4 wonderful days, 3 very short nights after 3 delightfully relaxing evenings, 3 excellent communally cooked dinners that Jamie Oliver couldn't fault, followed by the most gorgeous puddings one can imagine, 2 nutritious and again communally prepared soups and lunches and 3 breakfasts of a similar standard, various walks to suit various people through various kinds of weather, loads of games played, many books read, countless lovely chats and at least as many deeply serious conversations, one overall laid-back, friendly and accepting atmosphere, no incidents or accidents and the few minor differences that did occur were solved in a way that I would hardly dare call adult, because there are few adults that manage to do it in a similarly sensible and respectful fashion. Of course we all watched the lunar eclipse together and telescopes and knowledge were shared. And then to close it all off with last night, one excellently performed and incredibly humorous pantomime-like play, "The Sleeping Fabulous", created, produced and put on stage by practically all the young ones together.
Whoever says home educated children lack socialising must never have seen more than one home educated child at the same time - if ever they have seen any at all - or they have never taken the trouble to actually look at them with genuine interest and an open mind, i.e. not hindered by conformist thinking.
Because Ken had to leave early to pick Owen up and bring AL and M back to campus, he'd missed that last evening, night and morning. When I got home today I first installed Myrna on the settee to watch tv (she'd slept on the way back and was too tired to do anything else), then listened to Owens stories about his wonderful weekend away. But then it was time to sit down with Ken, fill him in on what happened after he'd left the hostel and do my favourite part of the whole weekend: Discuss everybody who'd been there! That is so much fun! And so educational at the same time.
In the end you can't help but come to the conclusion that we're a rare collection of strong willed individuals (including the children!) who all have our own very outspoken opinions about who we are and what we want out of life. Some of us even look weird! Well, exceptional...
We are all so very different, yet we have one thing in common: We've made the choice to take responsibility for the education of our own children and we go about it in our own, usually pretty well thought out way. For most of us this means that we've adjusted our life style, our income and everything to what we strongly believe in: Our children deserve the right to develop their talents in a way that is maximally suited to their individual needs.
To a lot of people that makes us eccentric. And when eccentric means: having the courage and the ability to think outside the box, having your own well-formed opinion about what you feel is best for you and your family and living by it and making conscious choices, then I don't mind being called eccentric. I'll even consider it an honorary title.