Sorry I didn’t post last week. I was away and so David took over homeschooling duties (which you can read about on Harry’s blog).
A few things have happened as a result of my ranty Week Three post. The first thing was that I got called in to see Harry’s headmistress. I don’t mind telling you, I was afeared. I do tend to let off steam on my blog without thinking about the consequences and I thought I was in for a telling off. (David said, “Yeah, I thought maybe a teacher would read it and not like it…” He didn’t think to mention that to me though!)
Anyway, my fears were unfounded. Harry’s Head was fantastic. Totally supportive of what I’m trying to do, fine with me skipping the curriculum. She even ended the conversation by saying, “Keep going. You’re doing a wonderful job.” I went in to see Harry’s teacher too and it turns out she never expected me to do the worksheets – she’d just given them to me to give me an idea of the levels they work to. I must admit to feeling a pang of guilt, but I hope it was clear in my post that it’s the education system I have a problem with, NOT Harry’s teacher or school.
Which brings me to the comments about the above post, but left on the other Week Three post. I assume my posts have been flagged up on some sort of anti-homeschooling forum because the commenters certainly didn’t seem to have read the posts. Naively, it didn’t even occur to me that some people would have a problem with me deciding to do this. It should have done because of course I know how parenting can be a minefield of judgement, but it really didn’t.
The latest comment is much more polite, but one part keeps going round my head.
“At my child’s school they have a class assembly on Fridays so that each class takes it in turn to demonstrate what they have learned in a particular topic. My child would hate to miss Fridays as he enjoys the assembly especially when it the turn of his class. It gives him confidence to stand and say his piece in front of the whole school. It is a shame they do not do this as your child’s school.”
Well, they do do that at Harry’s school. In fact, his class assembly was yesterday. His teacher asked if he’d like to come in and do the assembly with the rest of his class – she’d written a part for him – but equally it wasn’t a problem if he’d rather not. He thought about it for a few days and eventually decided he didn’t want to do it. Not because he doesn’t have “the confidence to … say his piece in front of the whole school”, he’s done that lots of times over the past few years, but rather because he now sees Fridays as being for homeschooling and we’re both happy with that. The bit of the comment that really annoyed me was “It is a shame they do not do this [at] your child’s school”. Say they didn’t do it at Harry’s school – who is this person to decide that’s “a shame”? Without knowing anything else about the school or the child(ren) concerned? I find it really odd. But it’s probably something I’m going to have to get used to.
In other news, I read Seth Godin’s free ebook, Stop Stealing Dreams: What Is School For?, and it blew me away. So much to think about.