Saturday, 18 June 2016

Letting The Children Go.....

I home schooled my two youngest children for ten years. Looking back, I think I must have been mad. The child at the centre of this mammoth educational expedition is now unequivocally scathing of the decade in question. I was not a good mother, he feels, I was `smothering’ and I admit it’s easy to feel slightly affronted when hearing this. Nobody wants to have ten years of their life dismissed in quite so perfunctory a manner. On the other hand I am not alone in the poor parenting corner because neither was his father a good father – he was `too distant’. His sister who was for the most part home schooled merely to keep him company, mostly escapes criticism. She is more pragmatic a personality and says as little as possible about her home education years. Their older brother who was always made to go to school maintains he would have loved the opportunity to while away years at the kitchen table rather than being forced to go to St. Thomas’s, which he still sees as an institution akin to a prison or the army. You simply can’t please your offspring when it comes to weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the education strategy you lovingly worked out for them. It seems rather a waste of a great deal of energy from where I stand at the moment because, embarrassingly, I was one of those zealots who preached Home Education a bit like a missionary or at least just as fervently as those who used to campaign for breast feeding and have now turned their attentions to gluten free diets. I even wrote a book about it. What was said to me frequently during those cosy years of home based learning was that I would be quite unable to `let go’ of the children when the time came to do so. It was said so often that I began to almost believe it and nervously wondered what form this reluctance to relinquish would actually take. I now believe that educating your children at home, keeping them by your side year after year, interacting with them hour after hour, day after day, in fact ensures that they are finally abandoned to the world with a great deal of relief. Whilst other parents of my generation bewail the fact that their sons and daughters are only to be glimpsed in the flesh rarely, and are often not at home when a dutiful mother makes the weekly telephone call to Mongolia, I find that my own children seldom feature in my consciousness. It’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes I even feel a tiny bit guilty about how infrequently I contact them and wonder if they notice. Though to be perfectly honest I don’t think they notice at all. It is therefore perfectly possible that the secret behind the mysterious art of `letting your children go’ is to ensure you start off from the position of being a totally `smothering’ mother.


  1. Very interesting theory. So glad you are at home. Can't wait for our catch up

    1. Glad to be back and REALLY looking forward to our next catch up! J