Phew, what a manic couple of months it’s been! You know, when everything seems to happen at once?
We have taken the decision, after several years of problems at our son’s school, to home educate. It is something I had been thinking about for about a year now and after another incident occurred at school, we decided enough was enough. We wrote the formal letter and received the formal reply. As of January Toby, at 9 years old, will be home schooled.
I’m so torn about it. I can’t wait to have him at home and actually get to spend more time with him. I can’t wait to remove him from a place that has given him sadness, fear, a lack of self confidence and a suppression of many aspects of his personality- to teach him as a person, not just a number.
But, on the other hand, I worry that I will let him down; that I will not be able to educate him to a standard that is high enough for him in the long run.
Sure, I can open educational doors for him to things that he would not learn in state education, not to mention topics of the most basic variety which the local education authority have deemed unnecessary in modern education, such as art and music (non computer based). But can I teach him maths or chemistry to the standard he can work to?
He is amazing with his retention of knowledge – only a week ago he left Tim (his Daddy) and I with our jaws on the floor when he reeled off the history of the British monarchs, not just with dates but facts I had never heard of. He then worked out from his Great Grandfathers age when he died, to the year of his birth and the king on the throne at the time.
When I asked him how he knew this information (after him telling me about the battle of Hastings in 1066 – GULP!!) he told me he read about it in a book he had picked up from the charity shop. And there was me assuming they had covered it in school. His thirst for knowledge is my inspiration for wanting to give it to him… but does that mean I am going to have to spend all my free time with my head buried in history books?
We have decided that between Christmas and Easter we are going to give him an adjustment period of “Un-Schooling”. We will simply let him learn about whatever he wants to. I don’t have to worry about English as he loves to read and write as often as he can. Maths is something we can sneak in and Science is another hobby of his. “Art” is something we do at least 3 times a week anyway and Tim has bought him a second hand guitar for Christmas which will help him grasp music.
After Easter we intend to follow the Steiner / Waldorf curriculum, which will, at his age cover the Norse mythology and building. Although, after telling Toby this, I don’t think he will want to wait that long.
He is still a little reserved at the prospect of Home Ed. He loves the classroom environment and desperately wants to be “in” with the children in his class and is still waiting for the magic moment when he finally makes friends, rather than being the kid they pick on for a list of reasons as long as my arm. He told me he is fed up of feeling miserable at school and just wants to be happy and included. So all in all, as I said, I’m torn.
Even if it doesn’t work out, removing him from the school he is in will never have been a wrong decision. Ever.
Time to take a deep breath, and panic instead about the fact that Christmas and Yule are only a week or so away and we still don’t have the Yule tree and that the living room wall still needs a skim of plaster before I can paint it. Or that I still have 3 Christmas presents to knit and a Yule present for another friend. That doesn’t include hours of wrapping and card making!
Or that my Grandmother is coming to stay from Christmas Eve until boxing day, and, while I love her to bits, she is about as high maintenance as a having another child to take care of – only one that is allowed to refuse her carrots and cause the kids to do the same, or swear at me when she can’t hear what I’m saying and thinks I’m talking about her. Never mind the fact that she can’t sleep upstairs as there is no bathroom up there, but hates sleeping downstairs as there might be someone in the garden. Sigh. Of course, all of that gets forgotten when the children snuggle up her on Christmas eve for a story, or when I remind myself that when she is gone, it won’t be the strops about our curtains being too thin that we will remember, but the moments on Christmas day when Emily falls asleep on Nanny’s lap (with Nanny “resting her eyes”) and Toby asks questions about when Christmas was like when she was a girl.
I take it back. My Nan coming to stay is not something to panic about. It’s anticipating future memories.