It’s the last few days of our holiday. It’s been nearly 5 weeks away. We are just starting to settle down and feel at home. We’ve learned the main roads to get around. We recognize major landmarks. We’ve slowed down and enjoy time being our own; ours to decide what to do with as opposed to ‘having’ to do so much each day. Hubbie is feeling really despondent, he’s really not had enough rest, in part due to my restless need to always be doing something, going somewhere. We tried to compromise but he didn’t feel I’d done enough of it! Our vision of what’s important just isn’t the same; I feel driven to keep taking the kids out to see and do things. I feel it’s part of the kids’ education and now that I’m homeschooling, I am responsible for it.
Hubbie says I talk about homeschooling incessantly, that I can’t talk about anything else. When I asked, “Like what?” he answers, “Politics? Religion?” I answer, “I’m always up for a juicy discussion on those subjects. Why don’t you start one?” He acknowledges that perhaps he shares the blame; maybe it’s also up to him to think of something else to talk about. I’m sure other homeschooling Mums have the same problem. Our kids’ education is such a preoccupation for us. Our children’s education is so darn important. Society constantly says so and we agree (we just don’t agree on what a great education looks like. Nor can homeschoolers for that matter, not even homeschoolers of any particular hue – for instance within unschooling). But Dads have other preoccupations – like putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. Hubbie knows what it’s like not being able to take either of these for granted. I understand his preoccupation. At the end of the day, he feels blessed to have great kids, they’re still young, he sees how much happier Edward is at home, Edward can read and add up a few numbers so he’s not worried. But I worry. Every day! When we started homeschooling, we agreed I would take sole responsibility for it. I let it be known, for the record, that I’d love him to do whatever he could to help, that it would be lovely if he could share his love of Maths with Edward but that hasn’t happened so far.
When I mentioned how I was also feeling stressed about going home – how each day I had to think, ‘What is this day going to look like? What are the kids going to learn about today? Should they be following some sort of schedule or curriculum, even if only a little bit?’ he perked up, “We can talk about that! I can help you choose a curriculum! Just let me know which ones you’re thinking about!” “But”, I said, “That’s the point. We can’t decide the practical ‘how to do’ homeschooling until we’ve nailed down our philosophy and that’s what I’m interested in talking to you about.” His face fell. ‘Philosophy again’, I’m sure he thought. It’s not Hubbie’s ‘thing’, Philosophy, he wants specifics, action plans, something tangible to decide. But so much about homeschooling, good homeschooling, is I think knowing what your philosophy is, not just what your education philosophy is, but also your life! It became even clearer over the holiday that Hubbie’s Philosophy is that family time comes first and that the kids are still young so museums and things aren’t vital and that I should relax more!
But Hubbie and I come from very different places. He didn’t have access to museums or historical sites and doesn’t seem to feel he missed out. So he doesn’t seem to feel the kids are missing out much on these either. This isn’t the case with toys though! Hubbie showers the kids with toys because he felt the desperate lack of these as a child. In contrast, as a child, I was privileged enough to regularly visit museums, historical sites, the odd ballet, play or concert and despite not always enjoying them at the time, I’ve gained a real passion and enthusiasm for such things and I feel these really contributed to who I am. I think they’ve really made me a much more cultured person and I want the kids to be ‘cultured’ too. A quick net definition of cultured threw up, “Characterized by refined taste and manners and good education” and “Educated, polished, and refined; cultivated” but also “ Produced under artificial and controlled conditions: cultured pearls” Mmm. Interesting. Do I want my kids to be like cultured pearls or diamonds in the rough?
I want my kids to have a good idea what someone is talking about when they say, ‘Wow! That Paris Metro stop is definitely in the art nouveau style!’ or have a good idea whether the following statement is true, ‘Romans were disciplined fighters, they didn’t go running around with spears like the Greeks! The way they used their shields were crucial, they used their shields to get close to the enemy and stab them in close quarters with their short swords.” (It’s an accurate statement). I want my kids to have a much better grasp of Geography than me – to be able to find most countries on a map (whichever way around it’s held). I want them to know which is the tallest tower in the world and a bit about how it was constructed. This learning certainly doesn’t have to come from textbooks but from what’s around them and although family is so, so important, I always want the kids to learn from other people too, experts or enthusiasts, especially those people and things that are really exceptional around them – like the people and things at a place like ‘Archeon’ in the Netherlands. These people are passionate about what they’re demonstrating and the kids got a hands-on introduction to a swathe of geography and history. None of this is available in Bahrain. It’s one of the ‘taxes’, as I see it, of living here. So, holidays are the only time to get out and about and broader our horizons. The fact I absolutely love doing it with the kids doesn’t hurt! I love watching them explore and I love watching them try something new because they didn’t just do historical, geographical ‘stuff’ but physically challenging fun like archery and climbing challenges. Are they too young for all this or am I getting it just right? I have an idea what Laura Grace Weldon, author of a favourite book, ‘Free Range Learning’ would say, read her great post on the subject here.
AFTERWORD: If you would like to make life easier (who doesn’t?!) scroll down the right hand side of the page and click the ‘Follow’ button. Posts will be delivered to your email inbox until such time you may not want them any more.
Don’t feel shy! Please always feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or ideally post comments* on any of the days you read, however old they are. Commenting helps others who may well like to have more ideas or suggestions about the topic concerned or you can ask me a question that you think others might also like answers to.
If you’re too busy to comment that day, but enjoyed what you read, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. Again, you have to have clicked on the title of the post to get the ‘Like’ button option at the end of the post. Commenting, ‘Liking’ and Following is much appreciated as it encourages more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! Any comments about Maths teaching is still especially appreciated and suggestions about resources warmly welcome, as per the plea in mypost. Take care. Have a great day and thank you for visiting.
*How to make a comment – If you are reading posts on the homepage, you will see at the bottom of the post, in tiny grey writing either e.g. ’7 comments’ or ‘Leave a comment’. Click on this to add yours. If you’ve clicked on the title of the post, you can see any comments that have been left already, and space for your own, right at the bottom of the page. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate.
IF YOU’RE NEW TO HOMESCHOOLINGMIDDLEEAST, welcome! I highly recommend that you start reading from ‘Day 1’. The fastest way to access this is to look for ‘Archives’ on the right hand side of the home page, click on ‘February 2012’ and scroll down to the bottom of the page that opens. If you want a quick first visit, you could type a term e.g. ‘socialization’ or ‘university’, into the ‘Search’ box or of course you could just read my latest posts without doing anything!
Why I recommend starting at Day 1 is because this is an adventure into homeschooling that is not yet 3 months old and the journey has been a rollercoaster – philosophically and emotionally, catalogued daily for the first couple of months. For you to get the full intellectual and dramatic impact, it’s best to start at the beginning. You might be contemplating home educating and wonder what those early nail-biting days feel like or you might enjoy reading somebody else’s take on an experience you share with me, or you might be more generally interested in my thoughts and feelings on education and parenting. Whatever the reason you’re reading, I’m really humbled that you’re taking your valuable time to do so and I really hope I can be some kind of hope or inspiration for you. Thank you!