"Back to school also means back to work for many parents but it can also spell freedom for the full-time mothers and fathers out there.
Justine Roberts, co-founder of online forum Mumsnet, said at this time of year, many parents are "jumping for joy"."
Home Education means spending time, lots of time, with your children. It is not always easy, and the moments you get to yourself are fairly rare, but it's not as hard as you think. The rewards of spending time with your children, and really getting to know them are priceless, and let's face it, our children are children for such a short time that we need to treasure the time we do have whilst it lasts.
So how do you manage to retain your sanity when you spend so much time with your children?
I can only speak for myself, of course, but I think it's actually easier to be around my children so much because I have been. Let me explain what I mean: when the longest period of time you spend with your child is the school summer holidays, it's bound to be problematic. Your child is used to having much of it's waking hours micro-mangaged by school, after school clubs etc. Along come the school holidays and suddenly the micro-management has gone. The child isn't used to finding things to do to occupy itself, so the position of entertainer becomes the parent's. Having to continually find entertainment for your child is wearing, stressful and undoubtedly expensive. So I suppose it's fairly understandable that by the end of the holidays parents are overjoyed to be free from that burden.
We don't have to face these issues, because our children are well used to managing their time. I have a zero tolerance policy in my house for the words *I'm bored*. Always have had, even when they were going to be going to school. I am not their entertainer. Yes, I am here to facilitate their learning, yes I will provide things for them to try out, learning materials, outings, art supplies, games, help and support as needed, but boredom I will not cure. I am of the opinion that boredom is very important, particularly for children, and it seems I'm not alone in this. Boredom encourages children towards self reliance, and that is an incredibly important personal skill/quality as far as I'm concerned. Far too many people these days expect to be entertained by others, and then are completely lost when they find themselves in a situation where they have only themselves to rely on. The micro-managed children I know (and some of them are home educated, so it's by no means something that is only there in schooled children) are whingey, attention seeking, very high maintenance and in constant need of entertainment. I can completely understand why their parents would relish time to themselves in these instances.
If you pull your child out of school to home educate them, it is generally accepted that they will need a period of de-schooling. I would imagine (though having had no experience myself I am only speculating) that this would be quite a difficult time for a family, partly because of the sudden leap from a micro-managed day to a looser one. The adjustment will take time, and I would imagine a great deal of patience and understanding, but the rewards will definitely be worth it.
If we are to see a return to children and adults who are more self reliant than many currently are, parents need to stop seeing themselves as entertainers, and encourage a healthy level of boredom. Perhaps when that happens, we won't hear so many stories of stressed out parents longing for the end of the school holidays, and those who send their children to school might not be so staggered to find that home educators actually enjoy spending time with their children.