Saturday, 13 February 2010

The week of injections and rejections

What a week! So between 2 children being vaccinated and the other getting her tonsils out, I spent my days with one hand dispensing medicine and play-dough, trying to nurse the baby, (hands free - it can be done!)  and the other emailing then phoning DCSF and Council and any other connections I had. No help, other than the generic  "please refer to the DCSF registration of independent schools website" .
With many decisions to make, and questions to ask, I can only describe the feeling as if I have opened a roof hatch for fresh air and had it cascade a haul of thrashing fish down upon me.
Back to basics I decide. So...
Talked to a few friends about it and now have another family equally dispondent with local schools, now equally enthusiastic about micro-school idea. Great!
Have friend whose Dad has done just this type of thing, happens to be in London and will meet with us! I had seen his website already and felt very inspired.
Mr Toogood (from Human Spirit Education) was so passionate about small schools and the opportunities it created for the children. What was amazing, he said was how the age between the children simply disappeared, and how keenly this illustrated to him how wrong minded it is to stream by this means.
He gave us some great ideas. The list of to-dos was intimidating but not insurmountable. Most important, obviously, is to find the right teacher. He suggested a graduate, or teaching assistant rather than a teacher. Most teachers, he had found, like to orate and not engage.
Jouranalist friend sent articles by Toby Young who is setting up an Independent School and I like alot of the philosophies of the school.

But still, it is larger than what we are doing, has a dedicated site and is a secondary school.

We have decided to have weekly meetings with the other parents to work our way forward.

Progress is being made. It is.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Day 1

I officially started a new word today on wiki, micro-schooling.
(see here )
I have been floundering around trying to find a term to descibe what are I am trying to do, which is simply to get a better education for my children.

As any parents with kids in London know, trying to find a school nearby, that you would be happy to send your kids to is nearly impossible. If it isn't the exhorbitant cost of sending them to a private school, then it's having to fake your religious convictions. Then, there are the waiting lists...

All this hassle, stress and compromise, and at the end of it, there's no guarantee that they are even going to get a good education!

I got to thinking that there has to be another way, and this is what I'm thinking.

Why not hire a private teacher and share the cost with like minded parents? That way we could keep the student/teacher ratio low, keep costs low by doing it at our homes, choose when to take our holidays, go on lots of field trips, be far more creative and inventive, and nurture and celebrate our children's individuality instead of standing by and watching it get systematically squeezed out of them.

So, the first hurdle was explaining to various people what I have in mind. It's not home schooling - the 'home schooling' crowd have made that very clear to me (some nicely and some not so nicely). And it's not an independent school (according to my local Camden council), as that would include a dedicated premises. So far the progress I have made is only that really - that no-one knows how to help me, because they have not come across what I am proposing, before.

This blog is going to chart my journey from idea to conception and I would really welcome input from anyone who is doing anything similar.