Last month I shared about how we came to be a home-schooling family and for the purpose of this article I’d love to continue that topic and share some of the benefits we have found in home-schooling our two youngest sons.
As I write this, my 9-year-old has not long walked in the door from spending the day trucking with his dad. Whilst out, he got to earn some money as well as collect a big bag of bottles for our recycling collection which will net him and his brother some more funds. I have my eyes on this kid because he is of the firm belief that he is a money magnet, and it comes to him easily. I watch him manifest all that he wants with such boundlessness and as he reports in on his day’s events with such joy and enthusiasm, I cannot help but smile from ear to ear.
The smiles did not always come so easily as a parent though, once upon a time I would have been fearful over things like the thought of any of our children being in an accident and getting hurt but I realised accidents and hurts can happen anywhere and at any time.
I identified within myself a deep rigidity and need to control outcomes as far as they were concerned to keep them ‘safe’ but life also brought me to the realisation that my incessant need to keep them ‘safe’ made them more vulnerable and kept them from being the truest expression of themselves.
Some of the ways in which home-school has been a great benefit to us are:
We become the designers of our curriculum
I love that we get to design our curriculum. Up until the end of last year the majority of their time was filled with play-based learning. The boys are highly social and have lots of friends. They create and form relationships with those who reflect the same values and interests as them and they are not expected to engage in relationships or remain in environments that do not serve their best interests. Mr 10 taught himself to read from age 7 and has developed a natural love for reading. Mr 9 was quite the opposite and up until the end of 2022 was completely illiterate. Frustrated with not being able to read and now wanting to learn, as parents we have stepped up to the plate to support his development in this area and he is now reading level 2 books in a short period of time. We are big on praise, and this has supported him every step of the way. I have no doubt that he will be a competent and fluent reader as he is the one invested in this goal. Other subjects fit in with life, both boys have a great love for art and science, we’re always working out math calculations and Mr 10 loves to cook. He designs our menus and has started writing his own cookbook by filling it with his favourite recipes. Life is designed around what sparks joy within each of them.
The bonds we create as a family unit
They are stronger in comparison to the bonds with our older children and that is by no means a negative towards them. They were raised differently and were influenced greatly by their peers through schooling in a mainstream system and at the time we were very entrenched in our own systems such as work, family and historical expectations. There’s no way we can even compare their lives to what we are nurturing with the boys. It just is what it is and the love is no less. I have found though that because we are raising the boys in this way, that we as parents are committed to strengthening our bonds with our adult children and it’s reflected in our present relationships.
Hubby is big on one-to-one time with the boys and makes sure to set time aside to have that. The boys are complete opposites who have different needs, loves and aspirations. Our aim is to nurture their own uniqueness by allowing them autonomy over their decisions and what they choose to engage in. Sometimes life is also a negotiation depending on what resources we have at hand to cater to their needs and sometimes it’s just a matter of being as creative and imaginative as we can to produce a desired outcome.
Not being limited by time
We are pretty flexible with our time which means there’s really no stopping us in doing the things we love to do. We just returned from our first unpowered camping holiday in our own tent and absolutely loved it so much that we’re planning more. In time I would love to take them on the road and travel this great country starting with our state.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s article and be sure to look out for next months.
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