Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Summer Holiday All Year Round

So first of all - apologies for my complete lack of blogging recently.  I could bore you with the details, but I won't (I know: so kind of me).  Suffice to say life has been busy and distractions have been plenty.  Changes are coming up which are demanding plenty of attention... potentially good changes, but there's nothing concrete to tell yet, just nothing to worry about either for any lovely readers who wondered :)

Anyway I thought I'd check in briefly today because of a thought I had today that I wanted to share. If it seems smug, I apologise - I was just taking time to count-my-blessings.  I was scrolling through Facebook and I noticed a few common themes among friends of mine with children in school who have started their holidays: firstly the initial relief at no more school runs or school stresses generally, and anticipation of time together with their loved ones; secondly the panic (after a couple of days) that as their kids detox from school they start squabbling/ complaining of boredom; thirdly a list of lovely trips out to parks, theme parks, picnics, pools, playgrounds etc.  Amazingly to me, even though their children go to school to be educated, many of these parents still have an eye on the educational value of their trips, listing and counting books read, or sketching their surroundings, appreciating nature, planning projects etc.

And then I stopped and realised: some schoolchildren have the same kind of summer holiday as we have all year round.  Those four themes above pretty much sum up our Home Ed journey: instant relief quickly followed by a degree of panic at what was ahead, followed by endless days of trips, activities and experiences that enrich and educate, in a fun and natural way. Yes, our detox (aka deschooling) period was more lengthy and thorough, but in a nutshell, I think the two compare at least to a degree.  And I am just so thankful, so privileged to have what feels like a year-long summer holiday!  Not meaning to be smug - just grateful.

Of course, my summer probably looks very lazy to parents of schoolchildren, with day after day of the boys basically finding their own entertainment (with only limited console games) while I catch up on much neglected housework etc, but it has to be said that even with our "year-long summer holidays" I do need downtime: home education in this house generally means my being 'on duty' full time - and the main reason that we join in with the schools' lengthy summer break is that it allows me time to recharge.  My boys are still at home having fun, but I don't feel the pressure to pay ceaseless attention to their learning.  Plus of course it also gives me a decent amount of time to research and plan the coming season myself - not least because Eldest is coming up to GCSE season, and things are really going to change.  In fact my head is still spinning about it - not so much the practicalities of GCSEs now, but more the "how-to" of taking one child through GCSEs while being attentive to the education of my younger children.  I'm not planning on intense curriculum for them to follow, but I just don't want to miss these years while focusing on ther big brother: all too soon they will be approaching GCSEs too (I know it goes so fast), and I want to enjoy sharing their current seasons of much more natural, fun learning while they last.  Until now they've all enjoyed similar styles of HE but I am going to need to adapt to handling different styles at the same time... no big deal, hey?!

It's just different, isn't it: the pros and cons, or swings and roundabouts of traditional schooling and/ or home education.  I do know that Home Ed isn't for all, and it's certainly not without cost - but this summer has already made me once again extremely grateful for this lovely lifestyle we have.  So whether you are a parent of schoolkids out enjoying the parks etc, or a Home Ed parent having fun home now the parks are so much busier than termtime - have a lovely summer everyone!

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