Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why I'm removing my 13 year old from school

Why I'm removing my 13 year old from school, why home education is the best way forward, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, Newcastle upon tyne

On Friday Looby and I broke the news to the wider public about our decision to move from traditional schooling into home education, we'd held a BBQ for her closest friends on Monday and the lovely people at Biscuiteers had sent us a party box to help celebrate this monumental decision, if you haven't seen the video of the BBQ or those amazing retro sweet shaped biscuits (they're so, so good) why not have a watch?!

A few people since we've broken the news have asked why we're doing it and also have asked what we'll be concentrating on instead, will we be covering the curriculum, is Looby not going to do GCSE's, am I about to ruin her life? (that was mostly my inner voice) what are we going to do for the next year?....

I thought it might be a good idea to go back to the start, you see when Looby was just reaching school age I first had thoughts that I would love to home educate but I was 10 years younger, just getting better after agoraphobia and I was starting a business, I just didn't know then what I know now.  Fast forward 10 or so years and we've contemplated home ed several times, each time we've thought we'd give school just a little longer but it's been noticeable that Looby just doesn't enjoy or fit into traditional schooling, I call her my unicorn because she's different, she's not the same as all of her peers, it's not so long ago that she mentioned the first signs of bullying and I knew then that we were making the right decision.  Looby has always been a magical girl, she loves deeply, cares deeply and she's retained the wonder of childhood thus far, she's so much younger than Abigail despite there only being 16 months which separate them and whilst Abigail is an academic go getter, Looby cares about other areas so much more.  From the first day Looby could talk, she told me that she wanted to be a farmer, to this day she's focused on working with horses or in agriculture, she rides all day on Sunday's and takes care of the horses in exchange for extra rides, she's passionate about the horses and get's up way earlier than I ever could just so that she can be there to care for them and to help in all aspects because it's the thing that she loves most.

Home ed will allow us to concentrate more on the areas she loves and less on the subjects she doesn't care about but is made to study in a traditional curriculum lead environment.  In our home ed environment Looby will study what she wants to study with the exception of English, math and science, we are subscribing to Ed Place for those subjects and she will keep studying towards having those GCSE's as she and I both know, they're necessary not just for farming but for life in general.

We plan to travel as much as possible and that's going to take care of culture, geography and history, she's going to blog and vlog, taking care of art and IT, don't underestimate the skills needed to take the photos and to edit the video required for those two things.  We also think it's important to study a language and you know what, I don't possess that skill either so we're going to learn French together, I stopped learning French at the age of 13 and I'm determined to have that as a second language, isn't it always easier when you have someone to learn with.

Looby is a social child, she has friends from many factions of her life, not just school so I know that she's not going to lose out on any social activities, in fact, in home ed there are plenty of meet ups and chances to gain new friends who are also home ed.

Home ed will let Looby develop at the speed in which she should develop, it will help her hold onto childhood for as long as she wants whilst she'll develop into a young lady at the speed it's really supposed to happen instead of being forced into it by peer group pressure.

For Looby and I, a world without boundaries, uniforms and pages of rules and regulations is exciting, a world where we can wear fairy wings on Tuesday or even just not have to worry about the fact that her pencil case is fashionable instead of black!  At the moment our plan is that Looby will go to Newcastle College for year 10, it's much more relaxed, no uniforms, smaller class sizes and it still gives the chance to do GCSE's. She may however decide that she wants to stick with home ed and that's fine with me, most colleges and universities have home ed streams where you don't even need traditional qualifications to enter into further education.

I asked Looby last night what it felt like to know she was free, she said "exciting mammy, exciting" and you know what, that's the very best thing of all, my girl, my unicorn is finally free.

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