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Homeschooling Through the 'Struggle Days'
Kath Gardner, May 2022
I am feeling inspired to write something that is hopefully encouraging for parents who are struggling to educate in the midst of difficult situations.
Our last four years have been years of upheaval and chronic illness, depression, relationship breakdowns and survival. Four years on from the first major upheaval, we're now going through another one. One daughter is still seriously unwell with chronic illness and has had to relocate to the city to get decent medical help. And somehow in the midst of that, I've been trying to educate two girls and keep life somewhat normal.
All that to say, when you're going through stuff, like I often see people sharing about on this page, you've gotta be kind to yourself if you are the major carer, educator, facilitator, home manager, parent, etc.
Today should be a regular 'school' day for us, but I just can't do it today. My house is a mess, or rather a combination of creative messes, which will require days worth of sorting and rehoming and washing up and washing and putting away.
But, and this has become my priority, my girls (13 and 9) are calm and happy and reasonably healthy, which is a major miracle in itself.
Because of months of counselling appointments and the processing that comes with that, my head has not had the mental energy to be as organised as I'd like to be. We haven't done nearly as much 'schoolwork' as I would have liked, but they're still learning and we're all doing okay.
We've found our tribe and we're doing okay.
But to be okay, education has had to take its rightful place on our list of priorities and that place is NOT at the top. So, whatever you're going through as an adult, and whatever your kids are going through, be kind to each other, and enjoy life while you have it, have fun together, and keep bookwork in its place.
This year is considerably better than the last three.
Good intentions often trip us up, to be honest. We have to have goals for sure, but they can just put extra mental pressure on us, that can eventually break us. Desires are more helpful than unrealistic goals. As I've learnt what I should reasonably expect from myself, learnt my own limitations and that my value is not tied to my performance, we're all a lot calmer.
Mum-guilt is crippling and so draining.
I've had to learn to laugh a lot more with my kids, at myself, at the little disasters that aren't that bad compared to the potential and real crises we've lived. Perspective is a big key to calm.
Hope that helps someone today.
The photos are of some of the creative messes that I've learnt to tolerate so my young people stay calm.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
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 supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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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