It's one year ago today that I took a letter into the school Oscar was attending to inform them that we were deregistering him and so our home ed journey began. That day as I walked away from the school I felt terrified but also liberated. I was terrified about how things would work out, were we doing the best thing for him? Wold he be happier at home? Would I be able to teach him the things he needed to learn? And then of course there was that thing, socialisation. I felt liberated from having to feel horrible and desperately sad about taking my son five days a week to a place where he was clearly miserable and frustrated with boredom.
Well one year on I no longer feel terrified but still feel liberated. I am still a little scared sometimes, how will things be as he gets older? But right now I know we are doing what is best for him, it's clear to anyone who knows Oscar that he is far happier at home than he ever was at school (my dad was so pleased we decided to home educate as he felt that school had 'sucked the life out of his grandson'). I'm pretty sure he has learnt a whole lot more than he would have done at school and in a fun and interactive way that works for him. And as for socialisation, well at school Oscar pretty much refused to talk to anyone and spent play times hiding under a bench, so it wasn't going to take much to better that. One year on he is a happy little boy who has a fun packed life week in week out spending time with lots of different friends with different abilities and from different backgrounds and of varying ages.
The first time we went to our local home ed group Oscar spent the time sat on my lap, a few weeks on he would sit on a chair and read a book. Now we go along, he sits with his friends and joins in with that weeks activity then I don't see him for an hour or more while he's outside playing with his friends. Add to that the swimming lessons, Latin group, St Johns Ambulance, Taekwondo, drumming lessons and the friends coming for tea or going to friends houses to play as well as the home ed group visits to museums, plays etc and I no longer feel I have to worry about socialisation.
The feeling of liberation is great, we aren't tied to school hours or term times (museums, zoos, Clarks etc are blissfully quiet when most of the under sixteens are at school). We aren't tied to a curriculum geared towards passing SAT's, Oscar isn't limited to what there is time for within a lesson, if he is having fun with something he can run with for as long as he wants to. And he isn't limited to what the rest of the class are able to do. Learning phonics two years after he had learnt to read must have been incredibly tiresome for him. He doesn't have any worries about bullying, he still doesn't know any swear words (or at least I don't think he does) and most importantly my son is no longer sad or sacred.
One year on my son is happy and learning and all the time that is the case I know we are doing the right thing. If that ever changes then we will have to change with it. The thing I hadn't allowed for with home ed was just how busy our lives would be and just how many families there are out there doing the same thing we are. I consider myself lucky to be part of a wonderful and thriving community and am amazed at the brilliant friends both Oscar and I have made over the last twelve months. Long may it continue.