New year, new decisions

This morning Mike returned to work after a break over Christmas and the New Year. It’s 6.30am right now and it’s been 45 minutes since he left and I’m missing him already.

I like having him around. I enjoyed his company and having the whole family together. I especially enjoyed the chance to have time to talk.

We’ve had time to discuss plans to help life run smoother and become more organised and manage time better. We’ve discussed the laundry, plans for creating storage space and restructuring the children’s chores, becoming more frugal both because we need to and because we want to try to shift our outstanding debt this year. Twice, I think, we may have talked about potential baby names but hey, there’s plenty of time for that!

But one thing we’ve talked about for a while now is the children’s education.

For some time we’ve felt disillusioned with several aspects of mainstream schooling. There are some fantastic teachers who do a great job and this isn’t at all what we’re unhappy with. In a nutshell, we’re not happy with the whole system.

So after the best part of the last couple of months of umming and ahhing we’ve made the final decision that we will be homeschooling our children from Harry (number four) down.

Ben only has a few more months to go to complete his GCSE’s and then go onto college. Stephanie, who was homeschooled for over two years but has been back in the school system for just over the last year, has one more year to go.

Harry will be finishing up this school year, but we’ve decided that he won’t return in September. Eddie, who was due to begin in September, now won’t be. The rest of the younger children will also be educated at home.

The only one we had a little difficulty deciding on was Caitlin. She is currently a year away from her 11+ exams, which she’ll either pass or fail. If she passes she can get a place in a grammar school (unless she wishes to be homeschooled, which is fine), and if she fails she won’t and in this case we’ve decided that she too will be taught at home.

Between now and September we’ll be getting the curriculum together. Having already done homeschooling both autonomously and following a curriculum I find that more structure works for me. We have also decided to go with a ready made one, so that I don’t have too much preparation to make and do myself, knowing how much I did with Stephanie, especially with several differing ages of child. I feel more comfortable with this although may HS’ing parents prefer to go with the flow.

The next few months will also enable us to get the practical side of things sorted. Equipment, stationary, extra craft stuff (which we do have a supply of already thanks to my “Learning Box” – I’ll have to elaborate on that another day!) and of course, storage. Oh yes, it’ll also give me a chance to resettle with a new baby added to the family and then allow me to restructure some kind of routine and timetable to work with. Knowing what I have to do and the time I have to do it in will ease the pressure and allow me to organise myself and everything else. It’s easier that way!

The good thing is that we have been down this road before with Stephanie and don’t have the initial doubts and wariness that we had back then. We’re more comfortable with knowing our abilities and acknowledging our limits. On the whole we’re more confident about the decision and our ability to carry it out.

Oh we know that every day isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Some days are better than others no matter what you do. But making the decision to continue the role of teaching our children is one that we are completely at ease with. After all, we’ve been teaching them since the day they were born and done a pretty good job of it.

For us, it’s not about a school’s ranking, it’s not about money, it’s not about political correctness or whether contact sports should be allowed. It’s not about fitting square pegs into round holes. It’s about giving our children the best education we can, in an environment we agree with with the two people who know them best.

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