Staying Connected to my Babies

staying connected

staying connectedI’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be connected to my children. You hear the term bandied around quite a bit in the world of blogging. How being constantly connected in terms of social media is all at once addictive, essential to success and often one’s nemesis. I made a promise to myself when I started writing Mummy Tries that I would have times set aside for blogging activities and adhere to them strictly. I wouldn’t let my kids cause merry hell in the background while I ‘just finished off this post’. Of course I’d be fibbing to say that I’m always faithful to this promise, and occasionally my babysitter (aka CBeebies) entertains the wee ones so I can have a little bit of breathing space.

What does staying connected mean within the family unit though?

My feisty little five year old is desperate to be a big girl. Between March and November last year all she wanted to do every day after school was play out around our development with the neighbourhood kids. During the cold, dark winter months it’s been easier to convince her to stay indoors, but I know that as soon as the weather properly cheers up it will become difficult impossible to do so. Especially when she sees said kids running around outside having loads of fun. In theory I have no problem with this, they are lovely children, and as she’s the youngest they all look out for her. I’d much rather she plays with her friends in an unstructured way than sign her up for after school activities every evening. I just worry that we won’t get much quality time together during the week.

Like many households I imagine, ours can get rather fraught in the mornings before school, especially on my work days. My eldest doesn’t sleep well, is a highly sensitive child and presents us with challenging behaviour every single day. She goes to school at 8:30am and by the time she gets home just before 4pm – having held it together all day long – she’s often well on her way to a meltdown. We’ve also had some bullying issues recently which I took to the head teacher. Although measures were put in place to stop it from happening, and things improved immediately afterwards, it’s apparent that there are still problems I need to get to the bottom of.

It doesn’t exactly fill me with happiness sending her in to be honest

Now bear in mind that in addition to my 5yo, I also have the needs of a one and three year old to contend with, and a husband that leaves the house at 7:30am and misses bedtime during the week because of work. All this has left me pondering how I’m going to stay connected to my girl. Between stressful mornings, tough days at school then playing out with her friends, there isn’t going to be anything left for family unity. It makes me concerned that school will get the best of her, and we’ll just be left with the tantrums and grumpiness.

I have had one eye on home education since before she started Reception in 2013, but I know that it would be a monumentally huge undertaking. I have to look at it realistically and not through rose coloured specs. First off we would need to be in a position for me to not have to work, which doesn’t look like it’s on the cards any time soon. I’m slowly making my way through various books on the subject, and I read several blogs with a home ed slant which are always interesting. This recent thought provoking post about new thinly veiled government plans to start academising schools willy nilly left me feeling quite sick. And don’t even get me started on my view of the SATs!

I still have a ton more research to do, but the reality is that a little part of me is starting to wonder whether I’m just putting off the inevitable. What’s your take on home education? Do you do it? Would you consider it? Or do you think I’m crazy? I’d love to hear from you…

UPDATE: We made the decision to remove Polly from school after the October half term in 2015. You can read about our decision and start of our home education journey in this piece here.

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26 thoughts on “Staying Connected to my Babies

  1. I’ve seriously considered it several times for two of my four, for different reasons. And today I have despaired at the appalling, woolly and inadequate way Maths is taught in schools now – at least at Primary Level. So yes, I would do it, but not with all and not without very serious consideration. I decided against it in the end, it wasn’t right for us – and it IS a HUGE undertaking, but I know some who do it incredibly well.

  2. I am seriously considering home educating Arthur, at least for the first couple of years. It’s not that I don’t think he’d get on socially at school (though I think it can be a hugely stressful environment for kids to be thrown into). My main concern is the ongoing standards agenda in schools, with formal assessment and all the tunnel vision that goes with it starting earlier and earlier. I follow a couple of early years bloggers – Sue Cowley and Nancy Gedge – and whilst they are clearly incredible teachers the odds seem so stacked against them!

    Having taught for 10 years in Secondary, I would say that the most important function of the primary years is to inspire kids and give them a love of learning. Obviously there are some key skills they need too, but I think there is so much they can essentially ‘teach’ themselves. As a home educator I’d see my role as a facilitator and questioner mainly. I think it could be really exciting.

    In terms of logistics, I don’t reckon you’d need more than a couple of hours of intensive input a day – if that. So much of the school day is taken up with admin and managing the needs of so many kids that I think you’d be surprised how much you could get done one on one. Days/weeks/months could be organised to suit you – it definitely wouldn’t need to be a 9-3 ‘school day’.

    Which would then take the pressure off needing specialist childcare. And leave lots of time for meeting up with other families so the kids can forge relationships.

    I could go on but I realise that’s a bit of an epic comment already… I know you’ll make the right decision for you and your daughter. Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it all goes xxx

  3. It’s so tough isn’t it? I’m so sorry to hear about the bullying (and for having completely missed it the first time, my blog reading has been rubbish). I know I couldn’t home educate, I simply don’t have the patience in me, and so far I’m lucky that my boys love school. We’ve just had the wee girls place confirmed for starting in September too, although I expect her to be the handful and to take longer to settle, but maybe I’m doing her a disservice as she is such an extrovert little thing! I do think that main stream school isn’t right for every child, and unfortunately schools don’t have the resources to be able to tailor classes to suit all. Have you considered a different school environment like Montesorri or Steiner? Thanks for sharing with #ThePrompt, our realities can be hard work at times, can’t they xx

  4. Such an interesting post. So sorry to hear about the bullying with your eldest but sounds like you are really looking in to all your options. Home schooling is something I think I would consider if I wasn’t happy about aspects of them being at school – particularly with regards to Jessica and her health issues and whether I feel confident in preschool or school to be informed and vigilant about them. That said, she is so sociable and she really does seem to be thriving at preschool so that side of things would make me think twice. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  5. Such an interesting post hun, you are doing a great job and home schooling works for some so well doesn’t it but as you said a huge undertaking. We are lucky that Oliver goes to a great village primary and for me personally, I like my kids to be around lots of kids. You must do what feels right and is manageable for you guys. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

  6. I have to admit, the idea of home education has always struck me as exhausting (for the parents) but I can see situations in which it can definitely be the right move. My boys are really happy in school so it’s easy for me to see school as a massive bonus (time where they are happy in the care of others, learning lots and being in all sorts of social situations… and all for free!) but with the difficulties you are having I can understand your feelings about it being very different. I know you’ll make the right decision for your family. xx

  7. I think with the way things seem to be going in schools it’s very tempting to consider home schooling but like a lot of others I honestly don’t know if I’d be up to the job. I’m rubbish at maths for a start! I do worry about the pressures and all the homework and the testing and everything, but I think you’re right, it does make a difference how much sleep they’re getting, etc, and right now JJ absolutely loves school although I still can’t fathom how the social side works out – he seems to have at least one good friend but sometimes I’ll ask him who he played with and he’ll say ‘on my own’ which I then worry about but he seems quite happy to be that way. Big decisions definitely – I know people have the potential to do a brilliant job if they throw themselves into it! X

  8. Thanks lovely, it’s why I’m considering it. Sorry you had such a truly hideous experience. Nobody should ever have to go through the degregation of being bullied, the scars can last a lifetime. Sending hugs xxx

  9. I wish I could have been educated at life might have been very different. Not all children thrive in school, but then, the school staff have a huge part to play in that, in making sure that a child’s needs are being met. If you feel your child would thrive being home educated, then maybe that’s the way to go? All the best. X

  10. That is such an interesting post, my lovely. I did consider it as well when my little man was really unhappy at school, but I did not feel I was up to the challenge. I think I would have tried to get on with other things at the same time as teaching him. It is a tough decision to make. xxx

  11. Really interesting post.
    My older two are in school and my younger two at home with me and I work and blog from home. I have recently started setting aside time every day for learning time with the two youngest and it is working well. I made up my own learning sacks to help with this around themes. I like the idea of home ed but I would worry about the social side. My older two love school but it wasn’t always like that. Good luck x #brilliantblogposts

  12. So sorry to hear about the bullying issues, I hope they do go away for good. The very strange thing is that everyone that raves to me about home schooling is a teacher!! I think there’s a lot of advantages to it and I only really ever hear good things. Good luck in your research x

  13. It’s great that school has helped hon, does he sleep better these days? I’d love to live close to the beach 🙂 xx

  14. Thanks hon, it definitely isn’t for everyone! It’s inedible that you manage to work full time with the kids, hats off!!

  15. I just knew you would put a slightly different spin on things Denise! I’ve heard several stories whereby people have home educated short term to get their kids back to happy. I’m certainly not ruling that out as an option. Becoming a governor is also something I’ve considered. Our main problem as you know is sleep – once she’s in a bad sleep cycle as she currently is, it all goes to pot. I wonder how we’d all feel about school if she was sleeping 12 hours a day!!

  16. I think the social side is what a lot of people worry about, but I’d ensure we tuned into local home ed networks. The kids already have lots of friends as we’re a very sociable family. Thanks so much for dropping by 🙂

  17. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, really appreciate it. Sounds like home ed is working well for your family. Interesting that you also work, who looks after the kids?

  18. I’m not entirely sure if would come naturally to me either hon, hence the research and working things out first. So much to consider! Well done for soul searching and coming up with a definitive answer, home ed certainly isn’t for everyone xx

  19. Wow! I have thought about home educating at times too but made the realisation that I don’t have the patience. The kids don’t listen to me at the best of times so I cannot imagine how they would be educated by me. But there are many plus points. I just searched deep inside myself and realised that it wasn’t for me! Good luck in your mission to work out whether it is right for you xx

  20. Hiya, I have 7 kids ranging from 18 to 2 and we have been home educating for 7 years now. The eldest is now at college and he next one down is looking to go to school for gcses, otherwise we dont use school or nurseries and we love it- we are thriving and it works for us.

    My husband works full time and I work part time. You’re very welcome to have a look at my blog or drop me a tweet (@mamacrow) if you wanted a chat or had any questions.

  21. If you do choose to do home education make sure you include lots of activities that allow socialization with other children. Many of the important lessons my sons have learned at school have had nothing to do with education. My sons have learned how to deal with bullies, how to show compassion and kindness to people different from themselves, and how to be leaders when it would be easier to follow. I am often amazed at the social situations they are put in at such a young age but I am also thankful for the constant opportunities to teach them how to make the right choices even when they are tough.

  22. I did home educate for a few months when I fell out really badly with the primary school and it was to give my daughter a break and wait for better times.

    In the longer term, I became a school governor and I hope that doing so has shown the girls that to sort out a problem, sometimes going back and giving a contribution, and looking at things at a higher level is a way of dealing with things.

    I know some lovely children who have been home educated and then come back into main stream a bit later. I also know some who haven’t worked out how to do the sharing and living with other people thing because of having attention all to themselves.

    It sounds like you are doing your best to sort out problems at the school, so I hope that works out.

  23. I give huge props to anyone that even considers it but I know as I work fulltime from home with two toddlers crawling all over me now I could never do it and they wouldn’t learn as well social skills and interacting with a big group if I homeschooled them. But those are my opinions. If I thought they were being treated badly or unfair or weren’t getting the best education I would consider it for their sake but I know I would struggle. Good luck. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  24. I could have written parts of this myself. We are very similar in that the husband usually leaves early & if he makes it back for bedtime most of the time it’s just as lights are going off. We found our eldest meltdowns have reduced in frequency & duration since we went (mainly) screen free.

    I too have thought of home ed as he is my free spirit but school so fat seems to be helping him. He’ll do anything for his teacher but he’s not so keen on doing it at home. It’s tough especially with other small ones at home. We’ve started going to the beach & the library one day after school which is helping x

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