Why we chose to home school our children.
Our son was halfway through year one when we made the decision to home educate.
His teacher had warned us that he was struggling to keep up. She said that he could do the work if she was standing over him, but he would daydream in his own little world when she could not. She also told us that she had noticed a gap between his knowledge and ability and that of other students, and that it was growing every day. She said he needs constant individual attention.
He was such a happy and creative little boy before he went to school. It was clear that it just didn’t suit his way of learning and wasn’t working for us from the beginning. Our time with him outside of school consisted of rushing around in the morning to get him to school. Then when he came home, he gave short, one-word answers about how his day was or shrug his shoulders when we would ask him what he had learnt. This became five out of seven days a week, every week.
I understand that we could have given it longer, we could have got him a tutor, we could have worked more with him after school hours. Or, we could be brave in knowing what is best for our own son.
We knew that if we took him out of school and allowed him time to be free, he would get back to his happy, creative self again, and then we could gently ease him back into enjoying learning.
But this time we would be there to give him the attention that he needs, guiding him in learning what he is interested in, what excites him and makes him hungry to know more. After all isn’t that the ultimate goal, to guide our children towards finding a fulfilling career doing what they love so that they can enjoy their life’s work?
Reading, writing, maths and other essential skills are learnt along the way because they are not an arduous task, they are part of the fun!
So, we did it. We worked out the process of what we needed to do to register for home educating and we spoke to our son about it. He obviously loved the idea!
We were nervous but excited and ready to take him out of school. We told his teacher and it was very moving and comforting when she said, ‘Well done’ and ‘What a wonderful decision you have made’.
Not long after, we were officially home educating two kids as our daughter had finished Kindy and was due to start reception.
In the beginning we were basically replicating school at home, but we were kind of missing the point. It was enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as it could be. We gradually learnt to trust ourselves and most importantly our kids. We did not need to force learning and it does not necessarily need to come from a book. I mean don’t get me wrong, we use books a lot. But learning comes so naturally with play and following passions and curiosities. We play games, we go on adventures, we collect and learn about what we collect. We research and learn about every weird and wonderful question they think up. All these moments fill and enrich our lives. They are curious and creative and that is all we really need.
Because our learning style is so makeshift, we utilise the Australian Curriculum website. With this, we can suggest directions to ensure that we are covering the eight key learning areas.
One of the most wonderful facts about home educating is that it does not need to be boxed into a lesson and subject. Each experience can touch on a multitude of subject areas.
We record our learning experiences by photographing and making a note of the activity and of key areas included. We keep a digital diary of our journey.
Most importantly, we leave plenty of time for daydreaming.
Editor’s Note: You can check out Leela’s artwork here on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/leelafletcherartist/