Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Home Education in the Sticks

There were times before we took the plunge and moved from London to this extremely rural part of the world, when we wondered if this new setting could possibly provide a sufficient variety and wealth of opportunity for our home educated children. Short of living in the middle of Dartmoor, you really would be hard pushed to get much more rural location. More worrying still, this part of the world was not known for having a thriving HE community.

Report after some six years of living and HEing here: we needn't have fretted. This week, five days out of seven, we will be visiting five entirely new venues, places we have never been to ever before, where we will be able to learn, amongst other things, about how to prepare restaurant style food, how to shin up rock faces and climb down simulated pot-holes, look for and identify bugs in fields and ponds, learn about the politics and intricacies of communal living, and do some drumming, painting and other crafts. The other two days of the week, we will be visiting friends, where the kids will be able to play from noon till late in the evening, giving them the chance to really become enmeshed in their various projects, which last time included building stunt cars, crashing said cars down various slopes, playing a completely (to adults at least) obscure and immensely complex card game, playing shops and mums and dads, all these for hours at a time.

I remember the occasional day such as this as a child. Such times were extraordinarily meaningful and I cannot believe that I didn't learn a vast amount during such apparently formless and meandering days.

As for the HE community, again we needn't have worried. It is generally thriving here.

Even the weather is magical. Since the schools broke up it has been nominally terrible....but those low lying clouds, swaddling the hills into receeding layers of grey as we drove over the ridge on our way home, I wouldn't be without any of this.

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