Living on the Edge of Mainstream
© Rebecca Phillips
reprinted with permission from Secular Unschooling Australia, message 1161
Sometimes it's hard being a homeschooling mum, trying to fit everything into our crowded days. It's hard living up to our own expectations, let alone those of others... Living on the edge of the 'mainstream', feeling like we don't quite belong to one world or another and the whole process of deschooling is a theme we chatted about on one of the support groups recently.
You are far from alone thinking you don't quite fit into one world or another. Do any of us though really? I'm quite sure that even the most tolerant of "radical unschoolers" still have their days when their tolerance all but dries up.
When it comes to the housework thing, I think that those that had parents who were very house proud are programmed to feel uncomfortable when the house is getting chaotic. Some might remember me saying that my Dad would vacuum so that he left no footprints in the pile - and then expect us not to walk over it until Mum came home! It sure pulls strings inside my brain when I see things getting heavily cluttered. I have learnt though, to keep in the forefront of my mind, that what matters most to me is my relationship with my kids - not my clean floor. My new mantra is "Housework might not kill me, but why take the chance?" - and I have the fridge magnet to prove it!
Even if we only live on the edges of the mainstream, it still effects us. In the ways that we've been raised, our own educational experiences and the people we associate with. This goes far beyond just de-schooling - rather de-mainstreaming I think!!
I still believe in my heart that, even on the bad days, my children are better off at home with a parent who loves them to bits than in an environment where they are just another head to fill with "knowledge". To me it's more about who my children are than what they know. Working on our relationships is a far greater priority than making sure they know lots of irrelevant stuff. I just have to keep reminding myself of this when I overhear the neighbours discussing my children's "education"!
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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