Since I fell pregnant, Husband and I have been talking about Sausage’s education. It’s something which is hugely important to us and influenced our last move, as we wanted to be within the catchment area of the best local primary. It just so happens that the school we’ve got earmarked for Sausage is also the primary which Husband, and more or less his whole family, attended and it’s got the best Ofsted report of any school for miles around. This is largely due to the headteacher, who has been at the school for decades and is deeply involved in the improvement of the school and surrounding community.
Unfortunately, said headteacher is due to retire this year, which means that he’ll be long gone by the time Sausage is due to start school in September 2012 (or possibly January 2013 as she is a late summer baby), and though we’re sure that his replacement will be well-chosen, there will still be a question mark in our minds as to whether the high standards will be maintained. We’ve talked in passing about Home Education, but have talked ourselves out of it for many reasons, not least of all the social interaction aspect. But really, there are also many pros to Home Education too.
For a start, we wouldn’t be bound by a curriculum, which means that we could teach Sausage a more well-rounded set of subjects. We could introduce a language, which very few primaries seem to do to any great extent, despite it being a well-known fact that the younger a child is exposed to a second language, the better they will absorb it.
There’s also the fact that I wouldn’t have to send her to school to be taken care of by any Tom, Dick or Harry. If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that a friend or relatives child has come home from school, distraught, because of an unneccesarily harsh telling off by some jumped up TA of dinner lady, or a teacher who had no idea about commanding respect from a class of 7 year olds, and so resorts to shouting at the top of his lungs to try to regain control, I could probably afford to build my own school! This, for me, is just the tip of the iceberg of all the things that I will be worrying about on a minute-by-minute basis when Sausage is at school.
I also mentioned the social aspect of going to school, and whilst I think that interaction is important for kids, I also believe that most children are naturally social creatures, and will interact in many ways. If Sausage wanted, she could go to a different after-school club or group every night of the week. This would mean that she could be involved in activities which involve physical activity of some sort, as well as meeting and interacting with her peers.
The thing is, I have reasoned arguments for just about every angle you look at this from, and do truly believe that Husband and I could give her both a high standard of education, as well as a fulfilled life. So why is it, on 100% of the occasions in which I’ve mentioned in passing our ideas about Home Ed, the people I’ve been telling seem to adopt an expression of either abject horror, or soul destroying sadness? And the only reason that most of them can give for their opinions is that we’d be depriving Sausage of the chance to meet kids of her own age. But would we really be acting unfairly by keeping her at home? In keeping her away from school bullies, power-hungry teachers, an archaic curriculum, over-crowded classes and under-funded schools?
At this point, I’m torn. We want Sausage to have the best of everything, but isn’t it the job of the parent to realise that what we want isn’t always necessarily what’s best for the child?
I don’t know. But at least we have a couple of years to think about it.