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Honouring your own life as a home educating parent

Newsletter · Sep 6, 2021


It’s been an overwhelming few days. The Life Without School Podcast went live on Friday, and the response to that first episode – in the messages you’ve sent me, and the reviews you’ve left – has been absolutely incredible. THANK YOU for all the support and encouragement so far. I’m so excited about the potential this podcast has to spread the message I’ve been writing about for the past few years, and I can’t wait to dig deeper and deeper into some really important conversations.

If you haven’t heard the prologue episode yet, you can find direct links to wherever you listen to your podcasts over here: www.starkravingdadblog.com/life-without-school-podcast

Ok, onto a couple of your questions – I’m really excited to talk more about these!

Your Questions & Answers

Ana: Can I ever get over the feeling that I’m failing my kids for not mimicking school at home?

That depends on whether or not you’re happy with the results school generally produces. If you’re sold on what you see coming out of the system, then no – you’ll never shake the feeling of failing your children if you’re not doing all you can to replicate that.

But if you don’t believe the school system is producing the results it should, and you can get really clear on that, then it’s much easier to shut that worry down.

Remember: the primary goal of the public education system is to prepare children for adulthood. But academically, we haven’t helped our children take any meaningful strides forward in decades. Rather than producing sound literacy and numeracy skills, we produce (particularly when it comes to maths, which is what most people worry about more than anything else) fear and resentment. If you’re not convinced, just ask the next person you bump into how they feel about math. Chances are, they’ll tell you they don’t love it.

(and if you dig deeper, it’ll go back to when they were taught it at school)

What’s more, almost three quarters of the adults on earth wake up most days feeling average – at best – about their working day ahead. The one the school system helped them prepare for, and encouraged them into. And they’ll live with it, because the school system also helped them get used to doing something they don’t have any say in, whether they enjoy it or not.

Personally, I think that’s an incredibly poor result, and one I’ll do anything I can not to replicate.

Amanda: How to honour your own life while devoting so much time to supporting your children?

I love that you’ve asked this question, because I don’t think it’s talked about enough. Taking on almost complete educational and life mentoring responsibility for your children is a huge commitment. It really is. For many families it often means giving up an income, or a potential income. It often means things you might want to do personally are de-prioritised. Pushed down the line until you have more time, or even put on ice forever.

It often means less personal space, and less of your own headspace.

There are life seasons where it feels totally manageable, and others when it feels completely overwhelming.

It’s different for everyone, but I believe it’s incredibly important to carve out blocks of time and space for you. In our family, that looks like me making sure my wife has space for a jog on her own every day, blasting music and clearing her head. It looks like me heading to karate twice a week, where I’m guaranteed some intense physicality that’s just mine. It looks like giving each other space to check out with a good book every now and then, or the time to hang out with a friend over coffee, or a walk in the sun when it all starts feeling too big…

It’s recognising that while this path is incredibly rewarding, it’s equally demanding on time, energy and head space. And it’s doing whatever we can to give each other the space to refuel our tanks whenever, and however, we can.

But most importantly of all, it’s talking about these feelings out loud and making them ok.

So thank you, Amanda, for doing that for us all today.

Thank you for reading, and please keep the podcast feedback coming in! 🙂

Talk soon,

Issy Butson, aka Stark Raving Dad. Author of The Grandparent's Guide to Home Schooling

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