Thursday, 19 April 2012


I've concluded (spoiler: no great surprise ahead) that for primary age kids, home ed is alright.

Do it. If Tinkertop finds school boring, threatening, or plain hates it. (And if you can face the days when Tinkertop wakes up in a grump.)

Really, there's no shortage of options out here, away from your conventional desk-and-uniform. So stop worrying. Look around and you find events, walks, talks, more events, workshops, activities, fields, meet ups, social groups, sports, and more pond dipping than you ever want to do.

Imagine, your classroom is the world.

And stop worrying about that social stuff. You can meet everyone out here, from experts and enthusiasts, to Doreen at the Co-op; your activity in society is whatever you make it.

The support for your off-template choice? That's good. I recommend the home ed community. They're well connected. Someone can recommend someone who can help. Think of it like any group offering expertise, knowledge, recognition, support. Like the gay community! (Only with more books about trains and dinosaurs.)

So home ed can work for primary. But what if you withdraw your kids from school after primary?

Oops. The way it is, you leave one culture, and enter another. Then the worry about exams! All your responsibility! Suddenly, with a syllabus to follow, mucking about in the woods seems much more problematic.

So, if you're transferring from primary school to secondary home education, I recommend:

1. Meet your local home ed group. If you can't find yours, find the nearest one; we're a connected network and you'll soon be given names, contacts, advice, ideas; you'll also find people to put you in touch with others already following exam syllabuses or hiring tutors. Go and meet them, but do not fear the hippies, and do not take the repellent spray with you; remember, we're no longer living in 1968.

2. Join the discussion lists. If you are worried about exams, join the Yahoo Home Ed Exams List for info on IGCSEs, OU courses, A levels, and college entries. Plenty of lists exist, and some contain delightfully mouthy, opinionated people who fall short of coming round and beating you up, but only just.

3. Research, wherever you find, and talk over your options with as many people who will listen. Many home educating types suggest avoiding school staff, local council factotums, and people with clipboards at this point because their agenda can be so very different from yours; you may not get a wise or understanding ear, but you might receive a lot of misleading advice with mumbo jumbo about the law thrown in as a deterrent. People with practical experience are a safe bet, although some may froth at the mouth if you suggest meeting your council staff. However, they may be able to give you local advice on the best way to get what you want from the council on your terms.

4. Enjoy the process of creating and exploring a new venture in both your life and that of Tinkertop, who can now forever boast her dropout status, and tease her sometime school friends by slouching around in jeans, reading at length, negotiating her workloads, and making cake (maths, French, geography etc). Who knows, she could be reading history at Cambridge in another couple of years; and she won't be the first home ed lass to do that.

5. Be reassured; home ed kids lead normal lives. It's true. I never met one yet with two heads, or sleeping on a park bench.


Fiona said...

I've put some home ed experiences of taking exams here

My 19 year old hasn't done any exams. He has long hair and used to be in the Woodcraft Folk. It's possible we are hippies.

Fiona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiona said...

ps I didn't delete anything scurrilous or interesting; just accidentally posted same thing twice.

Grit said...

Fiona! you destroy one of my key arguments at a stroke!

and does this mean i shall have to take the repellant spray to hesfes after all? ;)

MadameSmokinGun said...

It might be advisable.