A new addition puts a more familial angle on home schooling

11th September 2009 at 01:00

A vital aspect to home schooling seems to be seeing the potential of natural circumstances as they arise and learning to grab such opportunities. A recent situation in our lives presented a very real chance to do just that.

Life in the Dunnett house changed dramatically when Finlay and Isla met their new sister. It was a moment we'd all anticipated eagerly and there was great joy over her safe and much longed-for arrival.

We had decided that at least a week off any formal schooling would ensue and indeed there was no way a page of multiplications was going to be able to compete with all the love the two older children wanted to bestow on Rosie. I have really appreciated not having to send them to school during such a special time and it feels like we have all grown closer as a result.

And they have learnt a great deal. If I'd tried to set up a project on "Looking After Babies" or "How to be a Good Parent", I wouldn't have been able to do justice to what has just come up naturally.

I made a request at the hospital that the placenta be kept and one of the midwives kindly gave us a biology lesson. We all looked on eagerly as she identified the different parts and explained what they were for.

At home, Finlay and Isla have been around most of the time and have bonded so well with Rosie that I sometimes wonder when I am going to get a turn to hold her. It has certainly been a very special family time. We've all been able to exist for a while in a lovely timeless bubble, nurturing and learning about this new soul we are getting to know.

There have been so many things to learn: feeding, changing, holding, comforting, baby equipment, helping more around the house, special moments and different emotions were all a part of our first week with Rosie.

I often feel that as we continue to home-school, there is a special responsibility on us as parents not only to grab opportunities, but also to take each one as a modeller would his lump of clay. We have the potential to help create positive, lasting memories in our children which are deep and meaningful, and it is a privilege to be able to do so.

Flora Dunnett is a trained primary, TEFL and Rudolf Steiner teacher. She home-schools her children in the Borders.

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