It’s not all teachable moments.
As new home educators it can be overwhelming to think of ALL the things we SHOULD be doing for our children. Mostly, the ideas stem from having to replicate school, which we soon work out is not what we want to do. After all, we are home educating, not home schooling (though you will see the word a lot). Over the years I have learned to appreciate the benefits of downtime, nothing time, boredom, days with no plans and excursions with no purpose but to get out of the house. Downtime brings us peace and allows space for creativity, music, talks, cups of tea, cooking, lunches together, dinners together, reading, movies, time with friends, but most of all (and most of the time) a calm place to start from.
The pressure is real, to give your children ‘The Best’ education.
People are going into massive debt for it, people are working two jobs for it, we are devoting most of our time to it. The best doesn’t have to mean doing the most. You will have heard the response, “Oh we’re so busy! It’s just life”. There’s footy, two nights of training plus a game, soccer too, training and game, music lessons and tennis coaching, oh and chess club and that’s just for one kid. It’s easy to feel like we have to make up for what our child may be missing through not going to school, but racing around every night of the week isn’t serving anyone.
As a family, we really value time without a schedule.
Of course at times it’s hard to avoid, but we aim to follow up a busy time with plenty of decompression time. For us, that can be a week in a cabin in the bush with our mates, or a few days at home without any plans. I find that people retreat to their own worlds. For Flora 7, that can be playing with her horses (the plastic kind). The older ones can play cards, have some computer time watching YouTube or chatting to friends. They also come together for a movie or playing music. I honestly believe it keeps the stress levels low.
Unscheduled time allows for the individual interests to come up and be explored.
My son has developed a love of cooking and he often shops for the ingredients by himself (Age 11) and puts together a mean slow cooked beef stew. Six hours on the stove and the house smells about as homely as can be. The older girls have spent time working out songs to play together, picking up new instruments and learning them. Ivy, who is now 15, ditched social media for 30 days and talks about how at first she was bored, but through the time she developed new habits and generally felt happier.
Giving them ‘the best’ education for me involves giving them a stable place from which to leap.
Leap out into the world that is. As I see my teens taking the leap in its early phase, I believe that having TIME was one of the greatest gifts they could have been given. Time to daydream, plan, think about what’s important to them, what they love, what they don’t love and time to play.
Downtime is your friend. Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t call it unproductive, quiet, nothing or boring. Call it space, freedom, room to grow, room to unfold. Call it low stress living. Call it not busy.