As we homeschool our children we are learning constantly alongside them. Jessica Pilton reflects on what homeschooling has taught her so far.
By Jessica Pilton
If there is one thing homeschooling has taught me, it's that we do it for relationship.
Relationships with our children, relationships within our family unit and relationship with this big wide world.
The other day I went through a plethora of my old learning portfolios from when I attended primary school here in Australia. I found an art journal from when I was in kindergarten (cue the nostalgia).
After flicking though the pages, smiling fondly from the memories and paint splattered pages I turned my gaze to portfolio’s from other grades underneath. I found grade 1 worksheets full of concepts that my six year old self probably wouldn’t have understood. I remember colouring in the pictures. I remember the little sight word test at the beginning of the year. I remember feeling sad when I received my paperwork back with red texter marks of ticks and crosses. Notes from the teacher on how I was doing. Assessment.
So much assessment and really not a whole lot of learning. Memories of my schooling years flooded back.
Feeling like I didn’t fit in. Feeling like school was this massive, living, breathing thing that I survived and struggled though. I remember getting up at “='show and tell' when I was 7 and lying about how I went to Italy on the school holidays. I didn’t go to Italy, but I just so badly wanted to be liked. (I distinctly remember the ‘popular girl’ going overseas and how amazing everyone thought that was).
I so badly wanted to fit in.
I didn’t grow up in the area I went to school, my parents worked full time and my Nonna raised us when we were little. I missed seeing my mum at the school gates as much as I loved Nonna being there.
There was a feeling of not really being able to learn at my own pace but having to keep up with my peers because that was what was required.
I wasn’t the most academic child. I struggled with attention. I didn’t understand concepts straight away. I was told time and time again, but not shown, which is how I learn. And this was all 20 years ago.
I’ve learned far more in my twenties than when I went to school.
I don’t remember much of high school. I was either not paying attention, wagging with friends or drinking and smoking in the toilets. Yep, I was a total ‘rebel’ and I cared far more about ‘being cool’ (Oh God, I cringe at all that I did now!) than my education.
I left high school half way through year 9 or 10, I can’t remember the exact year and started working full time. Yep, at 15 I held down a full time retail job in the city to earn up enough money to study at beauty college – something that I was actually passionate about!
I’ve healed from my childhood issues. I’ve got an amazing testimony of God’s redeeming love and grace but I still wonder what would have happened if my parents were more connected and concerned about my education and my relationships.
Relationships with God, our family and friends, relationships with what we’re learning, what we love to do and how we do it is the most important thing.
Really, isn't that why we choose to homeschool?
To deepen relationship within our family unit?
To deepen relationship with what our children are learning and living and loving?
We homeschool so our children can build relationships with things that they love, things that are beautiful, things that are purposeful.
Homeschooling is not for fame, glory or a thank you.
Often our efforts will mostly be unseen. It’s a behind closed doors type of thing. The time we spend educating, providing resources, planning, attending social stuff etc etc ... It all takes up a lot of time but gosh, it’s so worth it. We mothers who homeschool know how relationships can effect a life for good or bad.
We want the good.
We want that for our kids – is this saying that schooling mamas (is that even a word?!) don’t value relationships? Absolutely not.
That being said, I think more and more families are choosing to home educate to connect further and live life how it was intended to be. Free from constant assessment and tests. Free to learn how we choose too. Slow, purposeful and out of the rat race.
Relationship is key in learning.
When we are connected, when we feel heard, when we feel like we aren’t being force fed an education... that’s when real, passionate, fiery learning takes place.
That’s one thing homeschooling has taught me.
This article originally featured on jessicapilton.com and has been republished with permission.
What has homeschooling taught you? Share by commenting below.
Jess is a wife and homeschooling mother to three. She blogs about her life homesteading on a nine-acre property in Perth, Australia, with a focus on grace-based parenting and home education.