“Learning is for Life & it Begins at Home”
I love children. I think I am still a child at heart. Growing up in Asia, there were always children around – whether it is relatives or neighbourhood kids playing together. As a Teenager, I volunteered in Childrens’ Clubs and even worked for a Charity which provided After-School care for children from vulnerable homes. When I became a mother, I poured my energy and love to my son. He was soon joined by his younger brother.
As a family, we moved from the UK to live and work in S E Asia where our boys grew up in a country which was not their ‘passport’ country. I knew we were raising Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Home Education facilitated our family’s lifestyle – flexibility for our travels, including bi-annual visits to the UK to keep in touch with family and friends. But on hindsight, Home Education gave us three precious gifts – Time, Courage & Memories.
My older son has just sent off his application for University accommodation. Where has the time gone? It seems like it was not too long ago when I first learned of his existence. It has gone quickly! But yes, there were many times when I lay in bed anxious, wondering if I had done enough. It was all part of life. We are only human and so are our children. The time we have had together – the fun times as well as the challenging ones have been enriching times. The time he would have been sitting behind a desk with other children; we have spent it together – baking biscuits, grocery shopping or exploring a new City. Sprinkled in these moments were precious conversations which went beyond just facts for an exam.
Living abroad in a small foreign town and looking different from everyone else can be fun but the novelty does wear off. On top of that, we did not send our children to school! With limited resources, we developed the courage to think and live differently. Whilst we did not have access to opportunities for Kids’ Clubs and other similar activities, we explored local cultural treasures which even our local friends were not familiar with. They got to meet and talk with an accomplished Shadow Puppet Puppeteer, snorkel in tropical places and plan and execute children’s activities in local community projects. Along the way, they learned to speak and understand the local language and navigate life in a foreign culture before they got any GCSEs.
Some years ago, a dear friend passed away. Her daughter told me that one of the last things Mum told her were “Life is about memory-making. Go make memories.” I try to savour the moments I have with my children – the chats, the laughter, the conversations and hold them in my heart. Parenting is not for the faint hearted. I remember many moments where I felt overwhelmed – especially as we approached the exam years which coincided with not just the Pandemic but also packing up to return to the UK. But such is the tapestry of life. There are some dark strands along with colourful ones. I am just so thankful that my memory bank is full of times together with my children. In the same way, it has been a huge privilege to play a huge role in the memory banks of their start to life.
As my children prepare to ‘leave the nest’, I am holding on to each precious memory with deep gratitude. Thankful and confident that they have a had a great start to their learning of life and for life.
This story is written by Streams member Veronica.
Veronica runs live online art sessions for home educated children. Her website is: https://homeedcreatives.co.uk/