Well let’s just nut this one out straight off the bat! Every waking hour we spend educating our children because us and them, all of us, we never stop learning. This concept that we ‘only learn at school’, or within set hours of the day doesn’t really resonate with us. It doesn’t really make sense when you think about it. We don’t follow a curriculum and don’t have a timetable or schedule per say. We have busy days filled with activities and home days where we ponder about our lives. We don’t however have “4 hours a day of sit down formal study”, or make the kids sit and do book work of maths, english, history ect. We flow with the questions that arise in daily life and try to give the kids as much exposure to new activities and experiences as we can. If they so choose to do bookwork or want to bury themselves with in the pages of books for hours on end, which they quite often do, they can at their own free will. It’s amazing how the opportunities within daily life support learning all the areas which school places so much emphasis on.
“Every waking hour we spend educating our children because us and them, all of us, we never stop learning.”
Most of us were never asked whether we wanted to go to school, there was never really any option. At the tender age of five or maybe four you are made to pop a uniform on and attend a school for 5-6 hours a day and forced to do some extra work at home. To do what you were told when you were told. Not allowed to choose how and what it is that you would like to study but expected to narrowly squeeze through a system that seems to only really care whether you are a pass or fail. So is it any wonder that when we look at where society is today that we are living under governments who tell us what to do, how to do it and when to do it! We don’t respond in active participation to the rules and regulations that are “meant” to serve society as whole but submissively to the demands that serve a small few. This was expected of you because it was expected of your parents and their parents and so on. But do many people stop to think about what we are sending our kids off to? I mean really the setup which we are basically indoctrinated into and whether it is best for the individual or even if it suits society as a whole. Do we stop to anaylize that this current system that has barely changed in 150 years, do we question can this be done better? Surely it can right? I certainly see that there could be many forms of schools and some are out there paving the way with nature schools, forest schools, schools with no homework or standardised testing. Progressive education formats that can make school a place that is facilitating learning holistically, progressively and nurturing of the individuals needs. I think there most certainly can and should be better education systems and initiatives in place. I feel the home environment and school environment should complement each other to nurture the child’s development and interests, working harmoniously and cohesively.
The flexibly of homeschooling suits us as a family and our lives. We like to travel, spend days emerged in nature, adventuring to museums and festivals. Learning through life and passion projects. I can see even in the short time of homeschooling, which actually just feels more like the next stage of parenting for us, how the human nature when not confined to fit a certain box or regime wants to naturally learn and grow. The natural curiosity of the human spirit is reflected back to me everyday in my children’s eyes, through their play and their eagerness to learn and understand all of this deeper. My son naturally has this scientifically intrigued mind since his toddler years. He has always been drawn to physics and biology not through any persuasion from his father and I, neither are particularly that way inclined. It’s through the questions of wanting to know himself in this world, how he came to be, allowed the time and space to ponder and play and for the natural curiosity to get caught up in the mysteries of life, time and space. Would he have this passion if his time was filled up “studying” things that did not mean anything to him at this stage of his life? that he did not connect with? Would that learning be true, rich and abundant knowledge that he will carry with him through out his life or is it facts that are learned to be forgotten, simply to meet a test or to impress someone?
“I can see even in the short time of homeschooling, which actually just feels more like the next stage of parenting for us, how the human nature when not confined to fit a certain box or regime wants to naturally learn and grow.”
In a world where depression and anxiety in children is increasing ever so rapidly, we are ushered through school routines and then after school activity routines, than home routines, to collapse into bed and wake to do it again. According to statistics published on the beyond blue website, “One in fourteen young Australians (6.9%) aged 4-17 experienced an anxiety disorder in 2015. This is equivalent to approximately 278,000 young people and around one in 35 young Australians aged 4-17 experience a depressive disorder.”Have we stopped to think is it all to much? Kids pumped up on caffeine and energy drinks to power through the school day, cramming all nighters and then subjected to the harsh scrutiny of tests that really are of no benefit to anyone except the board of studies and quite frankly who are they to you? . Because we are fed the fear that our child maybe “falling behind”, that they are not performing to “state/national standards”, that they may not be like everybody else, at the time that everybody else is! Is achieving high grades in school really that much security for a better job? a better life? a guaranteed future? These are all false misgivings. Are these regimes and routines really serving us into adulthood? Are they helping us navigate the pressures of a demanding world?
Life is a constant flow, ever changing and forever unpredictable. when we are so confined to a strict routine we miss out on all the spontaneous learning in life, the chance happenings, the mystery that keeps us wondering growing and evolving. We have become like robots, wake, eat, work, eat, jog, sleep, repeat. We absolutely need plans and appointments, structure and elements of routine in our lives. But we must not forget to allow time and space for all that integration of learning to happen. Moments to ponder, dream and recall all that life is giving us. We are in co creation with this life, yet we are programming children from a young and tender time to defy their natural instincts, be in competitive environments through no choosing of their own and to be giving up their opportunity to co create their own lives.
‘We absolutely need plans and appointments, structure and elements of routine in our lives. But we must not forget to allow time and space for all that integration of learning to happen. Moments to ponder, dream and recall all that life is giving us.’
Homeschooling allows us this beautiful space to create a gentle rhythm through our week but we are also up for the possibilities of what may present. We have a general flow of how the day might go but we also acknowledge where everyone is at, sometime’s it calls for more rest and other days it calls for more adventure. We set tasks, plan ideas and learn that sometimes things just need to be done on that day, at that time but also try to balance this with not having to many things planned through the week. Life is how we perceive it, what we choose it to be and schooling, educating and nourishing the children with the power of choice at this young age will serve them to know that as they grow they have and always will maintain the power of choice to live your life, design it exactly how you want it to be lived.