The End of Home-Ed: Where Are the Parents Now? (RT)

The End of Home-Ed: Where Are the Parents Now? 

By Rosemarie Tipping

Home educators sometimes wonder what life will hold after the home-ed journey is over. Some feel lost, even down, particularly when the ending is unexpected. Others feel excited, having made plans for new adventures. We hope Rosemarie’s words offer some inspiration and also comfort to those who may be feeling blue about the end of their home-ed journey. 

What do I want to be when my children grow up? 

Realistically, I started home educating when my daughter and first child was just a few days old. ‘This is a tree’, ‘This is a dog’, ‘Pat the dog gently’, and so it continued to the, ‘What is the differential of 3×2 + 2x + 7?’ and, ‘how do you calculate the atomic value of a hydrocarbon.’ There was 20+ years in between those sets of questions. 

It was a long journey when I look back at it, but a very good one. Of course, there were times when we were all sent to our own rooms, including me, and we thought homeschooling was a disaster. 

Now, having the perspective of being at the end of that part of our lives, it was a beautiful experience. We gained so much and formed strong relationships, we educated sporadically but well. 

We had passion for what we were learning, and my children learnt how to learn. This will set them up in life with an amazing ‘can do’ attitude where they will learn whatever they desire to learn. 

The main thing I would do differently if I had to do it over again would be to RELAX. Put love and passion in and it all works out well. 

I have very fond memories of impromptu learning. The ones where questions came up and you delved into them on the spot. Whether it was how the brakes worked in the car, to the life cycles of the creatures we just found in the rock pool, to why things go brown when they are cooked. I think you could best describe our style as eclectic. 

We pulled together resources from everywhere, and anywhere—we used what suited us at the time. 

Sometimes we were really organised with books and lesson plans, other times we barely sat down to write for an entire term, but by far it was their impromptu lessons that were the best we had. 

I now have two wonderful adult children who are both in university studying courses that interest them. They are getting great marks without my help now. They find the information they need, get themselves to classes and get their assignments in by the due dates. They are self-sufficient adults who now help me out more than I need to help them. 

So after 20+ years of giving my all to home education, what do I want to do now? This was a question that took me over a year to answer. I love to do art, but am I really driven enough to become a full-time artist? Should I go back to uni myself and get a new career path? Should I just apply for whatever jobs come past and hope for the best? 

After a lot of pondering, I decided that going back to education now, although it would be great, would mean that rather than preparing for the retirement years I would spend three to four years creating more debt for the family. So I decided to get a job. 

I had no idea where to start, so I went back to the jobs that I knew well from ‘before children’. I applied to quite a few of these jobs and the only reply I got back was, ‘Unfortunately, we have decided not to progress with your application any further at this point’. 

I am not one to be discouraged by a knock back, but what that process did give me was the extra time to ponder why I was applying for these jobs. I applied for them because they were easy and I had the commercial experience to back them up, albeit 20 years ago. 

What I had not accounted for was my life experience and skills, such as the self-taught Java that I did, because I felt like it. The puzzles and challenges I did for fun. The coaching and guiding and teaching that I had been engaged in for my own children, other home educated children and the volunteer roles I took in community organisations. 

So, armed with a new perspective and drive, I applied for jobs that I did not have the experience for, but that sounded enriching, exciting and that I knew I could learn if I had the need to. I only applied for three of these and I got an interview for one of them. Very promising. The interview went really well. I was honest about my lack of experience in the commercial environment whilst answering their questions with my experience from homeschooling and life. 

They liked what they saw, and I got the job. I am now employed by a large company with amazing benefits and a pay rate much better than what the beginner jobs were offering. I am doing work creating applications to bring the company up to date with the new digital world. 

All the skills and experiences that you create and participate in as a home educator really do add up to making you employable after the children have grown up. 

The biggest lessons I have found from this home education journey are: learn how to learn, how to find information and how to apply that knowledge and then find things you are passionate about and learn about those. Armed with just these skills, both you and your children will be able to build up skill sets to create the future you want. 

It might not come quickly and there will be hurdles, tears and knock backs. These are just a part of the growth. 

Do not be discouraged, use these as an opportunity to find what really works for you and chase it. 

Otherways 169 (August 2021)

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