Monday 29 September 2014

A New Frontier in the Parenting Day to Day

That's a bold title right there, isn't it?!

I was quite tempted to title it "True Confessions of a Home Ed Virgin Aged 32 3/4", but was concerned I may get sued by Sue Townsend's people.

By that alternative title you'll gather what we decided to do regards Littlest and his lack of school, not to mention my lack of choice (eg-attendance at shit school or criminal record/massive fine/made out to be a crap mother) of what school he went to.

I got some lovely comments from you guys online, so thank you very much, and I did indeed find out who runs our local council.

Luckily, it was Labour, who are my preferred party anyway and who are clearly after any vote they can get (owing to politics in this country turning into a Democracy version of X Factor).

Bless them, I messaged their Facebook page on a Sunday, not thinking I'd hear for days, if at all. Give them their due, I received a messaged within an hour, saying they'd look into it and suggesting they were as baffled as me.

Down to them, suddenly the Reading Admissions team changed tack. Gone were the threats of court and the "get your kid to our choice or else" conversations. These were replaced with soothing words of consolation and understanding.

I told them though that, politely, he would not be taking a place at the school 9/10 parents we had spoken to would choose not to send  their pet Guinea Pig, let alone their child, and had investigated educating him at home.

No arguments were forthcoming this time, thank the Lord.

So, with my trusty laptop (yet not trusty net connection- bloody TalkTalk, but that's another post to come soon), I researched Home Ed, the Nation Curriculum, our rights and responsibilities, and anything else I could think of.

The Net is great for newbie home educators, its a vast tank of knowledge waiting to be sourced, both for me as "Mum and Teacher" (as opposed to my usual tag of "Mum and Nurse, Doctor and Consultant") and for Littlest too. There are hundreds of websites with age and curriculum appropriate material on them for Year 2, and some of these are already known to Littlest as he used them at the old school last year.

Basically, we can set the pace and style, as long as knowledge gets in his noggin. And, unlike other kids, he doesn't have to share me as a teacher or his source material. If he is unwell, we can do quiet games. If its warm enough we can, as we did on Friday, go on a nature walk. He didn't even realise he was learning doing that.

It has been a bit scary at times- the first day was a nightmare of him being a cheeky sod and telling me I'm not his teacher, I'm Mummy so he can be a bugger as he's not at school. But all I did was fire up my net again and ask for advice from those in the know with Home Ed who suggested rather than sitting down and talking at him, to go and do practical number work with sums in the shops instead. He took far more in that way than he did with it on a page.

We have been playing Boggle and Junior Scrabble which are great fun ways to promote spelling and looking at words which will add up to the biggest score. We even made a full Box Trolls costume from old cardboard boxes- not something he would have done at school due to time and material constraints.

Its not going to all be easy, of course, but compared to what we have been through the last few months, its definitely less stress.

Feel free to say hi if you Home Ed too x :)

We're off to do art ourselves.

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