I have been worrying a lot about The Kids recently…. am I doing the right thing with the home education? Am I providing a suitable education? Are they getting out and about enough? Am I becoming a Permissive Parent? Am I leading them down the wrong path?
How am I supposed to know?
A few months ago I signed up to a parenting course via Happily Family and I have found the information and discussions quite interesting and helpful; I feel reassured that we are on the right path and that our strategies are good. So why do I still feel so unsure?
Parenting is probably one of the most challenging and most rewarding things a person can do. Parenting when you have a chronic illness means that the ‘normal’ scenarios aren’t really applicable, and if you have chronic fatigue you likely don’t have the energy for all the normal things let alone the chasing and cajoling and reassuring and tantrums and sibling fights.
How do I manage? Slowly, one spoon at a time.
B has rearranged his work so he is at home most of the time; this has helped enormously. We are working on creating support systems so that I can focus on The Kids with my limited energy and, while it is not perfect, it goes some way to making our family life better.
When we started home education it felt like a natural extension of the way we parent and we happily settled into unschooling. It was great – we went on day trips and attended workshops and signed up for a few classes. We found a really good rhythm.
Then I had a few bad weeks which turned into months that stretched into a year then longer and the trips stopped and the classes stopped and we ended up stuck at home. To say that I was completely failing The Kids would be truthful: I did not provide a suitable education. To say that I have recovered would be untruthful.
I learned a few things along the way.
I learned that whether I provide the education I intend or the education that forces itself upon us The Kids will continue to learn and grow. They can’t help it – it’s instinctive. (Thankfully!!)
I learned that children will learn concepts and will gain understanding at the pace that is right for them, irrespective of how much/quickly we would like them to learn.
I learned that sometimes adults complicate things unnecessarily and that us adults would do well to listen to kids more.
I learned that watching a lot of TV isn’t so bad sometimes- I’ve had some interesting philosophical discussions [with The Kids] around some of the shows The Kids watch and I am constantly amazed at their views and understanding.
This brings me back to my original question: how am I supposed to know if I’m doing the right things for The Kids?
I don’t think we are supposed to know; a healthy dose of questioning goes a long way to help us stay on the right path and challenges us to allow our parenting style to grow along with The Kids.
One thing of which I am sure is that as soon as we figure out what we’re doing The Kids change and grow and it feels like they deliberately keep us on our toes. It’s a steep learning curve but I wouldn’t swap it for anything.