Sunday, 6 December 2015

HOME EDUCATION FOR TWENTY-FOUR YEARS AND COUNTING ...

I started my home education journey in 1992 with the birth of my first child. Being at home with children is as different from having a career outside the house as oil is to water. It's an adjustment that can take some time but always foremost in my mind was this idea or ideal really, that I would not miss one single thing where my children were concerned: why should someone else get the glory of seeing my child develop, why should I miss out? Over the years more children came along and my house seemed to be a magnet for kids that were having problems at home or whose parents were busy with work etc. It wasn't unusual for me to be cooking for 6 -8 people every night and you never knew who you'd be bumping into if you were up and about in the dark. It was a busy, bustling home life and homeschooling was always a lot of fun. I just loved every second of being a stay at home mum, even if it was with little outside assistance - little contact with the outside world - and deep down I knew I was doing the absolute right thing for my kids.

Fast forward to 2011 and we had a big surprise. A grandchild! Naturally and without hesitation I stepped up to the plate with exactly the same mentality as I'd had with my own children: this little one was a precious gift, a blessing from God and a sign that life as we knew it was to go on. That's why I was surprised when, by 2012, my health started to fail. The GP called it chronic pain and fatigue syndrome. The Specialist called it M.E, or Lupus. The therapist said it was complex trauma caused by childhood issues. The Naturopath said it was adrenal fatigue. Everyone had an opinion about what was wrong with me but no-one seemed to have any idea how to fix it. Fast forward another two years to January 2014 and my marriage ended. I took it as a sign; time to build an entirely new life.

There are some real advantages to becoming separated after eighteen years of marriage: things that were previously forbidden became possible ie: I got a job, I contacted old high school friends who I hadn't seen in decades and who were incredibly supportive, I moved to a new area to be closer to my adult children and started a brand new life. I am also currently saving for and helping my children and their partners pay for a big family vacation for one week in tropical North Queensland next winter, our first proper holiday together ever.

Suddenly the children's father was forced to put down his gaming control and spend time with his children for weekend access visits and I found myself with free time. I went back to school, started a new hobby, made heaps of new friends, could take myself off for weekend jaunts all by myself to visit my friends in Alexandra, Mount Beauty, Cape Patterson and Seaspray. I even had a chance to dip my big toe in the dating pool, although I quickly realised it wasn't for me and decided to remain single. In the 35 years since I had started dating way back in high school I had always given my all to every single relationship, which were mostly back to back but now those days are over. Here I am finally able to have time just for me and do whatever I want, whenever I want. It is nothing short of glorious!

I'm now able to concentrate on resoring my health and am happy to report that this year has been relatively symptom free. I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly what to do to stay healthy and am determined to avoid triggers and stress and have cut toxic people from my life. I operate under a much simpler/gentler set of health laws to maintain optimum health and meditation and exercise are a big part of my new life.

I can now babysit my grandson ( I would say "our" grandson but my ex disowned him from the outset and didn't want anything to do with him) without having to tiptoe around grumpy grandad. I also made an action plan to deal with the mountain of debt the children's father had left behind; oh wow, how wonderful it was to finally have some control and independence over such matters and also autonomy when those things had been forbidden to me for almost two decades.

I took legal action against my non-paying publisher which ultimately - long story short - led to a new contract with another publisher. I am now throwing myself into editing my third manuscript in the children's series I am writing because, you never know, it could be the one! Being single means having lots of free time so I can get on with my career plans without being shot withering glances by a resentful partner.

I have become an advocate and supporter for reform for violence/abuse against females and am trying to spread awareness - due to Australia's appalling statistics of one death per week - and now have strong feminist leanings.

I am still available for my children 24/7 and am still assuming the role of father as well in some cases ie: I am teaching my 17 year old son how to drive and other miscellaneous things like putting petrol into the car and topping up oil and water because for some reason his father is unavailable for those things but now, I force myself to unplug regularly and just take a walk in nature or go to the cinema by myself and I absolutely forbid myself to feel guilty over those simple things that others take for granted. All of my children are eager to have children and I know my home educating days are far from over (I predict at least another ten grandchildren/great grandchildren) and my answer to that is: bring it! I'm still here, still standing and I am willing. 

Later: Bella just announced that she wants to marry a man "you've raised, mum! Not one of my brothers, that's just gross, but someone raised by you ..." My heart is smiling :)

My quilting friend Marg from Alexandra
 who took me under her wing and has
 become like a mum to me :)