My son (C) jumped into my bed on day one most disappointed that nothing was ‘set up’ downstairs! Seems he was expecting a classroom of some description. Oops! He had already told me he wanted books, the colours they needed to be and that they needed to be in boxes, social arrangements had been made,we had planned our first topics; as far as I was concerned we were ready, but on Wednesday morning…
“What about my uniform?”
Uniform?! Apparently this was also a requirement! He has now spent every day at home in rags – an ‘Oliver’ costume that is now apparently his home school uniform and I have reluctantly set up the easel onto which we write the date each morning. It’s a bit like we are playing schools and he was pretty giggly about it all on day one, calling for ‘Miss Mummy’ when he was ready to move on! However, he clearly needs the structure for his transition and for me that is what home educating, all education, should be about, the individual child. All learning needs to meet the needs of the individual. If C needs the structure and set up that reflects a classroom then that is what we shall do. Another child may need the complete opposite. It could be that the rigidity of the classroom is exactly why a particular child doesn’t flourish in school. As such, some children need the freedom of learning outdoors, no sense of routine and certainly no school books in order to progress. I shall go with the flow and incorporate the structure that we possibly both need at this stage.
Our first topic is a ‘Deadly Sixty’ theme. We have set about researching Steve Backshall and are delighted to discover he is competing in this years ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (we are big Strictly fans!). Writing has been purposeful; we have created a table of information about deadly creatures, researched and taken notes about Steve Backshall, made notes from watching Deadly 60 episodes, learnt about food chains and written a story for the superheroes who occupy the mini den we have built at the bottom of the garden.
Ah the mini dens… These seemed like a good idea to practice the technique, work out strong structures before embarking on a life size den in the woods. A cute home for the action figures. Then we remembered our fairy garden planted at the beginning of the summer and so the dens became homes for the fairies and pixies. This has led to some fantastic writing opportunities as tiny notes have been left by these mysterious creatures, discovered each morning by little hands who have quickly responded. I now have a dilemma. How to tell him it was me? Any ideas welcome! I could happily continue for months but he is so excited to tell his friends about this ‘evidence’ that fairies and pixies really do exist he is going to be potentially laughed at. A lot. What have I done?!!
So far we love Home Ed (HE). If I had any concerns at all about educating at home it was around the social side. But why should our social circle develop from the other 29 children we have been put in a classroom with? When I look back on my own friendships, those that have stood the test of time are those that have grown out of shared hobbies, family friendships, mutual friends, sports or career interests. Not one Primary School friend remains, in fact, come to think of it, only one Secondary School friend! So that concern was soon eradicated! Back to the social side of HE: My priority is to ensure that we have social interaction on a regular basis, not just an ad hoc meet up with friends (we have that anyway throughout the school holidays) but the regular meet ups, giving the boys independence from me and being able to establish friendships on their own terms. Therefore on day 3 we went to our first group meet – a ‘not back to school picnic’ where the foundations of new friendships were quickly built. We have since been to a park meet and our first weekly hall meet.
The people we have met have been as diverse a mix as would have been in school, reasons for home educating are varied, conversations stimulating and engaging. I think I’m going to like this!