It is a year since our last visit from the County Council's Home Education Officer (See Blog Archive, July 2010 "Engaging with County"), so a few days ago I received a call to arrange her visit. The man who came last year has since retired, so it was to be our first meeting with the new person in post. Anxious to make a good impression, though still quietly confident about what we are doing, the boys and I spent yesterday finishing off our outstanding art projects and assembling a display of our work for this year. It was good to do this 1) because it pushed me to get all the boys' work organised and filed reasonably well - something I needed to do before we move house in the next few weeks, and 2) because it reminds us of all the wonderful things we have done and learned this year. When we look back at it all, it is encouraging to see how much we have achieved, and I can see how much the boys have progressed since last year.
Today's visit went well, and was the beginning of what I hope will continue to be an interesting and profitable dialogue - in both directions. The boys love to have the opportunity to showcase their work, and to talk to an interested audience about all that they have been doing. They all spoke confidently and proudly about their work and achievements. The Education Officer was affirming and encouraging, which boosts our confidence and helps allay my doubts and fears. She was with us for 4 hours, talking not only to each boy in turn, but also to myself and my husband throughout, listening to our reasons for doing what we are doing, and also to our questions and concerns. I find this a helpful interaction as I feel if I was in need of guidance and support, there is someone who understands what we are trying to do whom I could ask for help. She had some insightful comments to make about the boys, and some helpful suggestions for ways forward, which I will be happy to take on board. In particular, she noted that we need to give our eldest son help in mastering the skills which will enable him to share with the world clearly and coherently the many great ideas that flow through his sharp little mind. The Kumon programme which all three boys will commence this month will help develop discipline and mastery of study skills. Our youngest son - our unschooled child - was noted to be especially bright and articulate.
Overall it was a positive day. My subconscious desire to achieve a Number 1 on her scale of 1-5 shows me how my schooled self is still so extrinsically and grade motivated, but we were again told we were doing an excellent job and exceeding expectations, so I feel all the hard work is affirmed and have the confidence to go on for another year. Other than that, feel completely exhausted!
Work based on 'Pilgrim's Progress'