Before I had kids, like probably most parents, I had this picture in my head, of finding nurseries, looking around schools, to make the best pick for my kids future, preparing my kids for school by toughening them up so they would be ready at 3-4 years old for independent school life, but then I found out about home education and it just cried out of adventure and freedom to be individuals.
This brought up the new fear in me that if my kids didn't go to school, how would they learn to be strong independent men? I had friends around me hint that they would definitely become Mummy's boys, shy and not able to mix with other kids and stand up for themselves. I even heard it suggested that they need to know how to cope with bullies, and learn to stick up for themselves with out Mum. Another time I was told, that my son's couldn't learn to be adults if they were with me all the time.
I am now at the end of my home education journey, my son's have been taught by me, plus a few tutors and group classes. They have spent a huge amount of time with me. I even went to many activities with them, like running cub scouts when my son was there. I sent them to scouting activities and Air Cadets, as they got older. Together we did bus trips, train journey's, bike rides, mountain adventures. We moved house, made new friends and went to many activities where we didn't know anyone.
I have never deliberately pushed my boys away from me, to make sure they grow up strong and independent. As my youngest at 4 years old was a permanently on my lap, having a cuddle. I remember saying to my husband, if he was in school, he wouldn't be able to do that.
I found I knew instinctively when my son's were ready to do things by themselves and I let them. Not every one develops at the same rate. I remember the first time my youngest went on a train journey on his own, he got in a bit of a muddle and got on a train going the opposite direction, but he learned from that and now at 15, he is constantly on trains and buses visiting friends on his own. I also remember sending him to a Beaver Scout camp at 6 years old, and he loved it and it didn't occur to him to miss home, whereas he friend who was a school kid and had followed the tradition route of nurseries and childcare, really didn't enjoy it, cried and missed his Mum. Its was simply a matter of when they are ready, and not how much time they spent with their Mum!
As they have got older, they have both shown exceptional confidence in social situations. My youngest had to move air cadet squadrons when we moved house and he instantly mixed and made friends in his new squadron with out any difficulty. My eldest has exceptional self confidence and he didn't even start outside clubs like cubs until he was 9 years old, everything had been with me before that time. An example of his confidence, a few days ago he popped down to his Sixth Form College, where he studied his A levels, to pick up his exam certificates, and got chatting to his teachers, and ended up giving a talk to the 2nd year A level law students, with no preparation. This is the son that didn't attend school until 16, did all his learning from home, was with me every day, pretty much all his life, but this doesn't appear to have produced a shy, quiet, Mummy's boy, on the contrary, it seems to have turned him in to a young man who isn't scared of public speaking, training others, or any social situation. One time a few years ago he went on a trip to the Houses of Parliament and got chatting to his MP, and ended up being invited to the MP's lounge and the MP brought him dinner, and ended up chatting to the speaker of the house, so yes he is not shy.
My youngest is currently doing his last GCSE's this year, and has an interview at the local College today, and also has applied for Army College, as his dream is to be a Paratrooper, which he has wanted since he was little. He is fitness training and preparing very seriously, and doesn't lack any confidence that he can go for his dreams.
So if anyone tells you, if you don't put your sons in school they will become Mummy's boys. It is not true!