In the last few weeks I have finally come to the conclusion that as of September I will home school my 4-year old.
I haven't heard about whether he has been accepted into the schools that we chose last year (when I still hadn't decided), and now I actually feel like I don't want to know. I always said to my husband that if he only got into our third choice school then we should definitely home school - yet if he were to get into our first choice then I was worried that I'd feel confused again as to what was the best thing to do. However, the last few days have appeared to bolster my plan to home school, at least in my mind anyway. One thing that occured this week was when my 4-year old went to his tennis class. He goes there with around a dozen other children ranging from age 4-8, and two of his friends that he has known since they were babies (from a mums and tots group). Well, he has always got on very well with these two friends, but this week he came home and told me that they had been running away from him saying, "we're not playing with you". It made me feel so sad for him but told him that they were just being silly and that he should try and ignore it. Incidentally these two children go to the same small pre-school (linked to the small village school that is our first choice) and seem to largely just play with eachother when they go to pre-school, which is why I think they were being like that with my son. I think that maybe they are so used to playing with just eachother that they don't want to include anyone else and I think that is possibly an example of the institutionalisation that can take place within school environments - which laughs in the face of those who believe that their children are attending school in order to socialise.
We also went to one of my son's friend's birthday party this week. It was a nice party held at the local leisure centre with a room of soft play and there were over a dozen four-year olds there and younger siblings. What I found interesting to observe was the way all the four-year old boys were very hyperactive and almost veering on the violent with one another. I remember my brother and his friends being like this when they were around seven years old and I think it is quite normal but I didn't realise that four-year old were like this because my son isn't. His "best friend" (in his words) is three weeks younger than him and one of the children that we've known since he was a newborn from the mums and tots group. They get on very well but what I'm observing more and more is how they play lovely with the train track or cars but then said friend wants to play wrestling or pretend guns and my son just wants to carry on with the trains and cars and doesn't seem to "get" the fighting games. I wonder if it is something that occurs more if the child goes to nursery or pre-school. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing as they are only play fighting but I just found it interseting to note that my son is the only one that doesn't go to a nursery or pre-school and he was the only one not "fighting" at this party. And that is not to say that he is not sociable as he is a real chatterbox and not at all shy. I think it is actually a great thing though that he doesn't just follow the pack and engage in the play fighting just because that is what everyone else is doing. I'm good friends with his friend's mum and she said to me at the party that she's always telling people about her friend who has three children who are so happy and well-behaved and and how we are planning to home school - which she says she thinks is a wonderful thing to do ("you're so patient and just a natural, unlike me," she said). I felt really surprised that she thought that about me as I don't think I'm anymore patient than anyone else really and I never thought my children were that well-behaved ("you should see us at home", I said!). But it was nice to hear someone say that about us.
Anyway, these were just a few things that have been on my mind and have helped me to believe more and more that we are doing the right thing by deciding to home school. So...watch this space!