A bit of our history….
We are Karen, Rob, Henri and Molly, Hello!
We live down on the south coast and up until recently both our children attended full time school locally.
Myself and Rob both started our lives’ in London, then both our families (coincidentally) decided to migrate to the seaside!
We met in a very high class nightclub, *ahem, in the town centre just after the millennium, and have been happily cohabiting ever since. This year will be our 12th wedding anniversary.
I have worked in many different jobs since leaving college. At the time I had no desire to continue to a university education, and in hindsight, I think I was quite disillusioned with the education system altogether and ready to get out! I do however regret not finding my own love for learning by following my interests into a degree, then in turn finding my own niche in a career. I really didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do back then though unfortunately, and felt I had spent years mastering how to be an obedient and largely invisible entity in the classroom. As I write this it actually makes me feel really sad for my younger self! Previously having only ever thought that I simply wasn’t a success and a bit of a non starter, rather than ever raising question to any possible flaws to a ‘one size fits all’ education system.
Anyway, after a few crazy career choices, which included two stints in high street banks and being a hospital receptionist, neither lasted long! I found a vocation that I felt happy in. I started working as a childminder for a family member whilst in between jobs and realised how much I enjoyed being around amazing small people! I then got a job in a nursery, which I loved, left just before having our first child, Henri, and shortly after Molly came along. When Molly was 3 I started working in a primary school as a Teaching Assistant. I loved this also but suffered a bout of depression after my Mum suddenly passed and felt I needed some time to recoup. I then started a similar position at another school, but shortly after Rob gained a promotion which meant more responsibility and time away, meaning more juggling of the cherubs. In the end, with TA hours being routinely cut, we decided that I would be a full time, stay at home mum. After letting go of the ‘not bringing in a wage’ guilt, with lots of help and reassurance from Rob, I started to calm down a little and enjoy the stay at home mum life.
Mad, crazy school run dashes in the mornings followed by fanatical house cleaning, Loose women fixes at lunch times, dog walking, then getting ready for the school run pick ups shortly after. Never having to miss a concert, show, sports day etc, etc, it was working out well.
Until, something random alerted me to the idea of home education. It seemed radical and strange but still, I was immediately intrigued. Having worked in the ‘system’ myself I had seen the rise of pupil assessment and the ever mounting pressure that teaching staff are under to achieve government targets, I had seen the impact of this on both children and adults in terms of morale and general wellbeing. By no means does this make me an expert but the dominance of sedentary classroom teaching and lack of outside, hands on learning time really is a prominent feature in schools these days, sadly. This is not what we had wanted or would have chosen for our children, but just felt this was the process of education, as we ourselves had endured and tried to concentrate on the positives of schooling.
Yes, I’d heard of home educating before, but it definitely wasn’t in my idea of mainstream and seemed a really risky and potentially isolating prospect, but at that very moment in time, with things the way they were in education, the more I pondered it, researched it, discussed it with others in the know, the more potential it seemed to offer. I was waiting to hear the horror stories of such a step out of the norm, but never did. Rob was entirely on board from the day I first mentioned the idea and Henri and Molly became more interested the more we learnt together and explored the possible realities of the prospect. It was all resting on me to actually take the plunge!
So we did! And, yes, there have been some hard days, particularly at the start when we all needed to settle into this entire lifestyle change, (bye, bye, Loose Women), but we have found our flow, and this, we have discovered, is an ever evolving flow, as we learn more about the different directions the children are choosing to take and also how capable they are to direct their own learning. We’ve found many other great, (and completely ‘non strange’), fellow home edders,’ and are absolutely loving our new free range life!
I’m looking forward to sharing our story and would love to hear about your journeys’ too.