Articles about self-inquiry

My biggest lessons from 18 years of peaceful parenting.

Eighteen years ago I used to swim in the sea pool near my home every day when I was pregnant with my first child. Bobbing about like a small whale. It was summer, so the sea helped me keep cool and it took the weight off my legs.

I was excited and very, very nervous.

I had no idea of the wild, life-changing adventure that was about to begin. Jeremy was born on 01/01/01 at 1.01am.
I kid you not.
Just after the fireworks had ended to bring in the new millennium.

01/01/01 sounded like some sort of crazy-weird numerology to me. I have no idea about numerology, but life sure got crazy after he was born.

He was born at home, in a blow-up paddle pool in the tiny living room. I had my darling husband and my best friend holding onto me as I screamed my way through labour. After he was born I sat in the pool for ages with him lying on my chest. Just stunned and amazed. Completely in awe.

The story of my life had just taken the most astonishing twist. Everything was different.

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My deschooling journey: how I came to love home education.

I’ve been a home educator for a long time now. At the time of writing my eldest son is 18 and my youngest son is 14 and they’d both been home educated their whole lives, until my eldest son decided to try out high school when he turned 17. It’s been a very interesting, and a times challenging, home education journey and I’ve done a lot of deschooling over the years. This article is going to be about my process of deschooling over that long period. I’ll also be sharing the tool that I used to question my thinking and to dissolve my school mindset.

Starting from the beginning……..

I have a very “schooly” background because I come from an academic family. My Dad was a university professor, my Mum taught at university and I had a university education myself. I taught at university before I had children. So it was a very academic environment. Obviously, the “academic” type or style of learning was very highly valued in my family. I had kids quite late when I already had a career teaching Law. I had my eldest son when I was 35 and he changed SO much in my life. I’d never been more in love and I’d never been more emotional and sleep deprived.

Things changed even more when my son got to four years old. That was when he dropped out of preschool. He had been enrolled in preschool two days a week and had enjoyed it, but it had always been quite stressful for him. He’d started to have really big meltdowns after preschool and to resisting going and it was getting very stressful. When he was four and a half, he just refused to go anymore. He told me he just wanted to stay at home with me and his little brother. I was left thinking, well, what do I do now? I can’t get him to go to preschool. How’s he going to fit into a school environment?

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When giving is no longer helpful

I have spent most of the last 14 years feeling overwhelmed by parenting. Thankfully, this has eased up a lot in the last few years but that familiar feeling still comes to visit. It feels much more subtle than it used to but it can still have me in tears and even make me feel sick. I felt the classic signs of a cold coming on this week. When I lay down and meditated I felt the familiar heaviness, exhaustion and despair that overwhelm brings.

What are the other classic signs of parental overwhelm?

  • I feel the urge to complain, and it is usually about my children.
  • I want to blame somebody, and it is usually my children.
  • I get grumpy, irritated and reactive towards my children.
  • I burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

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