A few weeks ago I was chatting with a young friend who was about to start senior school. “I’m excited, and a bit nervous too,” admitted Lily.
“And how are you feeling about not starting senior school, Cordie?” Lily’s mother asked C(11).
C(11) considered for a moment, then replied with a smile, “I’m feeling very not nervous.”
People have often asked how long we plan to continue home-educating. Many assumed we’d stop at the end of junior school (age 11), or before GCSE’s (age 14). While I’m hoping to support my children learning at home until they’re at least 16, I would never stop them from going to school if they wanted to.
Daniel, one of C(11)’s old school friends has chosen to go away to boarding school. His mother was telling me how excited he was about the prospect of spending so much time with his friends doing fun activities. “I bet Cordie would love it, too,” she added.
My husband’s parents generously contribute to all their grandchildren’s education, so boarding school wouldn’t be out of the question if either of our children ever wanted to go. I mentioned Daniel’s excitement to my extroverted, energetic daughter.
“Do you think you would like to go to a school like that?”
“It sounds amazing,” replied C(11). Then she sighed contentedly and added, “But I could never give up all this.”
Yes, C(11) would love to spend more time with her friends and do even more sport than she already does, but she also appreciates all the quiet time she has at home to draw, read, watch videos or just relax and listen to music. (I once wrote a post about how C(11) left school because she wanted to do so much, and school seemed the most sensible activity to drop.)
I used to think that as a home-educating parent I’d feel the pressure rise when my children reached senior school age. Towards the end of the last summer holidays I kept expecting to suddenly wake up one morning thinking “Holy cow! Cordie’s going to be in big school! We’d better get serious!”
But that didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself thinking about how much C(11) had learned by herself all summer long. I reflected on the thought-provoking conversations I have with her and J(10), during which I find myself wondering where they got their huge vocabularies and ability to express themselves. I marvel at their enormous zest for life, their self-confidence, the self-set goals they eagerly work towards. And I feel so thankful we’ve found our unschooling groove.
I’m appreciatively linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler’s Weekly Wrap-Up.
12 thoughts on “Not feeling nervous about not starting senior school”
What an upbeat post, Lucinda! A very good start to the year, I’d say. Funnily enough, we were in a very similar situation recently, in that one of Tiger’s friends has just started at a top all-boys’ senior school and loves it, so I checked out a number of the top boarding school prospectuses and asked Tiger the same question that you asked C(11). His response was pretty much the same as hers, so it seems that we’re going to be homeschooling for the foreseeable future. 🙂 Nonetheless, it was nice to fantasise about having my own time back…
Yes, from what I know of Tiger I can imagine him having a very similar reaction to C. Funnily enough we bumped into an old friend of mine at the theatre yesterday. Her two boys are at boarding school and it sounds like she has a very nice life. Then again, there I was enjoying a wonderful performance of The Importance of Being Earnest on a Wednesday afternoon, so I don’t think I have much to complain about. 🙂
Yeah! Well done for finding your unschooling groove! What a lovely, positive post – and your daughter looks so happy. Well done you!
Thanks, Lucy. I’ve been feeling a bit stopped with the blog lately, ironically because some of my science posts have taken on a life of their own. (One of them was in yesterday’s Canadian Huffington Post!). But I decided it was time to reclaim my little corner of the web and share what I feel inspired to talk about. So thank you for your encouragement, and for reminding me there are kindred spirits out there – I appreciate it. 🙂
I love the comment about giving up so much to go back to school. I’ve always vowed that we would give up homeschooling if we felt like we were missing out on opportunities. So far I feel like have more opportunities with homeschool.
It’s all about balance, isn’t it Carol? I really believe there is no one ‘right’ path for all. It’s just what works for each child, parent and family at any given moment.
Lovely post, Lucinda! Funnily enough, I think this is my favourite time so far. I love how excited they are for their future and how focused they are to get to where they want to go. It is such a privilege to be part of it all 🙂
Thanks, Claire! It just gets better and better, doesn’t it? Lucky us! 🙂
Your daughter sounds like a very grounded person, and I bet that with all she’s doing she is never bored! I love this post, and like Claire I find that the older my children get the more we all seem to enjoy the learning because it’s for joy and not just to cover basics any more. I’m sure you will too 🙂
You’re so right, Erin – I’m already enjoying being able to delve into subjects more deeply with them, and I bet that gets better and better. I’m also noticing how much I learn from them! 🙂
You snuck back to your blog while I wasn’t looking! I’ve only had limited access to the internet recently because of computer problems so the notification for this post must have slipped through without me seeing it. Never mind. Welcome back!
I saw the Huffington Post article. You are now famous!! It was great to see the elephant’s toothpaste included in the list of spectacular science experiments.
I’m so glad to hear C is happy at home and doesn’t want to go to school. You’d have less to write about and share with us if she disappeared off to boarding school! Also, more importantly, I imagine you’d miss her greatly.
Yes, life is very busy. There are so many interesting things to do, there’s no time for school! I remember one of my girls also saying something like that recently.
The photos of C are beautiful!
Hello Sue, How lovely to see you here! Thank you for your lovely comments. I was away for a while, wasn’t I? Thank you for not forgetting about me!
I do hope your computer issues are resolved soon. You’re doing a sterling job with your blog and podcasts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s very grateful to Sophie for lending you her computer so we don’t miss out while you are inconvenienced. 🙂