So we're a home schooling family now: I know, check me out just casually throwing that in there! Yup, we do a bit of unit learning, some workbooking, mix it up with a bit of un-schooling, y'know, just keeping it casual.
Ahahahahahaha! I jest with the casual. This is me, I'm not good with the casual. I'm good with the planning and the writing and the documenting and, yes, even the over-analysing, and stressing, but casual? Not my forte.
This is one area in which Keith and I compliment each other very well, and after three months of this home schooling game, we are starting to find out how each of us fits together to make the perfect puzzle.
But I have started at the end: Let me rewind to a time, about six months ago, when my stress levels were through the roof and all manner of shit was being lost over the little matter of our exemption.
Down here in Aotearoa, any child who is not attending an established school has to be granted an exemption by the Ministry of Education. I have no idea why this has been tolerated in a country where such a healthy dose of self determination usually exists, but that's a rant for another day.
The point is we had to get one before Alfie turned six, and while there is an awesome amount of peer support, you have to tread this lonely path for yourself. I'm pretty sure it's fundamental to you ability to call yourself a home schooling parent; like a badge of honour, or AURYN in The NeverEnding Story.
Like all good quests, we all choose our own paths to reach The Oracle; some people write an essay and riff on the theme of education. Some people - that would be me - turn it into a full scale annotated and referenced report.
If you have neither the time nor the inclination to read the whole thing, I can help you out with a brief summary: I copied the key subjects and disciplines listed in the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and then went through and wrote some stuff about how we would meet each one. Because my poor, overwhelmed brain needed me to do that, even though it took nine fucking pages!
A few weeks after sending my missive in to the MoE we got a letter asking for more information.
When I read the letter now, I'm all "sure, no problem, check out my riff on on the theme of education".
At the time, I was all ATRAYUUUUUU!!!! .... FALCORRRRRR!!!! ... ATRAA ... you get the idea, I was on my quest and free falling into the Sea of Possibilities.
Just checking in; anyone still with me on The NeverEnding Story analogy?
Luckily, the additional information that the MoE requested was around how we planned to teach Science and Technology so once I got over my "minor wobble" I rolled up my sleeves and sat down to share with them the song of my people.
Oh yes, my friends, for I am a woman in STEM and if there is one area in which I can riff the shit out of education, it is science and technology.
If you want to read my letter (case worker's name redacted) then you can find it here.
I don't know if it comes over but I had an absolute ball writing that letter because it showed me that even in those few months between ERMIGAHD WE HAVE TO DO TEACHINGS!!!! and that precise moment, Alfie, Keith and I had already started to work out how to do this learning thing in a way that really works for us.
Where before I had seen only curricula and rules and fucking Pinterest posts on how to manage the perfect home classrooms (who has that much time to colour code and file?!?!?) now I was seeing this for what it truly was; a lifelong journey we were all on together.
Our exemption became a reality thanks to a lot of amazing people feeding me wine and courage. Special thanks goes to you Lynn, without you I would have never made it past The Trials ... or indeed this NeverEnding Metaphor.