A Big Decision
For some time now we have been considering home education for Bean. We first discussed it before he started school, and it has come up at least once each academic year since then. For the last year, it has been discussed more and more often, and during the summer we decided that we would make the transition to home education, but not until the end of this current academic year.
In hindsight, it was perhaps naive of us to think we could commit to such an ideological shift but still put it off for a year. The agreed date has been shifting ever since we made that decision. Over half term we, as a family, made the decision that Bean would leave at Christmas.
We don’t like what is happening to state education. We don’t think Gove is fit to be in charge. We see him systematically dismantling what others have worked so hard to build. We see him readying state education for privatisation. Selling off our children’s future for the profit of others. And we want no part of it. Our children are too precious to allow this kind of meddling.
The situation at school, the Harvest Horror, has only served to reinforce our decision, to make it easier and to bring it forward. Today is Bean’s last day at school. And what I feel is relief. Bean is excited, and nervous, and sad to leave his friends behind, though we intend to ensure that he still sees his friends of course.
He has already made some decisions about his education. He wants to start each day with Maths. He wants plenty of time for reading. He wants to keep a diary (a pleasant surprise, since writing is something he hasn’t been keen on; although he is very eloquent, can spell well and has fairly neat writing, he’s often lacked the concentration to put his thoughts down on paper). He wants to study “the rainforest”. It seems like a good starting point, so that it what we will do. I don’t have a plan as such. One of the advantages of home ed, as I see it, is that it frees of us from the kind of planned-to-the-second lesson plan demanded by Ofsted. We will see where it takes us. We will use the library, the internet and any other resources we can get our hands on. We’ll explore a range of subjects, as I intend to do for all topics – I’m just pleased his first choice lends itself so easily to this.
And we will spend time outdoors. We are lucky that there is an active home ed community in this area and we have decided to join two or three different social meetups for the time being, including one which is basically free play in the woods, with plenty of nature arts and crafts thrown in.
The younger two will continue to learn through lots of play, join in the meetups and hopefully enjoy having their big brother around much more. Plum is learning to read (her choice – never let it be said that a 2 year old doesn’t know her own mind), and we will continue with that, just 10-15 minutes a day, a few times a week.
Watch this space, as I have no doubt I will be blogging about our progress.