The swish of a tail, soft melodic sounds of hoofs on mulchy path, and a carpet of bluebells to lift our hearts. The relaxed chitter chatter between me and my daughter rings out in the woods alongside the birds, and I feel a sense of deep contentment.
As home educators, there were so many days like this when my daughter was little—endless walks, observing and talking. I often say her education has been 90% conversation, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now she’s 16 and as we stroll together, exercising one of the horses she cares for, I look at her, almost the same height as me, and feel a surge of pride and love. Here she is discovering her own route to independence, me just watching on.
A spectator now.
I recall the wonderful herbalist, Juliette de Baricli Levy, mentioning in a book that gypsy children are often held extremely close but when it’s time for them to fly, do they fly. I never quite understood this and yet, I have held these words within me through all these years and now they come to rest, as I do indeed watch her fly.
When my daughter was little people would say, “She’ll struggle with social skills if you don’t send her to school” or “She’ll be clingy forever if you keep her close all the time.” I’m so glad I didn’t listen as for 16 years I have had the joy of my daughter close by my side and I can honestly say it has been the most nourishing and humbling experience.
It’s kind of strange to acknowledge that those days are over; those days of worrying if what we were doing was right, pondering if she would ‘turn out okay’ or if we would be labelled reckless parents. We’ve been pulled to the side more times than I care to mention to be told that we were doing our daughter a disservice by not sending her to school, or that we were harming her in some way by raising her on the move.
People have so much to say.
So for those of you just starting out on the home education path — maybe intertwined with a wandering path — I say, it’s important to simply root into your heart and nurture what you know to be right and true for you and your family.
If you would like to hear the full story of our wandering home education journey these past sixteen years, then you can listen to this podcast:
I was thrilled to be asked to join the Virtual Kitchen Table, if a little nervous as this was my first ever conversational podcast! However, I was made to feel very welcome by Hayley, Erin, and Ashley and I hope that by sharing my family’s story, it will help others considering or embarking on a similar path.
You will also find a few more writings about our home educating life on Ross Mountney’s blog, who I mention in the podcast. Ross has a huge amount of resources available if you are intrigued by home education!