There’s always various memes floating around Home education communities that mock the big question of ‘what about socialisation’ or ‘oops I forgot to socialise the kids’ – mocking the fact that so little education takes place at home as most of us are usually so busy out and about, and actually turning things down as we just can’t fit everything in.
But for me, this isn’t the question I most get asked. The one that seems to always follow when I tell people that we home educate is ‘so – do you do all of it then?’. I try to explain what our days look like and that, yes we do most of the formal stuff 1-1 with the children, but there’s also a huge range of opportunities to meet and do things collaboratively with other families too. More often than not, it’s followed up with a question about what does Damian do – assuming that he takes a passive role in the children’s education.
This makes me smile, as it would be impossible for me to do everything on my own. Admittedly the day to day stuff is done by me, and because I’m active on Instagram and obviously swapping ideas with other home educating parents it’s usually me that finds the curriculums or plans that we follow. But Damian’s role is hugely important.
On those days and weeks when it’s hard I know I can fire off a text message and he doesn’t judge. I’ve written before how it can feel hard to voice concerns about home education as it’s a path I’ve actively chosen and to question it aloud can feel uncomfortable. He always offers me a listening ear to vent to, and helps me to look at different approaches or simply reads around the subject and sends me other ideas. He always takes a huge interest in what the children have been learning and reads over their project books, and makes time to find places of interest for them to visit.
I think if we didn’t approach home education as a family I’d go slightly crazy! It’s important for me that we mark that importance of our parental roles, and for Damian’s birthday last month I had the children think about 40 things that they love about their Dad. The things they came up with lovely, and unprompted they said they loved that he played football, taught them how to ride their bikes, read to them, took an interest in what they’d been learning, helped them with things and (rather amusingly!) that he changes the lightbulbs. There were, of course, many other things they suggested, but it struck me that they see his role in such a way. Of course having a birthday in May means that we then have Father’s Day not long after and the children have been keen to think of a Father’s Day Gift for him. I’m not sure yet what they will choose – it will be a task for next week for us.
Home Educating is lots of things – and it’s hard to really summarise and describe how it is – but whenever I’m asked the question of ‘so do you do it all’ I must try to remember to reply that yes, my husband and I do it all.