Monday, 6 July 2015

Primary schools, Flexi-schooling & Home education.

After that long wait that a lot of parents we're experiencing in mid-april, we found out that we had got our second choice for little Yve's. One part of me was gutted that we didn't get the first choice, as it's the location in which the girls attend preschool at the minute, but it also has great connections with the school where she has been accepted. Its a lovely village school thats nearby, however, it is about a 25minute drive, but i'd rather this than the schools nearby. We're going to enquire about 'flexi-schooling' as I feel my little girl deserves some extra time learning about the things she enjoys which isn't in the 'curriculum'. Things like sewing, knitting, building dens, museums, education worksheets, outdoor play, nature walks. All the things she asks to do which I want to give her.

We will see how it goes for the first term at least. Everyone has different views, circumstances, but I just feel times have changed so much since I was in primary school, and sometimes it can all seem a bit rushed. Sending her to primary school settings for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week is something that makes my heart pound. And i've read that the focus teaching time is only something like 2/6 of those hours a day anyway, to learn things in a child's eyes, its got to be fun - I remember this as a kid. Life experience is the biggest learning skill, in the stages it should be relevant to age. I don't want to rush her out of childhood learning irrelevant things that she will think too much about, Yve's is so much like me in that she thinks so much, she will stew on things, and remember little things everyone else has forgotten. I dont want her having the burden of thinking about things that don't need to be thought about just yet. Education is a fantastic thing, but learning ways about life is even better. Home skills, play skills, social skills, road safety, are all important too.

If I had the money I would look into a forest school, or the montessori method of schooling, I agree with so much of this though in that children learn when they want to, not when made to. Yve's was in a preschool before the one shes at now, She asked if she could start preschool so we honoured her wish, its always been child-led with her, and at first she enjoyed it, but then she became quite nervous so we pulled her out of there and moved her to the one she goes part time to now, its a very nurturing, motherly setting, child-led and all fun, mess and outdoors - she loves it, but I just don't think she is ready for the 'main primary school' setting just yet no matter how intelligent she is, she adapts well, but the whole emotional side of it, how it can be regimented, the long days, maybe pressure, i just can't grasp it for her just yet, then I think am I being selfish? I know family members will have opinions but I think all we can do is whats best for them regardless of what others think.  If it doesn't suit, then so be it, at least we tried. I'm certain that if she goes to primary school just like all the others, she will thrive, be happy as she adapts so well. We've spoken to her about the choices and she said she would like to do creative stuff at home along with school.

Maybe i'm living in a dream land where i'm hoping too much, maybe i'm expecting the fairytale, but I know its something i feel passionately about, and I've seen others make it work with having more than one child too. There will be tough times but there will be that wherever you go, I just need to know that i'm supported in this but at the moment it couldn't be more the opposite. So who knows yet, it will be discussed over the next few months, but for now, we will continue to do our thing, learning together, going on adventures, exploring the great outdoors and cherish time together over the summer, including little moments like these, simple delights such as popping to a bakery, and having a lovely chat.

There will always be that thought of 'how is my first born baby already 'school' age?', and the thought of her being elsewhere does hit me so hard in the heart that I sometimes can't handle it. I know its natural, and I also really know that a lot of mothers feel the same and have no choice in the matter. In my mind (and this is of course my personal opinion) I just don't want her to be in such a hurry to grow up, school life seems different to when I went and its a scary thought. I do have those doubts on 'will I hold her back?' will she enjoy the different way we could do it? but then all i say is that we can only try, if it suits us - then fab, if it doesn't then we will do whats best for her and what makes her happy. I have big thoughts on how I will balance the whole thing, three children under 5 (at that time), seeing to each of their ages, plus trying to make it work as a WFHM. Anyone i've spoken to at home - not many as its not what they want to hear, but they've just said its going to be too much for me, and us. 

On the other side of things, our life would be a lot more simple without the loading and unloading of pre-school runs 5 days a week, two schools, about 4-6 car rides a day etc...So my head is a little baffled at the minute, maybe i'm thinking too much, not thinking enough - who knows. and I know there are SO many positives with schooling, she thrives at pre-school, I just wanted to try and get the balance of that plus having that time where we can still do all the things we love to at home.

Can you tell my head is a little all over?



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4 comments

  1. Good for you. I worry that formal schooling at four and five is too much too soon, and don't get me started on SATs. We're very much playing it by ear with Kitty, we think she will enjoy school but I'm determined that the primary influence in her life should still be home and I hope that your school will embrace flexi schooling to allow you to supplement the curriculum in that way that best suits that gorgeous girl!

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  2. I think decisions about schooling are so hard, and so personal to each child and each family. Four seems so very little to be off to school, but then I also think that parents all too often get the wrong idea about what actually happens in a reception classroom (and I can say that as someone who was the teacher in one for a time)... children don't feel like they are 'learning' in Early Years, they feel like they are playing, the education is very tailored to how they learn the best but will also open up their minds to things they wouldn't even have considered before, in a good way.
    I think parents also worry about those 6 hours away a day, and forget that the other hours of the day will still be very much about home life, as are the weekend and school holidays. School is an influence on a child's life, yes! But never ever EVER as much as their home life because they will always be spending more of their time there, and that is what their foundations are built on.
    Most schools should happily embrace flexi-schooling in the reception year. In fact I'm yet to come across a primary school yet that doesn't leave it very much in the parent's hands whether they want their children in part time or full time schooling during that first year. And I'm sure that they will guide you and that you can all make the best decision for your family.
    God, that turned into a bit of an essay didn't it? Sorry!!! But just trying to reassure you a little bit about it "from the other side". x

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  3. Nat! I loved reading this. I'm pretty open minded about schooling and am going to look into flexi schooling. In most other European countries children don't start school until 6 or even 7 and even though school won't be the biggest influence I would love to have him out with me learning as we go. Personally I loved really, really loved school (at all ages), so for this reason I won't consider home schooling unless they really don't settle. I also have so many friends and family that are teachers and know how passionate and wonderful teachers they are. I would love my children to thrive there and enjoy it like I did, but time is so short and I want to make the most of it. I totally agree with it being child-led whilst they are super young, because 4 is so young, even though I know most 4 year olds are fine. So many car journeys sounds so stressful though! I hope you're able to sort it all out. Wonderful post! xx

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  4. So good to ask big questions about something so epic!We are unschoolers all the way - I believe that teaching a child something takes away the joy of them discovering it themselves. But I do believe that if you go for school there are ways of mitigating against the negative stuff (like sticking up for them)
    You'll settle on something soon - trust your heart x

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