What attracted to you to homeschooling? How did you get started?
Sue has shared her family’s story and would love to hear from others, how they began their homeschooling journey. I’ve touched very briefly on our journey’s beginning before, but I thought I’d now share the full story.
When I was a teenager in the 80s my mum began home educating my younger siblings. I totally supported her in this decision; emotionally and practically. As her journey started, it became apparent one of my brother’s did not learn well in the traditional mode and so I began reading home education philosophies, books by John Holt, Raymond Moore, Mary Pride, the Colfaxes and Maria Montessori, all having a strong influence in forming my own home education philosophy.
The more I read, and the more I reflected upon my own educational experience I became excited. I could see so many benefits. As a child I had enjoyed school academically and had loved my teachers, but I was frustrated with wasted time as I waited for peers to catch up. I could visualise the benefits of individualised teaching and the joy in teaching one’s own, which I was already experiencing with my young siblings. I could see the opportunity to knit close family bonds and I was very keen for my children to form strong self esteems and be ‘true to oneself’. Having continually experienced negative socialization as I was incapable of ‘conforming,’ I was drawn to nurturing strong self esteems. Most importantly I was totally committed to a solid Catholic education, having completed my education in the Catholic schools of the 80s, I knew the diocesan school of my town would not provide that.
So at 17 I was totally committed to this lifestyle, there was one wee problem, well a few actually. I wasn’t yet married, nor a mother and I needed to find some amazing fella who was just as committed to this idea as I!:)
Life continued and I finished my own schooling, continuing also to support my mother, taking great satisfaction in teaching siblings to read, enjoying sharing in their learning. Time came for me to ‘fly the nest’; experience life, work, travel, for my own life learning to continue.
A few years later I had moved back home to attend University. By God’s grace and design I then met my future husband. During our courtship he was introduced to the home education lifestyle via my siblings and family friends. He was intrigued and impressed. Inevitably as our relationship progressed and appeared serious, home education discussions arose.
As PC weighed and decided he looked towards his own educational experiences. Like myself he had received 13 years of Catholic school education, receiving a solid academic formation. He had attended an all boys school and experienced many of its benefits, but this was no longer an option in rural Australia. When PC began attending University, for his Bachelor of Agriculture, Applied Science; a rather novel approach was being trialed. A rather daunting ‘outside the box’ course. The students were to set their own course outcome, design their course to met their outcome, find resources, create their own deadlines etc. A total immersion in Natural Learning, rather a culture shock at first but so very important in later ‘paving the way’ to consider home education. As a result of this unusual course PC was totally comfortable with the philosophy behind Natural Learning and open to home education discussions. I am forever grateful to this course, by the time our relationship had progressed to engagement PC was as keen and as supportive as I to a home education lifestyle.
After we were blessed with our first child we attended a home education camp and PC was most impressed with the teenagers, further cementing our decision. We were then blessed with our second child and about then attended the first Natural Learners Conference in Brisbane! During this time we were involved in starting home education support groups and mingling with ‘like minded’ families. As our family grew in number and our children grew older our home reflected our chosen lifestyle. Not only had we set up Montessori activities, crafts and other learning opportunities, our approach to parenting and education reflected our beliefs. And then the day arrived when our oldest would have set out to Kindergarten but didn’t.
And so the journey continued …(more instalments to come) – where we travelled and what we learnt along the way, how we journeyed and why we continue.