We all need personal and private time and space. Even from our most cherished loved ones and this includes the children.
How this is achieved as a home schooler is an issue often discussed.
There are some devoted parents who never feel the need time for away from their children. However, time apart is generally a healthy part of all relationships which enhance them, encourages emotional as well as physical independence, and is an important part of our parenting.
For those who’d like to home educate but feel daunted at the prospect of being with the children 24/7 it’s reassuring to know that it doesn’t happen like that. Just because we’re home educating does not mean we’re intensely educating 24/7. Learning happens quickly and easily in a home environment giving more free time.
And times of independent space evolve naturally as it does with all parenting; your contact time, plus the need to be watchful, vigilant and attentive, changes very quickly as the children mature and you all become more confident with the learning process.
When they’re young it’s possible to gain times of head space when still together. This might be when you’re all in the same room, but the children are engaged in doing something; gaming, playing, whatever, and you can disengage and get some headspace in a book or social media or whatever. A bit of headspace does not necessarily require physical space. But it does require us to let go and detach for a short while when it’s safe to do so and soon refreshes.
It is also possible to practice a more physical separation within the same house in different rooms by nurturing respectful relationships. Just as we would leave the children to play and not interfere, we can ask of them to do the same when we need to get on with something. Quite young children can soon appreciate this kind of mutually shown respect; an important lesson for them which will eventually enhance their future relationships.
Another way to gain independent space from each other is through the use of groups, friends or family.
Home education does not mean educating in isolation. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be in sole charge – others have things to offer too. There is an ever growing community in which to make friends, develop group opportunities, do time swaps with. Family members can also be involved in the home schooling. And there are the groups, clubs and classes out of school hours that all children go to which home schoolers can attend. Check out what’s available near you.
Cultivating personal space helps children to grow independent. Whether that’s done in the home, or in the wider community, it means that home educating is not necessarily 24/7. It would not be healthy if it was and there are always opportunities to develop some time apart.