The path through formal education.

The last couple of weeks have been all about exams. My daughter sat her first IGCSE exams, her double science award to be exact which consisted of three exams, each one 2 hours long covering biology, chemistry and physics. She has spent the last 18 months with a tutor every Monday (during term time) as part of a group working towards this, but even so the exam prep itself was a bit unnerving, for all of us.

Sure she had to do the learning and the revising, I had to take a step back and trust her that she was learning what she needed to know. I tried to help her where I could and was able to check some of her answers in the practise books and give her feedback, but it was a challenge for me to step back and have faith. I had to find a centre where she could sit her exams as an independent candidate and I had to register her. I will eventually have a bill land on my doorstep which I will have to pay. Its scary not yet knowing what figure that bill will have on it, I didnt have time to confirm the costs before registering her due to the cut off dates of the school I registered her for.  But in she went, 3 times for 2 hours each. Though one of the exams she rang me 30 minutes early to say that she had finished and come out, she appears confident which is promising. And so we await August and her results. I dont care how well she did, obviously it would be fantastic if she has A*s what parent wouldnt think that was amazing, but ultimately I feel that we all got so much out of the experience in itself that whatever the results and grades she gains, the whole thing has been a massive learning curve for us as a family.

She says at times that she wants to do more, other times she is not so sure. There is no rush. There is no necessity to take GCSEs, I know that there are enough other routes that dont involve these exams at all so I dont feel that I need to push her on this matter, though if she wants to do more we now know that it is perfectly possible and not quite as complicated as I was scared it was going to be.

Yes, you see what I did there? I admitted it. I had been scared, its scary stuff taking that responsibility for your childs education. Its a legal responsibility that we all have all of the time but sometimes when we enrol our children in to a school we do feel there is a bit of a safety net and we can breathe a sigh of relief that at least those exams are taken care of. Going it “alone” can be daunting. Not that I have ever really been “alone”, the home ed community is huge and there has been so much help and advice along this road.

The next path seems rocky, the road of college. We know that the local college accepts applications from home ed students. We know that they offer a course for 14-16 yr olds. We know that A would really like to attend. However, THEY dont seem to have a clue how the funding for this works. I have informed them that they need to contact EFA for funding, that they need to set up and individual learning record for A, I have given them the contact details for the Elective Home Ed Advisor for our county to help to confirm what they need to do. Its a bit of a battle but just one more hurdle to overcome so that in September A can begin work on a hairdressing course at college.

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