OK, it was a stream, but it was a beautiful stream. In fact, it's one of my favourite spots on Earth.
Today, we spent the afternoon in Bushy Park. More precisely, we were at the stream in the Woodland Gardens part of Bushy Park. It's a wonderful, magical place. We sat in a shady clearing on the banks of the stream and watched the children splashing about, building dams and climbing in trees. What a perfect way to spend a hot and sunny day.
One of the first questions I'm asked when someone discovers that my son is home educated is 'how will he make friends?' It's a fair question from anyone not involved in 'HE'. Indeed, it was the first question I asked myself before I took Thomas out of school. But here's the thing: there are about 2,000 children being home educated in Surrey alone - five children that I know of are being home educated in our little town of Molesey. There are many HE groups on Facebook and other networks with lots of great ideas, activities and meet-ups. As a result, Thomas has had a better social life since leaving school than he ever had while he was at school.
Today was a fine example of this. We met up with four other HE families today and Thomas had a ball. He made a lovely new friend, and two existing friends came along too. He also played with two younger boys and demonstrated how kind he is with them. Wonderful.
To see Thomas playing happily with children of various ages, and children he doesn't always know is amazing. He is perfectly happy to play with anyone who comes along - especially if they happen to like playing Minecraft. It's like the children's equivalent of being in the Masons. 'Do you play Minecraft?' 'Yes!' 'Then you may come and play.' They don't roll up their trouser legs, but they certainly start talking in an unfamiliar language and they instantly have a connection.
I feel a lot less isolated than I did when Thomas was at school too. As well as it being very distressing to see my son being excluded from parties and such, his isolation became my isolation too. I always felt that we were looked down on and that we didn't fit in. But I have never felt like this with the HE families. All those we have met have been supportive and kind. It was a real joy to see Carly and her boys today. We met them on our Winchelsea trip and today they came all the way from Maidstone to join us. I feel like both Thomas and I have made some lovely genuine friends.
The second question I'm asked about HE is 'how do I teach Thomas?'. I'll talk about that later...
Today, I definitely feel one step closer to the Good Life :D