Remembering Why I Chose This Life – Part 2

In our last issue Indrani confessed to struggling with home education. A low point such as this can be a valuable to reassess our reasons for home education and progress. It was honest and brave of her to share her thoughts at such a low point but, as you can read below in this article, a quiet summer has given Indrani time to reassess and, as a result, she has decided on some changes.

By Indrani Perera

Last year was mad. I spent a lot of the time in the car with the girls (Airlie, nine, and Phoebe, five), driving to various classes and meet-ups. A couple of the classes were after school ones as well as a longish drive in traffic. It added up to a lot of late nights and not enough time at home to just be. I was forever packing lunches and cooking dinners in advance to be eaten in the car on the way home or after classes. 

This year I am making some changes. There are less classes and only one after school. There’s still driving, but that just can’t be helped; we’re sticking with the classes and teachers we love, which means a bit of driving around Melbourne. I figure it’s just part and parcel of home education. 

Instead of outsourcing a lot of the learning, I’m going to be insourcing it. We’ve already started in the summer holidays. I know, it seems strange to have holidays when really the learning is happening all the time. In the car on the way to dance class, ‘Mum, do cats have belly buttons?’. While I’m busy cooking dinner, ‘Mum, what happens when you die?’. And so on. 

These holidays we’ve done lots of catching up with friends, bike rides along the bay, going to the beach, park and the library, trips to the city and the art gallery. There’s also been craft, baking, dress ups, gardening and playing games. The girls got Forbidden Island for Christmas from their nana and they love it. So do I! It’s a collaborative game so there’s lots of discussion, planning and team work involved. And the best thing is that because it is a collaborative game, no-one’s feelings get hurt. Even when we lost a game, we didn’t feel bad because we had all worked together and done our best. 

It’s been a brilliant time of natural learning and being together. The biggest benefit of these holidays has been time. Because I haven’t been rushing us around to get to classes on time and then driving home in peak hour traffic across the Westgate bridge at dinner time (super stressful and exhausting), I have had time
to just hang out with them. Time to help them with their projects, read stories, answer questions, hear confidences, listen to their worries, soothe hurt feelings and negotiate arguments. There’s been chats about sex and how babies are made and time to check in with each of them about where they are at. 

I’ve also had time to get to the bottom of some behavioural issues that cropped up last year. When I was in the middle of the madness all I could do was treat the symptoms. I simply didn’t have the time or energy to dig deep and discover the grievance that was leading to the undesirable behaviour. Now that I have, home is a much happier place for all of us! 

There’s also been time for me to think about what I want to do this year. As well as all the natural learning we do, I’m also keen to get back to teaching. I love sharing what I know with the girls as well as helping them learn more about their passions. This year I want to introduce some fun science experiments along with the maths and English we already do. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time but just did not have the energy or time. That was last year’s theme – not enough time or energy! 

It feels like I have come full circle. Our summer holidays have been a return to the home education we were doing in the beginning. There was time for lessons (a couple of hours a week), friends, classes, discovery and play. As well as time to just be. I am feeling much, much better about the coming year and continuing this wonderful home education journey. Here’s to a year filled with fun, laughter and, most of all, time! 

I’m a maker who writes 

Otherways 147

Be sure to read the other articles that go with this one.

Struggling – Part 1

Dear Indrani – Part 3

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