One of the criticisms levelled at home ed is that it encourages clingy children, that parents are being selfish and indulgent and irresponsible by not sending their children out there.
In my experience the opposite is true. Don’t get me wrong I’m pleased that mine can read, know their tables etc but what I am proudest of is who they are. Free thinking, confident and capable human beings. We’ve got to where we have by letting them have the independence to do things when they were ready.
Some of the independence at home came about purely through my, I was going to say laziness but that is not right, busyness is actually more fitting. I get up before the kids so have usually had breakfast and am in to doing something else before they are up so from about the age of 5, I’d get down the bowl and leave them to make own breakfast. As they asked I showed them how to make things like toast, porridge, scrambled eggs.
From about 8/9, they make their own lunch and occasionally mine about 1/2 the time. If they want something different or on a weekend to eat at a different time then they make it. Has never been a decision made “now they should do this”, just as they have become capable of doing stuff I leave them to it.
Untidyness aside they are both pretty capable around the house. Never been an allocating chores person, more we’re a family so please muck in. Being around in the day means that no housework fairy ever comes when they are out so they have always been a part of it.
Sam rarely strayed far from me when he was young. Even now he’s not that keen on groups unless I’m running them. Not so much because he wamts to be with me, I think it’s more that he’s comfortable in the expectations and boundaries.
I am sure some people looking in see Sam as quite over protected. Yet yesterday he confidently headed off round town with money to buy a birthday present for his friend and card, giftbag etc so he had it prepped to hand over. He usually does go round the shops now while I run a group for younger HE children, this is town not our village where everyone knows us. He decided what he wanted to eat and took himself to Subway to buy and eat lunch. So was able to order (and budget – I’d handed over some cash for present and lunch). Then be back on time to help me pack up.
After that we headed to Gosport where without a backwards look he was off on the ferry to Portsmouth to meet a friend for a sleepover.
We did have some discussion about whether he even wanted me to meet him at the ferry today for the return leg. He did think seriously and decided he’s seen me have too many issues with bus drivers not understanding what ticket I wanted lately to feel confident buying a ticket. Sympathise with that one! It is lovely to see them confidently stepping away, knowing they have the freedom to take steps when they feel ready for steps no problem with saying no I’m not ready; no heading off to a strange environment at 5, no having to catch a bus for school at 11, no class residentials where they are made to feel a baby if they don’t want to go. All those things will come when they are ready if they are left until they feel safe.