Sunday, 4 November 2012

Day 334 - first steps! and a magical homeschool moment

Dear Layla, 

Today you took your first steps. Tentatively standing and wobbling on wet grass, surrounded by your big sisters and a large group of children and mothers who adore you, looking up into encouraging faces, and stepping forward with three small, quick footfalls - followed by a cheer from everyone around you.

In that moment we, as a family, grinning at each other, were so excited for you - your very first step! 

Though in that moment, as you reached one of those milestone moments in your life, I quickly realised that in an alternate universe, I would have been the only person to have shared this with you - and instead, we had been so completely blessed to have been able to share it with not only your siblings, but a group of wonderful families who were also so very excited for us!

 And in that realisation, I felt a complete confirmation of all of my beliefs about the 'right-ness' of home schooling for our family

Although I have not had much time to blog over the last month (with all of the madness that comes with buying and renovating a house, home schooling and running alongside a family of 6! - and have not had much luck with internet access to get on to blogging anyway), this last few weeks has been a dawning of a new home schooling realisation for me... in the big picture of life, home schooling has very little to do with (academic) schooling.

Yes, we learn and gain an education outside of the school system. And academically, our family is coming ahead in leaps and bounds. But in the overall scheme of things, the schooling component of being at home takes up only a few hours of our very long and full days. 

Home schooling is just as much about building and strengthening family. Living alongside each other and experiencing every day together, as one family unit, not as 6 individuals who happen to meet up for breakfast, dinner and on weekends. 

Homeschooling is also about building community. With our experience of having a wonderful, active and supportive home school group, full of the most amazing homeschool mums, for me homeschooling has also become about mothers who build and strengthen connections with other mothers, and their families. Women who share the goals and values of creating the kind of families where children want to be in the company of their parents, and where sibling relationships are paramount. 

Women who spend most of their time and effort dedicated to building a supportive community for their children, sometimes through curriculum sharing and the organisation of educational opportunities, but most often through long days shared with other homeschool families;

 spread out on rugs in grassy parks, next to swimming pools and playgrounds

sharing stories and plates of fresh foods

 passing around babies who are equally loved and adored by fellow mum's and older kids

sharing recipes for lactation cookies (yes, they are a thing!) or coconut milk sorbet

allowing opportunities for their children to play and interact in a safe environment with other children of all ages

being present to model admirable social behaviour to their children, and to guide them in developing meaningful and healthy relationships with each other

And today

cheering on the first steps of our most loved and adored little bubba

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