Who are we?

In 2008, I set out on my parenting journey. At the time I was an advocate for formal state schooling and was a "tough love" parent. Little did I know that my newly born child would become my greatest teacher. He would set me on a path that would overturn everything I thought I knew about education and parenting. I remain overwhelmingly grateful to him. 

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By 7 years old, my beautiful boy had more diagnoses than pairs of pants! As well as being partially deaf, the key thing to be recognised was that he was autistic, variant PDA (pathological demand avoidance).

A person with PDA can be described as having an "anxiety-driven need to be in control". Or in other words someone who NEEDS a high degree of autonomy in order to feel safe. Only when people feel safe can they learn, grow and thrive. Any infringement in that autonomy will elicit a response best thought of as a panic attack.

Convinced that the schooling system was the best place for him and determined to make it work, we limped through three years of mainstream schooling.  I fought for everything: recognition of his needs, accurate diagnosis, classroom support, Education and Health Care Plan and tried to get specialist schooling. By the end of three years we were all exhausted and forced to acknowledge that this was not going to work. I consciously decided to give up the "fight" and use all that energy to find a new path. That path was home education.

 

Daunting? Yes. Terrifying? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely yes! I can honestly say it was a life changing decision for all of us, and we have never looked back. 

This is where my real learning unfolded. I did extensive research into how children naturally learn and how we are evolved to develop. I connected, observed and worked closely with my children. It suddenly all seemed clear; as if I had a blindfold removed. I could suddenly see a whole different perspective on the schooling system and mainstream parenting ... what I saw made me very uncomfortable. Connecting with thousands of like minded people made me realise I was not alone in this view.

What I have learned has convinced me that life learning and consensual, respectful parenting are the optimal ways to allow children to reach their fullest, truest, most wholehearted, authentic versions of themselves. They go forth as self motivated, free thinking, creative, curious, self directed people with their personal responsibility, internal locus of control and intrinsic motivation intact. They are skilled to be able to learn anything at any point. This works for ALL children regardless of any "special educational needs".

 

Each child has their own path, passions, interests, skills and developmental time frames. Their success is their own, there is no comparison, every child is unique and every child's uniqueness is celebrated and built upon. 

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I believe however, there is a wider and more profound benefit for society by enabling children to grow up under these alternative paradigms.  Much of the issues we see today e.g. depression, anxiety, stress, conflict, burnout, inequity of resources are catalysed by the mainstream parenting and educational paradigms. As Albert Einstein is quoted as saying "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them". In order to change the issues of the world we see today we need a new paradigm. Two of the biggest influences on our children growing up is parenting and education - and we have direct control over these. To change the world we need to change the way we parent and educate our children. 

I look forward to exploring these concepts with you. Welcome on board.