Marooned in the Modern World

In conjunction with my book "Swiss Family Suburban" this blog is from my diary; the diary of a wife and mum in a world where neither is valued highly. Beth Bill.

29th April 2010

It's 5am and I've been awake for hours! David went to 'sign off' a print from the printing press at 11.30 and didn't get home until 1.30am. His coming home disturbed my sleep, and now there's no point in trying - I'm wide awake. I think this is one of those bleak moments in family life. I'm overwhelmed by the responsibility of overseeing the development of three children and although home schooling exacerbates this it's a responsibility that we should all shoulder - the buck stops with us, not the teacher. I keep wondering if I've got it wrong and I'm inadvertently hampering the children's progress. What if they don't get into the University of their choice? What if we can't afford to send them? What if?...

In reality I think it's because, by nature, I'm not a born leader and yet I find myself at the front of the queue at times these days. Quite a few people come to me and ask me for advice about home education, the LEA send people to me to help them get going and the LEA have asked us to attend showcase events to discuss and promote academics in home education. And yet, here I am - just me, frowned on by those who disapprove of home education, or disappointed when those I encourage in their beginnings quit because of an imagined easier option. Individual cases are understandable on their own merit but 'en masse' it's disappointing to still be left alone in the field, after working so hard to help folks along - to no avail.

There are a very few families hereabouts who home educate, but often it's an excuse to not bother much. Perhaps I'm too exacting on the academic front. That's the whole point of home education though - quality. I do know of a family who home educate because of special needs, and they do a wonderful job. However, that only stands for a small percentage. I remember, after some debacle with my children, pointing out to them that I wouldn't be expecting so much from them if they weren't capable, instead I'd be stretching them in other ways. Either way I'd be stretching them! Unfortunately we are surrounded by an acceptance (even approval) of mediocrity - and I'm sick of it!

HA! And on top of all of this, now that the children are much older, I'm wondering if I should should step into the working world a little. I already teach privately a couple of evenings and I'm looking into teaching in schools, either classroom or peripatetic. In reality the children will have finished their compulsory education soon. Even now they just get on with it, and when they start their A level equivalent at home all I'll do is oversee the admin and give them some music lessons. So, like the closing chapter of Swiss Family Robinson, I'm wondering whether to stay 'on the island' in a make do and mend mentality, or should I venture back into civilisation (by degrees) and dip into the working world? After spending so many years building the home it's hard to shift focus, and yet I'm not sure that I'm needed in the capacity that I once was.

Perhaps it'll all make sense in the morning. Oh, it is the morning! Still waiting to make sense of it all...