Okay I admit it! Sometimes, just sometimes, I wanted to be in a position that wasn’t quite so different.
It got increasingly tedious to have those conversations outside the dance or pottery clubs whilst I waited for the girls as there was always the inevitable question; ‘So where do yours go to school?’
I’d pause a moment, then say; ‘They don’t actually. They’re home educated’
Slight neurotic giggle and other mother moves away from me like I’m diseased.
Of course, it wasn’t always like that; many parents who asked really engaged with the idea and were keen to know more. And I grew more skilled at judging who I wanted to mention it to.
Today though home education is far more popular and widely known as parents find school practices more and more distasteful. There’s a liberal helping of information and support on the net and an ever-increasing community to dip into, groups to attend, others to network with, so it feels less scary.
Community is the theme of this issue of The Green Parent magazine and I was thrilled to be asked to contribute as it’s a special anniversary issue. The editor, Melissa Corkhill, asked me to write about the home education community and the many and diverse groups that support it. (A big thank you to all of you who helped with my research and offered your thoughts). So you’ll find me in there too this time.
But the real reason for this post is to tell you about the lovely opening story in this issue in the welcome from the editor. It’s about a mum who wanted to do things a bit differently from her own peer groups and family tradition and how hard it was at first to find support for her ideas. She felt very sad and alone. I think many of you will identify with this. But a chance encounter with another mum initiated her rescue.
Now we have the Internet to find like minds but that is no comparison to a warm human connection in real physical terms. Nothing like being with people to learn from.
Melissa follows her editor’s column with a little piece about what she has learnt from her ten years at the magazine and it’s so encouraging I thought I’d quote it here:
“It’s possible to have a job that makes you desperate-to-get-in-the-office excited, You can run a business from home with a home educated child on your lap, next to you at their own mini desk or playing noisy games outside the door, sometimes you might even get a bit of help from those children but being with them through their childhood is the most important work”
So absolutely true!
There’s plenty else in the magazine to read too. And perhaps there’s some mum nearby that you could help do it differently like the mum in the story. For having that community support is irreplaceable!