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Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Quality Time Matters

Yesterday I spent close to 6 hours in my teenager's room just listening to him blowing off steam about some stuff his friends do that just irritates him endlessly. In so doing I'm getting to know him better & build a relationship in which he will know whatever happens in his life, he can always come to me to let it all out. These are the moments that so easily get lost in life under academic & peer pressure. They are also the moments when most of the  real life learning takes place. Photo: Children are..... gifts from God <3At times this takes a conscious effort on my behalf, because I might need to get something else done, or like yesterday & many other days, I might not be feeling too well & would much rather be in bed to sleep it off, but it’s a sacrifice I now am more than willing to make on a daily basis. Once again I didn’t manage to complete all my to-dos, but at least my son has had his need to pour his heart out met.

As a child I often longed for such moments with my parent’s , to be loved & accepted for who I am, not what I’m supposed to be. Our parents, as their parents before them, were so busy making a living they had no time to make a life & for many years my brother & I would hardly ever see them at home. I often used to envy my friends, whose parents somehow found time in their busy schedules to play soccer outside in their gardens. We spend much of our childhood home alone with the domestic worker, fending for ourselves. There was no time to just sit around and chat about things that mattered, hence today, I don’t have a close relationship with my parents & I don’t know how to chat to them about anything other than the kids & the weather.

PhotoIn spite of my own experiences and vowing that I would do it differently with my own children, I spent most of my time working & bringing work home during their younger years. I always  put work & things to do before my kids & their need to just spend time with me. It took my eldest, then 1st grader not wanting to come home from fetching his brother at the day mother with his reply “but you’re always working even when you’re home” to my question why he didn’t want to come home to wake me up to the realisation that I was following in my parents’ footsteps & doing exactly what I didn’t want for my kids in the first place. I now realise the whole  purpose of motherhood is to put their needs on top of my to-do list. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through this & my own experiences as a child it’s that I need to make time to be available & listen to what’s important to my children NOW. If I don’t do that now then they won’t feel comfortable to come to me with their issues  when they’re older. I am convinced the reason why people no longer care much for others, is the fact that for so many generations parents have been so busy working to acquire material things that they lost sight of their children’s most basic need to be loved, accepted & nurtured. These kids, feeling rejected, then grow up to become unfulfilled adults & in their search for acceptance turn to alcohol, drugs & sexual immorality in order to try fill the void left by the lack of positive parental involvement.

I have finally learnt to "let it all be" & become a responsive parent who listens to and acknowledges my children’s feelings, needs & point of view. Putting all else down when they come wandering in for love & attention is now reaping it's rewards. Having my teen come find me in the kitchen just to kiss me the cheek & then run out to do his own thing again is such a simple yet joyful reward.

As their mom it is my job to provide my boys with a loving, nurturing home  environment where they can play, explore their interests, find their strengths & learn through their mistakes without condemnation. There is no greater gift you can give your children than to help them realize they don’t have a problem – that they are special just as they are (Jane Nelson, Ed.D. co-author of the Positive Discipline series) These days my greatest joy is having my 10 & 16 year old come snuggle up on my lap for attention. After all, if I want them to  have good memories of home & continue to come back after they’ve become independent, now is the time to create those memories to be cherished in the future.

They have been lent to me for only a few short years. Before I know it they'll be gone & I'll have all the time in the world to catch up on my hobbies that are currently on the back burner. After all, I wanted my children & have learned not to take the responsibility that came with having them lightly or push it off to others. If I want them to grow up to be happy, healthy adults I must make time to attend to their needs for love, acceptance & nurturing. Although I utterly regret the wasted years I cannot “rewind” and repair them, but I can still make the few remaining years count towards restoration for the future & hopefully one day when they have their own children they can do it right from the start.

PhotoAs parents, it is our job to discover our children’s uniqueness & nurture it. Through helping them discover who they really are, what they are good at & what they love to do, we can maintain their natural curiosity & eagerness to learn. It is time for us to stop drawing attention to what they CAN’T do & instead start emphasizing what they CAN do. We should instead celebrate their skills, accomplishments & uniqueness. We must help them discover their learning strengths, interests, talents & needs to give them roods in the gifts they were born with. Discovering their dreams, passions & goals will give them the wings of motivation & purpose to become eager, self-directed learners. This can only be achieved with personal involvement by parents.