Wednesday, 29 August 2012
To school or not?
Going back to school?
Sometimes the decision to say No - to home ed instead - it's easy; you just continue doing what you do, and it feels a natural why do anything else?
But sometimes the answer isn't easy. I can tell. In the days before a new term starts, this blog receives a determined scrutiny, where your googling is not only for bali men naked, squirrels dancing, and passive aggressive panda.
Really people, you poke about every historic post on home education, dragging out every observation on joys and fears, hazards and enterprises. Six hours intense staring from some of you. I feel I should be covering my nakedness with my hands. And now I truly am glad I never let you see the sore stuff.
But if you're still undecided, does it help to ask this one question?
Will home ed work for you? For a moment, forget Think of the child! What's best for the child! That's an easy way to feel guilty. Forget the guilt.
If home ed doesn't work for you, then it's not going to work for Tinkertop. If you know that in truth you don't want home ed, then find another route - bash the local authority until they give you the package you want; go back again to the school and make their approach fit your agenda; turn every tactic used at you to get the answer you need - whether that answer is a paid for tutor, part-time attendance or specialist school support.
But if you think home ed could suit you - fits with your aims, ambitions, your intentions for your child - then a term or a year out of school to try? It won't kill her.
If you can bear the crap days, say I don't know but be curious at the limits of your knowledges, forgive yourself for approaches that went worse than wrong, wake up to see a trashed house, bear the moments when you terrify yourself with your fearful responsibility, reassure yourself, face another day - then you probably have the strength to see it through.
You'll need that strength when Tinkertop doubts, when someone says you're doing it wrong, when an unhelpful neighbour airs their suspicion, when the angry in-law demands you answer the charges, when a local jobsworth denies you access, when politics turn against you, and when you read yet another journalist dash out whole articles without recognition or awareness, failing even to grasp the gulf that exists between those words, school and education.
If this blog helped a little along the way in that decision - does Tinkertop go to school or not? - then I'm glad. At the very least, keeping a public home ed diary - successes and failures, doubts and certainties, stuff we do - it's all here to say you're not alone when you take that step. If you decide for home ed, find your local group and meet dozens more with the same doubts and resolves.
Now here's what this home ed family did today. For me, a success. We enjoyed the company of other home ed families, talked politics and church in the time of Christopher Columbus, played games of pirates and traders, drew maps of India, and ate home-made blackberry jam.