Last Tuesday, we had an unexpected knock on the front door while we were having lunch.
It was actually a civilised cooked lunch, and William was asleep on the sofa after a very busy morning out on the bikes. Totally unheard of for him.
It was a lady from the LEA wanting to confirm that I was indeed Home Educating Jonathan and David. I know this isn't correct procedure, and I can only assume that the headmaster from the village school that she had been visiting, had said what a lovely lady I was and that he was sure I wouldn't mind!!! Actually, what she said was that she was just passing and hoped that I didn't mind! An unannounced intrusion from an Education Welfare Officer? Why should I mind?!!!!
I have nothing to hide. The boys are all happy and healthy and well. A bit dirty maybe but then they are boys!!!
But it was still an invasion of privacy and the principle of the thing. As a Home Educator I always feel very judged by outsiders as to what we do as a family. How the boys behave etc More than I did when they were at school.
It was quite amusing though, as she looked very uncomfortable about knocking on the door, and although I wasn't rude or unpleasant, I didn't exactly make it easy for her! She had my name wrong (I remarried 4 years ago) and didn't even know that I had anothe HE'd son, whom I had been in contact about before. She asked which school he had been REMOVED from.....I had to smile at that. She made it sound like I went in and took him from school by force!! Not that Tom had taken his de reg letter in to his form teacher by himself and said goodbye to everyone quite happily! She said that they would send an information pack and a Programme of work form and that once that had been completed, that would be us ticked of the list for another year. So not just a numbers thing then, eh? There was me thinking they didn't care....obviously wrong about that!! ;-)
I managed to converse with her for a good few minutes, totally by myself, with no kids hanging on, or trying to earwig, join in or drown me out!!!!
She picked a good time...had she knocked just five minutes earlier she would have found this.......
The boys had been using sledgehammers and angle grinders, drills, hammer and chisels and saws to remove a section of wall of the brick shed, from outside the back door. We are creating a boot room. Wonder what the LEA would make of that!!!
In a way, despite feeling that I had brought it upon myself by crowing far too loudly recently about the LEA not being able to keep track of the HE children they do know about, it has actually had a positive effect. Initially, I thought, ugh far too much effort to have to write about the boys HE stuff for the LEA, then I thought about how awful it would be if they did want to visit...our house is such a mess, then I thought I could 'use' it as a tool to get the boys to pull their socks up in various areas that they have become lazy.....
I asked the boys to spend some time thinking about all the things they have been doing this last year and to write some things down to help me write a report for the LEA. Then one evening I sat down to make a few notes of my own. Now its not really in my nature to put a positive spin on such a thing as this. I hate following rules, jumping through hoops for the pleasure of other people for no valid purpose, but I actually found it quite a positive experience in the end.
I re read the letter I did last year for Tom, when they contacted me, and then I read through their guidance notes they sent through this time. I had covered every angle of every suggestion so felt quite pleased with myself. There were no loose ends.
Then I started my list of activities for David....I used 4 sides of an A5 notebook and still could have written more! Jonathan was slightly harder as his activities are very outdoor based but still I had 3 sides for him. Yet to do Tom's, but the point I am trying to make is that despite feeling like we don't do very much sometimes, it all adds up when you write it down in one place!!
We do loads....they have a varied life full of lots of different opportunities, and afterwards I felt good about the whole thing.
A shame that this educated person from the education authority still couldn't get all the names right on the letters, or the spelling of them for that matter!
They don't scare me.
The return of the happy children
4 days ago