The Pulse of the Planet

Each weekday, the Pulse of the Planet radio series provides its listeners with a two-minute sound portrait of Planet Earth, tracking the rhythms of nature, culture and science worldwide, blending interviews with extraordinary natural sound.

We are using this short podcasts as a bit of a brain wake-up, a transition tool when children are waiting for me to set something up (or finish my cup of coffee). I like the sort of random nature of the topics, the way there is a wide variety of things to listen to. I like the idea that my children might discover a new interest.



Making Home Education Sustainable

Home educators are usually quick to talk about what we love about home education, the thousands of benefits it has for the whole family. We love to tell anyone that will listen about how great it is for the children, how much fun we have learning about things that we never got to learn. The times we can spend reading and drawing and building and talking. All of that is amazing and true and very, very satisfying.

But like everything in life worth having, it does have a cost. Home education does cost time, and energy, and resources. It costs effort. Years of effort. It is, quite frankly, hard work!

When our bucket keeps being emptied, and not filled, that is not sustainable.

When we are always putting off things we want to do for ‘later’ that is not sustainable.

When we don’t want to go to bed at night because the morning will come quicker if we do – and because that is the only time when things are quiet – that is not sustainable.

When we are giving more than we have to give, that is not sustainable.

When we are surviving on chocolate and caffeine, that is not sustainable.

Home educators find it hard to talk about burnout, and fatigue. Most mothers find it hard, but home education mothers are doing something not mainstream, and know the instant they admit to struggling someone will comment “Have you thought about school?”*. It can be easier with home educators, but there is difficulty here sometimes too. So many perfect home education blogs. So many gushy facebook updates. So much talk about how much more wonderful home education is. Everyone else seems to be coping so much better than I am!

Let’s change that.

Let’s talk about home education and making it something that works for everyone.

Because by sustainable, I mean able to be maintained in the long term. How can we make home education sustainable for everyone in the family, including mothers, who usually do the bulk of the day-to-day work? How do we cope with extended, unending time with our children, and the complete lack of support from the wider community for what we spend a large chunk of our time and energy doing? How do we deal with the cost of home education – the opportunity cost? How do we make sure we are giving of ourselves at a level we can continue to do, day in and day out for many years? These are big questions, difficult questions and one blog post isn’t going to answer them. But if we start to share the questions we just might get somewhere.

So I am starting with this: I am tired. I love my children but they are intense and exhausting. I am introverted. I need time alone. I am wondering how long I can continue with things as they are and I don’t like the answers I am getting. As the one with the most power it is up to me to figure out how to make this work. Here’s what I am trying:

  • Quiet time. Yes, an oldie but a goody. Although we are finding it tricky as Tercio has outgrown naps and yet is a little too young to really get quiet time.
  • Re-reading an old favourite Sarah Ban Breathnach and taking time to journal again.
  • Making sure I am clear in my own mind about when I will be able to plan. For me, knowing my children really need more strewing in there lives, but not having a plan for how I can find time to make that happen is very stressful. I am claiming time to organise, plan, search for ideas or resources.
  • Trying to catch up with people who I like to see more often.
  • Going to bed at a decent time.
  • re-read all these old survival strategies.

What is of course difficult is that all of these things require energy, and energy is in short supply here! So here is the unending question. Where do I get the energy to keep up the things I know I need to be doing to keep my energy up?

That’s what I need to make this really sustainable.

Let’s talk about this. What makes it work? What makes it not work? What can we do about it? How do we make sure our own homeschooling is sustainable? How do we help each other make it more sustainable?

If you have ideas that you use, good blog posts on the topic or if this triggers off some thoughts of your own, please pass it on. Let’s start the conversation and just see where we end up.




* YES. I can guarantee, if there is one thing a home educating parent has thought about, it’s school. Okay?

Sir Ken Robinson: 10 talks on education | TED Playlists | TED

I loved Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on how schools kill creativity. It’s an absolute classic. I am looking forward to watching these, his top ten talks on education.

Free Gifted Resources and Curriculum

Free curriculum ideas? Yes please! I’ll have to check out some of these.