Home education is fantastic. We have done it right through until L decided to go to school at the start of Secondary school last year. R however has no intention (at the moment) of going to school, so we are still home educating her aged 10.
Home ed has suited us and has worked very well for both girls, in different ways and for different reasons. We have adapted and changed all the way through to suit different ages and phases.
Having met up with a group of home ed mums I’ve known for years recently, we were all chatting about how home ed can take its toll on parents. It seems that for many the crunch time comes when the child reaches 10-13, depending on the child and parent and can often be to with the child wanting some independence, and the parent wanting some time to themselves. Independence was the driving factor in the case of L. She made the decision, wanting access to new things and people and it is very much her thing, which is great for her and works for us too.
In the group of home edders we’ve known for about 10 years, this particular lot have been home ed all through, we have a few now going to school, there are also exhausted parents, who need the break from home ed, so for some families this is the answer.
I feel less home ed, now L is at school. With R it is different, she doesn’t want to go to as many things as L did, so we have more time at home together. I must admit that now this does suit me more too, as a lot of the group activities feel a bit like we’ve been there and done that. They are still fantastic, and we enjoy what we go to, we just are entering a different phase… and I think if R doesn’t go to school then our way of changing gear for this next phase is to back off from too many group activities, just being selective and enjoying our own things. I think I am lucky with R as well because she will entertain herself for ages on things she wants to do, so we both get that break from each other sometimes too which is needed more as we head towards the teenage years!
I have had a bit of a head start with this as I have M.E., so I’ve always had to pace myself and my children have had to understand that sometimes I need to rest.. but children are capable of taking themselves off and playing, or completing projects / tasks, it is a great skill to have! Painting has been my get away and change from home ed. It is easy to get swept into everything being about your children’s education but I think most parents reach a point where they want to reclaim themselves a bit, and children especially as we hit tweens and teens want their own space too.
It is hard to maintain the early extreme enthusiasm of home education and I don’t think you need to in the same way. Don’t get me wrong, the enthusiasm is still there… the pace has just slowed… and I guess I’m starting to realise that I can’t use all of those interesting links I save everyday on Facebook, and the bookmarks which overflow on my bookmark tab, or the pages and pages of useful ideas on Pinterest! That’s ok though…. both girls whether at school or home ed will be soon overflowing in their own bookmarks as they take full control of their learning! Or perhaps they will be more organised than me!!