Friday, 17 May 2013

brave or .....

Over the past few weeks/months whenever I've talked with someone about our new homeschooling adventures they have proclaimed me to be brave. "Wow, I could never do that. You're so brave", generally with real admiration in their tone. My response has generally been "yeah, or stupid". 

I was saving writing about our homeschooling journey on this blog, as I have thoughts/ideals that it's a crafting/making/creative/small business blog. But, I think I need to realise that it's a me blog. And right now the me who writes, owns and is this blog is all about homeschooling.*

Let me start off by saying that so far in this 6 weeks since we left school, and began homeschooling, it has not been an easy or smooth transition. Not that I thought it would, but I had hoped it would be easier than it has been. I think I guessed the kids would settle into their school routine and allow me to sit and be their book-work teacher for at least 3-4 hours a day. And I had crazily assumed that the daily work would just sort of write itself and evolve easily. I mean; my kids can read (one learning, one very proficient) and write, and are highly intelligent inquisitive children. I think I assumed we'd all skip along a path of self-learning and enjoying reading/writing/working every day. 

Ha! Let me say that louder HA!. (Therein lies the "stupid" part. The part that thought it would all happen on it's own! Ha. I hear all our teachers laughing hysterically at that one). 

Well, actually that has happened on many wonderful mornings; we've sat down with our books and a semi-planned idea of what we'd work on. And stayed at it contentedly for a good couple of hours. Beautiful. The kids learning and talking and remembering and being inspired and excited. But then the next day it didn't happen. And another day they wanted to play Barbies / Lego / building fairy houses / on the iPad for an extra few hours. Or the maths work was too hard. Or they didn't want to put in the effort of the English or the research for the project we'd talked about doing. And it's dwindled. Day by day has slipped into a semi-holiday. 

Of course, in our home even on holidays and weekends and Sunday mornings there is life learning happening. Reading and writing and story telling and making and planning and exploring and discovering and researching are always happening around here. We talk about things at breakfast, or recite our times tables in the car, or make up Haiku's when we see a beautiful cloud. Or a play evolves from a remembered snippet of a favourite story. And they curl into bed at night, and we read stories together - sometimes him reading, sometimes her, sometimes me.

And I think all this is good. It's schooling. I believe it would fall under what is generally termed natural learning or un-schooling. And I love that. It seems to fit within our life and days and the kids self-learning personalities.

Aside from my need to be totally dedicated and on top of recording and note taking to assure the board of studies that my kids are learning and doing work (and really - perhaps learning more, and more passionately, than many classroom children); I think it's all good. 

All good. On the schooling front. 
oh but. but but.... What I'm really rambling on about here is: Is it all good on the mama/teacher/carer/cleaner/hugger/bookreader/crafter front. What I'm wondering is. When do I get my break? That moment between teacher and mama.

I love my children. More than the moon and the trees and life. No denying that ever at all. But I'm wondering when I'll be brave enough give over wholly of myself, and be there with them endlessly. And stop wanting/expecting/demanding that time for myself. As I see it needs to be. I'm eager here if there's anyone with experience reading able to give some advice, or take my children for a day or so.... 

Will homecshooling give them everything. But take everything from me?

Wondering if I'm brave enough.

*though I am keen to hear from you, my dear readers, whose thoughts and visits I really really honestly value and respect and don't take for granted. I'm eager to hear if you'd like to read more of this style of style of blogging, or if you've come here to see pretty pictures of things I make? Please do do leave a comment and let me know. I love that blogs, this blog, can be a conversation between friends. 

{images from top: maricor/maricar; rummage, but found here; bottom 2 from my words Pinterest page.} If you'd like to see pretty pictures that I'm posting, head on over and follow me on Instagram. It seems a teeny too much stretch to get those images from my phone or camera onto the computer.


  1. Ellie - I love hearing about whatever it is that you are up to and I loved the honesty of your post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about what it is like to homeschool and there were beautiful photos as well. You take such a wonderful photo that your blog will always be a visual feast. Love Kate xxooxx.

  2. I have those same internal struggles about what my blog is and isn't! I came to the 'me blog' realisation too, but sometimes I still wonder if I am getting the balance right. Good to know I'm not alone in this. :)

    The only experience that I have with homeschooling per se is with keeping my four year old at home rather than sending him to pre-prep. My husband and I discussed home schooling and have decided to send him to the small school walking distance from us and be involved, and look in to other options if this doesn't work for Cohen and us.

    Four just seemed too little for 'school' though! And at approx. $4000 for the year, pre-prep seemed like expensive childcare. Given I am a stay at home Mama, it didn't seem like a great option for us. I wanted that last year with him before he goes off to Prep. I only hope I haven't disadvantaged him because he has never been to childcare and never been 'socialised' apart from going to playgroup once a week. I have never believed in socialising children. I've endeavoured to expose him to as many social situations as possible and he has friends his own age, and older and younger. Anyway, a little off topic!

    Even just with having him at home this year, and trying to teach him his numbers and letters etc, raise our one year old girl too, run a household and small business, I struggle to have time for me too. Four is tricky too. Cohen is quite the politician and argues about everything. Sometimes packing him off to school is an attractive proposition!

    I totally get while people think you are brave. You are doing something different, something that requires giving so much of yourself, without getting the 'break' that most mothers get when their kids are at school or when they go to work. (No disrespect to working mothers - my girlfriend often says though that when her boys are trying work is often easier and a nice break.)

    Anyway, not sure my diatribe has provided any answers or assistance. I'm typing with a baby in my arms and a four year old singing to his lego and my husband asking me questions! :)

    Hope you work your way through this and get some support. Have you seen Owlet Designs blog?

  3. I'm not a home schooler, although I did (briefly!) consider it it before Hazel started school so I'm not unsympathetic to the idea. But (and I bet you knew there was one of those coming!) I'm really not down with the idea of no you time and subsuming yourself in the homeschooling and kids. If you want to do this you need to write yourself into the equation too! A burnt out or resentful mama isn't going to make for a successful and ongoing venture. Surely there must be advice out there on the topic, it must be super-common, even if people don't always cop to it publically! And kudos for being upfront too, I think many people portray home schooling as some sort of 100% positive, easy, natural process when its actually real life and real life isn't like that all the time. I say give it some more time and start actively building in mama time alongside the math and reading :)

  4. Anonymous2:27 pm

    i do home school.
    and then there are the days i don't. you know the ones. the ones that are semi-holiday. :) and then i kick myself after, for not getting out the books and such. and then i relish the fact that i'm not packing my two off to a whole bunch of other people for the majority of their days.

    and for right now, there isn't a lot of me time. but you know what? i've decided (mostly) that that's ok. my two are 8 and 9. that's really not far from 18 and 19. and then i'll have all the me time i don't want. right? that's what they all say anyway.

    and actually, in the last few months, i feel like i get some more me time. they are both getting better and better at taking initiative. for their book work and for entertaining themselves and for doing, gasp, chores that need to be done - without me asking! that is what i had pictured when we started this. that we would all learn and all do the house and yard chores and all play - together. and sometimes just give each other space, too. and it's coming together.

    and i feel like we'll just keep working at it all. and some things will work. and some things won't. and we'll go from there.

    and yes, i like when you write about life - all sorts - eating and loving and crafting and creating and feeling and doing. all of it.

  5. Hi Ellie,
    I really love this post. I love to see your pictures and crafty loveliness but it is also great to read your thoughts and have insight into you. I think if you keep the 'me blog' thought in your mind then this will be a great blog, as a reflection of your thoughtfulness and creativity it can't be anything else.

    As for time for yourself. I think wanting, taking it and needing it does not have to take away from your children. Nourishing yourself can only help them. I think that we all feel the same and all we can do is trust our love for them to guide us.

    Carol x

  6. Yes darling. It's a 'you' blog and it is awesome just the way it is. Snippets from your life, your creating, making, growing, planning and homeschooling. It is a beautiful life that you share. Make time fo yourself, it is important! A tired, burnt out mama is no fun for anyone :) xx

  7. p.s i love that you are homeschooling.... and you know that I am a tad jealous. You are doing a fab job honey xx

  8. Ellie, since I knew you were going to homeschool I have been keeping half an eye out, hoping you would write about it. As someone who doesn't have kids yet but is interested in all sorts of ways of learning, I am very interested in hearing how others are going with it. Like Christina, I read the owlet blog. This is a lovely and honest post from recent times: The owlets seem to have a regular rhythm of meeting up with other home/unschoolers at the community garden during the week too.

    I also know Amanda Lonsdale (ig @MISS_LONNY) homeschools. I'm pretty sure that her kids go off to have art lessons with a retired art teacher during the week. I said to her once that if I lived in her hood I would love to do something with the kids. I truly believe that there isn't enough diversity in educational opportunities. If our communities had more of it then perhaps it would be a bit easier for homeschooling parents like yourself.

    Wishing you much courage and creativity on this new journey for your family, as you find your rhythm together. Fingers crossed that the recording and note taking for the board gets much easier and natural as you go along. xo


Thank you for your words and thoughts. I do so appreciate each and every visitor to my blog. While I try hard to reply to your comment, it often doesn't quite happen..... know that I'm sending you a thoughtful thanks xxx

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