Sarah and I went to see the Head at school today – to talk about taking Charlotte away from school for the year. Because we’re effectively moving out of the UK for a year, then we don’t have to fulfill any legal obligations about providing education (amazing what you can learn about the subject from internet, from sites like TigerChild and Education Otherwise). Our biggest concern is to make sure that for the year that Charlotte is away, she keeps pace with the Year 3 work (8 year olds) that everybody from her class will be doing – that way when she comes back to join Year 4 she’ll be able to keep up. We’re also interested in doing some stuff with the school to help keep her involved with her class while she’s away. There are lots of possibilities – the curriculum is stuffed full of things in different subjects which require some form of comparison to other places (Geography about holiday destinations and climates; our village compared to other villages) as well as all of the multicultural studies that get linked in (how about Charlotte sending back a video report about rice growing while she’s away – that will link directly into other work of the class, and provide a good link).

There was genuine interest in that idea, so over the next few months we’re going to have to pin down some ideas, linked to when & where we’ll be in different continents, and talk it through with next year’s teacher.

We talked about literacy and numeracy – the major issue is to make sure that she learns the numeracy principles as we’re going, so that she keeps up. Literacy is less of a worry – with her diary and the range of reading material that we’re going to have available, coupled with no TV for a year – we think (and the school agrees) that things will develop well in that area without making it a hard slog. Numeracy will require some planning and preparation, and some formal “lesson time” put aside on a very regular basis. As we plan to take a laptop, and I work for a company producing a wide range of numeracy software designed for primary school children, then we’ll have a head start.

All in all, a good meeting with the school, some positive ideas and offers of help – all systems are go!