Tuesday, 12 June 2012

And that's OK because we're deschooling...

The problem with writing a blog is that your life is on display... and the problem with Home Educating is that you can feel like you have so much to prove (pioneers, aka 'those who go against the flow' are always being assessed by those around them as to the success of their venture) - so, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but publically exposing our journey into the unknown could be classed as a bit insane! I suppose I could just have kept a private diary, but I know I wouldn't have kept it up - and I really do want a record of the journey we've been on, for us to look back on, and maybe even to help anyone else starting out.  Not everyone's journey will look like mine, as I said in my introduction - but some of the questions will be similar, so I would love to think that other Home Educators are encouraged (or at least entertained) by what I write.  So I include the good and the bad here - the good in the hope that people will be encouraged that HE can and does work, and the bad so that other Home Edders having a trying day will know it's not just them ;).
Today has been absolutely fine, but to my over-analytical eye, my own attitude has been challenging.  We had a lovely time at the local HE craft club - it's just that hanging out with other Home Educators can bring on a chronic 'should' attack faster than you can blink (see my post, Attack of the Killer Shoulds).  It's really lovely hearing what others are doing, but when you are finding your own path, the temptation to compare your journey with that of others on a similar journey can be huge - especially when the 'pioneers' involved are mothers (the most self-questioning bunch of people on the planet - and those who are most desperate to 'get it right').
Anyway, my 'should' attack (you know: "should I be doing what those amazing Home Edders are doing?") this morning was fortunately very brief, as I have the decision to deschool to fight off the feeling of being obliged to do anything.  However, that didn't stop me from feeling a bit dissatisfied when we got home, and several times I had to bite my lip to stop myself asking DS1 to have a go on Maths Whizz instead of playing (yes, I'm rolling my eyes at my own impatience), and trying to persuade the boys to bake bread when they clearly weren't interested today.  I did it though - I let the boys do what they wanted to do.  So I don't have a nice enouraging list of achievements for today, but they all had a lovely time making stuff and playing games at craft club.  DS3 headed straight for Reading Eggs when we got home, and DS1 & 2 ran out for some exercise on the trampoline, but otherwise they have not been interested in anything other than messing about, watching TV or playing on the Wii today!
And that's OK because we're deschooling!  - this is becoming a bit of a mantra of mine now (more eye-rolling at my own inability to stay chilled).
To be fair, the boys did also make some lovely cards for Father's Day on Sunday, and DS1 was pleased to get his hands on his 'Bird Life' comic that just arrived from the RSPB (DS2 & 3 also get a comic each from the RSPB, aimed at younger ages, so I assume theirs will be here soon).  But having made the cards for Sunday, and put everything away (or so I thought), I went to open the door to the lady who had brought my Sainsburys shopping (I LOVE buying groceries over the internet & having them delivered!), and was quickly joined by my two youngest boys who had carefully coloured each other's noses using a lurid pinky-purple felt-pen. To her credit, Sainsburys lady didn't bat an eyelid - she must have kids of her own!  It was just one of those 'not having the best day' moments...
Anyway, I do now have one more weapon in my arsenal against the shoulds, and that was a result of this weekend's visit from grandparents who live quite a way away, and who only see the boys every 2-3 months.  One of the things that they commented on was how much the boys are relaxing.  It's true - they really are chilling and becoming less anxious/ prone to mood-swings.  Not that there wasn't a fair amount of squabbling - after all, visits from loved grandparents always get them hyped up - but even allowing for that heightened excitement, the difference between the boys from the last visit until now was remarkable.  And that is why I know we're on the right track (she says, typing while the boys are all hooked up to the Wii...insert mantra as appropriate).

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