Despite being a teacher of 21 years standing.
Despite being a home educator.
I am uneducated.
I left school at 16.
On the second morning of my 'O' levels my father packed a bag, arranged to empty the joint bank account and left us for a "woman" not that much older than myself.
Out of an expected 13 'O' levels (although there was a question mark over maths and physics) I got 4.
2 of those were RE and Home Economics.
With the money gone, grieving in full throttle I abandoned education completely.
There had never been any question over my future, I was to go to university and become a professional. It was a litany of "Be a good girl, work hard, obey the rules, do well, make us proud", however that is a shaky foundation to build a child's educational aspirations on if you quite patently exclude yourself from the same expectations by throwing your family under a bus.
I got very "sauce for the goose" about it, at the time it hurt him more than myself to become a drop out and get a crappy, dead end job instead. So I did.
And then I fell into teaching.
I had to work twice as hard, be three times as good as your average graduate to get the better positions in my field since most of them state the need for a degree before they even begin chuntering about professional qualifications and experience. However that wasn't the most damaging aspect of being a degree free zone.
I started to think of myself as stupid.
Probably due to a growing sense of shame, because wherever possible I kept my lack of education a secret. I learned to dodge questions about "which university did you go to ?" with tap dancing alacrity, terrified I would be trapped in a corner by somebody persistent, ashamed that I needed to be doing linguistic gymnastics of avoidance in the first place.
As a result the sensation that I was thick grew to the point where I shut down any possibility of returning to education, because I felt that I was not intelligent enough to succeed.
Then I started home educating and whilst researching it I read that maternal educational attainment is the best indicator as to how far a child will take their education.
Talk about an immediate impact.
I can hurt me, make my life harder in some wierd power struggle with a father I don't have, but I won't play silly buggers with my son's future. I don't want the struggles I had for him.
Looking into the OU started out as an exercise in being a better parent, but dabbling in Open Learning (which I thoroughly recommend if you are uneasy about returning to higher education or have a particular interest you wish to take further, costs nothing but time) awoke interests and suddenly my own own internal motivations, as a separate human being from my family, bloomed.
Here is my open degree, it isn't finalized, there are some ifs, buts and maybes and some courses I can't chose between at the moment, but I am going to do this and finally lay to rest the residual anger at having a parent who put himself first whilst pretending he was doing it for the benefit of his children cos "they can't be happy if I'm not".
26 years is too long to cut off your nose to spite your face, especially since the person you are trying to get at stopped giving a crap more than 2 and half decades ago.
I have a 20 credit transfer from other study so just 340 to go LOL
Level 1 100 credits
(no page yet) Vivace, intermediate Italian 30
start writing essays http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/a172.htm 10
start writing fiction http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/a174.htm 10
design and the web http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/t183.htm 10
beyond google http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/tu120.htm 10
I may replace the last three on the list above with classical Greek or classical Latin, depends on how the taster courses on Open Learning go
Level 2 120 credits
U211 - http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/u211.htm 60 Exploring the English language
A215 http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/a215.htm 60 creative writing (this may get booted for Greek or Latin)
Level 3 120 credits
E303- http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/e303.htm60 English grammar in context (conf)
E363 - http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/a363.htm 60 adv. creative writing, (this may get booted for Greek and Roman Myths.)
It might take a few years to get there, but considering the 26 that preceded it, better late than never. Especially if heals up the residual scars of an adolescence that went sour. Because aside from my obvious motivation to do the best parenting job I can for my boy, in some odd way I am also retrospectively parenting the ghost of the kid I was.
I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, I am a bit taken aback to hear myself say it.
This was supposed to be a celebratory post of of, "hey look what web 2.0 can do and education is even more accessible now we have technology", but underneath I keep coming back to a 16 year old who felt abandoned by the people who were supposed to do their best by her.
On a maternal level I need to put that right.
Maybe I should study psychology as a form of self-help, cos the above is giving me the collywibbles about my own mental state.
Needing to parent the child you used to be ?
Still, at least I'll be a graduate weirdo rather than a "be4'o'leveled" weirdo.