Monday, 28 January 2019

A Year Of No School

January marks the 1 year anniversary of our decision to remove our son from school.

He started reception as most children do, the term before he turned 5.

So although he wasn't of compulsory school age, we thought we'd do what most parents do and send him as soon as he was able to go in the hopes that it would make it easier for him to adapt and fit in than starting half way through a school year.

Unfortunately (or, perhaps it was fortunate after all...) it didn't pan out, and so after 3 months of doubts, stress and anxiety - we made the decision to remove him from school altogether.

And so began our journey with home education.

A journey that I still question on a daily basis, one that comes with anxieties and worries all of its own - but one that I'm pleased to be on, in spite of all of this.

Over the course of the past year, we've tried a number of different approaches to learning and only now do I finally feel as though we're starting to find the right way for us.

Although we've chosen not to follow the national curriculum to the letter, we have covered a variety of the same sorts of topics that Tyne would have covered at school - including space, dinosaurs, and world war 2.

We've done art, and cookery, science experiments and we've done our fair share of reading and work books too as well as using a variety of educational apps and games.

And of course, we've had plenty of time to get out into the real world to learn too - as well as do plenty of fun stuff like playing in the park, spending days at the beach, and being out and about in the community - seeing, experiencing and getting to grips with the world first-hand....which we believe is much more beneficial than reading about it in books.

We've also thrown ourselves into socialising too - I worried endlessly about the potential negative impact of removing Tyne from school on his ability to make friends and form relationships with his peers, but my worries seem to have been unfounded so far.

We're so lucky to have a community of local home educators who socialise with regularly - Tyne had a birthday party with his friends, and has enjoyed Christmas and Halloween discos with them all much like any school child would.

We even organised a Home Ed sports day where he won a medal for the sack race, and had loads of fun taking part with his friends.

Then there have been the many field trips we've gone on this year with the local home ed community.

Day trips to places like museums, Kents Cavern, and the local fire station where the children have had the chance to explore and learn together, and participate in the same sorts of class workshops that school children would on class days out.

As well as our family days out to museums and the aquarium, and the term time holidays we've been able to take to supplement Tyne's learning as well as increase our quality time together as a family.

All in all, although the anxieties and worries are constant. Although I constantly question myself and whether we're doing the right thing, it is undeniable that our little boy is far happier than he was during his time at school.

He is a smart, articulate little boy with a keen interest in history and the world around him. His writing and reading skills are where they should be for his age, as are his maths skills. And he's made good friendships, too.

So our year of opting out of school has been a big success...and its a journey we're excited to continue.

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