This coming week is when most of the children we know are going back to school. We're not, obviously. We are going to a Not Back To School Picnic, on Tuesday morning, in the playground and recreation ground opposite one of the local schools -- not because it's opposite the school, mind you, just because it's local and has parking and is easy to get to on public transport and isn't too far for me to walk (I'm still not very good at walking).
We've been using the Five in a Row curriculum (in our own pick'n'mix way) for two or three weeks now - we interrupted to go to the Discworld Convention, so one book was split over two weeks. Today I mentioned to Linnea that I needed to see what the next book was and what we might do with it, and she was ecstatic. We fished the book out of the pack and she started looking at it, picking out words and examining the pictures. It so happens that it's Lentil, and we have a harmonica, so we shall see what happens there. We might use the electric keyboard to have a look at reading music. And I foresee a lot of making charcoal going on.
Or we might not bother and spend the time riding bikes back and forth outside the house instead. Or make pizza.
The curriculum was bought for Emer, who is a naturally adult-pleasing child, and (as predicted) Linnea is interested because it's optional. If I'd bought it for Linnea she'd have resisted it strenuously, because being required to perform gives her the highest possible grade of heebies and also jeebies, and she is inclined to destroy things rather than admit that she tried to do them well, just in case they're not perfect.
It's one of the reasons I think school might not be the most nurturing or educational environment for her.
Then there's the ravenous appetite for social interaction and the deep deep need for absolute solitude. 6 hours a day in a large group situation would leave her very little energy for her friends, let alone her family.
Emer is school age now - she's four years and two weeks, so if we wanted her to have her year of Reception, the more casual play-based year of school, this is it. But she's not into spending huge amounts of time away from her family, especially her new baby sister, so we're not. ("Not into" in this context means "gets seriously upset by, and takes weeks to recover, and absolutely does not gradually get used to it.") Linnea has been fine with sleepovers with friends and so on since she was 3 years old; Emer is not the same in the slightest.
So we're going to a picnic, with the birthday-present bubble wands and the glass recycling because the bottle bank is in the same park, and then we'll probably go to the library.
"The best thing about home school is you can do it whenever you like and you don't have to have holidays," says Linnea. "And the teacher is your parents so you can tell them what you want to learn."
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