I’m one of those insanely lucky Gen X kids who grew up in a much simpler time, in a simpler place. A small country town, where most of my friends parents worked in a steel or aluminum smelter, drove trucks, worked in fisheries or forestry or they lived on farms.
I fondly remember walking the 2 kilometre stretch to school in a group that started at either end of the town and which gained, numbers and decibels, the closer to school the group got.
What started out as clean, well presented school kids, became a heaving mass of noise and disruption as we picked Mrs Jones’ (The crazy cat lady) plums and threw them at each other after eating our fill. In winter we’d break the ice off the top of puddles to put down our friends backs and we’d ride straight through those same puddles to splash our sisters with mud.
And yes, like most kids of our generation, there’d sometimes be fights because we didn’t seem to have any limits and someone would get hurt and there’d be a momentary cessation of pleasantries while a couple of combatants would throw wild haymakers at each other until one of the girls would scream “knock it off you boys, we’re going to be late for school”. If a girl from my home town tells you to move. You move.
Oh, how I miss those simpler times. I miss them not for me but for the kids of today, including my own, who, for all the talk of inclusion and harmony are being left behind. To counter this, many parents are seeking answers in places that in my childhood would have been the domain of hippies.
It was my absolute joy this morning to run into a friend I hadn’t seen in years. It’s not like she lives a long way from me, I could literally walk to her house from mine. But you know….Life.
It was one of those brief encounters where everyone is trying to cram the most important bullet points of the intervening years into a few moments.
When I asked the question about kids and school, the tone changed and while trying to remain upbeat, this brave hardworking mum told me her son was currently suspended from primary school and they’re struggling to find a place for him to fit into because he has ADHD and Autism together.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my cancer journey, it’s that, once something is named, you can design and implement an appropriate treatment strategy.
You, see this mum has a problem. Her son is high functioning. If he was intellectually handicapped, there are education options available to him. If he was a “normal” kid he could go to a normal school.
But he fits into a completely different box altogether so they’re at a point where Home Schooling is being considered as a very real option.
And home schooling is being considered by many parents. Parents, who are frustrated by an education system that seems hell bent on putting kids into stifling boxes when as caregivers we’re becoming more aware of the benefits of letting kids go free to find their own wings.
There’s a downside to homeschooling though, and my friend expressed it perfectly when she said “I want the very best learning environment and opportunity possible for my child but at the same time, I don’t want to lose my home, give up my study or lose the connection with adults that a career gives me.”
And that leaves my friend in a pickle.
How can she educate her child, continue her own education and personal development journey and at the same time, earn enough money to fulfill her own aspirations?
To me, the answer is a simple one. She needs to start a home based business.
We’re all becoming tech savvy, we’re all becoming aware of the benefits to ourselves and our families of working from home. After all, it was only in the 20th Century that we became addicted to the idea of working for someone else.
There was a time, we were all servants or artisans. From blacksmiths, to bakers, market gardners, even money lenders. You name it, most of our families worked around the family home.
And the technology we have at hand today allows us to re-immerse ourselves in the work from home environment while simultaneously connecting with the outside world. On a global scale. The products or services, you could bring to the world, if you worked from home are life changing.
They would change families. They would change yours.