Saturday 1 August 2020

A Marathon not a Sprint

In my twelfth year of home education, I am not really an old timer. There are plenty of families around who have been home educating for well over twenty years but still, over my limited experience, I am convinced that home education is a marathon not a sprint.

It is easy to feel that we need to sprint. When people are asking advice about chapter books for their five year old or how to do GCSEs aged ten, it can sap fragile confidence like the thin ice on a lake, exposing the depths of fear and uncertainty. Then we can feel that a sprint is imperative. Yet, those regular phonics sessions or daily maths do make a difference- just not in the short term. It can be very difficult to see that one day's, or even week's or month's, work has pushed progress forward. Yet slowly, over the years with daily practice, progress is made even in challenging subjects. The child who couldn't remember the months of the year manages to recite them correctly once, then maybe after a gap, again. Yes, they might not be the first child to do this but this is progress for them and it all adds up, slowly. 

At the end of a year, sometimes, it can feel that not much has changed yet all those 11 o'clocks doing maths will have changed something. We learn perseverance and so do our children.

Other years, more progress is made. Those fractions which have been a minefield for a couple of years suddenly fall into place. The neurons have connected. I sometimes think that this is more to do with maturity than my work and it may be.

At this season, when everyone has a view on home schooling because they have just over a term's experience with what the school sent home, remember that a term is very little in the grand scheme of things. We have to carry on and be faithful to our calling to educate our children at home to God's glory.

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