Throwing mud to see what sticks.


Having almost run the gauntlet of parenthood, I often find myself looking back on the lives of our now adult children reflectively. We’ve still two to go, but we are over the half way mark.  We have raised and educated 3 adult children.

Occasionally people want to talk about how we have done this, and ask me how our kids have found their thing.  My reply is usually frustratingly esoteric.

Throw enough mud at something and eventually some of it will stick.

I think this is true of home education. If the mud is the different activities and experiences your child has, and you expose them to enough of them, sooner or later, your child will find something they love and are passionate about.

I think part of helping kids find what they would like to do post school, is benefited by these few things.

Expose them to lots of different experiences– This doesn’t have to be at an expensive workshop, there are so many free community events and days out to take advantage of. And the libraries are full of ‘how to books’ for trying new skills. Places like the National Trust, offer a home education membership, which makes visiting interesting places that little bit cheaper for us all.

Parent led co-ops and skill swaps– When you start looking around you at the people you know, there will be people with different jobs, hobbies and interests.  Why not get a family member or friend to come and share those thoughts with the kids?  There is nothing like learning from someone who is passionate about something.  It is contagious. Your child may never take up that interest, but it may spark their curiosity and it certainly makes learning come alive.

Why not start a parent co-op where parents can share their skills with each others children.  Not everyone can commit to teaching a course or series of talks, and not everyone can afford to pay for them. But sometimes a parent can give up an afternoon to help pass on a skill.

“Yes, I’ve made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it … I have written because it fulfilled me … I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” — Stephen King

Give them space–  Make sure they are getting the time and the freedom to play, practice, hone, explore and discover for themselves. Give them time at home to get bored, try new things, make a mess and have a go. I am a big believer in children having time that is unscheduled so they get the chance to day-dream and indulge their interests. Not all learning looks like learning, when we compare it to school.

The three of mine that have been or are currently at university, went on to study things they really loved as children.  The son that started YouTube as a kid, studied film production. My arts and craft loving daughter, is studying Textile and Design.  And my animal mad child recently moved to Plymouth to study Animal Behaviour and Welfare.



I think an important thing to remember, is that careers are far more fluid than they once where.  Not everyone who starts off on one track, ends up in that same field when they retire. There is far more freedom these days, to change careers and reinvent yourself, or follow that dream.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs

Sometimes to find out what you love, you have to throw a bit of mud around and see what sticks.



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