I went to the Home Ed Beginners class in Fareham not knowing what to expect, having been a couple years since I’ve worked with young kids. When I arrived, their teacher Rosie Peters assured me that they didn’t treat the students any differently from students that come in from schools. Drama classes give those children educated from home a chance to join in and socialise with others; Light UP is all about giving them an environment to be themselves, and helping them build their confidence.
She was helped by André, a young man who has been in home education all his life. He was incredibly enthusiastic about making these classes as fun and engaging as possible, acting as an excellent aid to Rosie’s warmth and magnanimity towards the children in her care. As a duo, they were ready to take on everything and anything all at once; and of course I couldn’t help but join in on some of the fun.
And it really was. The children, though briefly shy at the stranger in the room, quickly shed any timidity and were full of high spirits for the rest of the hour-long class. We did basic warming up activities, chewing big balls of toffee and playing with tongue twisters. They hit the ground running as Rosie guided them carefully from game to game to the rehearsal of their upcoming Mr. Men show. And the children were happy to follow, taking to their new project like ducks to water, barely able to contain their excitement.
Watching them so eager to jump into their new characters really took me back to when I was only a little older than them, doing my first workshop in youth theatre, a whole community ahead of me yet to explore.
They really surprised me with their ad-lib skills. When the girl playing Miss Bossy introduced herself, she was supposed to just say her character and do an action. But, at one point she said: “I’m Miss Bossy, stop eating donuts and having fun!” while scrunching her nose and wagging her finger accusingly. Now that’s commitment. Then, when the kids had to repeat after the narrator, calling Miss Bossy “Very rude!” One girl suggested adding an extra “very” to the line. After that, the number of “very”s seemed to only get longer and longer every time we reread it!
It was really, no, very endearing how genuine they were in the way that only young children can be. Not to mention animated. I don’t think some of them stopped moving for the whole class! That bundle of boundless energy certainly rubbed off on me enough to last the week. So, as I left, I couldn’t help but admire Rosie even more as she embarked on her next of the three classes she had left that day.
We talked to the children as a group, at the end of the class, to find out their favourite things about Home Ed. As you would expect, they said they loved the games and getting to be active and have fun with their friends. They also loved that they got to be themselves and, as someone in youth theatre, you really can’t ask for any more than that.