Saturday, 19 September 2015

My changing attitudes through home education......

I thought I would write a little about a phenomenon that has occurred since the light bulb moment that came on about being able to home educate and discovering that home education was even a option.

I never imagined it would enrich my life, I had no idea about the effects home education would have on me and my attitudes in life, I went into it with the ideas that it would just be a matter of keeping them off school and learning the basics at home.

I remember when I first discovered and had recovered from the shock that I was expecting twins, my first thought was education, why I have no idea, but just the thought of school filled me with dread even before I was into my 3rd month of pregnancy.

I came across the concept of home education by sheer accident, I had heard of someone's child who was educated at home away from school, but not as a home educator, they where still enrolled in school but had been excluded and did lessons still registered with school, but worked on-line towards their exams and had a tutor that over saw their work.

I was just being nosey and being bored one night whilst suffering a craving of pepperami onto my 6th stick (yes errrr) and looked it up and google being google came up with home education stuff which I quickly grasped onto and thought 'bingo', this is the answer to getting rid of my dread about school.

I quickly looked into groups to ask questions and came to a yahoo group, then a facebook group, which back then there where very few of, I learned a lot in those few months especially as it was in the badman era, if you do not know what the badman era was then look it up or click here to get an idea of what it was all about, it was a historic moment in home ed terms.

What first took my attention about the home ed community was the activism that goes on to protect the rights of home educators, and after talking to a few and starting to understand a little of the home ed world I just knew I had found the right place for me.

I was guided by some of the home edders on the laws and learned about the home ed world and the more I learned the more I saw schooled education as a strange thing to do.

Sure I knew then I would have to make sacrifices and face a lot of negative criticism but, who's life is this anyway?, who do I have to answer to?, the only people I owe anything to are my children, and as a parent who wants to let their children down?, not  me, but that is what I felt I had done with my eldest children. 

I had an underlying determination that the mistakes I had made in life bringing up  my other children where not going to be repeated and education played a big part in that, things had to be different.

I had no idea at that time what a profound change in me that home education would have.

Prior to the twins I was a clubber and enjoyed life travelling, nice clothes, a nice car, house and lots of the finer things in life where a priority. 

But as soon as the light bulb moment of home education came on I started to make the change, I knew it would not be easy and I knew things would take a dramatic change, including my priorities, yes normal priorities that you make when you have kids anyway, but I seemed to go further than that, I started to look at myself morally, and started to see the world in a different way, partly because of the people I started to communicate with in the home ed world, they seemed to open up a word I had never seen before and never even considered existed, they forced me to look outside the box

On the surface it looks like pure parental indulgence, a sacrifice of oneself to your children, in a totally over protective and selfish way, but it could not be further from the truth.

Home education the way we do it is a total lifestyle choice, not an easy lifestyle choice, you have two options, that is go with the flow and do what is expected of you, something that pays the bills and fits round a weekend.or doing something in life that interests you and gives you a passion for life. There is a third option of doing both but not many get to live that dream... 

I never imagined it would change my life to the point that I look forwards to every single day with enthusiasm and joy and wonder at what is going to happen that day, things to look forwards to and knowing that you will learn something new today, my life had been so devoid of anything meaningful for a long, long time and looking back now on the surface I was happy but I was so deeply unhappy deep to my core, something was missing in life.

Through home education I have found that gap filler, that thing that always seemed to be missing is now no longer a feeling of something missing, my life is as complete as it possibly could be and life is now worth something, I have fulfilment in life, no money sadly, but fulfilment seems to be worth so much more.

Being in accountancy you tend to always be researching and keeping up with things and I had always had an interest in learning, mostly for work related stuff and not for the sake of knowledge but I learned quite quickly that the term knowledge is power is a real thing, and that the world is shielded from much of that knowledge for a reason, what you think is not important actually is very important, I started to learn a lot about the way the world really does work, politically and morally I started to sit up and take notice, I started to be inquisitive.

Looking at things for the kids to do educationally, quite easily starts to make you think about things in a wider way. You see the education system and learn the bits they miss out that are actually far more important than the things they do teach and include, and it looks strange when you are removed from the institution completely.

I started to question why, which led me to question more and more which lead me to learn more and more. 

I actually stared to see the world in a way I had never seen it before, so this home ed journey is not just about the kids at all,  it is also about me...

It has actually given me strength to walk though this world feeling positive and feeling grateful and I actually walk in awe most days seeing the people who are actually trying to make a difference in life not just for themselves but for others, in the home ed world and out of the home ed world. They actively try to make the world a better place, fighting for those little bits of knowledge that are suppressed by the powers that be and making injustices face themselves.

They take punch, after punch, after punch so they do not upset the wheels in motion but they get up and keep going, I find that one of the wonders of the world.

This whole world of activism I had found really did open up my eyes and it keeps them open, open very wide. It also enabled me to find myself.

Being of Sudanese descent I always had an interest but never really learnt anything of my heritage, something that in western education is devoid, I grew up and was taught that Europe is the be all and end all and they where pioneers etc etc ect, I felt a pang of sickness to my stomach when I started to learn that actually there is a very different story, my new love of learning has taught me so much about my values and how to decode the world I live in, my morals and view of the world and attitude towards life has changed beyond recognition, I have evolved.

I think without discovering home education I would still be that dead man walking I feel I once was.  I live to learn now and find the world a wondrous place to be and to be able to do that alongside my twinnies feels like something that is worth fighting for, something special, something that is a basic human right to bring our children up as we see fit, to see the world as a place we belong and not just a place we happen to be. 

We have our children for such a short space in time, why should I give up those few childhood years to someone else to change my children to something unrecognisable, I find it abhorrent to think  I would be required to hand my child over to complete strangers who want to shape them into their ideal, to fit into an ideal world designed to keep us in check for the equilibrium of society.

I think my children will not be any different than any other child that goes through the state system of education, in fact I know they will be no different, I have seen it over the past few years with my own eyes, they will either fail in societies eyes or they will succeed. 

Depending on their attitude when it comes to their future as functioning adults in the big wide world they will have the same choices to make, exam or not to exam, either way they can flourish in life, whatever they decide to do, they have the same choices, college or not to college, to follow a certain career or wing it, to fly and discover new places or to stay put. 

Just because our choice of education is different and affords us more freedom than an institutionalised one, does not make it better or worse, it is just a choice I choose to do it the way that fits us as a family and brings us enrichment in life that schooling can never do.

To live separate parallel lives as a family, learning and growing separately, or share our first 15 odd years together as one unit, learning and growing in our journey through life together as a family, the latter is the choice I choose because the former option did not and will not work for me, but home education has changed my life for the better and it keeps on getting better every day, I watch the twins flourish and grow into their own personalities and watch their love of learning grow by the day, I have no doubts we will make it......

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