I had such lovely afternoon chatting to families at the Home Educators Family Festival yesterday.
I am overwhelmed by so many inspirational people, by your heartwarming support for my books, and delighted to meet new people and see for real those I’ve been connected to online!
I hadn’t ever been to the festival before – not really being a festival kinda girl. But I perhaps regret that now as I come away with such a sense of camaraderie and unity that I’ve clearly missed out on.
For the first thing that struck me was the community; the fact that the children, who might have been feeling that they were a minority back home in their usual community, and consequently an oddity especially if all their other local friends were school users, will suddenly be surrounded by hundreds of other children doing the same as them – not going to school. This makes a huge difference to how you feel about yourself; when you connect with others like you. And that goes for the parents too. Particularly useful for those parents who may have had a lot of opposition locally and within their family because of their choice. It’s immensely confidence building to know that actually, home ed isn’t that strange – you’re not the only one – and that’s the sense you get when in the company of thousands of other home educating families at the festival.
The other thing that struck me was in relation to one of those myths that always gets cited about home educated children – that they’ll be so tied and attached to their parents they won’t be able to get out in the real world and be independent. I saw the opposite; that there was hardly a child to be seen attached to its parent! Most of the kids meet up with others and go off with their friends to explore, play, engage in the music, activities and workshops laid on and generally ditch their parents for the duration! In fact, a couple of parents told me that when they go to the festival they often don’t know what to do with themselves because the kids have abandoned them and they hadn’t planned for that. Which of course is a wonderful opportunity for parents to get together and swap notes – or just have fun of course.
If you’ve never been to HEFF you should think about it for next time. Or visit one of the other getherings around the country – and abroad, there are quite a few if you have a look on Google and the Facebook groups.
It was an uplifting and positive experience to be there. Thanks so much to the friends I met at HEFF for being such wonderful hosts.