Number 1 impression – it’s really hard to blog seriously AND home educate and do all that other living stuff!
Number 2 – My time-once-the-kids-are-in-bed is never going to be the same again!
I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to read for pure pleasure or even watch the occasional DVD again – I don’t have time anymore! I have so much still to learn about home educating. I have catalogues to trawl through (because without a homeschooling community, I don’t have anyone else’s materials I can look at). I have learned so much this week, mainly in terms of what I want my home educating ethos to be, but without time, so far, to decide how this might be applied at home. That will come in the next few weeks. The ethos decisions are essential but it’s biting into the ‘doing it’ time. However, that’s the bliss of home educating. We can be a bit flexible about what we do each day and we’ll catch up no doubt on fully grasping fractions or going from reading regular four letter words to longer ones!
After all, an important home education mantra is, “Better late than early” which I think is a really important credo to remember, although that doesn’t mean neglect or not aiding learning when it’s so obviously ready (like helping my 3 year old read, which is happening oh, so gently, guided by her interest levels). In terms of dealing with the homeschooling news leaking out into the wider community, I have scheduled a playdate with one of Edward’s old school friend’s next week, so that should be interesting. My friend doesn’t yet know Edward isn’t in school every day. Her son is in another class.
This afternoon will be interesting – a dreaded class birthday party. When everyone in the class is invited, all the mothers dread them (or sometime it’s just all the boys or all the girls). The mothers dread them because they aren’t fond of everyone in the class, sometimes they aren’t fond of the kids either (if they’re a bit of a bully or something) but most especially the mothers! I am looking forward to seeing some families but others, not. But I am rather worried how Edward will feel, not being ‘normal’ anymore, as he calls it. But he’s really keen to go (how much of that is his thing for birthday cake though, I don’t know!) so we’ll see. We can always leave if he finds it too stressful. He will have to learn to play with all sorts of kids, but I don’t see why he has to be deal with persecution in his first weeks of finding his feet as a home educated kid.
If only Edward especially could meet other homeschooled kids and I’m not talking about a bunch of 3 year olds (as nice as that would be for Petra). The only people I’ve met in Bahrain who call themselves homeschoolers had kids no older than 3 or maybe 4 who shouldn’t be in any kind of school yet anyway. I call these women mothers, not homeschoolers and perhaps if they thought of themselves this way too, they wouldn’t be so rigid with their kids. If I only had my 3 year old, I would never call myself a homeschooler. I would just say she’s not going to school yet. Yet the mothers want a big pat on their backs for ‘homeschooling’ their kids – and they really do the ‘school’ part of homeschooling which I think totally defeats the point of home education. For younger kids especially they should be left to learn through play and any learning they express great interest in should be really playfully introduced, not even ‘taught’ and any learning should certainly not involve proscribed amounts of time sitting down which is what I’ve seen.
Phew! Just got back from the birthday party and it was great. I avoided the mothers I don’t like and enjoyed seeing other mothers very much. Edward had a great time. Where he’d been the last week was a mute issue because everyone assumed he’d been ill. Unfortunately, a lot of kids have been ill apparently. I really enjoyed sharing my news and it was kindly received, although with a great deal of shock. I hope to keep in touch with these schooling friends and hope they’ll be kind enough to follow through on some generous offers of help. It was a great relief, especially since it was so pleasurable, to overcome this particular hurdle – our first ‘school class’ birthday party whilst no longer being part of that particular ‘gang’!
I’m a home educator now. And it still feels great. It felt great to not only say proudly I’m a home educator but also to say that I don’t find it daunting but just exciting – everyone without exception expressed trepidation at the thought of doing such a Herculean task themselves. Fortunately for us, the home education adventure still seems manageable and enjoyable now that it’s a reality. The main thing of course is that I think the kids think it’s great too. We’ll be taking our first trip to the library tomorrow, the only one on the island that we can access, so I hope it’s a decent one.
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