Home education diary, February 2002

February 20th

We had naively assumed that Daniel joining the Antidote Theatre youth (teenage) group meant being there one evening per week. But it seems that the time commitment is a great deal more than that. They are currently rehearsing for a play which is going to be entered into an international competition, so it's now two evenings per week (though no extra cost, thankfully). The Town Band is still on Mondays and Thursdays, in the evening, and he's started helping at the 'Lighthouse' group for international students, which meets in the Greek Evangelical Church building on Tuesday evenings.

With Greek lessons (and homework), clarinet lessons (and regular practice), and helping at the 'Cool Kids' Club' for 7-11s on Friday afternoons, it seems as if he is rather too busy - rather a contrast to his quiet life of a year or two ago. At least I no longer need to worry that home education is limiting his social life - it's rather the reverse. He has several friends who do go to school, and they are so taken up with homework (which is very heavy in Cyprus - often three hours or more per day) that they are able to do perhaps one extra activity per week. 

Daniel's decided that he can do up to three commercial website per week, if they're just a couple of pages with all the information and pictures given to him on CD. I think he would be hard-pushed to do that many, with his busy schedule; but at present there aren't any more available to be done. It's good to think that this may be a future career - or even part-time job - for him, although if he does go into web design, all this ACE academic tudy and tests would be a bit pointless, as he wouldn't need any qualifications: just experience.

I'm not sure what will happen with our home education group. Last year it seemed to go so well; but at the last meeting there were a few tensions. I suppose it's inevitable in a group that combines highly structured educators with fully autonomous ones; Christians and non-Christians; from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. Really, I think it's remarkable how well we all get along, and how constructively the children usually play together. 

But recently some have wanted more structured meetings, while others are happy just to hang out; some want a kind of 'concert' or recital for half an hour or so each meeting (optional - but available to anyone) while some don't find that particularly interesting, and don't worry if their children run around or talk during it. Then there's one child who's been a bit disruptive, and has come out with some rather bad language which is a little shocking to others from a more conservative background.  There's no obvious way to divide the group, though, with only about six or seven families getting together at most anyway!

February 24th

I must take a moment to comment on what a wonderful and mature young man Daniel is becoming. I know he's my son, so I'm biased; I know he's far from perfect. But right now, I feel very proud of him. I don't know why the teenage years are supposedly stormy; he's had a few bad moments, of course, and squabbles with Tim, and the stresses over wanting to stay up late and sleep half the morning. He's moaned a lot, too, about the tedium of some of the ACE work.He's still often bored and fed up with the work, but he keeps going, and gets good marks in all his tests. In the past few months he seems to have matured tremendously. 

Of course he is fifteen, now; an age when, in previous generations, he would have been out at work rather than studying. As it is, he's doing so much this year - often out six evenings per week, and four afternoons as well, with his various activities. But he says he's very much enjoying it all. I gather he's doing extremely well in drama, which is totally new to him this year. In the past, when he's had opportunities to do a bit of acting, people have commented that he had some talent, but until recently he's had no inclination to take it seriously. 

I'm finding Tim more puzzling at present. He's not doing any activities other than his piano and guitar lessons (and associated practice). I've suggested other possible things he might consider, but he keeps saying he's very happy. I think he spends far too long at the computer, but then so did Daniel a couple of years ago. I am trying to remind myself that with personality type ENTJ (and there's little doubt about that for Tim) he's developing his second function of Introverted iNtution, now he's thirteen, while Daniel (INFP) is currently developing Extraverted iNtuition, his second preference.  So they're bound to be different. 

What is very encouraging to me is that - mostly - the boys seem to be getting along with each other very well these days.

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