Saturday, 5 September 2015

Returning to the UK and a decision to Home Educate.

On the move again...
Half way through our recent trip back to the UK, it became apparent that, for various reasons, a move back there earlier than we had originally planned was on the cards.  Having spent the first half of the holiday crying because we didn’t live in the UK, I then spent the second half crying because we were going to leave Australia.  Ok, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration because mainly we just had a lovely lovely time, but tears had been shed both before and after the discovery.

We will be sad to leave Australia,  of course we will; we have many lovely friends here and the lifestyle is just fabulous.  The school that the kids attend is amazing.  We’ve had a wonderful time.  However, we are actually very much looking forward to moving back to the UK too.  It will be so nice to be close to family and old friends again.  I’m also looking forward to a countryside that doesn’t try to kill us every time we step foot in it! So come mid-January, we will be winging our way back to the UK.

We are taking Dolly the puppy back with us.  It’s very straight forward to get her back to the UK and, once we’re there, Digby Dog will re-join us.  Flo (our other dog), has settled so well in the company of my niece that it doesn’t seem fair on either of them to separate them, so she will stay put at my sister’s.  As the Aussies would say, “Too Easy”.

On to the second part of this essay!  We have taken the decision that I will Home Educate the children in the UK.  There are many reasons behind this.  The one that is easiest for most people to understand is that we are in flux.  We will stay at my mother’s for 6 weeks or so whilst our shipment makes it’s way across the oceans and, even once we are back in our house, the upcoming take over of the company that The Husband works for by another company, mean that we really have no idea how long we will be settled for.  I would really hate to settle the children into school and then have to move them 2 or 3 months later.  Home Education means greater flexibility for the family at this point in our lives.  There are other reasons behind the decision too; the different academic years that the older two are in (The Eldest will just be finishing Grade 3 here, she would have to go straight into half way through Year 5, and similar for The Boy – from Grade 1 to half way through Year 3); the Eldest’s Aspergers; various issues that have come to light with The Boy and so on.  All in all, some time at home will hopefully be helpful to all of us.
Digby and The Husband
on our recent trip back
to the UK.

Some frequently asked questions! 

“But What About Socialisation?!”  (This seems to be the war cry from people who are anti Home Ed) There is a strong Home Ed community in the UK.  I am already in touch with various groups that meet regularly.  It seems that we can do everything from Horse Riding lessons, to Art Club, to Gymnastics, to GCSE courses.  There are also all the after school activities that we can do, including Drama and Team sports.  Do not fear, I am not intending on locking the children in a cupboard with no outside influence...

“Do you have to follow a set curriculum?” No is the short answer there, we can pretty much do what we want.  Some people who Home Ed have no curriculum at all, following the interests of the children, whilst others follow the National Curriculum to the letter.  We will be treading a middle path, loosely following the National Curriculum (to make re-entry into school further down the line, if appropriate, easier) but also taking time to follow our own interests. I want the children to really be into their learning, to discover that the world is a fabulously interesting place and that there is nothing “Boring” (the most frequent insult that my children seem to lobby at school!) about learning.

“Do you need to go on a course to be able to do it?” Well, I am a primary school teacher, so I am completely comfortable about meeting their educational needs at this point in their journey.  As it happens though, no you don’t need to take a course, anyone can do it and a lot of parents with no training at all do a fabulous job.

“How long will you do it for?” Well, how long is a piece of string?  As long as it seems the right thing for us to be doing.  Many Home Educated children take their exams and go onto University, so I am not hugely concerned about that bit.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, who knows what will happen in the next couple of years, let’s just go with the flow a bit.

My "Nooper" Heroes.
What can possibly go wrong?!
“Won’t you go nuts having the children around all the time?” Maybe!  But to be honest, we are happiest as a family when we are doing our own thing.  Most of the time that arguments break out are when we are under time pressure to do something and be somewhere; especially if the children are already exhausted from a day at school.  Considering that most people agree that everything that needs to be taught can be done in a couple of hours every day, that frees up an awful lot of time to do our own thing.

What’s the WORST thing that can happen?  Well, we can decide that it isn’t working for us and that the kids need to go into school.  Truly, if that’s the worst outcome, then I think we’re onto a winner.  We are all super excited about giving it a go.