“How many people are there in the world?”
It’s a pretty typical question for the 10 year old, an age where scale and numbers are beginning to make sense and an understanding of the wider world is something that can be grasped and considered.
We talked about there being 7 billion people and about how many there were when I was her age. She guessed that there would be 9 billion people by the time she was my age.
I said I wasn’t sure.
We talked about how many people there were in the UK and how much that has changed in the relatively short period of time (in terms of the human race) since the middle ages. We talked about the plague that swept England at that time and the decimation of the population (over 1/3 of the people of England died in 2 waves of plague in the 12-1300’s). I didn’t mention that there are some suggestions it might have been an ebola type sickness… there are limits to educating children after all. I like to get some sleep at night.
We talked about the 7 billionth baby and how that happened round about when Bene was born.
So we looked up some stuff and her prediction was quite right. We talked about how growth might happen faster because more people produce more people. We could have talked about what might stop that – but we can another day.
Regular readers will know that Josie very much wants to be home educated again but that for various reasons, we can’t really manage that right now. She has been given one day off school a week to regroup and recover from the life of an elite gymnast plus school child. She’s marked as home tutored on those days; sometimes her teacher sets her some work to finish off but mostly she does her homework early on while I get on with work of my own.
This week she read to me while I sewed up her cushion; reading has really not come easily to Josie and spelling even less so. School seemed to stutter the process that had only really just begun at home for her at 8 – its not their fault and they’ve been very supportive – but I think home ed into school doesn’t work well. Her flow of understanding and immersion got interrupted and she had to change track and something didn’t fit together. She’s more like Maddy with her word skill anyway and it doesn’t come easily. She’s just discovered Holly Webb books though and finally something is catching her interest.
Friday’s have to be about fitting in with me; she knew this when she took the offer of it and has been very good. Bene is at nursery so the house is quiet and she sits with me and works. Right now she is enjoying Bond 11+ books, spelling and doing mini projects of her own. She does a couple of hours in the morning and then crafts, reads or plays beside me. These days were all about her mental health and heading off the onset of school refusal and I think they’ve worked well for that. She relaxes on a Friday and winds down and by Saturday she is ready to play and have fun.
If she had been in a less supportive school, I’m not sure what would have happened. She’s had one class teacher throughout all her time there so far and a huge commitment from them to help her feel happy there. They manage her lunchtimes where she struggles to just let go and join in and give her jobs to do that fill her time and give her a role. I don’t know what we will do next year without Miss B, because I think only the ongoing connection and understanding from her really makes it manageable for Josie but for now, home ed Friday is an okay balance.
I’m struggling with enormous guilt that I can’t give Josie what she wants just now. I want to home educate her again, I’d love to. She would be a dream to have at home and it may well have to happen next year or the year after. I think this Friday arrangement has helped us both; it doesn’t take very much time to tip the balance back in the right direction. She knows all the adults listened and she is getting some time to be with a parent and be heard and given attention as well as down time.
It’s not perfect but it’s not a bad arrangement. If it has to change, I guess we know now that she will just have to leave school.
You might not yet know that we are gearing up for another hideous round of intervention in home educator rights. You might have thought last time that we were a bunch of ranty loons. Well now, perhaps, you know better about government and our right to a private family life. Please listen. Please support. You never know when you might need to home educate.