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Reflections on My Arrogance as a Homeschooling Parent and Educator
© Beverley Paine
Personal arrogance is a stumbling block I face in my daily relationships with others, as a parent and in my attitude to my work as a home educator.
Often I will catch myself thinking that I am at the centre of the universe as though it revolves around me and my ideas or my current projects, etc. In this I see I behave very much like a child. It's knowing which aspects of my inner child to 'grow up' and which to retain that is often difficult for me.
I never want to lose my curiousity and imagination, and ability to empath. I love how I can easily imagine myself as a child once again and feel like a child, albeit with an onlooking and experience-mitigating adult consciousness. This aspect of my inner child teaches me a great deal.
On other hand my child-like egocentric nature isn't at all good for relating to and with others. I can be demanding, selfish, bossy, dominating and big enough to get my own way by any means. Being the middle child, with a tantrum-throwing older sister, I chose quiet manipulation as the most effective way to be 'heard' in my birth family. As a result throughout childhood and adolescence I closely studied human behaviour. I became quite adepat at knowing the 'right' time to approach someone or 'right' tone to use, for example, to get my own way. In addition I learned from an age to manipulate my environment to achieve my goals.
It is taking me several years of noticing how and why I do this and modifying my behaviour to undo some of these, often quite useful, habits. One habit I'm constantly working on is learning to let others finish speaking before I press my own views. I find I'm in too much of a hurry most of the time...
To help me learn how to be a better listener I try to approach conversations with a blank mind. If I want something, however, I use all the tools in my persuasion toolbox. Trouble is I'm not the all-wise, all-knowing, clever person I sometimes think I am and then I do and say things that make my life very complicated! I have learned to use my tools well but not necessarily wisely!
My task, in this fifth decade of life, is to take four steps backwards and study the wisdom life presents to me, rather than feel in such a rush to make things happen the way I think they should. Humility and acceptance of a imperfect existance are the tools I use most to 'grow myself up'. I am blessed by awareness of self, and of my learning and growing process. It's often a depressing burden, but I wouldn't chose any other way of being.
I thank my children for their patience in giving me and allowing me the time I needed to gently 'grow myself up'. Home education gave us the space to let this journey for this often bewildered parent to finish the process of becoming and behaving like an adult. My children's stubbornness to blindly accept whatever I presented to them when it didn't make sense to them because they trusted their instincts, and my lingering sense of self-doubt as a parent, helped guide me.
Often I would turn to other adults and parents for advice but would come away knowing intiuitively that their approach and ideas wouldn't work for us. My children helped me to trust my own inner child, the child that once was and still is...
Being a parent is hard work. Being a home educator makes it both easier and harder. It's a wonderful learning journey and I feel blessed that I'm lucky enough to have the choice to learn alongside of my children at home.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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