Done and Dusted.
Over and done with.
Oh the relief!
What am I talking about? Our annual LA 'inspection' of educational provision of course.
I always feel the same. A mixture of tentative excitement and enthusiasm, stirred with a spoonful of 'have we *really* done enough?' Deep down I know we do a fair amount. I can see my children thriving. I know that they are happy. I witness their enthusiasm for learning and their general love of life. I *KNOW* that our decision to home-educate was the right one, absolutely without question. I know that it works for us, that we are succeeding - I only have to look at my children to see that, to feel that, to believe that.
That's how I feel every year.
and every year I feel relief that the meeting is over and all has gone well.
So why do I put myself through it when I know there are other options? I know I could refuse a visit, I know that I could refuse to have the authority check up on our educational provision full stop (they have been satisfied with it for the past 7 years after all...) I know that I could just put into writing what we do and send it as a report. I know all the options, and still I insist on allowing someone into my home to verify that I'm doing an ok job of educating my children. Still I put myself through butterfly inducing nerves and last minute panicky moments.
Because I want to. Because for me it's the easiest option. Because my children don't mind and actually enjoy 'showing off' their work efforts and talking about their achievements. Because it's right for me and mine. Because our 'inspector' is lovely, interesting to talk to, and we exchange ideas and inspirations. Because she 'gets home-ed' and how it works for us.
It's my choice.
I don't feel pressured or coerced into it. I don't feel forced to prove my provision for the education of my children. If I didn't feel so comfortable with our visitor, I would be more than happy to choose an alternative way of communicating with our Local Authority. I do get tired of people frowning at us for allowing visits. I don't like the way I am sometimes made to feel guilty for accepting what some think of as an intrusion. I am sad that certain people can't accept my choice and understand that I have that freedom to choose just as they do.
I like visits because I like talking - those that know me in real life will be nodding their heads with agreement at that statement :) I like talking about home-education (again, I can see those nods!). I enjoy talking about what we do, my ideas, places we have been, things we have enjoyed, plans that have worked and those that haven't. I find it a lot easier to talk and discuss things, than to try to put together a report - it would be pages and pages long if I put into written word all that I wanted to say. You only have to look at how I ramble on this blog for proof of that :) So I choose to have a visit, from a lovely lady, whose company I actually like and dare I say almost look forward to.
I won't apologise for that :)
This afternoon's visit went well. Cups of tea were drank, children bubbled with enthusiasm as they shared their days (it was totally their choice to be present at the 'meeting', I didn't request that they were there, neither did our 'visitor'). We talked about places we had been, projects we have done, books we have read, our favourite days, things we struggle with, things we want to develop further or improve upon. Our visitor listened, made notes so she could go away and tick all the right boxes, and suggested ideas - ideas which we will implement and I am grateful for. I wasn't asked to 'prove' anything. No work was requested for viewing, no child was tested, I wasn't asked for evidence of what I said being true.
We had put together a wall display, which wasn't purely for the visitor's benefit, but it was for ours too and something we will be doing throughout the year at each quarter. Our Autumn wall display currently looks like this...
We have placed photographs of things we have done throughout the Autumn months, places we have been, our experiences, etc. I really like the fact that we can see at a glance the amount of variety we pack into our lives. The children really seemed to enjoy reminiscing - I could hear 'I remember that!' and 'That was cool!' as they looked over the display. So that idea is a keeper I think. Every three months we will do a seasonal themed display and add our photos, poems, and thoughts to the wall for all to see as each day goes by.
Roll on next year...