|Proud as punch of his colourful crab – a WilderQuest Discovery activity in |
Wyrrabalong National Park
We made the decision a while back that Luca wouldn't be going to school next year. It didn't take us long to decide. In fact, my heart knew in an instant.
I'm really grateful that it was an easy decision.
We want him to have a long childhood. We want him to have more time to play and have fun. There's a lifetime ahead of systems and institutions and rules. I'd rather all that wait for a little while longer. Truth is, I'd rather put it off for as long as possible.
It really was very easy to decide. Especially when I started reading about the Finns and how they've reformed education in their country. Hearing that children don't go to school until they are 7 was music to my ears. Particularly when theirs is such a success story – the country has one of the highest performing school systems in the world.
The Finns are, apparently, fans of the 'less is more' approach. They do extended childhoods. They like simple and they like common sense.
I'm quite a fan of the Finns. Heck, I'd even move to Finland if I didn't think another move round the world would kill me.
Seriously, though, I think it's all very good. Luca turns five next year and he'll be doing pretty much what he's doing now. Two or three days at a preschool that genuinely embraces unstructured, play-based learning and the rest at home.
Trouble is, we're looking ahead to 2014 when he turns 6. We don't know where he'll be going to school. Have I looked into schools properly? Not really.
You see, one of the main reasons for keeping him back is because Luca is a highly sensitive child. (I might do another post on this trait, because I think it could help a lot of parents who might not know they're raising a highly sensitive child.) He wouldn't cope. The world can be a bit too much for Luca most days – and too much for us, as a result! There's the fact he needs a lot of downtime (he still naps). I just know, as his mother, he'd go to pieces in a school playground.
Maybe the reason I haven't started looking at schools is because I don't think the school system, as it stands, is where Luca will thrive. Not in his early years, anyway.
We've been talking about homeschooling. A bit strange, given that I've always ruled us out as a homeschooling family.
Keeping him back was the easy decision. It's knowing what to do after that.
Do I want to homeschool? I don't think I do. But then I'm speaking as someone whose days are filled with endless bickering. Toddlerhood will be past us by then. But I still need quiet on my own every week.
How will I homeschool and work at the same time? I've heard that you only have to do three hours a day when you're teaching children at home. But does that work in practice?
There is a huge homeschooling community here on the Central Coast, which is comforting to know. I know the resources are there, and I know it can be a much richer way of learning.
In fact, from the little information and insights we've gleaned so far, we both agree it would be perfect for Luca.
This is how he'd thrive. This is how he thrives now. He's infinitely curious, questions everything. I fantasise about all the different projects we could do, walks we could take, trips we could go on.
I think about all the gardening he wants to do, and how he could carry on really indulging his creativity and his love of drawing.
But I don't know if I could do it. We know what's best for him, but are we committed enough?
Maybe we'll homeschool till he's seven, and make a decision then.
Or maybe I'll find this elusive small school that I've set up in my head – the one that couldn't care less about results or about homework. The one that doesn't tell parents what they want to hear. The one with a proper fruit and vegetable garden that isn't just there to give parents a warm, fuzzy feeling about where they're sending their kids every day. The one that lets children learn at their own pace. The one that does school three days a week, so I can homeschool and watch him learn the other two.
Have you seen it?
I have no idea what to do. But we have time still.
If you're a parent facing a similar predicament, what are you doing? Have you found a school that fits the one in your head? Or do you homeschool? How do you homeschool and