Does the thought of home schooling terrify you? You’re probably not alone.
I would like to share with you some of the positive experiences I had as a home schooling parent and offer some tips to help make it a useful time for you and your children.
Make it Fun
Make it fun. This is your opportunity to spend quality time with your children. Don’t waste it.
If you’re feeling anxious, breathe – acknowledge your feelings, and be gentle with yourself – it’s going to be OK and you can do this (see my article on anxiety). I openly admit to totally lacking confidence when I started home schooling.
The absolute bonus was that during the process we became best friends. We now have a close connection and a beautiful relationship, which I don’t think would have happened otherwise. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner.
We’ve all had a traumatic experience with the bushfires in the last few months. No-one who lived through this can have escaped without some level of emotional disturbance. For many, this experience has been profound.
Trauma is not what happens to us, but how our bodies respond to what happens to us. Many of us will need support to help digest and integrate this experience.
Trauma is an embodied experience. That is, we feel it inside our bodies. You might have noticed some of the signs, such as feeling withdrawn or maybe tense and uptight. Perhaps you noticed your breathing has been shallow, or you felt a bit light-headed.
The recent bushfires have been very unsettling for all of us, particularly our children, and it’s normal to be feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Your children might need some help in understanding what is happening.
Your loving care as a parent can make a huge difference to how your children will process their experiences. Spending time together to create a shared family narrative can be a big help. Below are some suggestions that you might find helpful.
We all want to be the best parents that we can be, but sometimes we need a bit of help. This is particularly so if our own childhood was difficult.
The good news is that it is possible to change the narrative, and we don’t have to repeat the mistakes from the past.
Parenting is tricky at the best of times, but even more so with the challenges being faced by parents in the twenty-first century.
Attachment describes a child’s relationship with parents/carer, and is a crucial part of their early development. A securely attached child easily turns to their parents for comfort and support. They see their carers as providing a secure base from which to explore their world. They also know their parents offer a safe haven to return to when feeling troubled.
Toddler tantrums. It happens to all of us. That moment when your toddler “loses it” in public. You feel frustrated, embarrassed and totally at a loss to know what to do.
Your toddler is expressing some really big feelings here. They’ve probably been sending out signals for a while, but in your need to focus on other tasks, its easy to miss them. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, you have a toddler lying on the floor, kicking and screaming.
Have you ever wondered what it is that draws people together, and what it is that pulls you apart in relationships?
Perhaps the answer lies in your attachment style.
Understanding our attachment style helps to recognise our strengths and vulnerabilities in relationships.
Attachment styles develop during childhood, possibly even before birth. They describe a child’s relationship with their parents, later becoming unconscious patterns of behaviour. It is these patterns that often influence our adult relationships.
Are you worried about your child’s challenging behaviours? Sometimes our children can really test our patience.
Do you ever find yourself completely at a loss, with no idea how to respond to your child’s apparent distress?
You’ve worked out that systems of punishment, time-outs and rewards are rarely, if ever, successful, but what else is there?
Responding Rather than Reacting
Best results can be achieved when we learn how to respond rather than react to the behaviours that challenge our sense of calm. Rather than “attention seeking”, as is often thought, your children are usually seeking connection. Their behaviours are telling you that they need your help to understand some really big feelings.
They are not bad kids, but are simply responding to some big feelings that they don’t understand, and do not yet have the words to express. Our reactions to their behaviours are often a result of our own upbringing, which creates our ” shark music”. Our bodies are wired to react to a perceived threat, based on past experiences.
Have you thought about Counselling and Psychotherapy but are not sure what to expect?
Perhaps you are feeling confused, anxious or worried about something (or someone). Maybe you have reached a point in your life when you are looking for something new?
These feelings happen to all of us, and it can be helpful to talk to someone. It might be tempting to think “I’m OKAY, I can sort this out by myself,” but those thoughts can keep going round and round in your head. Talking to a therapist can help you to get off that roundabout.
Does your child often “act out” for no apparent reason? Perhaps you are worried they might have signs of autism or ADHD? Maybe you are concerned that they are falling behind other children in reaching certain milestones?
Children often find it hard to tell us how they are feeling. They get angry or frustrated and hit out, yelling and screaming. Maybe they seem uncoordinated and bump into things, often say “huh” or “what”, or find it difficult to make friends.
All of these behaviours can be signs of developmental delay. You can learn more on the Australian Government Website, raising children.net.au. Immaturities in your child’s early development can show up in your their movements, emotions, behaviour, learning and communication.
The NDIS offers support to families and carers of children with developmental delays that are likely to be ongoing. You may be eligible to receive support to help your children to develop the skills they need for everyday life.
Are you confused about the difference between hearing and listening, and wonder how they affect learning and behaviour?
Do you ever wonder why your child can detect the sound of lolly wrappers at 50 metres, but appears unable to listen and follow instructions?
You know your child can hear, but how well can they listen, or understand what they are hearing?
For many of us, the ability to process sensory information has been impacted by overwhelming events during infancy and early childhood. When we were frightened, our bodies adapted. Over time, we may have learnt to tune in to background sounds, rather than focus on the human voice.
When a parent brings a child with signs of autism, ADHD or dyslexia, I usually offer a listening assessment as part of a general assessment for developmental delay. Many children who struggle in the classroom have immaturities in auditory processing ability. That is, they find it difficult to block out background sounds and to focus on the teacher’s voice. They may also find it difficult to focus on a parent’s voice in a busy home environment.
Rosalind is a PACFA accredited Holistic Counsellor and Psychotherapist and long-term resident of Moruya, on the south coast of New South Wales. An empathic and compassionate listener she will respect your need for safety, trust and confidentiality in the therapeutic relationship.
Rosalind brings to therapy the depth of understanding that comes from lived experience.