Home Education the not-so-gentle beat yourself up art of learning.

I hate September. I think I have hated September ever since I started to home educate and what’s worse it’s my own silly fault that I hate September.

There are plenty of articles out there that explain how not to home educate, and what might lead to burn out, misery and abject failure, but I have managed to avoid most of those pitfalls and dug a new one, all of my own.

It’s the beat-myself-up approach. It’s based on a very silly version of keeping up with the Joneses. I look at all the events available, all the places we could go and all the stuff I could be taking the children to, and see all those home educating families going out and doing them all, and realise that we have neither the budget nor my health to allow it to happen. And then I start thinking I am letting the children down and I’m doing it all wrong and they are stereotype home educated children, sitting at the table with workbooks. It’s the stuff of home ed nightmares.

Just as I start the battle of beat-myself-up we get under way and I had forgotten some of the problems we faced at the end of last term and hit them again as we restart. I am also faced with new challenges as Heleyna does not learn the way the other two did and they didn’t learn like each other. I’m having to learn to be as flexible as Elastigirl. And like Mrs Incredible I have children with completely different talents and stumbling blocks.

Ronan is my classical cum Charlotte Mason child, while Avila is more Mason to Montessori and Heleyna is very hands on in a Montessori way.

September lurched along as we rearranged the daily rhythm of the family to take the lessons on board. We rearranged the rooms to make space for books, flashcard games and who knows what else.

Beavers Cubs and Ballet are under way again and we spent Wednesday at the MAC park with loads of home educating families for the “Not Back To School” picnic. It was a great day and the children played, talked and gathered a humongous amount of conkers. One lad suggested he might make conker stew! Hopefully his mum will curb that experiment.

A friend’s fiance was really kind and took us home before going back for his own family.

Tonight three of my 6 are off to Scout camp for the weekend.

So in actual fact they are going places, meeting up with friends and doing stuff. It’s just that there are so many events to choose from and so many of the mums I know go to loads of them, that I started to think I was doing it all wrong. There is a sort of pride in HE circles among the mums who are never at home and I fell for it, thinking that because we are at home a lot, that I was failing the children.

I have talked with a  HE friend and got my head in better order. My children don’t need to be doing every single home ed event. They are doing enough and having a tight budget and being limited in mobility and health is not a real problem. They are happy and learning and that’s what matters.

It’s interesting though. I would never even think of looking at the neighbours cars or clothes or expensive stuff and wish I could have that. While I have had kitchen envy occasionally and do have powered wheelchair envy (that’s truly sad isn’t it lol) it’s the area of what I would spend time and money on over education that gets me in the silly place. It’s also very annoying that something so small can immediately tip me back to the pit of “I’ll never get it right.” I suppose I never will get it perfectly right, but I know (on a sane day) that I am giving the children the best I can with all the graces at my disposal.

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One response to “Home Education the not-so-gentle beat yourself up art of learning.

  1. This is a great post, it really made me smile. Firstly, there is a saying that a mother’s place is in the wrong, so whatever we do we are worrying that we should be doing something else. When I read your blog sometimes, I feel that you know so much and are doing so much that I must be failing my children because I can’t do that. At more faithful moments I remember that God has given me care of my children and I can do all things through him. I have low energy levels at times and it bugged me that I couldn’t do everything I wanted to for the children, but I came to see that this too was pride and sometimes I had to ask for help or make decisions that I could cope with. I have also come to see this and a few other minor problems as actually a gift from God, I think that if I had boundless energy I would not cosider my decisions so carefully and would do so much that I would be more dissipated and less reliant on God “when I am weak then I am strong” .
    I have found that if I do too many days out/ meet ups I am not so present to my children. I am rushing round getting everything ready, hurrying them up and being inpatient with them. Then when we get there the temptation is to spend the time speaking to the mums instead of givng the children my attention. Then if we have too much on in one week everyone gets tired and grumpy and family life deteriorates. So I feel we can give our children our time and concentration more by not always being on the go. Keep up the good work!

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