Lady and Thomas were taken by their dad to visit the local Integrated primary school last Tuesday and both liked it so much that they decided they would go to try it out. So after I spoke on the phone with the school principal, we've arranged that they will start this Thursday so they go for a couple of days before the Easter break. I'll be visiting the school myself tomorrow morning to look around and meet with the P4 and P7 teachers to talk about what they do and to tell them about my children.
Lady's decision came as a complete shock; she announced a few days ago she wanted to visit the school with the others. She had previously always been adamant when questioned that she was not at all interested in going back to school for the foreseeable future. But she just realised that she wants to try out primary school again before she's too old. So, fair enough, off she goes.
Thomas has been thinking for a while about going to school for the first time in his life. He'd originally said he'd start next autumn term so we could all enjoy the summer together instead of being stuck in a classroom for the few months we have a year when the weather is half decent. But after seeing the school he changed his mind and wants to go right away.
We're trying to decide how best to arrange how to travel to and from school. It's one stop away from here on the train and they could easily manage to travel there and back together but I have a notion that wouldn't be allowed by the train company; unaccompanied minors etc. They could walk, cycle or use a scooter and go along the coastal path. Or I could copy almost all the other parents and drive them there.
I hope they enjoy this experience. I still think home education is a better way for children to learn; school is so very inefficient and takes up such a huge portion of children's lives, especially when you consider that even after they have spent almost all day in school, they then have homework to do. I don't know how the children will manage all their activities; Tuesday - Thomas has gymnastics then jujitsu, Wednesday - they both do gymnastics, Thursday - Lady has 2 gymnastics classes and Thomas goes to Beavers, Friday - Lady goes to the local youth club and the gymnastics coach told me yesterday she wants Thomas to start a class on Fridays soon, Saturday - Thomas does jujitsu and hurling and Lady has cheer leading, Sunday - Thomas does gymnastics. How are they going to have time to spend with their family, go to school, do homework, continue their sports and activities, play and hang out with friends, chill out and read/watch tv/learn an instrument/master a computer game/draw a picture/write a letter or blog post? How does everyone manage without bursting from the pressure?
I do want them to enjoy it and to gain from the experience. They are free to remain at school if they so choose, but if, having given it a good couple of months, they decide they want to be home educated again then they will be deregistered. This is not now the most straightforward of manoeuvres as some of the education boards are trying to fool parents wanting to home educate that legislation exists (it doesn't) to prevent the deregistration process.
I am keen to know exactly what they make of the whole thing, and think that for Thomas especially, he'll either love it or hate it. I don't expect him to merely tolerate it. Lady only wants to go for one term but she may discover that she wants to go on to secondary school too in which case I will have to try to find a place for her in one of the schools not requiring a pass on the transfer test.
I'll be here for them no matter what and boost them and help them know what they need and how to get it. Duncan and I will have more time together and that's always nice, though he may be going to school some time soon himself. Until he does (if he does) he's going to miss his siblings terribly.