From my first blog, you will understand that I home-schooled my son all the way until he started formal schooling at age 7. The reason why I decided to home-educate initially was for the joy of spending time nurturing him. As he reached kindergarten age, it became for purely practical reasons as I was on the go, as it were.
After my son turned 7, I found it extremely difficult to manage any sort of balance so I threw him into a local school for 2 terms to serve as an introduction to formal classroom teaching and playground experience. It was intriguing as my son’s form teacher would recount that surrounded by boys (sexes being taught separately even though it was a mixed environment) my son would casually engage in discussions with his class mates in the middle of a class session or he would not raise his hands to answer a question or to pose one. Once, of course, he got used to ‘protocol’ my son fitted in like a glove. The other aspect my son found fascinating is the playground banter. I am sure we all have had fascinating encounters one way or another and remember them to this day.
My son’s transition to formal schooling was otherwise seamless. As you may recall from my first blog I followed the holistic method of Scandinavian teaching so my son had to do fast and furious catch-up over the past 5 years with the National Curriculum. We did all sorts during our time together; attended all sorts of performing arts, exhibitions, horse riding, archery and shooting and mixed with all sorts and ages. A little travelling to the European, African and South Asian continents helped my son understand the immensity of cultures and understanding. This led him to have a lateral way of thinking which helped tremendously in his adjustment to school life and regime.
My son attends a fully dedicated boys only boarding school which may raise shackles in some quarters but I assure you my son, even though an enfant unique, is afforded the opportunity to spend time with the other gender during residential camps over the big holidays and various extracurricular workshops he attends otherwise. So relating to and being able to communicate healthily to others (including girls) after leaving school should not be an issue.
Home educating should be regarded as a privileged choice and not merely as an alternative to formal schooling. Great sacrifices are made on the part of the parent who goes down this hallowed path. I certainly don’t think I could have pursued this had I been a young mother without patience, maturity and discipline. After all how can we import knowledge if we are none the wiser!
Without strong extended family infrastructure home schooling can be a lonely experience. I feel elated that using common sense and hard graft I managed. I decided not to join any networks (home educators et al.) as I always intended my son to enter the formal route. It took a little longer than I anticipated but he seems a happy chappie, well rounded and looks forward to an exciting future! He enjoys a plethora of things including politics and fancies a life at the helm somewhere. He enjoys botanical art and I enclose below some of his works. He is soon to be tutored to loosen up and draw landscape and figurative so watch this space!
Those who are considering home educating are welcome to get in touch with me. There are no hard and fast rules but an open mind and an abundance of patience are pretty useful attributes to succeed!