We are not going to the shops and buying school clothes for the next year, our kids are not mentally preparing themselves for what lies ahead in a few weeks, shoes are not getting shined, shirts not ironed, books not being especially bought, in our household none of this is going on. As we are not going back to school.
Our household isn’t all Instagram shiney, we aren’t always on to the next thing smiling and laughing without a care in the world. There are days when I look at the bank balance and I wonder what it would have been like to be working a full time job and having more money roll in. Or what if I had followed a career wholeheartedly without someone saying ‘Mum, I need you to help me with this.’ But I take comfort when I look at the who the kids are becoming, not the grades, nor the what they know or don’t know but the essence of who they are. I love their confidence, their humour, their adventurous spirits, the idea that everything is up for grabs for them. I cherish the years that we have spent together. What we have done really is trade time for money. Some would have done it better or worse but this is what we have, our years with the kids, up close and connected. Seeing each others faces all the time. I wouldn’t exchange any of this for a fuller bank balance because time is the one thing you cannot get back. These years are flying and our lives as parents have changed as we follow our kids on their journeys.
Life is our kids school and they choose what they want to do and learn. Early this summer our girls decided to try and take GCSE Italian, we have lived in Italy so it made sense. I was nervous for them and when it came to being in the exam room I was a sweaty mess whilst they found it funny, they have no stressful reference points around exams. They passed the exam and they got great results and when I asked one of my daughters what did she feel about the results, she said ‘I feel fine, I have nothing to compare it to, so to me, it just is’. That sounded like freedom to me.
We spent a lot of the summer watching them perform at festivals, as circus performers. We opened a mobile vegan cafe so in that way we could be with them, feed them and keep ourselves afloat whilst they performed with the circus. As well as teaching them the art of running a small business. We both tend to juggle our work whilst we are at home, which isn’t ideal, as the noise levels are often high and the levels of interruption are even higher. Right now the girls are debating whether or not to eat a small red fresh chilli and asking me for advice and I can hear our son talking with someone loudly over the Xbox.
I have to often look at the conditioned part of me and question who is driving my psychological bus around their learning? I catch the part of me that wants them to get those grades over whether they want to or not. Then I step back and listen to what the deeper parts of them are saying, that is the part that is heard by the heart and not the head.
So, we have no shirts to iron, or shoes to shine, no school bus to catch. We have the next few months laid out ahead of us and we are going to carry on learning, and listening to what the kids want to do and following their journey as well as keeping ourselves happy and fulfilled.
It sure is a balancing act but in a breath the next part of their journey will start they will have left home and we will wonder where did that time go…
If you like this writing you can read further in ‘Jump, Fall, Fly from schooling to homeschooling to unschooling’ available on Amazon
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