I was delighted this morning by Jenna's defence of her non-schooled status. Normally when people ask us which school she goes to, why she isn't in school midweek, when she's starting nursery etc, I answer. I used to tend to the "oh she's only three" response. I suppose in an ideal world I could say that we aren't going to put her in school, but it usually starts one of those discussions that I hate having.
It isn't usually that people expect or want me to justify that I made a decision and this is what it is, it's that people are curious. Which is fine. But it's tiring! So I deflect it by saying that - although I've been feeling that perhaps I'm being a bit dishonest or rude, or maybe both. When Jenna answers, and more and more people ARE directly asking her (which is great, I hate being asked to answer for her when she's right there and can understand that she's being discussed!) she says that she will go to school when she's bigger maybe. She's totally parotting how I behave about the whole issue and it makes me more uncomfortable to keep, well, being untruthful about our decision.
We aren't putting her in school for at least a couple of years. We're sure about that now. We may put her in school if she really wants to go, when she's older and if I'm sure she understands what school is like and that she will be expected to be at a certain level and conform to their rules about behaviour. I reckon she'll be able to handle all that by six or seven, which is barely deferred entry, if she wants to go! This isn't to say that I think school is awful and wouldn't send her if I felt I needed her to be away from me, and I accept that homeschooling is not at all the best thing for lots of other families. Anyhow, my long explaination of the position. Over to Jenna.
Lady with dog: Are you on your way to playschool?
Jenna: No, I'm going to the Arboretum park. There's a big sand box there with a ship, but it only goes in the sand. I'm going to see my friends Emma and Chris while mummy does her work.
Lady: Oh, so you go to preschool a different day then.
Jenna: No. Well, yeah. But my school is at my house and we have lots of good toys and fun things to do if I want. And my favorite juice. And my bed is there when I'm tired.
I repeated the story back to Em when we got there and she laughed and said that it certainly sold her on the benefits of homeschool. ;) Jenna is so articulate, another reason why it's so patronising and ridiculous of me to try to deflect questions like this myself. She knows why I make decisions, at least most of the time, and she can explain very well why she disagrees with me when she does. I didn't expect a three year old to be able to explain both my point of view and how hers differs from it. Although on schooling she seems to be more on the same page as me now that she understands she can't just choose when to go and when to come back.
At befriending I spent about an hour crawling around under the shed trying to confirm the presence of kittens (alive or dead). There hasn't been sight nor sound of mewling babies, and the cat who was labouring last week has been coming out for food. I didn't know enough to be able to say whether, crazy with grief, she might not keep going under there even if the kittens *were* dead. I couldn't see anything, and my client was so anxious it seemed like it might be the cause of a relapse if we didn't find out what was going on. I didn't want to risk disturbing the cat if she was happy under there with her new babies though, and my instincts said that she was probably simply a very good mother and the babies were quiet because she was meeting their needs.
After trying in vain everything I could think of I stuck my hand under there, risking her claws, and angled a camera phone so I could see the screen. Three healthy happy babies, all moving a little and feeding happily!
The other end of the spectrum today also, our lovely huge boxer dog died this evening. He belongs to my mum and obviously lives with her, but we had him from a puppy when I was still living at home. Ten is very very old for a boxer, but it was still a bit sad. The first thing that Jenna said when I told her was that Em-dog would be so sad. She has been with him for seven years, practically her entire life. How sweet though, for my girl's first thought to be that the other dog would be lonely, rather than thiking what she personally had lost. At least we had seen him recently, and made a huge fuss of a grumpy old dog. He always used to love me visiting (in spite of child induced noise trauma) because it meant he got a groom and a massage from me. Big old softie that he was.