Lifeschooling was not a term I grew up with. Growing up in a loving family, playing many sports, family holidays and was definitely encouraged to do what made me happy EXCEPT the school part… attendance was non-negotiable to my dismay! I truly disliked school for how it made me feel as a learner although enjoyed it for the social life, dreaming of growing up to live life wild and free however it looked!
I ventured from school to uni, somehow at some stage it was ingrained in me, to be a successful person I needed a degree. I chose teaching as I have always been able to connect to others, my EQ high and ability to sense emotions in others, way before I understood my soul contract. As my desires to be a chef were diminished by the prospect of working weekends taking out my social life…yes a common theme emerging here, my interest in teaching was born from a desire to engage learners as I was a reluctant learner, often failing and struggling to make sense of the learning. Many years later were to realise, I have my own learning disabilities after the diagnosis of dyslexia and dysgraphia with not one but two of our three sons, the coincidences of their exact same traits as my own were all too similar.
I soared in my teaching career heading into leadership at a rare young age due to my alternative teaching methodologies, passion for student voice and high engagement within low socio-economic student groups. My mission; to be that one teacher who makes a difference by igniting passion for learning and to love our unique selves. It was during these years I started to wake up to a common theme emerging amongst the standard education schooling system, a need to ‘fill’ students’ heads to become functional in society, regardless of students and adults voicing concerns of rising anxiety in children, due to unrealistic educational expectations.
Wow, literally the first time I have finally written in words one of the core reasons I resigned earlier 2022 after 23 years in SA education department. Surreal to see it now for public eyes, now unafraid to stand up with a voice for the collective damage to our children is too obvious to ignore. I can only speak of my experience here in SA however with a national curriculum, I know pressures are national from mentoring homeschooling families. With growing rates of learning and behavioural diagnosis and more parents with similar frustrations at the system failing their children, lifeschooling is a term we need to speak loudly and proudly about.
Lifeschooling is the very essence our our life journey… living and learning about our unique selves, talents, loves, dislikes and at the core learning about what we desire which will often open doors to our future careers! Yet, we are not taught this at school or a cellular level. We are not taught to harness our talent from a young age and explore our own wonderings in entirety that will absolutely meet the curriculum, just in diverse ways from fellow peers.
Not for one moment do I feel that teachers are in the wrong. I speak from an ‘on the fence’ perspective. I literally have a view from both sides. The pressures in teaching to meet outcomes and reviewed constantly on our professional standards is of concern. To the distraught parent nursing a crying child at night to sleep, for fear the following day they will be singled out, felt dumb and isolated from their peers in order to be ‘forced’ to learn is where I view schooling on the flip side.
Brains are wired differently, we all know we are unique yet we ‘clump’ children together due to age and force the ‘same’ outcomes on spirited souls. The only outcome is extinguishing the light within many, as only a small percentage of learners are perfect for the outcomes being taught in that moment.
I always explain standard education is like expecting the world to like and dislike the exact same foods or weather or locations. It will never happen. Our minds are powerful. Our minds are wondrous. Educators need to be reassured that we are facilitators in MENTORING our youth in ways to bring out our creative, venture outside, explore our world around us, igniting passion for learning rather than force learning from top down pressure of outcomes and expectations.
So instead of being ‘that’ ex-teacher disgruntled with the system, I now stand proud of my teaching career, seeing life on the inside and pleased I was able to make a massive impression on students I taught. I am fortunate to now desire to take my teaching outside the classroom. I love my life now, supporting families and educators through ‘Gratefully Natured’ lifeschooling methodology. We are a Lifeschooling family, currently homeschooling, once upon a time in mainstream education and lifeschooling travelling around Australia. I view our schooling journey as eclectic, it has been a little bit of everything, truly ticking it all off our bucket list! It is us, the parents, who although happen to be both qualified and experienced teachers ‘mentoring’ our three sons by showing them first-hand of our own lifeschooling, are continually astounded and impressed at being mentored by our sons as they share their daily wonderings, explorations and findings.
I believe there can be immediate change… to be continued in the next edition of REBIRTH!