A few weeks ago I was chatting with a young friend who was about to start senior school. “I’m excited, and a bit nervous too,” admitted Lily.
“And how are you feeling about not starting senior school, Cordie?” Lily’s mother asked C(11).
C(11) considered for a moment, then replied with a smile, “I’m feeling very not nervous.”
People have often asked how long we plan to continue home-educating. Many assumed we’d stop at the end of junior school (age 11), or before GCSE’s (age 14). While I’m hoping to support my children learning at home until they’re at least 16, I would never stop them from going to school if they wanted to.
Daniel, one of C(11)’s old school friends has chosen to go away to boarding school. His mother was telling me how excited he was about the prospect of spending so much time with his friends doing fun activities. “I bet Cordie would love it, too,” she added.
My husband’s parents generously contribute to all their grandchildren’s education, so boarding school wouldn’t be out of the question if either of our children ever wanted to go. I mentioned Daniel’s excitement to my extroverted, energetic daughter.
“Do you think you would like to go to a school like that?”
“It sounds amazing,” replied C(11). Then she sighed contentedly and added, “But I could never give up all this.”
Yes, C(11) would love to spend more time with her friends and do even more sport than she already does, but she also appreciates all the quiet time she has at home to draw, read, watch videos or just relax and listen to music. (I once wrote a post about how C(11) left school because she wanted to do so much, and school seemed the most sensible activity to drop.)
I used to think that as a home-educating parent I’d feel the pressure rise when my children reached senior school age. Towards the end of the last summer holidays I kept expecting to suddenly wake up one morning thinking “Holy cow! Cordie’s going to be in big school! We’d better get serious!”
But that didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself thinking about how much C(11) had learned by herself all summer long. I reflected on the thought-provoking conversations I have with her and J(10), during which I find myself wondering where they got their huge vocabularies and ability to express themselves. I marvel at their enormous zest for life, their self-confidence, the self-set goals they eagerly work towards. And I feel so thankful we’ve found our unschooling groove.
I’m appreciatively linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler’s Weekly Wrap-Up.