THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, my husband and I have decided to home educate our youngest daughter. I never thought I would be a parent that did this, having had four girls fairly close together in age, and seemingly spent my life stuck indoors with screaming babies, angry toddlers and petulant pre-schoolers. Admittedly the wrench when my eldest child started school was tough and I remember the tears (mine, not hers) as I waved goodbye but, by the time my youngest child was ready to start school, I was more than happy to finally get some time to myself; to spend as long as I liked in the shower, without having to play peek a boo round the curtain…to put my make-up on without someone else wanting to do it for me…to go swimming and actually swim, instead of standing at the end of the baby pool, pretending to be comfortable in my own body, fixed grin on my face while being splashed mercilessly…to go and meet a friend for a Caramel Latte and talk about anything, without interruption. I finally had time to do stuff that I wanted to.
When you live in a household of different individuals, you soon learn about them …what they like and don’t like, what interests them, what pushes their buttons, and as a parent, sometimes you just know when something isn’t quite right.
Gradually, I noticed that my youngest was struggling with a number of issues that needed addressing; taking her out of formal education was our only real option.
I went through my usual thought process that accompanies a big decision…what if I screw up? What if I’m wrong? The more I thought about it, the more uncertain I became. What if I cannot teach her what she needs to know? What if she gets bored? Misses her friends? What if she ends up worse off?
I have a friend who has home educated her four children from birth…the eldest is 13 the youngest is 5 and I remember thinking when I met her “How does she do that?”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls and enjoy the school holidays when we get to spend time together but to have them constantly with me every day would be trying to say the least and I’m sure they would feel the same way. There’s also the issue of having to teach them something…
Her advice that children are constantly learning and that the teaching side wouldn’t necessarily have to be six hours every day (thank the Lord) was a great help…as was the fact that children often lead the way with what they want to learn. The hardest part is done; my daughter knows the basics and can read and write …we just have to build on it.
I know that some will think we are mad…I can live with that. What I can’t live with is the possibility that I saw someone I love struggling and had the option to do something about it, but chose not to.
Even if I do have to give up Caramel Lattes…it’s a small price to pay.