Home Educating in Cyprus

We started our home education experiment at the beginning of November 1997, having moved out to Cyprus a week previously. That week was the 'half-term' break in the UK school system - and we needed the break for sleeping, finding our way around, and getting to know a few people. However by the end of the first week the boys (11 and 9) were getting bored, in a rather cramped flat where we stayed for the first fortnight, so we decided we'd better get started with our 'schooling'!

We had already worked out that about 3 hours per day would be more than sufficient to cover the amount of learning in a typical school day, by the time we had subtracted lunchtime, the various breaks, Assembly, PE, lining up, registration etc - not to mention the waiting around while the teacher spoke individually to other children. I had brought out a few workbooks in our luggage; others were due to arrive in our sea freight a week later, although in the event we didn't get that till a month after we arrived.

We had visited the local American private school, since Tim was quite keen to go to school straight away, but we were not impressed with what we saw. Firstly they seemed to expect him to be 'behind' and go into 3rd grade rather than 4th (or even 5th) despite his having a reading age of about 15. We borrowed the school's 'Scott Foresman' 4th grade and 6th grade maths text books, to get an idea of what was covered since maths is probably the most differently taught between USA and UK.  It was not a success, although Tim did not find any of it difficult.  The diary pages follow our progress into the exciting adventure of home education: 

November 1997: beginning home education, fairly formally
December 1997 - summary of what we achieved so far, conclusions to date
January 1998 - good intentions with an intensive timetable... feelings of burnout
February 1998 - relaxed the timetable somewhat, found out about UK home education
March 1998 - much more informal education, although Tim wanted some structure
May-June 1998 - end of the first year, and decision to continue home educating
September 1998 - a new relaxed structure for the first fortnight, then time off
October-December 1998 - increased flexibility, with minimal structure
January 1999 - new schedule, new inspiration for home education
February 1999 - thoughts about music and science in home education
March 1999 - lots of reading and informal learning, interrupted by new kittens
April 1999 - learning between visitors; feeling encouraged in general
May-June 1999 - detailed day-by-day outline of learning in May; not much in June
July-August 1999 - a week of formal learning, work experience, general ramblings
Sept-Oct 1999 - a couple of months of structured learning, in some detail
November 1999 - lengthy thoughts about autonomy and education in general
January 2000 - Tim spends time in school in the UK, pros and cons of school
February 2000 - thoughts about GCSEs, new resolutions for structured days
March 2000 - worries about GCSEs, looking at ACE certification, much discussion
April 2000 - holiday month, autonomous learning, motivation to study
May 2000 - more about coercion, maths, finishing projects, and the future
June 2000 - thoughts about bedtimes, listening, and autonomous learning
July-August 2000 - relaxed summer, time in the UK, first introduction to ACE
September 2000 - more detail about our early impressions of the ACE system
October 2000 - worries about science, and extra-curricular activities
November-December 2000 - lengthy ramble about education; no structure in December
January-December 2001 - summary of a good year, which I didn't document much
January 2002 - some professional web-designing for Dan, and a new drama group
February 2002 - drama group rehearsals; Dan very busy, Tim rather quiet
March 2002 - rambling thoughts about the boys' possible future careers
May 2002 - more about drama; Tim playing piano in church
June-August 2002 - drama performance in London; more thoughts about the future
September-October 2002 - back to ACE; a new drama production; arm problems
December 2002 - various stresses and concerns; finding life difficult
January-February 2003 - more ACE; worries about Dan's future; general ramblings
March 2003 - detailed diary; more thoughts; ACE discussions; music
April 2003 - various activities; a home ed meeting; more thoughts; Easter
May-June 2003 - music and drama exams; thoughts about work and money
July 2003 - summer activities; a bit more ACE; Dan learns about the Doulos
August-December 2003 - trip to UK, another play, more music, two weeks on the Doulos
January-June 2004 - a few milestones, Daniel preparing to start work at the theatre
August-October 2004 - Dan starts work, and begins learning the drums
November 2004 - Dan focusing on music; Tim earning money playing organ
December 2004 - ideas for Daniel's future; Christmas music for Tim once more
January-March 2005 - theatre work; music; office helping. Very little formal academics
April 2005 - thoughts about 'balanced' education (or not), work, and geometry
May 2005 - lots of music for both boys; Dan starts basic repairs on a clarinet
June 2005 - grade 5 music theory exam for Dan, and an email leads to a busy fortnight
July-September 2005 - Dan on the Doulos, time in the UK, new musical instruments
October-December 2005 - packing our UK house, Dan prepares to leave home
January-March 2006 - Daniel joins the MV Doulos for two years, Tim keeps busy
April-June 2006 - Music exams for Tim, getting to the end of ACE coursework
July-December 2006 - Tim turns 18, and begins on his Open degree course