This blog is now officially 5 years old! If I'm honest I'm quite surprised its still going, I've been tempted to stop writing on several occasions, I've made the blog private a few times too when I've worried about the privacy aspect of writing about our family. But I've made several really wonderful friends from blogging and even met up with two of the families back in 2013 and again only this week which you can read about here. Reading their blogs has become part of my daily/weekly routine. When I've had wobbles its been their blogs and words which have reassured me, kind of like a supportive school playground!
Writing about our home education journey has been really therapeutic, its been wonderful to look back on too. The last year has seen a huge change in our journey in that Bailey has gone into college and so Four Pesky Hobbits has turned more into Three Pesky Hobbits! I still write about him on the blog and I still feel that we are involved in his education just no longer "in charge". Our family dynamics changed two years ago when Hubby left his job in insurance to work from home running our Ebay business. This has meant having two adults at home full time, which has been brilliant and even though I would have very much appreciated the help when I had 4 under 5's at home, its actually been much more of help now. Its allowed us to both have more one on one time with each child and also spend much more time as a family, now Bailey is off at college I am even more glad that we've had that time. Even though its been hard living on a smaller budget, the ability to be more spontaneous and to spend so much time together has been a gift that no money could change. Money isn't everything after all.
When I look back on the last five years I am astonished by the difference in all of my children, when we started the blog the children looked like this:
I can remember the day this photo was taken, just as we were releasing our butterflies into the wild and not long after we had just moved into that house. We've moved house again since then! And this is what the Four Pesky Hobbits look like now (I can tell you that it wasn't easy at all getting a photo of all four of them together, no one likes photos anymore!)
I know right? Its crazy how tall they've all got!! And just how grown up they look, makes me feel so proud and also a little sad that they are growing up so quick.
Five years is one of those funny things, it seems a long time but then when you are busy with four children its just kind of flown by and it seems to have just struck me how quickly things are changing. Five years ago the idea of GCSE's and college seemed so far away, our whole home educating journey seemed to be a little bit endless and I would have struggled to imagine exams! But now we have steered the waters of exams and getting into college I feel even clearer about our journey and decision to home educate. There was always so many questions about the future, from other people, family, friends and even total strangers! I had started to get quite panicked and even questioned myself, what if we failed them? What if I couldn't teach Ruben to read? (if you are a regular reader you'll know that that is something that has really stressed me out, until he just did it by himself one day you can read about that here. What if the exams were too hard and we'd not prepared them enough? What if they couldn't get a job? What if the college wouldn't accept IGCSE's? What if we've sheltered them from the "real world" too much like so many people argue??? All these questions flowed their way around my brain keeping me up at night.
And then we did it, well I say "we" but I mean Bailey, he got accepted pretty much straight away for the online GCSE courses through Sheffield College. Which meant he could still be at home and only have to go in on the occasional day every few months and for his exams. He managed to do both English and Maths without too much worry, showing a really exceptional grasp of Maths even though he hadn't done any formal maths in quite a while. He managed exams which were always a worry for me, as he was quite nervous and apprehensive. He got a place in college after a 10 minute interview for which he only had 40 minutes notice with only his two GCSE's (it should have been a minimum of 4). Then within 2 weeks of starting his course was moved up to a level 3 (which should have required a minimum of 5 A-C GCSE's) and so now instead of 3 years at college he will only need to do. This all means he is no further behind than if he had gone through school but he had the added bonus of being able to mature in his own environment, pursue his own interests, enjoy his childhood, spend time with his siblings (not sure how much of that he enjoyed ;)) and spend time with us. Meaning that we have a great relationship with our teenage son, he tells us things, he shares his day with us, he comes and talks to us if he has a problem that he needs help or guidance with. He still has all the traits of a teenage boy-forgets things, is messy and sometimes just generally needs a kick up the bum! But we have a really good bond with him from spending so much of our time together. I'm pretty much 99% sure it would have been a different story if he'd gone through school. I can't say for certain obviously, but I don't regret the decision we made, I only regret not making it earlier on.
As for the girls and Ruben, I've no idea where their home ed journey will end. They have grown and changed so much in 5 years that its impossible to say but I know that I don't doubt myself anymore (or at least a lot less than I used too, I'm a Virgo so I worry a lot naturally!!). Our life looks different to 5 years ago and I'm not sure if this is how I would have imagined it but I'm so very thankful for it and so excited to see where the next five years of our journey will lead us.
I've taken part in lots of home ed blog carnivals/hops before but never been brave enough to do one myself until now, so I hope it works! I'd love to hear what has happened over at your home school in the last 5 years! What big or small changes have you seen? have you any highs or lows? How are you feeling about the future of your home school? How have your children changed? Please join in with the Four Pesky Hobbits Blog Bounce and share your stories and experiences with us.
Here are the rules of the blog share:
1. Write your blog post
2. Use the blog graphic below as a header for your post
3. Copy the URL of your blog post and share it below
4. The closing date for the blog share is 31.5.15
If you have any problems or questions please use the blogger contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Looking forward to reading your posts!