Sunday, 1 February 2009

I'm not a one to rush into things but.........

......I have been trying to set up this blog for the past 4 months! Oh well. I never pretended to be great with technology.

So why the title "Six Quails in Wales" - perhaps I should begin by explaining myself. I have been home educating our 4 children for the past 2 and a half years. When we started out, we just wanted a different lifestyle - I didn't like the pressure my children were continually under at school. It seemed to be all about SATS and league tables - not about education at all. So we took the plunge and deregistered them - quite a leap for someone like me who had spent her life playing by the rules! Perhaps it was a mid life crisis!

I don't think I really knew what I was expecting home education to be like. Its a bit like being on a roller coaster ride, with emotions ranging from exhilaration to total blind panic. But for all the highs and lows it just feels right. Its nothing like school - I want the children to follow their own interests. Trusting them in this way has been something I have not found easy - but I'm learning! And that's the point. Home education is a journey of discovery for the whole family - we are ALL learning, about the world, about maths, about eachother, about everything and anything that comes our way. I am learning so much about myself and about my children - stuff that I know I just would have missed if we had continued in that crazy treadmill that we were all on before. We still do the maths, science, history and so on, but there is so much more to educating young people than learning facts. They need to be equipped to cope with an ever changing world - that is the real challenge.

But I digress..... back to the title of this blog!

There have been many special moments since we began home educating, but for me one of the highlights was when my teenage daughter asked if she could hatch some quails in her bedroom! To her total surprise (and mine) I agreed! She researched the subject and thanks to the kind loan of an incubator and heat lamp from another home ed friend (thanks) she managed to hatch 8 chicks from 21 eggs.

It was such a simple thing, nothing earth-shattering at all really, yet it was symbolic of how home ed had changed our lives. Coming from an Essex council estate where the only livestock consisted of cats and budgies, it felt like a real trip into the unknown for me! I don't believe we would ever have done such a thing had the children remained in school - it was a product of my daughter having time to develop an interest in birds, a product of all the wonderful new people we have been meeting all from different backgrounds, with different interests and experiences, and in a small way, a product of how I have learned to view the world differently now. It was a life enriching experience for all of us. And that's what home education is more than anything - a life enriching daily experience that has become a natural part of our lives.

As for the quails, we sadly lost 2 of them so we are left with 6 - just as we are a family of 6! They have moved with us to West Wales where we are looking forward to enjoying the surf, the wildlife and the landscape (well perhaps not the quails!)..............and the next chapter of our home educating life.


Carolyn said...

What a fantastic introduction to your life as an HE family....I look forward to keeping up with what you are doing there in Wales. We will be coming to see you soon!!!!!!

Ann said...

Hoorah!!! Well done on starting the blog, we look forward to hearing more news and seeing you soon.

Carol said...

Thanks Carolyn! You knew I'd do it eventually. Now we've started the kids are keen for me to blog about all the things they are doing!

As for coming to see us - the sooner the better!!

Ann - look forward to seeing you guys too!

Kim said...

Great to hear that life is looking good in Wales. So pleased to hear that you have managed to set up a blog page.
Lots of love and luck for the future

Kim x

Big mamma frog said...

congrats on starting the blog! ~Can't post much now, bedlam breaking loose and tears and tantrums in house (and that's just me)

Kristen said...

Auntie Carol,
What a great idea to set up this blog! I truly look forward to updates on how you are all doing and what new interests the children have shown and experienced. It sounds like HE was a great idea for you. I give you a lot of credit for being brave enough to delve into it and take on the tremendous responsibility of not only educating one child, but four. I don't know anyone who has been home-schooled, especially growing up in the Bronx, but it certainly seems as though it can be extremely rewarding to see your children blossoming and learning just the same as children who are enrolled in school. Perhaps, they are even happier and approaching things with more gusto than they might've in a structured environment. Who knows, maybe we'll join you in Wales one day and you can guide me with James and Anna. For now though, we would love to visit. Please tell Rhiannon that I loved receiving emails and photos of the quails' progress and that I'm sorry I never expressed that to her. Anna was so little at the time it was hard to do more than just read email. Also, send my love to all of the children and Derek and you of course too!

gregoryupnorth said...

Love it Carol... you are doing a marvellous job. One day we shall come and visit and see you and your fab family. In the meantime have agreat time with Helen, emma and Hannah - i know they are looking forward to seeing you. Love to you all. XXXXX