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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment 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. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
A Positive Plug for Planning
by Beverley Paine, Nov 2013
I know some people are not overt planners and just follow their nose, doing what comes next, meeting needs as they arise. I do that too, but having an overall expressed plan helps to guide me to my goals.
For a few years our family tried to establish a New Year's tradition (it lasted about 3 years, probably should have started it when the kids were younger). What we did was sat down on NY's day and drew a poster together of what we wanted to happen throughout the coming year. Then we'd get out last year's poster and celebrate all of the 'wants' that we'd achieved. Somethings, like winning the lotto, were celebrated by noticing how much extra cash we'd had to spend on things for whatever reason (a kind of lotto win?). And somethings, like owning a Lamborghini, might be brought forward to the next year.
What it taught me was that without focusing or trying too hard a lot of our goals, ambitions and wants materialised.
Every year I'd get out my philosophy statement from our home grown home education curriculum and read through it. It stated my long term goals for the education of my children. I used to think it might need tweaking as they grew or as we grew as a family and our needs changed. But because I put two weeks of my life into producing that statement, thinking really carefully about what education meant to me, it stood up as a complete document. And was a brilliant reminder of what was important and why we were home educating.
And every year I could see that those goals were being fulfilled too.
A lot of the short term goals (educational aspirations) I'd write each year (even though I wasn't registered and didn't need to do it to satisfy some arbitrary authority) didn't happen but reading through them reminded me that although obviously not important enough to me for me to prioritize them week by week, they were things I really did want to cover sometime, before the kids were 18. They hovered in the back of my mind and little by little most of those were realised too.
I could have read our short term goals and the end of the year and interpreted those we didn't complete as failure: instead I chose to be reminded of what was important to me and why. Sometimes I would ditch objectives as irrelevant or unnecessary (which was sometimes the case) but mostly I'd add them to next year's list.
One year, when my children were in their teens, I found a list of life goals from 1986 in a box of papers. To my surprise, though I really shouldn't have been surprised given my home education experience, 90% of what I'd written had happened. My life was exactly what I'd wanted more than a dozen years before. Sometimes I think it helps us to presence our thoughts and dreams in a concrete way. Perhaps it is because we make a small but significant commitment to ourselves to work towards those goals which sits quietly in our memory somewhere, guiding our actions?
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