Monday 30 January 2017
Is our youngest child ready to leave school?
I doubt there are many parents who are fully prepared for their youngest child to finish school and leave home. For us, our youngest child has already left home, so unlike with the other children I have very little idea if he's actually ready to leave school and go into the big wide world of work.
Our youngest child leaves school this year. He will be 18 years and 2 months old.
Our youngest child of 5 left home in South Africa in August 2013, aged 14 years and 4 months to return to the UK to complete his education, the last child (4 of 5) left home in January 2014 1 week before his 19th birthday, having completed his schooling the previous month.
Apart from the school holiday we haven't parented for 2 years and have since moved to Dubai. We also haven't taken much of a role in the youngest's school life, apart from occasional emails and very few visits, he hasn't needed it, he's been on track for his apprenticeship with CISCO, he has an active social life both in school on on exeat weekends with friends and I've visited the UK during the shorter holidays and him to Dubai over the summer and Christmas.
This last few months of his schooling will be busy for both him and I, and I will be making regular visits to the school as we discuss the 'what next?' in regards to where his apprenticeship will take place and the logistics around the when and the how and most definitely the costs involved in regards to housing.
Our eldest child is in a care home, children 2 & 4 joined the army and child 3 had accommodation offered with his first job on leaving home, although in later years we helped out with deposits and landlord issues as he changed careers and moved around the UK.
We've not had a conventional school life with our children, involving 4 different, but simultaneous primary schools and 6 different secondary schools both in the UK and South Africa.
Although technically I haven't been involved with school life for a very long time, I think I will miss it. Having sent the older children off to school on their first day in both primary and secondary, by the time the youngest 2 went to school I had few questions or few worries. By the time the youngest 2 left home, I'd gone through all the worries and fears with their older siblings and it was easier to let them go, but also harder as this time they were moving 6000 miles away.
As adults, we see the children 2-3 times a year, either with their visits to us in Dubai, now with girlfriends and mates or us to the UK.
But having a child in school for the past 21 years has given me stability, reassurance and a sense of time, a way to mark the year, arrange birthdays, holidays and finances. Without school I'm not sure now how I will mark the years from now on, as their birthdays will be spent at work, with friends, Christmas will be spent with their own families as the years go by.
I'm just not sure that I'm ready for our last child to leave school, just yet. Peter is of course very relieved as it means an end to private school fees and his dream of an Aston Martin could become a reality.