The first thought that comes to mind when someone asks me where to start with home education as a mother is:
At the outset let me emphasise that it is not only mothers that home educate their children. Fathers do it successfully too. I just can’t write about it as a man because I am a woman. So to those men out there that enjoy this journey … congratulations guys! You rock!
As a mother of 3 home educated children, who have impressed many adults with their general knowledge and ability to communicate and negotiate their way around conversations with adults and children alike (any age-group, educational status, social status, etc.), I decided to write about what I have learned in the process because so many mothers have asked me to “please explain how this home education as a mother works”. You must know that I too went through the chaos of delving through hundreds of available curriculums and pulling my hair out while I tried to understand unknown terms like “unschooling, de-schooling, home schooling, home education”, blah blah blah! Have you ever?
Similarly, when I start explaining these variations of home education to an enquiring mom, I can see that glassy, tearful look in her eyes as she becomes completely overwhelmed, just like I did in the beginning. But I finally discovered that all moms really want to know is what to do so that their children can be confident, informed, capable and able to express themselves comfortably, pretty much like mine do now. But hear me now, it doesn’t come without blood, sweat and tears … so there’s nothing wrong with feeling uncertain, feeling like you might fail or are failing at attempting this home education as a mother, being overly stressed and even wanting to give up and run for the woods.
I also know that many moms are often too busy, too distracted and even embarrassed to ask for help. They feel like they – should know; should be able to cope; should be able to work, educate, be a wife and run a home with ease – just like every other seemingly calm, confident and capable mother in the world – right?
I used to feel inadequate too. How do I deal with so many comparisons, competitions, ‘mines better than yours’ showcases? It made me completely nauseous at the best of times. One day a home educating mother even came up to me one day and said: “Shame, you always look like you need help!” How embarrassing … haha. And to make things worse, they all had one toddler and I had two! But then I also have to admit, there were some with 4 kids or even 5 and they looked like they were coping with absolute joy! I often thought I was going to lose my mind because I just couldn’t see how they did it or how I would ever get there in one piece.
Before you even think of embarking on the journey of home educating your children it is important to realise the following.
The most important thing this journey will require from you is the necessity to know yourself and to be yourself. To admit to difficulties and to even allow yourself to break down sometimes. It is an imperative part of being a woman. It’s an eb-and-flow. It is your make-up. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not a weakling. You are not a failure. And most of all – you are not worthless.
The key is to get to know yourself fully. If you are an emotionally expressive person, you will emotionally express yourself in love and fear. If you are a more subdued character your expression will be mild across the board too. In other words, you can’t be a demonstrable person when you are happy and then be a cool, calm and collected when you are fearful or angry. You would have to be two separate personalities. This is logical.
Let’s face the fact that mothers are emotional beings. So accept that …
- you want to cry when you’re angry
- you will scream and shout out due to elation as well as anger
- your husband will accuse you of being emotional and irrational
- you will become depressed when chastised or controlled
- you will need to allow freedom of expression to dance in the rain
- your children enjoy you, need you and admire you when you are being real.
If you can discover and accept yourself, love and respect yourself, you will automatically allow your children the space to grow.
It took me years to stop struggling with myself and to stop clashing with my children as I attempted this home education as a mother. When I discovered what it means to be a mother and woman and what my ‘trump-card’ really is, everything changed. If I could have discovered all this when my kids were younger it would have been so much easier and less traumatic.
To me, being a woman means feeling and expressing emotion. It is essential to my well-being and my inner peace. It is only through this self discovery and self acceptance that I was able to allow an environment in which my children can grow and express themselves freely too.
Right now I wish to welcome the elation of self expression while I, as a woman and mother, am allowed to blast my creative energy out into the universe to celebrate and condemn that which I prefer and don’t prefer respectively – and this is important because it is emotion that is the creative force behind intention.
You see I have been given free will, just like you have – free will that allows me to choose just like you are allowed to choose. If I don’t like something – I may express it, and if I do like something – I may express it. If you see this as judgement, fine. But if you can broaden your vision a little and see it as choice of direction, you are on your path to discovering true freedom. It is this true freedom that you can impart to your children so that they can go out into the world and discover the impact they are destined to make from the outset. Imagine if you had this opportunity when you were a kid.
I am of the opinion that it is the suppression, disregard and denial of the substance of emotion that is preventing humans from being able to effect and direct deliberate creation. Limiting the freedom of emotional expression is like preventing a rosebud from revealing the magnificence of its blooming because it doesn’t know that there is no such thing as an ugly rose! I always find it so sad when I see a rosebud wilt – it’s like dying with potential.
By recognising these concepts, home education as a mother becomes the adventure it truly is.
True home education is the process of allowing your children to
- discover what they are good at and what they’re bad at;
- what comes naturally and what requires effort;
- how to navigate their way through likes and dislike;
- and how to use their emotion to direct their intention and therefor effectively create their best life ever.
No curriculum will give them that. A curriculum is simply a collection of information. How your children absorb that information depends on their ability to recognise their authentic ‘learning-style’ because they are given freedom to get to know themselves in a loving, supporting and caring environment.
Bottom line: What is your first job as a home educating mother then? It is to create the kind of environment where the freedom of self expression is allowed.
I didn’t get far until I realised this. In fact it was a huge setback. Having the wrong frame of mind causes damage to your childrens progress and to your relationship with them. It was an uphill battle. Getting this before you start will put you miles ahead and you and your children will thrive.
I will be revealing more life changing experiences so feel free to follow my blog. And comment! I would love to hear from other moms who have gone through this process or are going through this process. We need each other, whether we like it or not.