I recently had a delightful half hour sorting through some of the boys’ old homeschool folders. Memories flooded back of outings taken, stories read, projects completed. It was fascinating to chart not only their changing abilities as each year progressed, but also their interests and perspectives. We had such a lot of fun learning together.
What these treasure troves don’t tell, though, are my concerns “are we doing enough?”, “will he be able to get whatever grades or points he needs to go on the the job/course he wants?” “Will he be able to develop in other areas…music, art, sport etc?”. It felt like I often held on by sheer determination, nerves of steel and faith in an unwavering God.
Having spoken with so many other home educating mums I know these doubts are not uncommon. And I think they’re not only the premise of home ed mums!
Now Lanky Dude is eighteen and has officially finished compulsory education, I thought I’d write a little about how he’s doing, post home ed, which I hope might be of encouragement. Having said that, although I loved hearing stories of what home educated kids had moved on to do as adults, I always wondered if ours would be different…would God be faithful? Would they get the breaks they needed? There are no guarantees in parenting, but God has indeed been very faithful as we’ve stepped out.
I’ve previously written about our boys’ transfer from home ed to college
These two years at college were very good. He studied maths, further maths and physics A levels and completed an EPQ. He enjoyed the academic stimulation, made some good friends and had excellent teachers. I felt a real sadness when he finished…it had been such a huge answer to prayer and it was a joy to watch him grow in character, knowledge and abilities whilst there.
Revising for exams is never much fun, but through much hard work, God’s grace and heaps of prayer he achieved the AAB he needed to secure his place at the University of Bristol to study mechanical and electrical engineering.
Our society generally measures success at this stage by exam grades which I fundamentally disagree with. I am, however, very proud of his amazing results, but even more so of how hard he worked to get them; his endurance, work ethic and steady faith in God when things were tough.
He’s now taking a “year out” which is a bit of an anomaly as he’s working full time at a local engineering company, on the water jet cutting team. It’s good experience, both professionally and in terms of “real life”, and he’s earning money towards university.
So, has home education prepared him for the world of work? Well, something has as he goes in every day! A 6.00 alarm for him seems very early for a home school mum, and probably a school career for our kids would have prepared me better for early mornings. But for him…he is conscientious, a hard worker and good at problem solving. He’s also thoughtful and kind. He said that being home educated had taught him to be self-motivated.
So what about those other, “extra curricular” activities? Up until he started college he was involved in scouts, youth club, he sailed, he made amazing vehicles with Lego technic, he drew and played the viola. Gradually as the A level workload increased these had to be honed and it’s the music which has continued. He and Rhythm Dude started a band with some friends (folk rock) and he’s recently added an Irish bazoukie to his repertoire. His engineering mind enjoys the technical aspect of PA/ recording and he will be able to spend some of his hard earned cash on audio equipment.
So, that is his journey thus far. I’m excited about uni for him as I think he will thrive there. There is even more to pray for as our kids get older, so never any room for complacency; but I am immensely thankful for much answered prayer and for the lovely young man he has grown to be.