Enough: Holding Space for Childhood
What is "enough"?I read a lot of posts and pleas from mother's in Home Ed group and they all come back to this idea. The Wobbles it's commonly called in HE circles. Yet under the bad days, the nasty comments from folks, underneath all the outer stuff is that somewhere along the line you were told (often repeatedly) they are too stupid, too unqualified, too emotional, too sick, too selfish, too religious, not religious enough, too rich, too poor, too much, and not enough.
It is the interest of the mainstream industries from the media to the corporate who fund them what you think that you need the "right" shoes, hair products, diet shakes and anti-depressants to be enough.
Home educating varies wildly with some doing set timetables and schooling at home to wild parenting without any rules at all. Most of us struggle somewhere in the middle, at least some of the time.
So how much "educating" is enough where is that line, that sticker next to your name to make you feel like a "good Mum"?
Holding SpaceFor me it is "enough" if I have held the space and attention of my daughter. Somewhere in the day we have been talking, maybe doing one thing and talking about something else (like cooking or gardening) where something happens. It is play, in one sense (but not how we normally view it). An intellectual play. A question, a theory or funny idea. A sort of mental hopscotch, where were we start and where we end up are very different. It is not the "usual" sort of thinking, it is a different head space, like "pre-play" but not quite daydreaming. In this space I am not worried about if I am enough. In this I feel I am holding open the sacred space. It has infinite learning. It has little to no boundaries. It needs no resources but imagination.
It is full of questions.
"What if the..."
"How do they..."
"Wouldn't it be cool if..."
Once within this space and allowed to grow it manifests in the "normal" learning. It can be the beginning of a project, a stint or research or an art or science project, or play in a more traditional sense.
So this fabled "enough" is a myth that distracts us from really "being" with our kids. It is a forced anxiety that robs us of our curiosity and wonder. It makes us dread and nit-pick, or take over completely, or fuss over things that are important at all.
At the end of the day if your child turns 18 or 21 and is healthy, happy and whole they are still better off than if they had the best qualifications in the world. If they want them as adults (and don't get them as kids) they can get them. What they won't have are horrific scars, nightmares or mountains of doubt. We forget that happy, healthy, whole is not "normal" and that self-harm, eating disorders and sexualization (as well as assault, bullying, and hate crimes) are so rampant in schools it has become "normal". So normal suicide is the biggest killer in people under 35 in the UK. in 2014 alone. 597 took their own lives were aged between 10 and 24.
Enough is a happy healthy kid who loves life (mostly). Is curious and playful.
I am doing enough. So are you.
Now if you will excuse me I have to finish a pillow fort.
Home education is far too important to be taken seriously.