Jenny Beet

© Copyright 2009 by Jenny Beet


Photo of a child reading.

This is my story of the trials and tribulations of home-schooling. We took our two children out of school at the age of 9 and 10 to embark on a whole new world of creative education.

When your children have tripped off to school for more than 6 hours every day, 5 days a week for 40 weeks a year and for more than 5 years, you know there will be a culture shock when it all comes to a grinding halt (for parents and children alike.)

We spent endless amounts of time planning how we would go about homeschooling them, lesson plans, worksheets any number of ways we could find that would help them to learn. It all seemed so good; in theory anyway. After all, I naively believed their days would need to be filled with some form of curriculum otherwise what right did we have to be homeschooling them.

We developed a routine that began at 9am and finished at 3pm. I spent a great number of hours most nights on the internet looking for inspiration while the children began to show more and more signs of a complete lack of interest as the emphasis seemed to be more on the “school” in home school.

I was horrified to realize that school had robbed them of their passion for learning and me telling them what to do on a daily basis was certainly not going to help them rediscover their once natural curiosity to learn. After a few short months of denial I suddenly stepped back and realized what was happening. We had taken our children out of school because we wanted them to find their joy not to be told what they were good or bad at or what they should or should not do. What exactly was it that I was holding onto so vehemently except perhaps my own ignorance and poor programming?

 So I just let go.

The worksheets stopped, the kids smiled.  The planning stopped, I smiled.

And suddenly there was plenty of time for us all to find ourselves. Instead of worksheets the children had time to be creative.

My son built a working model of a combustion engine and my daughter painted and decorated her dolls house. There were stories written, pictures drawn and painted they even started reading more. We all started playing games again just for the fun of it. 9am became 9.30 ish and 3pm became 2 – 2.30 ish. We all needed that time to let go. And after a few months we were all ready for more.

But I didn’t return to the worksheets or the lesson plans because during those few months I had discovered my creativity and I had also learned to listen to my children and not to the opinions of do-gooders and Monday’s experts.

My children are still somewhat suspicious of anything that resembles school work but that’s O.K. Luckily, learning can be found in some of the most obscure places and who doesn’t enjoy a game of hide and seek!

I don’t know of a right way or a wrong way to de-school your children or even if all families have a need to do it,  but one thing I have learned is that inspiration can’t be found “out there” it is something you will find inside yourself – you just need to give yourself and your children, a little time.

We live in Australia where our children were born but my husband and I were born and bred English only moving here 22 years ago.

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