Education….Education…Education….

Is it a bird....?

I’m going on Holiday in October Term time AND taking my 9 year old son with me. I take him out of school every year for a holiday and for other activity days, as was agreed with his school that I be allowed to do so in advance of enrolling him.

Flexi Schooling is the correct term for it.

I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously and TBK consistently scores in the top percentile in his class  and receives glowing praise every year from his teachers, he has friends in school who come home to play (please read create havoc), and is fully integrated into society, he is bright and articulate, and as bias as I may be as his mother I do have the school reports to back this up, His education and social skills are not suffering because of it, if anything they are prospering.

YET the local paper is yet again reporting on an increase of “Truancy Fines” and while the article itself didn’t really rub me up the wrong way.  As, I will never have to pay a truancy fine for my son  as we’ve the proper protocol in place for our educational choices, But taking out holiday leave from the debate,  it still leaves the question unanswered of WHY these young people feel the need to play truant in the first place?*,  What really wound me up was the ignorance of some of the commentators who posted both before and after me.

These trips or in some peoples eyes “absenses” provide an education kids just can’t get when in school and also teaching shouldn’t just happen, and in our life DOESN’T, just happen from 9am – 3pm in the classroom!

On our holiday, just like last year, we will be teaching TBK Maths (currency conversion), Geography (he knows where we are going and surrounding countries) History, (we often like to visit cultural and historical monuments while away and actively encourage TBK to involve himself in the culture). R.E. (Turkey (this years destination)  is a predominantly a Muslim country) and much more, all on a one to one basis for periods of time he would never get in the classroom.

Previously he’s also been out of school to have the opportunity to attend HESFES, (the home educators seaside festival) where he has taken part in wood work and metal work excersizes,  fabric painting and labyrinth building amongst other things, using skills he’d have never developed sat behind a desk.

We’ve taken him out of school to have a hands on learning experience  as a zoo keeper for the day.  He’s had time off to go to an archery day, and to attend other exhibitions and events. Once, when he was in reception class, I even kept him off school on a Monday JUST so he could have a day off, As over the weekend he had participated in clay building with us, visited a monkey sanctuary, spent an afternoon playing drums and for a child of only 6 this was a lot, he needed the rest!

So how about we stop stereotyping parents who take their kids out of the classroom for any period of time as losers (as one commentator metioned) or selfish (as another did) and look at the beneifts these extra curricular activities can and do provide!

The real time and effort should be concentrated on dealing with the parents who’s children aren’t getting any education through truancy because the parents just don’t care!

* Yes I played truant as a teen, and I was duely punished for it by my mother, But I know why I did it. I hated my English teacher and she hated me, proven fact as she marked all my work down and told me , and my mom, I woudln’t get higher than a D,  myc oursework was sent to the invigulator and came back marked higher and I left school with a B (lit) and a C(lan)  Take that Mrs Smith!

Maybe if I’d have been listened to as a teen and moved to another class I’d have attended those sessions I missed and maybe that tis the answer now, listening to what our young people want!

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