Next Steps

Life continues as usual Up On The Croft (feel free to sing that to the tune of ‘up on the roof’ – I do, regularly, accompanying myself on my ukulele). Crops are doing well, first strawberries and asparagus have been harvested and consumed, most of the seedlings are now in the raised beds. The netting is fixed back on to the fruit cage and the ‘walled garden’ (what we call the area of raised beds we have fenced in now) to protect from the birds. We have various broody birds on clutches of eggs including a couple of ducks, geese, several hens and our turkey. We have passed the date when we would have had lambs and are fairly confident we’ll have no piglets this year either. We’re doing well in the shop with one flavour of jam already sold out. It’s the traditional bramble & apple which is often a best seller and perversely I deliberately never make quite enough of because it annoys me that people choose that over the adventurous alternatives such as bramble & rose, bramble & chilli or bramble & aniseed! Actually bramble and rose is looking like the top seller so far this year to be fair.

In other news though we are thinking ahead while living in the here and now. Our plans to leave Rum for the winter are firming up nicely.

Our current plan is to leave the island mid November and head down to the south west of the UK, an area we know well and have spent lots of time in. We will spend the darkest months of the year there, catch up with family and friends, have a proper family Christmas and then head back up to the country to arrive back here in the spring time. The finer details are all still to be ironed out over the coming months but we at least have a place we know we’ll be over the winter in order to get that perspective and time away from here that we feel we need in order to come up with the what happens next part of our plans.

In the meantime, having never been to school Davies has reached school leaving age. Our first entirely autonomously home educated child who will now never go to school. Seeing the young man before us now staring to prepare to stretch his wings and strive toward independence only fuels our certainty that for us this was entirely the right choice. I don’t blog much about our Home Ed choices – that is not what this blog is about and the stories are no longer really mine to tell as they belong far more to Davies and Scarlett but it feels appropriate to mark the end of one chapter of our family adventure and share the start of the next one.

At every stage of our parenting / Home ed / life adventures we have considered ourselves partners with Davies and Scarlett in their lives. They have always had really big loud voices in what happens next and the choices we make. The option of school, or indeed a different type of Home Education was always open to them if they ever wished to explore it. Many of their peers have chosen to study for qualifications over the last few years – some from home and some from attending school or college either full or part time. The option has been there but has felt superfluous up to this point. Davies is starting to consider what he would like to do next and having done lots of research (psychometric tests, careers quizzes, online research into various jobs, talking at length to me – after all I did used to be a recruitment consultant!) he has decided to take his interest in psychology and social sciences further and learn at a more in depth level. Several of the career options he is interested in will require qualifications and so we decided that the time was right to study at a more formal level, learning more about a subject that interests him, gaining the relevant skills in demonstrating his skills in research, retaining information, constructing arguments, writing essays and debating ideas and getting a qualification. Davies is not at this stage interested in leaving home or attending a college (although we would utterly support him if he was and find a way to enable that to happen with him living either with us or staying with family) and likes the idea of continuing to learn as he always has done, at his own pace, research and interest led, interacting with others who are equally interested in the subject matter and exploring what he has learned in context with the world around him. Our research into the learning experience and particular subjects he was interested in led us to the Open University.

So, after various phone calls and emails back and forth between Davies and the enrolments team he is now set up ready to begin an access course in October in People, Work & Society. It’s very part time, will be an excellent gateway to further education if he decides to carry on that way, will expand upon subject matter he is already interested in and give him a great introduction to more formal study, assessments and distance learning. If he wants to continue then it will lead to starting a degree next year which he can study for around his other interests and passions. Meanwhile when we are over in the winter Davies will be 17 so we are planning to get him through his driving test so that he has even more independence and ability to start striking out when we come back to Rum next year.

Exciting times ahead.

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