How my reasons to home school evolved

It all started on a whim….you know, I read about homeschooling and I liked the idea of having the children (than only 1) at home with me and teaching them myself.  So much so that I started doing so practically straight away when G was only 1.5 years old.

Until not so long ago, my idea of homeschooling was to recreate school at home.  While time and again during my times of doing this, I saw that this does not work (at least for my family), I still tried to opt to do so.

In between, we started kindergarten for my oldest and then for my second child.  So now I was only homeschooling part time – generally during Summer holidays and trying to recreate a sense of identity through seasonal celebrations.  I had also read quite a bit on Waldorf education which I instantly loved but at the same time, kept back from it.

My oldest was not happy at school and his anxiety levels (although I hadn’t realised that was it at first) were skyrocketing badly.  So now the idea of homeschooling full time had a different dimension.  It was not any more a whim… something I wish to try, but more focused on a reason.  Despite M seemed to quickly adjust and enjoy school, I eventually could see milder versions of high stress levels in different contests than the ones of G.  Whereas he would have tons of meltdowns, high levels of anger and complete behavioural and eating pattern habits changed, plus unexplained 24 hour sicknesses; M would pest her brother, an un-explainable never ending dry cough (like an allergy cough) and tons of whining- her food patterns changed to wanting just sweets if at all possible!  So I still wished to keep her home to.

Than about 2 years ago, I met a woman who was trying to legalise homeschooling here. I joined forces and through her met other parents who felt the same need and urge.  It is now on the verge of being legalised and the reason I want to homeschool is changing again.

We have now changed the children’s school. G adjusted pretty quickly, M not so much but her being in first grade made the transition harder.  Now my son is going to school most of the time willingly and relaxed.  We have not witnessed behavioural changes this year and his eating actually improved.  He feels enough comfortable at school to express his feelings there despite getting punished for doing so! My daughter on the other hand, tells me daily she has a headache and asks more often not to go to school than she used to (although again generally speaking she goes happily, comes out with a smile and interacts with the children), she is more choosy on friendships and taking more a stand for her wants and needs.  For many, that would mean the change has been perfect and can carry on in traditional school.

Yet, I wish to homeschool even more my children….when they come and tell me about their day, what happened and how their class mates and/or teachers reacted it gives me a pause.  The children are not left to grow, experience their mistakes, resolve problems between them, giving them empowerment and well most of the life skills needed to live in this world.  It makes me more determined to teach them at home.

The system wants them to comply easily and quickly to the teacher.  The teacher still uses the carrot stick motion of giving stickers, stars, toys etc for good behaviour and punishments when not.  They do not ask for explainations most of the time or try to understand the need behind the behaviour.  They take sides in an argument on assumption only.  So much so,children are encouraged to tell about their mates, rather than try solve problems between them, where then the teacher takes sides with whom seems the weakest or has the best argument rather than on facts of what she has seen for example.  It carries on really if I wish to, but…..

Homeschooling is obviously not the answer to all problems or to all people, but I have known in my heart that this is the way we should be going when the time comes. I still feel it so and I would like to test it and see how it bears its fruit for a year or two before reviewing our decision.

All I know it will change our family dynamics into a better loving, flowing home and just for that I can’t wait for it to get going.

 

Changing the system of parenting through family meetings

We’ve changed family meetings at home from weekly to every season.

I am rethinking this.

I am also thinking how we normally do it and how it can change to empower my children more.

Normally I coax everyone to say something positive towards each other that happened throughout the week/month.  Since it has been pointed to me that it is more like asking them to do something against their will (which upon consideration I agree), I will myself just say something nice to everyone and give them the possibility to say something themselves if so they choose to do.

Instead of asking for sudden inspiration on current problems, I told them this morning that on Saturday we will hold a family meeting. I asked what time would be good for them to which they told me time we usually come from school. I also asked them that I wished them to brainstorm and write/ask help to write on ways how we can keep each other safe or in other words safety rules.

I would still love to end the meeting with some sort of game or anything that would help us connect even more.

I am curious to see what they come up with.

The Screen Time Dilemma

Letting the children watch how much screen time is quite a conundrum.

When Gregory was younger I could definitely see a change in persona when he watched way too much TV…not so much any more (although he gets addicted to game playing).  Maya, I never had that change in persona but she does like to play act a lot of cartoons or sing their songs.

The plus side is that they have taught themselves Italian,; as we watch a lot of Italian TV.

This has been a lot on my mind as ways to curb too much screen time has not been effective and while I understand that it is me who should be insisting and being firm when I say no, I was not comfortable doing that.

After some thought, I realised that mostly I was still dictating the terms under the belief that we reached a consensus between us.  So what was it that I was hating about screen time?

I feel there is no time for connection with my children if first thing in the AM and first thing back from school they go to their blessed screens.  I also do not like screen time just before bed time.

So this morning I spoke to them an explained my problem and asked if instead of day/time limits the rules will become simpler: no screen time before 8 am and again before 3.30 pm and after 6.30 pm.  This gives the morning to us and not screens and once from school we first talk and eat together before loosing themselves in the screens.  They liked the idea (although I feel the need to re explain it later as I do not trust they were listening completely).

I am still unsure about all this, but we will do an experiment of it and see how it goes.  giving them the freedom in limited form to screen time I believe they will learn more self regulation.