A conversation between myself, Acey and a fascist old lady at the bus stop...
Acey goes up to her in his usual friendly manner showing her some unusual fruits that had fallen off of a tree and which he was throwing into the road so that the cars would squish over them. He is dressed up in a spangly waistcoat because he is going to his friend Danae's birthday party...
Old lady: What's your name then?
Old lady with slightly bemused look on her face: 'Oh, that's an unusual name'...turns to ask me ''how old is she''
Me: HE'S five at the end of this month
Old lady: 'Oh it's a boy is it? I thought that was a girl with long hair. Is he going to get his haircut soon?'
Old lady to Acey: 'So, you'll be starting school soon then'
Acey: 'Well, I'm home-educated, actually'
Old lady looks away like she has just been slapped in the face...then looks at Acey disapprovingly and looks me up and down..
''I thought IT was a girl with IT'S long hair''...and then.. ''So, are you his big sister then?''
ME: ''Oh look, the bus is here - Jesus had long hair you know!!
Ahhh.....the joys of being a complete weirdo ;)
Yeah, this pretty much happens on a daily basis now... sometimes I don't bother correcting people when they think Acey is a girl... I guess I have mistaken girls with short hair for boys in the past before now (especially if they are not wearing a dress). I used to lie to people and tell them that Acey was going to be starting in the local village primary school in September, just to shut them up but I don't anymore. So here are some answers to people's common questions, starting with the most common one... in future when they ask, I am going to just give them a link to this blog page;
Q. What about socialization?
A. Oh my goodness, I know right?! HOW on earth do school children manage to socialize when they are stuck in a classroom all day with about 30 other children their own age day-in-day-out! Well, the only way out of that loophole I'm afraid, is to take them out of school, I'd say! We don't really have that problem that most school children have, because Acey gets to socialize with other home-educated children usually once a week, family, adults of different ages and nationalities, children at the park, communities, church-goers, healers, shopkeepers, artists, blacksmiths, vegans, carnivores, babies, new mothers, old ladies, goldfish, horses, dogs, hippies, librarians, pixies, fairies, trees... Oh and I'm sure he's about to make a whole load of new friends when he joins boy scouts soon too...so I'm not really the one to be talking to if you're having issues with socialization...sorry to hear it though!
Q. Is it legal?
A. Yip. Totally legal. As long as my child is getting some form of education, then it is perfectly legal. If I was sticking my child in front of the television, whilst painting my toenails and dancing around in frilly dresses all day I beleive that would be quite wrong, and the authorities would have every right to interviene, but we don't do that. Infact we don't even have a TV. In my opinion, what should be illegal under the human rights act is forcing a peacefully dreaming snuggly child out of bed in the early hours of the morning, forcing them into a dull uniform, giving them a bowl of un-lovingly prepared cereal, rushing them out of the house, making them go to a place where they have to sit behind a desk (sometimes on a very beautiful day) with about 30 other children of their age group, some of whom they may not get on with, being forced to learn things from a very uninspiring text-book, being forced to respect an adult who probably doesn't respect them, being forced to do PE (urgh), having to ASK to urinate, feeling stupid if they perhaps are a bit behind the rest of the class, being diagnosed as autistic or ADHD simply because they are usually either too intelligent or bored, feeling peer pressured into conforming with everyone else, and then coming home and having to do homework!!! Someone should look into that...
Q. What do you do all day?! Do you have to follow the curriculum? Do you get given workbooks to follow?
A. We don't get workbooks to follow. Most of us don't want workbooks to follow. And curriculum shurriculum. We get out of bed when we feel like it, we have delicious green juice or fruit salad or blueberry pancakes, or even chocolate cake for breakfast sometimes! We go to the field, we go pond-dipping (which either involves the kind you do with a net and a magnifying glass, or literally taking off our clothes and dipping ourselves in the pond)!, we go to the woods, we go to the beach and find interesting things, we go to the library, we go to the park, we go shopping, we make yummy things, have picnics, go for long walks in all weathers, we read books, we go to home-ed group, we go to friend's houses, we have visitors, we go to Acey's nanna's, we go to Glastonbury, sometimes we just stay in and Acey plays with his toys, sometimes he draws and does spelling and colouring in. Acey learns through life. He knows what most wild flowers are, he knows the names of most herbs, he gives a great massage and reiki, he has taught himself to spell and can read a little bit too, but it doesn't matter if he can't. He's really good at drawing, he knows the name of superfoods that most school-teachers haven't even tried, he loves digging on our allotment. He has experienced community life, he has slept around a fire in a tipi, and in a gypsy waggon. He knows how to build dens and light fires, he knows how to forage, and he's just learned how to play the tibetan singing bowl, and he can work the computer better than I could a few years ago! Oh and he's a great singer too! ;)
Q. It must be such hard work! Don't you get bored? I think it's a brilliant thing, but I could never do it!
A. What....you couldn't parent your own child?! cos that's all I'm doing :) and I LOVE it!
Q. What made you decide to do it....I bet it's because you don't really want him to grow up. Won't it smother him, aren't you creating a rod for your own back? Won't it destroy his confidence?
A. See second question up. Do I really need to answer that?! No, it isn't because I don't want to see him grow up, I can't wait to see him learn and grow more independant and happy and healthy because he is nurtured in his own loving home instead of school (ie..institutionalizsed childcare)... and hey - guess what?! I get to witness this process every day :o) aren't I lucky?!
Q. What about the financial situation?
A. Ok, I'll admit..this is hard! Sometimes I think 'Oh, how I'd love to be able to go travelling, or go on holiday somewhere exotic once a year, oh how I wish I had a nice house by the sea, oh, I want that handbag but can't afford it :'( Yeah I am a single mum on benefits and soon I will have to work from home, probably on a very low income, yes I get lonely and upset and sad that I haven't got a supportive partner/husband who can bring in the money. But you know what? I wouldn't change my life for the world at the moment (unless I won the lottery). I'd rather suffer financially and be happy and free. Spending every day with my boy, knowing I am bringing him up how I feel is right, running around meadows, picking flowers, swimming in the sea, being explorers..... makes me feel so rich and blessed. :)
And one more thing; I don't judge YOU for sending your child to school. What is right for one person may not be right for another. But before you get all hot and flustered next time someone tells you that they are home-educated, please; go away and do some research. You sound silly when you ask all of the above questions as if yours is the only right way!
So yeah, anyway! Next blog post will be more about what we've been up to and less defensive, I promise.
Love and light xxx