Last week I posted on Facebook that we’d had a quiet week. It was a very quiet week. We had no plans to go out and about, except to our group on Friday. I suppose it was inevitable that the doubts would begin to creep in about what we’re doing and last week was my week to wobble.
Home Education Is The Right Thing!
I’m absolutely not having doubts about whether we should home educate, or whether the girls should be in school. No way. We know it’s very early days but it’s been a largely positive experience so far.
Eleanor and Phoebe are both getting on extremely well and spending more quality time together than ever. They’re having lots of shared experiences which only strengthens their bond. That’s been a positive thing for us all really, we’re getting to do things together instead of just talking about the things we’ve done away from the family.
I’ll admit too, that a major bonus of home education is not doing the school run. That has been a definite benefit to me! I really hated having that journey as bookends either side of a short day that always seemed to be over just as I was getting something done. Neither one of us was a fan of hanging around in the playground either.
So Why The Doubts?
I think it would be disingenuous to only write about the things that are going well. There’s too much of that on the Internet already. So I’ll be honest… I worry that we’re not doing enough. Unschooling seemed to be the right path for us, especially after being in school for a few years.
I’ve read up on it too and unschooling sounds fantastic. A way for the girls to follow their passions and learn the things that will be truly engaging and useful to them. But is it the right thing for us? I think having a week of no distractions and no plans last week is what got me thinking.
The “problem” is absolutely with me as well, not the girls. They’re having a fantastic time and did keep themselves busy for much of last week without any help from me. They read, played games, made up games together, had karate lessons, drew, made jewellery, built with LEGO, and set up a cafe complete with posters, menus and play money. My only input really came when I set out some play dough invitations for them.
Now I’m writing that all down I realise that they are doing enough through the week. I’m just struggling with my mindset. Maybe it’s the years spent in the education system myself, or maybe it’s not really having any proper home ed friends to talk to about these wobbles. Whatever it is, I feel like I spent a lot of time over the weekend beating myself up about whether we’re doing the right thing.
It’s in my nature, I can’t help it; I’m a born planner. One of my favourite parts of teaching was writing lesson plans! After a lot of discussion with Andy over the weekend, we’ve come to the conclusion that routine does suit us all fairly well. A loose routine at least. We don’t want to plan out every minute of every day because we’re enjoying the spontaneity we’ve got right now. That said, I would like to do a little bit more with girls. Our plan, at least at the moment, is that we’re going to carry on completely unschooled until January.
That gives us plenty of time to observe what it is the girls are really enjoying about home education. It also gives us plenty of time to go Christmas crazy!
Then in January, I’d like to trial spending an hour in the mornings on some kind of lesson. Not in a school kind of way, but just an hour spent on something that could definitely be recognised as educational. The girls will still take the lead and let us know what they’d like to learn. Then the rest of their time will be unschooled.
Could Harry Potter Help?
It seems like a good compromise, at least whilst we’re still doubting ourselves. I spent a bit of time on Pinterest and reading some blogs I found through Google and came across some lessons with a Harry Potter theme. Eleanor and Phoebe both love Harry Potter; they’re on the final book now and have a couple of chapters every night before bedtime. How fantastic would it be to have a Harry Potter theme to our “lessons”?!
Last night I sat down to plan out exactly what that could look like, taking the subjects studied at Hogwarts, like Herbology, and putting a Muggle spin on things. I won’t lie, I’m pretty excited and when I spoke to the girls about it they were all for it too.
So that’s where we are right now. Unschooling but not knowing if it’s the right thing. Planning to change things a little after Christmas. Using our passion for all things Potter as a vehicle for learning. Trying desperately not to replicate school at home.
Honestly, there’s not a single thing you do as a parent that doesn’t have you questioning yourself!