The KISS Principle

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I love looking at pretty, exciting sensory tubs. But when it’s been ages since you made one because you haven’t got time, then KISS. I kinda think the fancy ones are for me anyway.

Probably ought to apply that elsewhere in my life. 😉

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?

Me Time!

I worry (and I know others share this worry) about how I (or they) will ever find time for me in this home educating journey.

A few weeks ago, it finally occured to me that I don’t have to get that time during the 9-3 school week.  Well that opened things up a bit, but still…

But the last few days have been a revelation. There was a blog post on a forum that I read. It got me thinking that indeed I do have a great deal of freedom. We have few external constraints on how we spend our time. A few internal ones, but we are working on that. 🙂

And then I came across my Momspa book and Visual Discovery Journal (a title I find so much more grand than ‘scrapbook’ ) and I started to get it.

What I am craving is space for myself within my own life.  I need to use the a mug given to me by a friend for my morning coffee, and enjoy that, even as I try to remember the 20 things I was supposed to get  done today. I need to enjoy chilled water, put up pictures I love, go places I want to go sometimes. And the children will be there, but not the focus. I’m doing it – however small ‘it’ may be – for me.

I’m not sure how this is going to go. I think it’s an ongoing journey. One I have been on for a while, and will be for a while yet. But the next step for me is taking my coffee outside so I can hear the birds in the morning. What about you?