On Sunday evening Sean and I were lying on our swing seat eating our tea and listening to the new starlings that have just recently flown the nest in our roof. He told me that he wanted to remain home schooled and not to go to secondary school when he is thirteen. I asked him why he had this change of heart and he told me that even though his friend Rhys is in the same class year as him and even though he is almost twelve, (a year older than Sean) he has so much home work to do. This seems to be playing on Sean's mind.
I have to say that I can hardly blame him. Sometimes the two boys work together, Sean on his home schooling work, and Rhys with his home work so we have both seen first hand the huge amount of home work his friend gets.
We had friends from the Church over for lunch earlier that day and the mother was telling me how much home work her son gets. She said he comes home from school after three, has dinner and works, sometimes for hours. Once or twice a week her son plays soccer (the 3 sons are very sporty) and by the time he gets home, has his tea and starts on his home work he could be still working until after eight...
I have to say this people. It seems to me that some children are working harder than their parents. If this is true then something is wrong. We have laws in this country to protect children from being taken advantage of, that protect them from working. Yet I see children going to school from 9 to 3 and coming home to work for another 2 to 3 hours most evenings.
Somethings not right.
Although I like home schooling Sean and am all for home schooling, I don't normally give out about regular school. There are pros and cons to both forms of education. However, I think we (parents) should stop and think through what their children are having to do, year in, year out.
Sean and I continued to talk about going to school. I told him that I am not able to teach him past the age of thirteen. I did encourage him by telling him that when he goes to school we hope that the teachers will make allowances for him for a while and that I will continue to help him to settle in a lot. Also, although he must take Irish as a subject, the particular school he has been accepted into has a separate class for students like him who have no Irish. They will be staring at the start (unlike other schools that make children sit in the Irish class with other students who have spent over 6 years learning Irish) and wont be taking exams on the subject. Another thing is the different teachers and classes. Cooking (which Sean likes) Art, Computers, Music, Wood work,, Metal work, Sports etc. These are subjects which he will enjoy and are not hard subjects at all.
I told him that I will ask the parents of a nice boy we know who started secondary school last September if he can come over and have a chat with Sean and tell him what it is like.
Hopefully this will encourage him to look forwards (as he had been doing) and not be worried about school.