I’ve been intending to blog about the crass and annoying speech made by Baroness Deech the other week on how home educated children are denied the right to a voice by their ‘indifferent’ parents – but honestly, right now i can’t be bothered 😆
However, Lord Soley, who is possibly well meaning if rather blinkered and unimaginative when it comes to HE, also made a speech, following on from his blog posts. In it he reflected that it was likely to be difficult for Home Educated children to access the music services offered to school children unless their parents paid for it.
Well, so far as i know, music lessons don’t come free in schools anyway, but my news for Lord Soley is that this particular set of home educating parents are actually quite happy to pay for our children to access music lessons which go considerably beyond what they might get in 20 minutes a week at school, fitted into playtime, or while missing something else, or dependant on room availability or teacher availability or a free instrument to loan.
We’ve paid, with help from my parents and grandparent, who also wanted to be part of this, for music lessons for about 2 years. We do it willingly and happily, knowing it is good for all sorts of parts of their brain, life and pleasure and because we are all very involved and the cost and effort those lessons take are self-evident, our children learn and practise willingly and diligently. The play music together, they play with grandparents and increasingly they play with friends. Fortnightly and sometimes weekly, a teacher comes to our home for 2 1/2 hours and coaches them alone and together in a group, in cello, violin, guitar, piano, recorder and theory. No time wasted getting to lessons, no forgotten instruments, no cancelled lessons or lack of room. And they take a lot of responsibility for it all, making sure the room feels nice and is clean and tidy, their instruments are ready, their books are found.
Neither Max nor i are particularly musical and we therefore outsourced, bought in a service, take an active part in making sure it is well used and thoroughly enjoy watching the fruits. We did, astonishingly, what adults do anywhere else in life where they need a skill they don’t have – we use the services of someone else who can. It isn’t rocket science. And we adapt; Maddy isn’t so keen on guitar any more and so we’ve adapted and been lucky enough to find a way of accessing flute lessons for her. Simple pimple. NOT, as i said, rocket science.
Today we had the joy of watching them get the benefits of their hard work. Amelie and Fran were both entered for the local music festival, Amelie as an 8 and under violinist and Fran as a 12 and under cellist. They both worked very hard and had practised daily, at a time of day they were fresh and relaxed and they were both keen to do well.
And they did 🙂 Amelie was one of the better ones in her large group of 13 kids, probably only missing a top 3 place by a couple of spots and Fran, who was only in a group of 2, got top place and some really lovely compliments about her technique, tone and musicality. It is a joy to see them be rewarded for the effort they had put into their preparation.
It was perhaps just as much of a joy to see them, not in uniform but beautifully and classically smart, take the stage with confidence and assurance, looking for all the world like they had total belief in their right and ability to be there. They looked composed and calm and determined and they both kept going with the skill that comes from lots of performing when they tripped up slightly. As Max said, what stood out about both of them, in among the very nervous school kids, was that they looked happy to be there. And i just loved that they had their sisters there to support them and that we could all be there together to enjoy it. I particularly loved the way Amelie and Fran sat with their arms round each other when they got nervous.
We were incredibly proud of them.
(And very grateful to Granny, Grampty, Nana and RM for making it all possible.)