Monday, 4 June 2012

No Timetables

One of the great things about home ed, as most home edders will tell you, is that there are no timetables involved.
 Which means that if no-one's in the mood for maths you are free to read books, look for the hottest and coldest places on the map, paint pictures, watch a film in Italian, do a jigsaw puzzle, or do whatever else you are in the mood for instead.
It means that you never miss your big exciting educational trip because of flu (or indeed chickenpox).
It means you get to go on holiday when most kids are stuck in a classroom, and then visit all the museums and local attractions once everyone else has headed off on their considerably more expensive (but possibly warmer) holiday.
 It is also not entirely true.
It's certainly true that we have no written timetable (unless you count the big calendar I write reminder notes on) but nevertheless our weeks, and even days, do have a certain pattern and rhythm to them.
There are the home ed groups which, when someone's ill or on holiday, go ahead just the same without them, there are the ballet lessons, twice a week, which start promptly, end on time, and won't move for anyone.
There's the library, always visited on the same day, at around the same time: the point at which our convenience and the library's odd opening hours coincide.
There are buses to be missed at our peril, there are "See you next week"s and "Sorry we can't come"s.
Our time is not entirely our own.
 On a day to day level it's the same: On a day at home Eleanor tends to get her work books out in the morning, then she'll dance or watch a television program, perhaps I'll read to her or we'll play a game before lunch, on Mondays and Wednesdays we'll probably do some sort of art-based activity, on Tuesdays we'll look things up, Thursdays may involve making things, Friday has pie, and every Friday ends with us curled up on the settee watching films in Italian (for Eleanor) or Japanese (for me).
 None of this is obligatory, it just suits us, in the same way that that regular library visit (on a Thursday, last thing after a day of ballet, and craft projects) suits us.
I like it.
 I like the way our week rolls along from mostly-at-home more work-intensive Monday to a Friday spent almost entirely out of the house, not even glancing at a book*, until it all rolls up in that cozy ball on the settee.
 And if I stop liking it, or Ellie does, or Phoebe has something to do or somewhere to be one day, we can change it.
 Because we don't have a timetable.

*Ok, Eleanor does take a workbook out with her, just to pass the time during Phoebe's ballet class.
And we might read a story or two on the bus.
And sometimes hey have them at the Soft Play centre after lunch.
But apart from that there are no books.
 Not many anyway.

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