I love being a mum! I loved bringing home each new baby, and I have loved the process of helping grow each one of our kids, but if I am going to be honest with you, I just have to say it how it is. Motherhood is a really hard gig some days!
Don’t be concerned, I am just a little tired and I have a cold, so I’m probably being a little over dramatic, but if you ask any mother – some days will always be harder than others, because that’s life!
We have just completed our very first term of homeschooling, and I am elated with how well the term has gone. The girls have worked very hard, and I am pleased to see them growing into the young women we hoped and prayed that one day they would become. As parents we have so many dreams for our kids, we see their potential, but they don’t seem to see it. Parents need to help them embrace who they are, as well as their own glorious potential. Ultimately, I want them to see themselves as happy, strong, resilient, love conscious, successful women. I want them to know what they want in their lives, and not be afraid to go after their dreams. I want the girls and Jaden to see themselves as beautiful people – now and as adults.
I found this fantastic video on line about how hard it is for so many people to identify themselves as beautiful and would prefer to rate themselves as ‘Average’.
It was quite sad to see how many people saw themselves as average. Which door would you go through?
The girls have adapted to our home curriculum very well. They are committed to our plan each day, and I’m impressed by their perseverance, particularly when there are issues (usually maths related issues). I have seen the girls stretched, sometimes to the point of frustrated tears, but then excel in their tests. I love seeing their joy when they achieve, and I enjoy seeing the girls processing the work.
I feel the girls are changing before my eyes. They started term one nervously. They had that nervous excited feeling, they were afraid to fail, didn’t want me to see how they reacted to not understanding the work, and didn’t see the need to keep practicing what they were learning till they got it – ‘because this wasn’t how they did it at school!’ It was in the first few weeks of term when I realised that I needed to tread carefully because they were all in one way or another feeling exposed and vulnerable. It was at this point that I also realised that our girls were experts in hiding behind their friends at school, not owning when they didn’t understand the work, and all three chose not to ask questions in class for fear of highlighting to their peers that they in fact did not understand the work. The concept of homeschooling is great right up until the point where you have to own up to not understanding the work, so I had to change my expectations and go back to their assigned homeschooling teacher and we decided to grade test them. This grade test allowed us to see exactly where the holes were in each grade up to the grade the girls are in, and so we have worked on each of these little issues using www.mathsonline.com.au. Over the last term, the girls have become more confident, they feel like they’re achieving, and they are happy.
We spend a minimum of an hour on maths each day, some days we spend longer, but if we are close to mastering the skill then we keep plodding along, but if I feel that there’s a block that won’t shift at that point in time, then we have a quick break and go onto a different subject. We have a lot to fit in.
I have seen the girls change significantly in their attitude towards school in this one term. Our goal is that our girls learn to love learning, we also want them to spend time on what they are passionate about.
We have a clear curriculum through a registered distance education school – We are not unschoolers! We are enrolled in a great school, based on the south side of Brisbane, and they take responsibility for legal registration side of our distance education adventure! They explain and tell me what examples of work are required from us, and we just have to get it done. I don’t believe in the unschooling-homeschooling methodology. I believe children need to learn self discipline and what it means to be responsible, and parents need to provide a structured environment where children have goals and expectations to meet. We have to provide a safe place where learning is rewarded, and this comes via a set curriculum, and time to meet the requirements of that curriculum. We also need to allow children time to play, and experience the different aspects of what life has to offer – including P.E, art and music. The ultimate goal is to provide a safe place where our children can learn self discipline, goal setting, achievements, and fun in a loving environment where they are allowed to holistically develop into the well adjusted happy adults they are supposed to be when they get there.
These days I find myself questioning many aspects of normal school life. I feel as though my eyes have been opened up to new ideas and while it may scare some, its actually good to explore why we do certain things. A friend of mine sent me a Seth Godin Ted talk recently all about the school system and how it hasn’t changed over the years. Here is the link. Its only a 16 minute video, but well worth a listen. The title of his talk was ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’, and its quite confronting. Another video worth watching is Sir Ken Robinson speaking on the topic ‘Does school killed Creativity?’.
I am not against going to school, but I want to know what school is going to do for my kids individually. I know that we are on the right path at this moment in time, because I am seeing results and benefits every day. As soon as home schooling stops working for us then we will go back to school, but until then we have to keep plodding along to achieve our ultimate goal – Happy, educated, fun, well adjusted, hardworking, responsible purpose driven adults.