I very much hope the 2 HEing families whose experiences/options drive this post/thought process won’t mind me airing my thoughts. I won’t link to them, but they and doubtless plenty others, will know who i mean; i”m sure they’ll understand my meandering are not in the least critical of their choices/possible choices and purely a open-air chewing over of what might be a crunch year for us here.
For a long time, i’ve aligned myself most closely with 2 people who HE, who i love dearly and whose children are some of my childrens favourite people. As a loosely threaded set of people, it has bonuses all the way through, mutually i think, for children, husbands and women in varying combinations. They are people who, as HEers and parents, i largely look up to and try to model myself on and i feel i’ve learned a lot from them both.
One set of children returned to school last year, another child looks like beginning imminently. And so it strikes me that perhaps the 9-10 year is something of a crunch year for HE, one which is seeing children go to school who i really didn’t think would, or parents turning to school who i didn’t expect to.
It’s got me thinking. We enter that crunch year, if it is that what it is, this year as Fran turns 9 in 5 months and if she wants to try school, it seems like Year 5 and 6 are the optimum time to do it. We live near a variety of village schools, it could be done without breaking my heart totally and in terms of her surgery agenda, it might be a good time.
I don’t want her, or any of them, to go to school, but my needs are only 1 in 6. I don’t think Max does either, though local friendships worry him at times, and as far as i know Fran is dead set against it. Neither set of news about friends has wavered her openly, though we’ve had a few talks of trying it at 14 in the past. Maddy used to say she’d go at 8 but doesn’t now, though she wants more friends, Amelie plays schools lots but her opinion of nursery was so poor that i can’t imagine school would be an improvement. And Josie is tiny, though she could (and might) go to playgroup and there is a Montessori nursery in the business park opposite.
So now i am thinking about what might begin to change over the next year that might make her want to give school a try and whether there is anything i can do to minimise any deficiencies in life that might make her think the grass is greener elsewhere. I can see the friends thing, but honestly i don’t know what you do about that; endless casual contacts don’t make close friends and a few good friends are worth the weight of a classroom of people you barely know and don’t get to know. Well, i think so, but then i’m biased because i thought the social aspect of school to be fairly pants and i can’t imagine going into Year 5 in a village, with a definite speech difference still current, is the best way of being absorbed into a friendship circle with ease. Chalet Schools do not exist.
Educationally we could have provided more over the last year, responded better. I know Fran would like to do more science hands on but i’ve got that in hand with a sub to Young Scientist Club and in reality i doubt the days of freely experimenting scientifically at school still exist. She does plenty of sport generally and a variety of clubs, music is underway, IT exists in plenty, art and craft in plenty, stories and reading time in plenty. Fran still relishes her playing time above all else and i imagine that missing her sisters and playing less would be a crucial factor in any choices she made.
Fran has had nearly 3 years now of having a certain amount of routine to our HE, something i don’t remotely regret. It doesn’t entirely come naturally to her or me but i do think it has given us a basis to work from, things that are done, levels of concentration that can be achieved. Almost without fail it normally improves our day to start it with a bit of concentration on something and the last 3 months have missed it badly. If she went into school now, with the exception of writing which she’d still struggle with, she’d be well up to speed, in as much as anyone as flighty and dizzy as she can be ever is 😉 I doubt she’d find herself needing much extra attention to keep up academically.
So i’m wondering… i’ve still not got as far as providing the “education i think my children should have;” even if i think we do okay. I’d love to do the full on classical thing, i think Fran would love it too actually. Our HE seems to be perfectly “as good as” the NC in terms of what is achieved in far less time, but actually i’d like it to be so much more, more value added, more fascinating, more connected and consistent so that if the lure of school does become greater for whatever reason, she feels some sort of regret about leaving behind something more meaty than she encounters at school. I’d *hate* the NC to be more interesting than home.
Of course, only time will tell. I’m not going to say “i’ll never send my children to school” as anything i say “never” to seems to happen within 6-12 months without fail, but i do feel like perhaps i need to be prepared for it to rear its head as an option sometime in the next year. I think it’s a measure of how my confidence has fallen that i can’t help wondering if we are next on the list. 😕 I know i’m a bit burned out, with 4 kids, HE and work, i know i could just think “argh, go on then, i can have a break then” and i know i’d just hate myself for it. Fran is just getting interesting, i’d hate her to leave me at home all day!
I’d be curious to know from a wider audience who have children now happily in school; if you look back, can you see any places where any dis-satisfaction, curiosity about school took root? And by the way, it isn’t that i want to stifle curiosity, it’s just if my children decide to go, i’d like it to be for positive reasons as opposed to because they want to plug a gap in their life. If you follow me.
And if you happen to be the 2 people who made me think all this over, could you go and reread my first paragraphs and not get mad at me 😉