Thoreau Quote

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, 15 October 2011

If I Could Turn Back Time…… Ten Things I Would Tell My Past Self!

Don’t we all have these feelings? There are certainly things I wish I’d have done differently in life, times when I wish I could have another shot.

In terms of home educating, if I could go back in time and talk to my newly home educating self, I would tell me:

  1. You’ve made the decision to home educate so stop wavering and worrying about it. Have the courage of your convictions.
  2. Read more books. Read John Holt and Alan Thomas and John Taylor Gatto and more. They will inspire you and help you achieve Number 1 sooner.
  3. Stop trying a different approach every fortnight. Just stop, watch, listen to your children and hear the beat of their drums*. Then tune into them.
  4. Stop spending money on so many ‘educational resources’. You’re only doing it to make yourself feel better. Wait. Do Number 3. Then you’ll know what’s worth buying. In the meantime, spend the money on something else. Like chocolate.
  5. Don’t worry about J learning to read. He will. And he’ll do it despite, not because of, that reading scheme you just bought.
  6. Don’t buy that reading scheme. It will largely remain on the shelf for a few years, after which you’ll sell it on Ebay for a fraction of what you paid for it. Way to go with the waste of money!
  7. Don’t worry about the housework. Instead, learn to get used to the mess. It will be like this for years.
  8. Play.
  9. Get outside more. Find ways around the practicalities of small children and go camping. Stop putting it off ‘until it’s easier’ or you’ll miss out.
  10. Relax.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that they’re mostly about relaxing and not worrying. Oh, and buying stuff that I think will help stop me worrying. I suppose I must have been a bit of a worrier! I got there in the end and I’m a lot more chilled now, but I still have those moments of concern, particularly when we entered the realms of ‘to GCSE or not to GCSE’! Only now I take these moments as an opportunity to review what I’m doing, a sort of ‘quality control’. And I think to the future – what would my future self tell me now? I suspect the list wouldn’t be that different from that above, so I try to listen!

What would you tell your past self? Or, what do you think your future self would tell you?

* Hence the title of this blog. Did you get that? You did? Oh. Of course you did. Sorry :P


  1. I'd be telling myself a very similar bunch of stuff, because I am a stress-head too!

    Just lately Alfie keeps singing "Don't worry, about a thing, 'cos every little thing is gonna be all right' in such a sweet voice. It brings me right back to whats important, in the here and now. And this song we sing to one another in our household from a book called "I love you forever' - it goes "I love you forever, I'll like you for always, forever and ever my - alfie/indie/herbie/finn/mummy/daddy - (whichever one applies at the time) you'll be". It's like a wee lullaby and reassurance song. Why is this song so important to us?

    'Cos love is actually the most important thing of all. Feeling loved and valued is key to their emotional wellbeing and in turn key to their adult health and happiness later on. Friendship is more important than being able to reel off info, stats and figures. And being deeply connected to nature as well as technology and modern techy towny things. And being resourceful and a competent finder of information. These roots are more important than the timings of when or even whether the kids achieve certain educational goals.

    The main and most important goal for an of us is to simple follow our hearts and do things we feel attuned to, so finding our groove is the only calling any of us should ever follow!

    Easier said than done though and I'm sure I'm making loads of mistakes on our journey - hey ho.

  2. Absolutely agree with them all; it boils down to - stop worrying and start enjoying an educational life as the kids are going to become educated even despite you! The best educational resource can't be bought with money - it's people time! So I would add: don't underestimate how much learning takes place through ordinary everyday engaged living!


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