Today we celebrated. It is Thursday the 3rd of September, the vast majority of schools started their Autumn Term this morning, and Daisy bucked the trend. She is four – very nearly five – and did not start school today. That, my friends, is worthy of a celebration.
So we celebrated. We went to the Liverpool World Museum, this morning, and met another home educating family whose daughter didn’t start school today. We wandered around the nearly deserted museum, commandeered the attention of the staff, hogged the dressing up clothes, and generally revelled in the fact that the rest of the world’s children were back at school, but it’s far too early in the year for the place to be full of school parties. Daisy and her friend played a lot of imaginative games, most of which seemed to involved throwing themselves on the ground and being dead, and we didn’t mind at all, because they weren’t bothering anyone, because it was so quiet. We saw the Mr Sunshine show at the Planetarium (never managed the planetarium before, it wasn’t bad), and eventually, when we got hungry, we said our goodbyes, and came home for lunch. Followed by celebratory Not Starting School choc-chip muffins.
I sometimes wonder how she would get on at school. Sometimes, she can seem intelligent, articulate, socially competent, and primed to succeed in such an environment. At others, she seems like a very fragile little girl, who is worried by the idea of spending all day, every day, away from Mummy; who is very difficult to persuade to do things she’s not interested in; who can be silly and rude; who seems to get this red mist of insanity when she’s in trouble, that just makes her do more and more infuriating things until I can hardly bear to look at her. Maybe she’s just four. Maybe she would learn the rules and settle down quite quickly. Maybe she would become the trouble-maker. Maybe she would be put off learning by the effort of understanding the environment. I have absolutely no idea. But I am very, very sure that the best place for her to be, at this point in her life, is here. I am not daunted by the responsibility. I am not wishing her away, for the peace and quiet of not having her here. She drives me nuts, but I love her with all my heart, and she knows that. She needs to know it. She needs to know I’m here. And I am.