And so it’s the end of our first half term. It’s been fun! We’ve had our ups and downs of course; this week more ‘downs’ as he has been soooo tired (he is a self confessed bookworm, often found at 10pm with his lamp on, still reading), but overall we are both still sure that we have made the right decision and have thoroughly enjoyed our first half term of ‘Home School’.
When I started writing this blog it was with a view to sharing our more interesting days and weeks. This week probably isn’t so interesting to read about and so will be brief… We have spent a fair bit of time with friends, prepared for our half term adventures by researching places to visit (more on that when we get back!), and begun some research on Halloween. The obligatory Halloween crafts have been made along with a spooky story which took about 5 hours in total for C to write. Yes, 5 hours. Over two mornings. And he wants to write it up into a book too. I don’t think I can bear the pain!
This leads me to the pros and cons of Home Education, for me. There are many, many positives.
- We are (on the whole) completely child centred, which is how I have always tried to teach, even with the barriers when in a school setting (30 children at the ‘centre’ can be tricky!)
- Learning can be genuinely matched to his mood, time of day or current interests
- He is not restricted by any kind of timetable constraints. If he wants or needs to keep at a task he doesn’t need to clear away for playtime, assembly and so on
- If so desired, he can spend 5 hours on one short story *grits teeth and snarls*
- We can (and do) go on a trip a week to enrich our learning
- If he puts his hand up, he will get chosen to answer the question (yes sometimes this really does happen, funny boy!)
- Next steps in learning are planned as we go along, so when he was muddling his long i sound in his story we made a pairs game to practice ‘igh’, ‘i-e’ etc to remind him. This will be followed with some handwriting to make it a multi sensory experience
- To follow on from above, you really can’t get more individualised learning (obvious I know)
- I can remain 100% loyal to my philosophy of teaching and learning
- I have a vested emotional attachment and so knowing that each day is making a difference to him is immensely satisfying (although this also links to the last point in my second list!)
However, there are some aspects to be mindful of. I think as soon as we are aware of a potential negative then we can channel it so as not to impact negatively on what it is we are doing. And so I shall not think of these as negatives, just…issues. These are issues that I need to be aware of from now on…
- We are together 24/7. It goes without saying that people, particularly those that are related, can really annoy each other. Sometimes we do. This could be an understatement.
- When he is tired and daydreams I get little knots inside as I worry about time wasting, equating to him wasting his potential
- When I am tired I have a lot less patience and probably more easily annoyed (relates to the first point)
- A conscious effort to socialise has to be made. This hasn’t been an issue for us, in fact I think we may do too much but it could be very easy to go from week to week and not see anyone
- In light of the previous point, a lot of time is spent in adult company. I do worry he could become weird, or precocious, or both!
- Sometimes, when we drive past school children he gets a whimsical or even melancholy look on his face. I think it’s the uniform!
- The regularity and independence of school is hard to replicate. School can give a sense of belonging, an individual identity independent of the family. This is why Beavers and theatre school have been important for us. He is a child who needs that feeling of independence, skipping off to do his own thing and making friends away from me
- Having an emotional investment in the child(ren) being taught can mean that emotions get in the way when he is daydreaming / time wasting. See point 1 again!
So these are the pros and cons for me. I’m sure they are not the same for all. I think I just need not worry about levels and coverage so much and that will lead to less anxiety, but I’m hoping that day will come soon!