|Kirkby in Furness Railway station|
For the first time this morning my son set off to his friend's house, which is at the other side of the estuary, under his own steam. By car it would take about half an hour. By train the whole journey, barring high tides , about ten minutes. A century ago you would have crossed the sands on foot, there are still stepping stones to be seen at low tide but today it would be extremely dangerous without a proper guide due to sinking sands and strong currents.
Anyway, my son wanted to go and see his friend, and having ferried him back and forward between friends all week, my husband suggested he take his bike to the station,get on the train and ride to his friend's at the other end about two miles away. We are lucky, if you avoid the main roads you might meet a tractor or a horse but there aren't many cars.
Now that may not seem to have a lot to do with education but as I've said before we regard vital life skills as being paramount and by giving these to our children we are giving them the self confidence to do things for themselves and at the right time for them to teach themselves what they need to know. By letting go of the reigns 'just a little bit' my son will have had to check train time tables, navigate his way to his friend's house. (He's never been from the station before) and his confidence and independence will have grown a little bit more.