“Anywhere But Home” Education

Home education. Ask almost anyone involved in it and they’ll tell you that it’s a complete misnomer. The legal term for it is “education otherwise than at school” which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But home education suggests that the children spend all their time at home. It might be more restful if they did.

I’m writing this at 6pm, having not long got home after today’s educational activities. We left home around 9am to go to the cinema. The Into Film Festival runs for three weeks in November each year and we get tickets every year. It offers a huge variety of free films for schools and home educators to take children to. There are curriculum link ups available, and for some showings there are accompanying talks and workshops. I’ll be honest, we generally just pick films the children want to see. Last week we saw The Secret Life of Pets and today was Finding Dory. Next week we’re going to see Angry Birds.


I had vague memories of the cinema we were going to today being a fair old trek from the car park. It’s on the top floor of a shopping centre and last time we were there (last year) we didn’t realise and had trouble finding it and it took forever to get there from the car park. I was expecting this year, so left extra time to get to our seats. I was using my mobility scooter though, because I knew I would be in pain the rest of the day if I tried to walk it at the moment. Our main learning points on this trip were map reading and how to get to the cinema on the top floor using the secret lifts. I kid you not. 

We got the lift from the car park to the centre, only to find that we needed to then get a different lift to reach the cinema, a lift which is not signposted and is hidden down a fire exit between two shops. That lift gets you to the cinema foyer but if you want to see a film, you need to go up again. Unless you are a talented diviner of lifts, you’ll need to find a member of staff for directions to the secret lift, who will then have to find a member of management. The Lifts to the Screens need a key, but only if you want to go up. Seriously, it’s far easier if you are able to use the escalators all over the place. 

PK noticed that there was a number missing – the lift offered us floors 3, 4, 6 and 7. We decided that perhaps Gringotts had been relocated to floor 5, safe in the knowledge that no neerdowell would ever navigate their way there.

We also learned that if you sit in the front row, it is very hard to take in the whole screen at once. But hey, that’s what happens if you arrive after the school parties!

After the cinema, we found our way back to the shops all on our own (no key required to go down!) and got some lunch, followed the map (and our noses) to Lush so the children could choose a bath bomb each. From there, we drove 40 minutes to nursery to drop Plum and PK off for a couple of hours. This is normally when I go to the gym, but today, tired (thanks, insomnia!) and battling the lurgy, I gave it a miss. Instead Bean and I went shopping for felt tips (so he can finish a piece of design work he’s been doing), codes for his DS and a quick stop for coffee. It’s also entirely possible that Bean persuaded me to buy a bag of Mis Shapes. Having a Cadbury’s outlet shop so close to home can be dangerous. We don’t get much time on our own, and I almost melted when he asked if he could hold my hand – my almost 11 year old still wants to hold my hand!


so, this happened.

Our time went quickly and we went back to pick up the smalls and then it was off to swimming lessons for PK and Bean, one after the other – Plum’s is tomorrow.

I’m exhausted! Now, tell me again how “home” educated children are invisible. 😉

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