When I fondly look back on my teenage years. I am enveloped with such warmth and happiness that I was fortunate enough to opt out of normal education.
Living in the heart of the countryside, surrounded by animals, wildlife and rolling green hills, I felt so at home there - the busy and overwhelming school environment, with crowded corridors, disruptive lessons and social divides, instantly made me shrink inside. I experienced it, and coped as best I could for infants and juniors but senior school was another matter - after a stressful year seven experience I walked into school at the beginning of year 8 for my first term, and a feeling took over me... I just could not stay here any longer.....and I knew somehow there must be a way that meant I didn't have to.
Not many people know that while an education is compulsory - going to school is not!
My nurturing and loving family have always valued the importance of self care...and if somethings is not right....we must change it. Life is too precious to waste when we have a choice to make it better. So, in 2008 I was able to close the chapter on school, and embrace the wonderful world of Home Education. Working with my Mum daily on projects we cared about - English being our favourite subject to delve into - a weight lifted from my shoulders and I could steadily feel myself begin to heal.
Opting out of the normal everyday routines that society expects isn't always easy. I was paralysed with guilt for many years after leaving school - terrified that my decision had been weak and that I had let down my peers and myself - time soon gave me a chance to make sense of this and trust that it was okay to let go and start again. I saw this opportunity for a education at home to be a blessing - not something to feel ashamed about. It was and still continues to be, the most rewarding and wonderful experience of my life so far.
Dealing with criticism from those who simply don't understand that Home Education does not leave you socially isolated or that you can still take exams - can be very tough. I often quietly wondered if people who judged an education out side of school, wished to themselves that they had the courage or situation to enjoy it and do it too. To think outside of the box is daunting and many I know are afraid of what it involves - but it truly is worth it.
The rules are your own, and if you're motivated enough, you hold the reins to your own learning and studying - if you want to curl up with a book in the summer, or head down to the beach to sketch, or ride your ponies, or dog walk, or collect autumn leaves for a collage or write an essay on your favourite Jane Austen novel - you can! It is uplifting and refreshing and as long as you are indeed learning and growing and exploring ways to enlighten and educate your mind - the opportunities are endless!
You can spend the day in a science museum - or watching a history programme - you can visit ancient ruins and stately homes, practice life skills such as budgeting for running a household and paying bills. Cooking and baking...making things....writing....its all there for the taking - and you study it because you want to...not because you have to.
Becoming an adult and going out into the world has greatly stirred up those old feelings I felt when facing school everyday. I am reminded though, just because I am no longer a child or teenager and I must be brave and face the uncertainties of the working world amongst general life business - I must wholeheartedly hang on to what home-education has taught me.
We do not have to live and do as everyone else does if a different path awaits that makes us happy - I would rather have less money and a simpler happy life, than strive for high ideals and big wages which takes me away from home, and the little things that matter, and that which makes me feel calm, centered and strong. We must earn our living of course, but we must value our mental and emotional health while we are doing it - otherwise we lose touch with what it is we are actually working for.
There should be something good in everyday - kindness should be an attitude for all - we should surround ourselves with people that lift us up - and experiences that we radiate from.
Home - education was the most wonderful platform to launch from - and I hope I carry that sense of freedom and happiness with me always - because I truly believe that is how we are supposed to live life - Doing whats right for us, in the best way we can. Xxx