It is the end of the school term. All over the UK school children will go home for a long summer break today, some have already begun. But for us, and many other home educating families, day to day life will hardly change at all.
Still, I find myself reflecting back on the ‘school’ year we have had. So many changes have taken place, mostly in my head! My view of education and life as a whole has changed hugely since I became a parent. I have discovered attachment parenting, gentle parenting, instinctive parenting… the parent I thought I would be has fallen away as I have read and discovered more.
Similarly, the educator I once was has changed completely: I can’t see myself ever settled in a mainstream state school again, or at least not without a lot of rebelling against the system! I was already aware of Reggio, Montessori and Waldorf alternatives, but I had never put the time into finding out more than the basics, and had never considered how the ethos of any of these systems might affect my teaching. Now, as a parent-educator, the amount of Googling and Pinning and general research has been prolific, and my understanding of these concepts is so much stronger. Not only that, I have also discovered the merits of more than one style of project-based learning, and the unschooling movement.
This last year has seen a lot of changes in the way our day-to-day life together runs. I have relaxed hugely, no longer concentrating on what the small bears should be learning, and focussing more on their enjoyment of life. Some experiences have been less than successful (gymnastics lessons and trying to ‘unschool’ bedtime immediately spring to mind), but I feel we have learned something from all of our experiences.
That is what I feel I have taken from our first year ‘officially’ home educating: we are all learning, learning from everything, and will continue to do so.