Sunday, 12 September 2010
Home Education or Not?
Yesterday I bumped into a friend I havnt seen for several months. The children have gone back to school this last week and her son - usually in the same class as my daughter had been missing. Had he been poorly? We've all succumbed to the 'back to school' virus/freshers flu that people seem to get at the beginning of the school year so assumed thats why he wasnt at school.
No, he has been taken out of school to be homeschooled. How interesting. I had wanted to try that route for my youngest daughter Rhiannon but circumstances had stopped me being able to do so. Actually in her case it was probably for the best - she's a very sociable little girl, loves having playmates around her and it might have been a rather lonely experience for her.
Dont get me wrong - I dont think thats the case for all homeschooled children. But my financial circumstances dont allow for me to pay for clubs, activities, petrol to go to support groups - or indeed run a car at all if Im not working. And as a single mum, I would have had a lot of problems with various government departments if I wanted to be supported on benefits in order to home school my daughter.
When I was looking into it myself, I attended a local Education Otherwise group with other parents homeschooling their children. It was a lovely group but I did notice lots of the parents were comfortably well off - mostly with 2 parents so one able to stay home to do the homeschooling, or running their own businesses from home. There was one single parent there - but again, she was on a private income so no pressure to return to work. And I think its important for my daughter to see me working to support us from an early age. I dont want her to grow up thinking that claiming benefits is a right or lifestyle choice, rather than a neccessity for some people who have had problems and need support until they get back on their feet again.
I even wrote a chapter in my first book Natures Children - celebrating the seasons in a pagan family (2007). At that time I really wanted to home school my daughter but after a time, realised it wasnt practical for our situation.And so she has gone to school, and in her case it was the best decision.
As I also work now at the school she attends, it has benefited us both. And Im fortunate because it does mean I still get to spend the holidays with her. I can organise trips, arts and crafts and fun things to do together then.
Though I do sometimes wistfully think of my warm bed on cold mornings as we both get into the school to start the day.