Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Homeschool Sweet Spot

at hampton court palace

I promise this isn't going to become a homeschool blog, but I am just so enamored of our current situation that I can't help wanting to talk about it. This is by far the best year we've had as a home educating family, and I am enjoying my days with my children immensely. I see that they, too, are enjoying each other's company and our life as a whole, and I don't think it's really any mystery as to why. We've figured out how to make this thing work, both at home and away from home. It's like everything finally fell into place.

For one thing, this is the first year that we have been home educating that there have been no big things going on in our lives otherwise. Each year in the past, we've had at least one major disrupting event or life change. But this year, there are no complicated medical procedures. There are no big moves to a distant city. We have come to a decent level of understanding of home education law here in the UK and have attended to our legal duties with the local authority. There's nothing big to do aside from learning.

We've also gotten much better at finding things that we all enjoy doing, and we are able to do them without a lot of extra fuss. E is old enough now to participate in a great many things that were beyond the scope of her abilities before, in addition to being able to walk quite a lot when we are out and about. One of our favorite things is to visit palaces - we have a Historic Royal Palaces membership and use it at least once every two weeks. The photo above was taken this week at Hampton Court Palace, where we popped in for a couple of hours of chasing down people in costumes and enjoying snacks in the gardens.

Time here in London has also given us the gift of getting some other things in place that I feel are essential to our success as a home educating family. We've figured out how to connect with other home educators so the kids can have friends within the home ed community here. Z has gotten comfortable in some classes she is taking outside our home. We've made connections with others in a way that ensures that both education and social life are attended to in a manner that is well rounded.

Finally, I think my own confidence plays a role. In the beginning, it was so hard to tell if we were approaching things in the right way. Was she learning enough? Was she learning the right things? What if I failed? Now I see that she is making excellent progress, and others have confirmed this for me. I have learned to trust the system we have in place, because experience has shown that it works. I know that my instincts have proved to be correct, and I trust them more. (Sometimes my instincts say, "Check with someone else who knows more than you," by the way.) Ditching the worry has most opened up the opportunity to truly enjoy my current vocation.

I guess I could say we've hit the homeschool sweet spot. Our days go smoothly most of the time. The children play beautifully together (mostly). I have a lot more energy left over at the end of the day than I used to. I'm thrilled, and I think the kids are, too.

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