I've even started thinking about IGCSEs again - eek! Today I heard about a scheme called "Interhigh" - basically an online secondary school through which Eldest could theoretically do his GCSEs from home. I love the idea, particularly the part which would mean it was all taken care of and I could hand over responsibility for his studies, the marking, organising the exams etc. BUT I don't think it will work for him - it looks like he would have to commit to doing at least eight subjects at once, and he would be tied in to a two year course culminating in all of the exams. Tempting though it is, I don't feel that's right for him. I think he is going to do better starting with one or two subjects that he really enjoys, and easing himself into exam culture through those, probably with the help of a tutor. The other main drawback of the online school is the cost - it would be just under £2,500 per year for two years! That's a lot of money, even if we could be sure that that style of study would suit Eldest, and as I said, I'm not convinced anyway - so I'm back to (almost) square one: looking into tutors, exam centres etc. There's still no hurry as he's not quite ready yet, but I don't want to leave it until he's ready for me to have to catch up and learn everything I need to know with an added time pressure - so I'm just trying to prepare myself with finding out what I need to do first.
Meanwhile we're back in our comfort zone of following structured-but-ultra-flexible curricula in Maths and English, and mooching through other subjects as interest arises. This week, after our first day back of MathsWhizz and painting, we spent Weds (11th Nov) first on Literacy Planet and then reading a book together on Remembrance Day and watching various Youtube clips summarising World War 2 from a kids' perspective and enjoying some war-themed Horrible Histories songs, before the boys each drew a picture inspired by the wars...
The boys then really wanted to watch "The Secret Life of a Four-year-old" over lunch, but we couldn't make catch-up TV work (it should be fixed later today), so they wandered off and found other entertainment. Then on Thursday it was back to MathsWhizz, followed by some Brainpop videos (Eldest choosing an easy one on camouflage, Middle found one on 3D printing, and Youngest did patterns). Youngest is in that tricky period where Brainpop jr is too simple for him really, but the Brainpop UK films are still a bit advanced. He's probably going to pick and choose from both for a while. After the Brainpop videos Eldest spent ages working on a stop-frame animation involving his lego people, while Middle started work on a script for a puppet show he wants to put on for the family at Christmas, and Youngest baked some biscuits with me. We're still getting used to the oven, so the biscuits were a bit overdone, but lashings of icing and decorations later (courtesy of all three boys), and nobody minded...
In the afternoon we had some new friends over to play, which was really lovely - we all like having people visit; it makes the house feel more like a home once we can invite guests round. It's just as well I'm not the house-proud sort who has to have an immaculate home before I can let people in, otherwise we would never have guests. The best sort of people either don't notice or don't care anyway.
And today we had our local Friday morning Home Ed group to go to. We usually keep mornings free at home for learning etc, but it's a lovely group to go to, and a great venue for the kids - plenty of space with lots of things for them to do. Youngest was gloriously filthy by the end from rolling down the grassy (muddy!) bank in the garden... hooray for washing machines, I say! We're all getting to know people now and not feeling so completely alien as we did at first. We knew it would take time and things are settling slowly. So we've made it to another weekend. I wouldn't say we've completely found our groove yet, but we are definitely getting there - it's all progress!