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Archive for March, 2009

Why is it that whenever you make some kind of decision that you are sure will take you in a specific direction, it often immediately seems to have the opposite effect?

When we first started thinking about homeschooling we dreamed idyllic scenes of family bonding; contented, happy, confident children; a serene, peaceful MommaT. What we’ve had instead in the last few days is crotchety, overly sensitive kids; family squabbling at unusual levels; a violently unsettled TeppityBoy, and an irritable, hypercritical MommaT! All of this culminated today in an “incident” at pre-school where MissGeorgie very uncharacteristically chose to resolve a squabble by biting another child’s hand – a sure sign that all is not well in the family “kraal”.

Admittedly we are under the stress that making a big life-style change inevetably brings, but I don’t think I’ve been as “big” about it as I should have been. I’ve been gluing myself to books and pillaging the internet for days on end, pretty much leaving the sprouts to their own devices for hours, and rebuking them for interrupting.

I’m someone who wants to research and know as much as possible about a subject before even moving a finger, and there’s nothing wrong with that in principle. But when it works directly against the bigger picture, when it produces opposite outcomes, then something is wrong.

So I’m realising I’m going to have to challenge myself to grow a bit more. I’m going to have to resist my natural inclinations: take it slow, relax, go with the flow a bit more – maybe even try a bit of trial-and-error when we officially begin. (DrT will tell you this is going very much against the grain. As soon as the caffeine has begun its work in the morning I’m making lists!) Hopefully my discomfort at not having everything completely planned, organised, filed, labeled and controlled will be offset by four little content, loved and enthusiastic little faces come April 15.

Take a deep breath MommaT…

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As I write this first post, looking at my first post title, I feel slightly disingenuous. The road we will be starting out on soon (and which was the impetus for starting this blog) is not completely un-travelled. In fact, in making the decisions we have recently, we have received much advice and counsel from others who have already been travelling the homeschooling road for a while.

However Robert Frost’s poem resonates with me more and more deeply as time goes by, as we as a family are drawn more often down these less-travelled paths. Choices we were drawn to even before the inception of our family (like choosing abstinence before marriage and choosing to move across the world from South Africa to the UK 1 month after our wedding) should maybe have given us a hint that ours was possibly not going to be the most conventional of paths, but I see myself as a pretty conventional person, and so every calling we have to swim against the tide, every choice that goes against conventional wisdom is really hard on me at first.

And callings and choices there have been: we chose homebirths for 3 of our children; I chose to “waste” a veterinary science degree and stay home full-time as a Mom, we chose to return to South Africa at a time when many, many families were choosing to leave; DrT chose to give up a very promising small-animal practice and career in order to become a student again; he chose to work at a zoo rather than in the bush as many conservationists do… (These are only some of the bigger “up-stream” decisions we have made. The more I think about it the more I realise how unconventional we must appear to those around us)…and now we’re choosing to homeschool our children!

 What an agonising time this decision-making process has been for me. I have felt at times as though we are being called to swim up a waterfall, not just up-stream, and that I was just not going to find the courage to say “yes”. But the courage has come, and the decision has been made, and now this Mom is eagerly looking forward to sun-filled free-range schooldays surrounded by her brood.

In retrospect, why have I been so fearful? As I look back at that list of decisions I just wrote I can’t say I regret one of them. They have each brought beauty, happiness and adventure to our lives, and I can see no reason why this decision will be any different.

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