Had my final meeting with A's teacher on Friday, just to check in with her about any areas I should focus on etc, and to say goodbye really. She seemed genuinely very sad at losing A from her class, which is quite touching. I do have great regard for her as a teacher. She also expressed concern about A's social life once she leaves - a familiar issue! I explained that we would keep in touch with friends from school, and that A had other friends from outside school, and would be taking part in some of the activities organised within the local home ed community, as well as local clubs and groups. Don't know if that reassured her at all.
This discussion did reawaken some of my previous worries and doubts: A is a very sociable child - will home education offer her enough opportunities for a full social life? The short answer is that we wont know until we try it!
I've been thinking a lot about this matter since the meeting, must admit that my first reaction after leaving the meeting was "what if she's right?". I know that A will miss her classmates, many of them have been in the same class since kindergarten, and it will take some adjusting to - not being in that class/group environment. But I then reminded myself of a period a little while ago when A was distraught about being left out of her group of friends, and the fact that one child with particular issues or needs can really affect the rest of the class in negative ways. So there are two sides to this.
My hope, I suppose, is that more time to herself to develop and pursue her own passions and interests will be a positive move for A's education and growth as a person. Mixed with plenty of social activities, with people of all ages, rather than the enforced social group in school with only those of the same age, ideally she will experience an even fuller social life than before. It seems to me that it will be a more balanced life, placing more importance on her as an individual rather than the importance of fitting in with the group and all being the same. (Off on a tangent here, but the headteacher of a local school made me laugh recently when we went to look round, talking about their uniform she said "We like all our children to be the same here, no one should be different". I knew what she was trying to say, but it still made me laugh as it was probably the worst thing she could say to me as a prospective parent!)
However, I am also very aware that A may not see it the same way as me, and may decide that she wants to go back to the classroom at some point. Her needs are what matters, and I will have to respect her choices.