Branching Out (With Song and Dance!)
I love our home education journey, and I was an advocate of home education before I ever knew I would have children of my own to educate, but I also know that some things that are taken for granted at school need a little more organising for home educators.
OB goes to swimming lessons partly to learn to swim, and partly to learn to take instructions from an adult that isn't his Mum. He goes to football training to get that essential 'team sports' experience. He goes to home-ed co-op partly for that 'socialisation' that everybody is so keen on, and partly to do messy activities - I don't like clearing up! And recently, he has started at a local theatre group.
I'll admit, I was nervous about theatre group. Yes, a few of his friends go and, yes, his bestie's mum is a volunteer helper, but still, I could see the whole thing being well out of his comfort zone. Whenever OB has to join in any group activity - action songs for instance - his body goes stiff and jerky, and his eyes are everywhere, constantly seeking reassurance from watching what others do. The first time I asked him if he wanted to go, it was a definite "no". A few months later, I reframed the question (I called it something else!) and he agreed.
He's been going since the summer. He has hardly told me a single thing about what he does there except the occasional surreal snippet. I rely entirely on my friend to be my spy! She tells me he is doing brilliantly, that he has learned all the songs and the dances, that he joins in and has fitted in with the other kids. One evening as she drove him home after rehearsals, he confidently explained to all the other various kids in the car about how he is adopted and what that means.
As I write this, he is out at the first dress rehearsal. It is show weekend. On Sunday afternoon I will finally get the chance to see what my son has been working on for all of these months. I will admit that part of me is worried that, overwhelmed by the lights and the sight of the audience, he will freeze up or fall apart. It would be daunting for anybody, never mind a child so young.
Or maybe his youth will be his salvation. Lacking the life experience to realise that he should be scared, maybe he just won't be!
What I know for sure is that whatever happens on that stage, I am already proud of my boy. Even if he doesn't sing a note on Sunday, he has already exceeded my wildest expectations.