Totally married, loves gallivanting, raising a Too Cool For School Trio in
West Sussex, England.
Living very happily outside the box I never quite fitted in.
Everyday I spend 15 minutes chronicling the previous 24 hours in our home educating lives and each post is titled after a great track.
I am reading a book at the moment. An actual book made of paper that is new and that I bought for me! Something I haven't done for a couple of years at least. It is called "Unqualified Education" and is by Gareth Lewis. It is the sequel to his book "One to One" that I first read before S was one. He talks about strewing (but he doesn't call it that) and about making life at home interesting, sparkly at fun. I guess he is in the radical home maker camp.
I really enjoyed his first book but for two things. The first being that he uses margarine to make cakes and the second being that I felt, come age 11, he rather left things hanging as to future direction so great that there is now a follow up.
In the introduction he writes
"Since writing One to One I have been accused of being both too extremely anti-school and too supportive of parents who do send their children to school. Surprisingly perhaps both these allegations came from home education groups."
Freeze frame! That is like the story of me over the past few weeks before I stepped aside from running the local home ed group (which, by the way, seems to be running very well in my absence.
I am interested in the later phase of home education at the moment because I like to read about ideas for the future and also because I am aware that so many people give up in the teen zone. Come age 14 or 15 those that are sticking with it are significantly smaller in number and, in a sense, it becomes self fulfilling. Teens like to hang out with other teens and if there aren't any to hang out with the world can seem a lonely place.
Of course I will only be able to understand this age when I have lived it myself and several people have kindly pointed out to me recently how my complete lack of real life experience in this are means I shouldn't say anything at all. However, people said the same to me when S was 10 months old and I told them she wouldn't be going to school so I am undeterred.
I may not have first hand knowledge but I have run a local group for nearly half a decade and I can see the patterns emerging, I am not sure if that makes me qualified to comment, but that is okay I am only trying to see the ways to make things best for my family. Although each family situation is totally unique there are consistent themes and trends and the reasons people stop home education do show patterns.
Ahead of all other reasons in the number one spot, miles ahead of its nearest rivals has to be Unsupportive Dad, and, to a lesser extent close family and grandparents. He might come in different guises but the core issues are the same. It is hard for adults who did not have their needs met as children to meet the needs of their own children. The Daddy One in our family couldn't be more supportive, he never grumbles if the paints are still on the table when tea is ready and is totally 100% there for his children in a way that his peers find impossible to comprehend. From when he joined me in giving up alcohol for all three of my pregnancies along side me whilst other fathers-to-be were celebrating the arrival of a designated driver for the next 9 months I knew he was going to be different!
Other reasons feature highly too: finances, not really letting go of the deep seated idea that academicsuccess equals superior monetary gain equals happiness. but I'll save those for another blog post.
I am enjoying the book so far and feel we have very strong foundations to carry this right the way through. I'll let you know more when I have finished it and if you have any good book suggestions for older children and home ed do please let me know.