Journal

Home Ed + Self Employment = A Continuous Quest For More Time

January 17, 2016

So it turns out creating a habit can be pretty hard! I was determined to write a blog post at least once a fortnight but things got a little chaotic and once I let something slide it just seems to keep going… a bit like my self-assessment tax return.

It’s always said that being a parent is a juggling act and recently (for a very good reason) I’ve thrown a whole lot of extra balls in. I’m just in the process of learning how to juggle them again. But what with moving home, starting home ed, taking on more self-employed work and Christmas throwing everything out of whack it all got a bit hectic and crazy for a while.

With Christmas out of the way and a new year upon us I’m taking control, or perhaps less control, depending on how you want to look at it. Everything has become a little more efficient. Everything that is except for home ed.

You see, we’re kind of freestyling, quietly waiting to see what our home education will evolve into. I wasn’t 100% happy with how things were going. Don’t get me wrong, Elliott has learned a lot over the short time since we started but how we were approaching things didn’t feel right to either us. I want him to be super happy everyday.

I’ve been reading. I read a lot. I do it for a living. When I’m not earning money from it I’m doing it for the joy of learning. Despite the chaos of the last few months I’ve still been trying to fit in lots of reading material on all the different ways to approach teaching and learning. I still have a queue of books waiting to be read so I can’t say I have a definite confirmed approach going forward. We’re just getting started and this is a fun journey. I’m driven by instinct at the moment. As time goes on I’ll let you know what our approach is. Right now we’re learning while having a lot of fun but our days are more unstructured. I find myself doing a lot of listening rather than talking and “teaching”. The brain of a 6 year old child is astounding. Elliott blows my mind frequently. No idea of his is stupid. Nothing he says falls upon deaf ears. We usually have long conversations during our walks. Sometimes he’s contemplatively silent. That’s fine too. We need quiet time in order to organise our thoughts.

Kimberley-Park

So while our home learning is shifting into something new we were paid a visit by an Elective Home Education Co-ordinator from Cornwall Council this week. When removing Elliott from school in Somerset, just before our move to Cornwall, the Head advised me to inform Cornwall Council of our decision to home educate in case Elliott became known as “a child missing from education”. They were thankful I’d contacted them although I now know I was under no obligation to do so. But as I had done I was paid a visit which involved an hour long “informal” chat that I was assured wasn’t really an assessment. Still she filled in a big form about everything we talked about and at the end said I’d be sent a copy of her report. Hmmm. It all seemed terribly formal to me.

On a plus she seemed to genuinely like what we’d been up to and was astonished by the amount of “work” we’d done in such a short time. Luckily for us evidence of what we’d been up to was all around us in the living room. She was also very fond of child led learning so I felt quite relaxed knowing she shared a similar ethos. However, I dread to think what it would be like if we were visited by someone who didn’t share our views. And what about unschoolers who do no formal education whatsoever? How would they be expected to provide reams of evidence of their children learning? Parents who are deemed as not providing an adequate education can be legally forced to send their children to school. Who really has the right to make that decision?

Thankfully I’m fairly certain that things went well and Elliott’s joy at never being forced to go to school won’t be shattered. We won’t get another visit until Elliott is of KS2 age. We should have found our stride by then but I’m glad to say that in amongst the chaos home ed has already become a natural part of our lives.

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