everybody else was thinking. I submitted to peer pressure like a teenager. I felt I needed the approval of others to do what was right for my daughter.
I finally took the leap, despite everyone saying “Oh but you’d try another school first surely, before you’d look at home-schooling”. They said it as though home-schooling is a dirty word. It’s truly amazing the power of social conditioning. Thankfully the following week we had a play-date with a natural-parenting group who all appauded my decision and I felt calmer – knowing that my tribe got it. But it’s still needing approval, just from a different social set. Us humans are a funny lot.
Here’s the thing though – as soon as I had taken her out, I felt peaceful. My daughter can be really hard work, but I felt peace knowing she was going to be ok. Home-schooling was seriously going to cramp my style (my son was just starting kindy – I could actually have had time to MYSELF!!) and I didn’t even bat an eye about it. I had no idea what I was doing, and I knew I could do it. That’s what kids inspire in us. They drive us to learn and do better, for them.
I was planning to do Distance Ed – they send you all the paperwork, it’s a no-brainer. But then I realised if my daughter was already bored in school, sending her the same stuff to do at home was slightly counter-productive. So now I’m totally winging it. I apply to the Home-school Education Unit and that’s it – you’re taking responsibility for your child and you report once a year, bye now.
Many parents might find that daunting, to be cut adrift. No way. It is SOOOO liberating. Kids can learn. Kids LOVE learning. Just don’t try to make them sit still and do what they are told and they will ALWAYS love it! We have time. We have time to read, write, do math. We also have time to go to the museum and art gallery. We have time to go swimming and learn the piano. We have time to socialise and time for social sciences. And we are on no-one else’s time-frame, that’s the best part!
If you have ever even had an inkling to try it, reach out – there are loads of support groups, LOADS of online resources. I know you can do it! You’ll love it. Your kids will love it. And who knows, you might learn a thing or two!