It annoys me that I’m not doing a good old inspiring home ed blog any more. I do try but more and more the girls just get on and do stuff, not very visual or exciting stuff, not stuff that warrants dramatic blog posts. more and more, this blog has become about me, or just about any old family life. I’m toying with separating stuff off that *I* like to do, though I suspect I’ll regret that long term because I miss my niche as a home educating blog, but I know also that much of where we are now comes from what we’ve lived. Perhaps we are into that phase where this becomes a “well it seemed to all gradually come together for them” type of blog, rather than a “Oh, I must try THAT!” type of blog.
I don’t regret the former exactly, but I miss the latter a bit. These last few years have not been kind in the “have energy to do the show right here and MAKE. A. PROJECT.” kind of way. I feel like Josie misses out a bit, perhaps that Amelie did too – and that thought is enough to be getting my brain churning a bit.
Don’t misunderstand me; it makes me proud to know we are well on the way to becoming the type of family people look at and say “well, they were home educated from the start and seem to be doing okay” and the recent foray back into focused maths has been a huge boost in my sense of that being so. We’ve been carrying on with that and it is a massive encouragement to me – and to them – to see it coming together with so little effort. They’ve learned some exam tricks quickly, learned from errors and are already performing at a standard that would certainly not disgrace them at all in school. Over the last couple of months, inspired by a couple of penpals who write with pens and send things with stamps , Fran has suddenly developed a desire to improve her very scruffy and under-practised handwriting. Within no time at all, she has a neat, if still printed, style and is so proud of herself.
It feels like all those home ed clich???s, the promised epiphanies,? are really coming home. It certainly makes it easier on the day I fret and worry to now have some firm success and confidence under our belts.
While we’ve been frantically trying to hold it all together over the last few years, I’ve been very ashamed of how mundane our home ed has become. My aspirations have altered too; once I wanted it to be Montessori and Charlotte Mason and literature based, fabulous linked up projects with themed days out and children who crafted like Anne of Green Gables mixed with a Chalet girl. And then after a while all I really wanted was for them to be at least as able as I was when I left school, to at least not have been hindered by being home educated. That might seem very negative; the positive of that is that one thing I really wanted for my children was a childhood and time to play. It was very important to me that they didn’t get turned off knowledge and learning, that they learned the skills of playing and learned the skills of learning. I’ve never worried about information, but I do think skills matter. So if it has all become a bit text book, that suits my girls fairly well – and it does leave masses of time for reading and playing and being yourself without worrying that not enough boxes are getting ticked, should we ever revert to a horrible badman, Ball and Brown scenario again.
All of that said, it surprised me greatly today to hear Fran talking to one of her cleft team about the education she is getting. She was articulate and clear and concise and very positive about what she learns and how. They’d spent a private hour together and I came in on the end. The lady in question appeared reasonably impressed by her anyway, she certainly wasn’t giving off negative home ed vibes, but hearing Fran talk about what she reads, why she likes the history course she does, what she likes about her various other subjects and how it is good to learn the way she does, genuinely surprised me.
It occurred to me in one of those “DUH” moments after that, that there is nothing to stop us going back to a bit of the Monte/Charlotte Mason stuff. The big girls almost always listen to the little girl stuff, the littles tend to join in with big girl things – why have I stopped educating that way because I thought the moment has passed? Josie still deserves that type of start on her educational journey; perhaps what I need to remember is that we could all go back there and get joy and learning from it. it might make the blog a bit more interesting too.