We are having a pretty good week, for a last week when all four children are home educated. As of Monday, Fran is a has been 😉 She’s been working quite hard this last few days, finishing off some of the formal work she’s done over the last little while, doing a bit more cello than has happened recently and practising for the CAT assessments she had at school on Wednesday. You can’t really ‘revise’ for them as they are verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests, but she’s not done much of that sort of thing, so sharpening? up her mind and learning the tricks seemed a helpful idea. The tests are designed to give the school an idea of where a pupil is at and then stream them in core subjects. Fran starts GCSE’s this term, her school starts them in Yr 9, so she needed a starting place among her peers. She came out pleased but said although some had been easy, others had challenged her. I always think this is a good result after an exam, so thought it boded well enough. I was certainly hoping she’d have done fine (it always being preferable to discover your child has not been ruined by your educational experiments) but mostly hoped she would have done as well as she could, so that she was placed right for her ability.
As it happened, she did us and her extremely proud. The machine in its infinite wisdom predicted all A”s and B’s at GCSE (don’t ask me how it does that) and the school say she’ll be placed in the top sets for her subjects (they have 8… count em, 8! streams in maths, divided into 16 classes per year… omfg…). She was COMPLETELY thrilled to have done so well and be told she was able and capable. I know she was pleased to be such a good advert for home ed and she grew a couple of centimetres on the spot I think 🙂 We’ve not yet worked out the details of her timetable, but I think the fact we are clearly capable of educating her will bode well for some flexibility as we settle her in.
It’s a funny thing, this moving to school lark. While at home, I’m all about learning in a child led manner, at the child’s pace, in a way that promotes joy in learning. I’m not worried about targets or age goals or anything else. I’ve watched it come, when the moment is right, far too many times to know that these educational moments do happen, it all works out fine. But there is not point in pretending, once we made a choice to move to school for her, that I wanted to be able to do well. I wanted very much to be able to know I hadn’t screwed it up for her and it is a massive affirmation of our choices to see that be true.. Of course, she hasn’t been taught to the National Curriculum and I’m sure when she starts she’ll have plenty of places to fill in gaps and learn new skills, but it is great to know she is starting with all those other benefits of home education behind her and no horrible yawing chasm of lack to overcome.
I am just so very proud of the way she is challenging herself with this new phase and so very proud of all of us that she’s shown home ed to have been such a success for our family. The school are really pleased too, were extremely complimentary and are looking at her timetable to make sure it is done so she can fit what she wants in to her week.
This contrasted rather unpleasantly with a run in with our local LA who contacted us after 2 years with a date in one weeks time where they would be coming to our house to inspect our children’s work. I phoned up and said I was none too happy to receive letters from attendance officers from the safeguarding team inviting themselves to my house and that I’d be sending in a report instead.
Allegedly, according to Peterborough City Council Safeguarding Department, the law has changed and a written report is no longer adequate and “home education cases” have to have a home visit, MUST provide samples of work and if we don’t comply, they will continue their investigation into our family without our involvement.
Huh. For the record, the law HAS NOT CHANGED and I think I’d have noticed if it had.
It’s a worry when a government worker doesn’t know the law regarding her own job (although she isn’t an attendance officer, she very clearly pointed out to me that she is the Attendance Service Team Manager 😆 ) but it is even worse when you find out that they have actually had it spelled out to them and are continuing to miss-represent the law anyway.
I think that’s harassment. But we shall see.
And really, giving home educators over to the attendance service in the safeguarding department? How threatening is that exactly? What about… uuuh… putting us in the EDUCATION department?
In other news, we spent a few lovely days working on the geography of the UK (blog post to come!) and did lots of model making (blog post to come!) and everyone is back into music lessons and practise and doing some steady work every morning and Amelie is happy to be back at gymnastics (did I mention that?) and we’ve had lovely times together.
Today we went off to Auntie Louise’s riding yard and put the kids to work. You can probably see they had a complete and utter ball on Bunny and I think we’ll be going much more often now 🙂