Bailey has spent the last 9 months or so taking two GCSE's in Maths and English online, which has been provided by our local college with no cost to us. Something which I used to worry about quite a bit, exams/gcse courses/igcse courses can all be very expensive, we would have found the money if needed be but when you home educate it is something that changes your life in so many ways. By this I mean maybe the type of choices we have made since becoming a home educating family. Jobs have changed to allow us the freedom of both of us being around for our children, we buy lots of second hand things-which we hardly ever did before we home educated-things that might have once been important to us no longer are-I suppose a little keeping up with the "jones'" kind of thing? Yeah we don't have a new car, we rarely wear branded clothing-unless its second hand or heavily reduced, we don't spend our spare time shopping or eating out (unless its a home made picnic!) Things that are important to us now, as a family who home educates, are spending time together, following child led interests, reading, having a happy (not always tidy or perfect!) home and really being there for all our children. Its a tough job but I know we wouldn't want it any other way too.
The decision to home educate was so much bigger than I had imagined or anticipated, it has changed our lives in so many more ways than I could have dreamt. Its also meant, and I see this as a really good thing, that we have met so many people from different walks of life, different cultures and religions, we've had more visits/trips/experiences than I think the children would ever have had in school.
The children have been allowed time, space and freedom to develop their own characters, personalities and interests with no/very little peer pressure. For Bailey in particular this has meant he has been able to follow his interests of reading, warhammer, xbox, pc games, lego etc. He hasn't been forced into doing things he dislikes such Physical Education (except maybe a walk through the peaks haha). He has been to so many places not just in the UK but also Europe, he has learnt history through visiting places such as Hampton Court Palace, Welsh Castles, The Hague, Isaac Newton's home, English Castles, Southwell Workhouse and London Museums. He's been allowed to sleep in when he needed it and has hardly been ill since leaving school.
If I'm honest I think Bailey would have done well in school too, there are some things I think he might have struggled with but I think he is the kind of boy who is thoughtful, kind, polite,clever, funny and sensible. And some could argue he has been "sheltered" from certain things, but I don't think that is a bad thing. He has had longer to mature than perhaps he would have if he'd stayed on at school.
We are only two days away from his GCSE results, he's not nervous as he has already secured a college place doing something he is passionate about-Video Games Design-in fact the next stage of his life is all going really well. He recently got himself a part time job at a local pub and for a 16 year old he's getting a good pay, he is working really hard and we couldn't be more proud of him. He has so many exciting new adventures ahead of him, I'm sad that he doesn't come out with us anymore and I can't tell you how strange it is that we often have only three children or less with us. But that's plenty to be busy with ;)
The answer to my title is still a bit unanswered really, what happens next I'm not 100% sure but I know that we have a very close bond with our son and if don't think that will change with him being in formal education again. I'm going to miss him dreadfully though!
This is going to be my very last "public" blog post, I'm still going to write the blog but I'm not putting it online. Things are changing and I need to change with them, thank you to all of you for reading, I've had some really wonderful comments over the last 4 years of keeping the blog and today the blog hit 95,000 page views which is amazing!! I've even managed to meet some fellow bloggers which was wonderful.
The four pesky hobbits and their mama thank you for reading xxxx