Today I’m joining in a blog hop today over at Four Pesky Hobbits. The remit is to talk about what has happened at your home school over the last 5 years. I wasn’t sure I was going to link up to this because we’ve only been home educating for 2 years. But having mulled it over I’d like to talk about how different our lives were then.
5 years ago, M was 3 years and 3 months old, while D had just turned one. How cute are they?! Please excuse M’s chocolate-chops, we’ve obviously just enjoyed a trip to the coffee shop.
At that point, M was coming up to the end of her first year at pre-school. She was quite happy there, the ethos of the place was very caring and what I particularly loved about it was that they catered to every child’s need. At that point, she attended for 3 afternoons a week, though this would change to 5 mornings a week in the following term. It seems strange to me now to think of a 3 year old doing all that but at the time it felt normal!
We were already thinking about what school she would go to (and had perhaps applied already?). Both J and I wanted somewhere highly academic and high performing. After all, M was a very academic girl – it’s hard to imagine a 3 year old being academic but she really was!
Our end goal was for her to go to a grammar school at 11. We used to joke that to get into a grammar around here (South West London) you have to start training them at 2. There is an element of truth in that though. Her pre-school was devised so that on going into a Reception class the children would hit the ground running, having learnt their alphabet, phonic sounds, numbers and just starting on the (wordless) Biff, Chip and Kipper books. At the school we chose I know that they had begun streaming them by Year One (although we weren’t officially told that) and their performance was already being tracked. Preparation for the 11+ and entrance exams would then begin in Year 4 and so it goes on. It’s like an endless treadmill. I was happy to be on it 5 years ago, it felt exciting to me that we were giving M (and D) every opportunity to have a fantastic school life.
All did not go to plan.
One of the things I pride myself on with being a mother is how much I have adapted my thoughts, ideas and opinions since having children. My children have totally changed me. If someone had mentioned home education to me 5 years ago I would have looked at them like they were bonkers. But it took a suggestion from M to make me see that HE was a viable and AMAZING option. She was utterly miserable at school and one night she asked ‘but why can’t you teach me?’. It was a light-bulb moment.