I have, recently, been feeling very glad of the thriving home ed scene here in Brighton. At this ‘back-to-schoolish’ time of the year, I think it really helps me to feel that we have plenty to get back to – just not school. For me, it is especially helpful to chat with home ed parents who have children older than ours.
Like many other people, I stayed very firmly on the conveyor belt of the education system, throughout my teens. I didn’t even take a year out (which we now have to call a ‘gap year’, apparently) but went straight from sixth form college to university. At the age of twenty one, I found myself back in my home town, without much idea of what I wanted to ‘do’ and with a degree in sociology. It was 1992 and there were not many jobs around. I ended up working in the bookshop that had been my Saturday and holiday job from the age of fifteen. I did, eventually, make use of my first degree, as I needed to have one to get on the MA course that I followed to get a professionally recognised qualification. So, it all worked out for me, I guess. But, my experience of sticking close to the system through my teenage years, means that I find it hard to imagine different routes for my children.
Talking with other parents makes me realise that teenage years are hard for everyone and there’s no guarantee of a smooth ride for anyone – home ed, or not. But I find it encouraging to know that people do find a way through, without the system. Equally, that people can pick and choose from what’s on offer in the FE and HE sectors of the system.
If P were at school, she’d be going into a secondary school this autumn. I guess this is what has got me thinking about the years ahead. She is very good at living in the moment and enjoys a busy day to day life. I am very happy that she is so happy. Whatever happens in the future, I think that time spent happy and secure is like emotional money in the bank for coping with the harder times.
As a parent, I have noticed a change in the way our decision to home ed is perceived, as our children get older. As a family, we are happily settled into this way of living. But, in terms of the pressure from the world outside, it gets harder. Somehow it is easier to explain a day to day life of sandpits and finger painting than the reality of a home ed with older children. I also don’t want to be telling everyone the details of the children’s activities. It feels way too weird and too much like trying to justify ourselves – hence, the end of the other blog.
So, I’m glad of the chances I get to talk to home ed parents with older kids and also the online presence of people with older (and grown) children.