I am the mother of four daughters, aged 6 to 13, and I have been blogging at www.AnOrdinaryLife.co.uk for the last 5 years about our home-schooling adventures. Home-schooling, or home education as most refer to it in the UK, has helped us as a family to thrive in ways that just wouldn't be possible if they had been schooled.
Over eight years ago, my family started a new journey: Home Education. It was a journey ahead that felt extremely frightening, as I knew I would be wholly responsibility for my children's learning, and super exciting as I knew that there would be many adventures ahead! Since that first day, we have made so many new friends and had so many amazing experiences as a family, experiences that would never have been the same if my children had been at school.
Home education is a different kind of lifestyle - a lifestyle we all very much enjoy living. It allows us to visit educational places like, museums, cinemas, farms, zoos and much more off season so the children are able to explore and learn without the great crowds of people like you get in the holidays; it allows for children to go off into a creative flow, our learning is never cut short by 'the bell'. I do believe home-schooling has given my children the time they needed to explore the creative side of their brain; it has also allowed my girls the time they needed to develop their talents and explore their interests more. I love that we get to wake up and suddenly decided to change all our plans and head to the beach because England finally has a day of decent sunshine! I also love that we fill the rainy days up with more learning, it's when we are at our most creative or we do more practical science!
When I decided to home educate; I wanted my children to learn at their own pace, in a way that interested them - to develop their natural gifts and find a life where they don't feel like they're working but living! That was and is still my goal! My girls have the freedom to learn the way they want to, the way they find best for them.
My daughters, between them, have won writing competitions, put on theatre productions, they've made a mini animation and one of my daughters helped in an animation that made the cinemas: The Itch of the Golden Nit. We have learnt a little Latin, their interests have lead me to learn so much about the world around me that I hadn't really considered, like the names of flowers and trees and all kinds of animals. I feel we have had different kinds of opportunities.
People often worry about socialisation, understandably, the first thing all us home educators do is seek out a social life for our children, but there are so many after school clubs that children can join and there are also so many wonderful Home Education groups out there that run workshops of many kinds. The Home Educating community has grown closer in the last few years: as social networking has become a popular way of connecting, there is a larger supportive network of people with generous hearts, we celebrate each other's achievements: the grades our children achieve in their exams and other personal achievements along the way! There is always someone with advice and guidance and there are so many inspirational blogs out there to help keep you inspired and motivated!
One of my favourite TED speakers, Ken Robinson, emphasizes that students learn best when they're going at their own speed and in their preferred manner. He says: "All students are unique individual with their own hopes, talents, anxieties, fears, passions and aspirations. Engaging them as individuals is the heart of raising achievement". This is why I truly believe that Home Education enables us, as parents, to achieve this for our children. As a parent it has allowed me to help reduce the amount of stress in my children's lives that modern society can bring, like exams like SATs, just to begin with. It has also allowed me to nurture each child more easily, individually according to their needs. I love how very different all my children are! Not one has had the same kind of education, each one has been according to their personality, wants and needs.
This summer The Huffington Post UK is spearheading an initiative helping families thrive, with a focus on parent wellbeing, the challenges facing stay-at-home and working parents, friendships and navigating the landscape of modern parenting beyond the 2.4. To kickstart the campaign, Jamie Oliver guest edited the site, bringing a focus on feeding healthy families.
We'll be sharing stories and blogs with the hashtag #ThrivingFamilies and we'd like you to do the same. If you'd like to use our blogging platform to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.