Indrani Perera's early days of homeschooling were filled with energy and optimism. But six years later, she realised that -- in the busyness of life -- everyone's energy had stagnated, and they had lost their joy for learning.
By Indrani Perera
We're now in our sixth year of homeschooling. I look back on our early days sometimes with longing. We started out with a lot of joy and exploration. We had free time to go to the park, play with friends, jump on a tram to the city or bake biscuits. There was lots of laughter, spontaneity and time just to 'be.'
And then somewhere along the way, we lost the joy.
The girls' passions turned into lessons outside the home. We started spending a lot of time in the car travelling around Melbourne to classes and meet ups. At the same time, I was trying to squeeze in some formal learning through exercise books. It felt like we were always rushing to fit everything in.
All that rushing wasn't fun for the kids or me. I found myself continually barking orders at them so we could fit it all in. Understandably, the constant shouting wasn’t great for anyone. And the resentment and resistance began to build on both sides. It just wasn't fun anymore.
Time to re-evaluate
Over the recent summer break, I took some time out to take stock of what was working and what wasn’t. It started with a conversation with the girls about what we all, me included, wanted to do this year for ‘school’. That day at the beach we all spoke about the projects we wanted to do and there was a lot of excitement about going back to ‘school”.
Now we’re back into the routine and rhythm of the school year. Music practice, circus and tap dancing classes, seeing friends and playing sport. For our more formal learning, we all sit together on the lounge room floor with our books, pencils and erasers around us as we work on our individual projects. I help the girls with their questions while I sit and draw.
It used to be a real struggle to get them to sit down and work. There were threats and tears. Bribes and cajoling. Rewards charts and stickers. Now, however, they are working on things they are passionate about doing and the difference is huge. I find them working on their books at all times of the day without any prompting at all. I'd heard all about natural learning, but now that I've experienced it firsthand I'm a convert!
So, how did the shift happen?
It began with that talk on the beach. Being clear about what we were looking forward to after the break and setting our intention for the beginning of the year was instrumental. Getting the girls to state their intentions and take ownership of their learning was a huge moment for all of us. It felt powerful and amazing. There is so much power in intention setting!
As well as taking ownership of our learning, I wanted there to be more joy in our days. I am so blessed to be able to spend my days with my beautiful girls watching them learn and grow. It’s a real gift and one that I want to treasure and savour in the moment. I don't want to look back with regret at all the shouting and hurrying!
How I set a clear intention
The way I introduced more joy into our days was so simple and yet incredibly profound. In my morning practice of affirmations, gratitude and intention setting I introduced a very simple intention for the day to focus my mind.
"I intend to enjoy my girls.”
But it’s amazing what a difference it makes to our days.
Book recommendation -
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L Hay.
Have you ever woken up one day and realised you've lost the joy of homeschool?
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Indrani Perera is a a homeschooling mama of two girls aged 7 and 11. They're currently into their sixth year of homeschooling. Indrani shares insights and experiences in making the life she wants on her blog and Instagram. Her big passions are craft and nature and sharing them with her girls.