Why We’ve Homeschooled for the Last Six Years – ft Polly of This Enchanted Pixie

On the blog today we’re enjoying the company of a mama I’ve been getting to know over the past few months. Polly, who blogs at This Enchanted Pixie, comes across as genuine, confident and full of life and love, both on her blog and in person. I’m so pleased that she’s sharing her reasons for home educating her daughters, especially since we plan to do the same.

Hello! I’m happy to be here, sharing a little of Adele’s space today! I’m Polly, I’m a thirty something mama to three girls and wife to one bearded man living in North Wales. We homeschool our three daughters and I thought I’d share a little of that with you today.

We have been a homeschooling family for 6 and a half years. After so long, it feels so normal to us, I forget that to others it is entirely foreign. I wonder sometimes why people ask if there is no school today when the girls and I are out in the middle of the day. Mid-way into our eldest’s nursery year, I came across an article about homeschooling, something in it struck home with me and I started to read more and more. I met a homeschooling family who lived around the corner from me and went to my very first home school group.

In the beginning, I felt as though homeschooling meant ‘school at home’. I spent hours researching curriculum’s, came up with complicated time-tables, and got stressed when we couldn’t stick to them. It didn’t take too long for all of that to go out of the window. Now, I’d describe myself as a relaxed homeschooling mama, perhaps not 100% unschoolers but mostly. Unschooling is a type of homeschooling, a lifestyle of learning. It doesn’t involve workbooks and set lessons {unless that is what the child wants}. The focus is on the child learning what it loves.

Mary Griffith, author of ‘The Unschooling Handbook’ defined unschooling as this: “{it} means learning what one wants, when one wants, in the way one wants, for one’s own reasons. Choice and control reside with the learner. She may find outside help in the form of parents, mentors, books or formal lessons, but she is the one making the decisions about how best to proceed. Unschooling is trusting that your children are at least as clever and capable as you are yourself.”

For example, Lola loves history, has done for the past six years since she learnt to read. She’s read every book she can get her hands on, and knows far more than I do on British History {once she seemed shocked that I didn’t know the middle names of every monarch!!}. For us, it means following the girls interests and providing opportunities.

Currently we’re doing a project on the body, taking a trip around the world while reading ‘Around the world in 80 days and studying various ancient civilisations as we work through the history of people. It means trips to museums, afternoons watching documentaries, long discussions while we’re cooking dinner. It means allowing them to lead the way, to know what they need, to trust them.

The one question that always seems to come up when talking about home schooling is the age old socialisation one. I had someone once asked me if the girls minded not having any friends :/ Contrary to what she must have thought, and to the name ‘HOMEschooling’ we don’t spend all day every day at home and never see another soul. We attend several homeschool groups, the girls attend art clubs, history groups, rainbows/brownies/guides and Lola is a volunteer at our local museum. Add into that meet ups with other homeschool families and play-dates and it’s a wonder we are ever home at all!

Socialisation is defined as ‘the adoption of the behaviour patterns of the surrounding culture; “the socialization of children to the norms of their culture”. Frankly, we didn’t want our children to simply learn to conform – we want them to think outside the box, think freely and for themselves. School doesn’t teach children about the real world – this article says it all perfectly.

Homeschooling works great for our family, we are lucky to be able to spend time with the children while they are young. It is not an easy option, being together 24/7 can be hard going – I also run a business from home, my husband is currently re-training and working a part time job and we have no family near by to help out. So life is full on. There is very little ‘time off’ and I have to juggle a zillion things each day.

Yet I wouldn’t change a thing, it is a way of life that I love and is ultimately rewarding. I would highly recommend you watching this video, by Astra Taylor who was herself unschooled, this TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson and read this post by Sandra Dodd.

Connect with Polly by following @pixie_polly on Twitter and liking her Facebook Page. She’s also just launched an eco-friendly bath and body products business called Cariadon, well worth checking out before I buy it all.