Now that half term is behind us and we’re back to the school routine, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be connected to my children. You hear the term bandied around quite a bit in the world of blogging. How being constantly connected in terms of social media is all at once addictive, essential to success and often one’s nemesis. I made a promise to myself when I started writing Mummy Tries that I would have times set aside for blogging activities and adhere to them strictly. I wouldn’t let my kids cause merry hell in the background while I ‘just finished off this post’. Of course I’d be fibbing to say that I’m always faithful to this promise, and occasionally my babysitter (aka CBeebies) entertains the wee ones so I can have a little bit of breathing space.
What does staying connected mean within the family unit though? My feisty little five year old is desperate to be a big girl. Between March and November last year all she wanted to do every day after school was play out around our development with the neighbourhood kids. During the cold, dark winter months it’s been easier to convince her to stay indoors, but I know that as soon as the weather properly cheers up it will become difficult impossible to do so. Especially when she sees said kids running around outside having loads of fun. In theory I have no problem with this, they are lovely children, and as she’s the youngest they all look out for her. I’d much rather she plays with her friends in an unstructured way than sign her up for after school activities every evening. I just worry that we won’t get much quality time together during the week.
Like many households I imagine, ours can get rather fraught in the mornings before school, especially on my work days. My eldest doesn’t sleep well, is a highly sensitive child and presents us with challenging behaviour every single day. She goes to school at 8:30am and by the time she gets home just before 4pm – having held it together all day long – she’s often well on her way to a meltdown. We’ve also had some bullying issues recently which I took to the head teacher. Although measures were put in place to stop it from happening, and things improved immediately afterwards, it’s apparent that there are still problems I need to get to the bottom of. It doesn’t exactly fill me with happiness sending her in to be honest.
Now bear in mind that in addition to my 5yo, I also have the needs of a one and three year old to contend with, and a husband that leaves the house at 7:30am and misses bedtime during the week because of work. All this has left me pondering how I’m going to stay connected to my girl. Between stressful mornings, tough days at school then playing out with her friends, there isn’t going to be anything left for family unity. It makes me concerned that school will get the best of her, and we’ll just be left with the tantrums and grumpiness.
I have had one eye on home education since before she started Reception in 2013, but I know that it would be a monumentally huge undertaking. I have to look at it realistically and not through rose coloured specs. First off we would need to be in a position for me to not have to work, which doesn’t look like it’s on the cards any time soon. I’m slowly making my way through various books on the subject, and I read several blogs with a home ed slant which are always interesting. This recent thought provoking post about new thinly veiled government plans to start academising schools willy nilly left me feeling quite sick. And don’t even get me started on my view of the SATs…
I still have a ton more research to do, but the reality is that a little part of me is starting to wonder whether I’m just putting off the inevitable.
What’s your take on home education? Do you do it? Would you consider it? Or do you think I’m crazy? I’d love to hear from you 🙂