Starting home education

Last September after my daughter had awful issues at school, we decided to home-educate her. Very quickly, her younger brother was staying at home too.

learn

It has taken me until now to relax about the whole thing. I had no faith in my ability to teach despite having an amazing educational background. What if I damaged their life chances for ever? Let’s face it – I couldn’t even potty train them effectively for long enough so covering a load of topics some of which I might struggle with a bit myself seemed daunting.

On a selfish level, having just about rediscovered a sense of self after the onslaught of becoming a parent, what about my me time? What about my career or business prospects? What about me?

I know many people were interested in our home education journey but I was not sure how much I wanted to reveal. I wanted to get it right and know what I was doing first. I also wanted to fit in with other home educators and was not sure I was “hippy-dippy” enough. So I joined online networks and whilst being inspired by other home educators, ran away from actually joining them in real life and feared what I was doing with the children might not suit the home-educating community.

I have changed my perspective on quite a few things over recent weeks and months. This includes home education I think partly though learning by doing. As we move towards a year of home education, I am reminded of how terrified I was about my daughter’s mental well-being. Now I see a happy, creative, excited little girl with her own strong passions including politics, film-making and story-telling. Isn’t that good enough for Year 1 of the Family on Thin Ice Homeschool?

I also have to give a huge vote of thanks to the wonderful Cerys from RainyDay Mum. I was fortunate to be in her company with my family twice in recent months including on a camping weekend. It was a joy to get to know her a little and I want to make her a a friend. She told me in no uncertain terms how impressed she was by my children. As it was clear she has a fine mind and knows about education in a big way, I actually listened and perhaps more vitally, RELAXED!

I have started reading “A Funny Kind of Education” by Ross Mountney. People advised me to read this ages ago but it has taken me a long time to accept myself an an “official” home educator. I advise anyone embarking on the home education to read this book straightaway. It is down to earth, honest and true. It makes me feel OK and good enough.

So how was starting home education for me?

Terrifying – heart-beatingly scary with adrenalin overload.
Confusing – which home education philosophy was right for us?
Exciting – the joy of our first day of freedom from school runs and what have I forgotten? was superb. We had a picnic in the sunshine and made precious memories.
Guilt-ridden – are we doing enough and the right sort of thing? What if we have a day or two off? What if I allow them to play video games? Arrrgh!
Lovely – no nits all year!
Revealing – used to children coming home and saying little about their days however much I enquired, now they chatter on about their passions with me. Very quickly I learned that my son loves classical music because he finds it calming. My daughter showed that she wants to make films. I knew neither of these things about them when they were in school.

I often wonder what my parents would think about this life choice. I do clearly remember my mum telling me to make the most of the pre-school years “because you lose them when they go to school”. At the time I thought at least I could look foward to that as I struggled with post-natal depression, nappies and bottle-feeding.

Now the fog of depression has cleared, I see what great individual children I have and Fate has decided for now that they spend more time with us and we learn together ever day. I think I want to be “hippy dippy”!

I am going to write a lot about home education from now on – this family matters and I am going to revel in it.

The amazing thing about starting home education is you can make a fresh beginning every day and do it your way.

And then the fun began...

14 Comments

  1. Zara - Mojo Blogs July 19, 2015 / 9:28 am

    Reading this reminded me of how I felt when we started our home ed journey. The scariest decision I’ve ever made and the best. Everyone always asks how I fit everything in and the truth is that it is so relaxed, it just works. I look forward to reading more. Xxx
    Zara – Mojo Blogs recently posted…Chasewater Country Park 4/5amMy Profile

    • Kate Davis-Holmes July 19, 2015 / 10:00 am

      I think relaxing was my biggest challenge and I am so pleased to have moved on in my thinking. Thanks for making me feel less alone in that thinking

  2. Katie July 19, 2015 / 9:50 am

    You’ve really found your feet (and heart :-))

    • Kate Davis-Holmes July 19, 2015 / 9:59 am

      Thank you. I feel I was not ready to listen to the wisdom of home educators at the start and now I am finally starting to get it and looking forward to a great new year of home edding

  3. Ellen July 19, 2015 / 11:56 am

    Wonderful post Kate, I’ve been Home-Edding my eldest 2 since 2013 and I’ve experienced everything that you’ve written above and in past posts.

    Reading about your Home Ed journey both via this blog and on FB has been inspirational!
    Ellen recently posted…ReasonsMy Profile

    • Kate Davis-Holmes July 19, 2015 / 6:31 pm

      As with most topics, it always helps when you feel you are not alone with your thoughts and feelings. Thank you!

    • Kate Davis-Holmes July 19, 2015 / 6:30 pm

      Thanks for the feedback and would love to have you along as a home-education buddy

  4. Ross Mountney July 19, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    Thanks so much for the recommendation and I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the book. I felt all the things you described above when we started but now we’ve been through it and everyone is happy we have not one regret! All the very best. x
    Ross Mountney recently posted…The joy of contrastMy Profile

  5. The Beesley Buzz July 20, 2015 / 9:59 am

    this is so great to read Kate. Homeschooling really is such an amazing experience and i have so many regrets about not relaxing and enjoying it more – but at least I don’t have the regret of not trying it as it really was THE BEST thing we could do for our kids at that time in their situation they were going through. Even now I get people contact me who are thinking of homeschooling and I want to just tell them to go for it but i still remember just how hard that initial decision was to make even though it turned out to be the most wonderful decision for us. So glad you are enjoying it. And you can look forward to feeling smug in september when everyone else is running round like headless chickens for going back to school and you can relax (I remember taking my boys tree climbing when everyone else had their first day back and it felt sooo good) xxx
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  6. Candace September 3, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    You are doing z fantastic job raising your children and I hate to see you so hard on yourself. You didn’t damage them in any way before they started school and you are doing a fantastic job now. The smiles on their faces say you are.

    Love you to bits last Nc there are quite a lot of other who do too. It’s about time you started loving you because you are smart, funny, fantastic and the best mum ever to those 3 kids of yours. You just need to think of you x
    Candace recently posted…In Need Of Routine And BalanceMy Profile

  7. Sam February 10, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Firstly – Kate Yay! So nice to see you join in with #thetruthabout linky! Secondly, this is yet another post that makes me really love the idea of home educating – the fact that you had all the same kind of fears that I think any of us would have makes it seem so much easier to identify with. I really think home educated kids are probably some of the nicest, most well rounded people around – never having to feel like a square peg hammered into a round hole. I hope your home ed journey keeps going from strength to strength! X
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #63My Profile

  8. Verily Victoria Vocalises February 13, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    It sounds to me like you are doing an amazing job. It is natural to feel apprehensive about something like this – if you didn’t, then you wouldn’t care and what would be the use of that?! Keep doing what you are doing. I look forward to hearing more. #TheTruthAbout
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…The Conception Diaries #5 Friday 18th September 2016My Profile

  9. Nicola February 15, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    Love this! I am toying with the idea for my soon to be 4 year old. Amongst lots of other reasons he feels way to young for formal education. Thanks for inspiring me to explore further x

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