This is a question I’m often asked when I tell people I home educate my son (son to be 2 sons).
I am no angel, I am no sainted mother and it’s often a question I ask myself especially as I run my own business teaching 4 nights and 1 morning a week.
Life is extremely hectic and yes, I am tired quite a lot of the time.
Hubbie works from home so he is able to be around more than he used to when he was London based. This enables me to go out and have a coffee or just grab some ‘me’ time as the baby may be at nursery or napping and Henry may be doing something that he can do independently. Home schooling isn’t just sitting at the kitchen table with me as his teacher just as it is in school. It takes many forms in many different places and at different times of the day than just the traditional 9am-3pm school day.
On Friday Hubbie drove down to the West Country to pick our elder son up from school as he boards and he took Henry with him as it was the end of term carol service. Henry was very much looking forward to seeing Ollie and this was the perfect Christmassy thing to get them all feeling excited about the upcoming holidays. I booked the baby in at nursery for the day (she normally does 3 mornings) and as Tobes was at school this meant I had a day off.
I called it ‘my day off’ too to Hubbie and we all knew that this was a day for Mummy to do what she wanted and, most importantly, have a chance to be away from the children and not have to be with anyone!
Ironically my day off turned into a cleaning one but actually this is what made me happy so I’m not disappointed. I’m not one to go shopping (I hate that) and cleaning my elder son’s room and preparing it for him to come home for the Christmas holidays was something that made me happy and it was a way of showing him how much I loved him and missed him as I put a little Christmas tree on his bedside cabinet and also the snow globe that he’s had since he was little.
I feel that it is okay to say that I need time away from my children. It’s okay to know that I need this in order to keep sane but also to stay fresh with the children as we spend so much time together. My next day off will be in January and I intend to spend it in London at a museum seeing something so I can come back and talk excitedly about it all to the children.
I will still have Sunday mornings off as the baby naps (for 2/3hrs) and Hubbie takes the boys to rugby and they have lunch in the clubhouse afterwards. I tend to do a bit of sewing or write a blog (as I am doing now!) and just be in the house without any noise. This is lovely in itself.
So it is possible to have time away from the children but it does have to be planned in and it does have to be called ‘time off.’ Hubbie recognises too that this is important and that helps as he’s hugely part of how we make it happen. But I believe in what we’re doing and that it’s the best thing for our sons as Henry, especially, struggled at school and was so far behind with no help and support.
I trained for 4 years to be a teacher and then worked for 5 years planning and teaching other people’s children I feel it’s the least I can do to help my own child who doesn’t fit the educational norm. This helps on those especially tired days when I just don’t have much energy but I look at how much more Henry smiles and is slowly becoming more enthusiastic about learning and it makes it all worthwhile.
The hill we’ve to climb is steep and I know that and the responsibility of getting Henry to even thinking about beginning is an awesome one. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the task in hand if I’m honest (I think it’s okay to be honest, like I said, I’m not a saint and I’m no supermum) but just seeing him type 2 sentences on his computer when the day before he only wrote 1, watching him building his models (that he spends hours making so he does have a concentration span, just not the one that’s valued in school) and hearing him talk about the new things he’s already learned (he bored Ollie on the 7 continents and facts and figures of each one on the journey home) spurns me on.
We are really doing the right thing and my free time will come again soon I know but for now this is (in the words of every politician at the moment) the ‘right’ thing to do.