Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Absence makes the heart grow blasé.

We went to Center Parcs* this year.
While we were there Eleanor went to a Pirate Princess Party**, which was mostly a great success.
Unfortunately somewhere along the line she started to miss us and, when we failed to materialise became very upset.
 When we picked her up Richard remarked that she was probably upset because she wasn't used to being away from us "because she's home-schooled".
 Everybody there seemed to think this a perfectly reasonable explanation for her distress, I on the other hand was more than a little annoyed.
 Eleanor, at the time of the party, was three years old: six months younger than the minimum age for starting pre-school.
As such her home-schooled status could not possibly have had anything to do with the matter.
If he had said "Because we don't take her to a nursery" it would have been quite reasonable: nursery children have to get used to being away from their parents much sooner than those with a parent at home, so a nursery child might have done much better at the party than our three-year-old with her stay-at-home Mother.
 This didn't even occur to Richard at the time.
This might seem like a bit of a rant directed at poor Richard so here's the point: he supports home education, he's actively involved in home education, yet, like so many people he subconsciously assumed that a home-educated child must be less socially secure than a schooled one, to the extent that when our three year old became upset he thought not "she's three" but "she's home-schooled".
If home educators can think this way it's no wonder the rest of the world seems to agree.

Fortunately for all of us home education doesn't seem to have scarred her too badly and at the age of three and a half Eleanor's a much more confident little girl.
Somewhat to my chagrin in fact.
This week she is attending a Musical Theatre Summer School which runs from nine in the morning to half past three every day from Monday to Friday just like a standard school.
She has been looking forward to this with great anticipation, I, on the other hand have been terrified.
 Most schooled children start pre-school at around three and a half to four years of age.
They'll probably have gone in with a parent for a day or two to get used to the place and the people but when the time finally comes for them to be left alone there are, inevitably, tears.
So when the time came to leave Eleanor on Monday I naturally expected her to be a little concerned.
She knew the teachers*** but the girls were all strangers, all bigger, and mostly a lot older than her.
I thought there would be some trepidation, some hesitation, a little reluctance to see me go.
Not a bit of it: she barely paid attention to my leaving, so engrossed was she in what those bigger girls were doing.
Coming to pick her up I was afraid there might have been some tears in the interim: it was a long time to be without a parent after all, most preschool classes are only half days at first and children still have trouble with those.
At the very least, I thought, she'll be glad to see me.
I was met with perfect equanimity but with utter disinterest: a glance, a shrug that said "Oh. It's you. Hello you." and she went back to fastening her shoes.
 It's not that I wanted her to be upset but would it have been so hard to look just a little happy to see me?
Alas, we seem to be raising a confident, outgoing little girl who's comfortable in any society and who has no desire to cling to her parents whatsoever.
Oh well.
Maybe it's because she's home-schooled.

*You don't know what it cost me to spell it like that.
**Apparently pirate princesses say "Ooh la la arrrr".
***One teaches her ballet class, one taught her as a toddler, and one ran the baby class.

No comments:

Post a Comment