Oliver Holmes Every Friday afternoon on El Punt Avui TV Nicole has a chat with an English speaking expatriate who lives in Catalonia. Here is her chat with Oliver Holmes.
You are still in education as you aren't quite eighteen yet.
Yes, I am just taking my A2 levels, my last year exams. I just took my AS Levels. The results were OK, I am pleased with them!
There are three different stages to your education. Explain to me these different stages.
I started at a Waldorf School. A system set up by Rudolf Steiner. That was from the age of three to six years old. That system is quite different, you learn a lot through play, through the arts and painting. Through drawing and interacting with other people. I then went to the ordinary state school in my village until I was ten and then I went back to a Steiner School after that. Then from the age of twelve I started being home educated.
Does that bring us up to today and where you are now?
Yes I have always been home-schooled since the age of twelve.
How does the Steiner school differ from the ordinary school you went to?
The normal school was much stricter. I think I cried the first day, I hadn't heard of the concept of sitting at a desk. It was a shock and change, very different. Homework for example!
Steiner sounds a lot freer. To sum up, I think I could say it is holistic, spiritual and social.
That would be a way of describing it, that sounds about right!
Were you happier once you went back into the Steiner system after the local school?
I was. I liked my local school and I had lots of friends there but I seemed to make more friends at the Steiner School.
I understand that your parents weren't happy with the choice of secondary schools?
Mainly because there wasn't one. We couldn't find one that my parents or I liked. So we started home-schooling out of necessity while we searched for a school.
Your mother Sharon taught you. You said it was a style that you thought would suit you. As a twelve year old, I know you probably know what you want but do you necessarily know what is best of you?
I was the one who suggested it, I am not sure where I had heard of the concept.
So how did this work and study programme affect your life and your parents?
It has changed a lot since we started. We followed the Steiner system for the first two years. I loved it, we got more into things as there was just me in the class.
Did you not miss your friends? You were at home with your mum day in day out.
If you are going to be home-schooled you have to enjoy your own company. Obviously I still met up with my friends. I started getting into drama and musical theatre, I still had my friends from when I was at school, too. And I started to play the violin, so I made friends doing these extra activities.
Run me through a typical day. Did you start at 9am for example?
It is hard to remember really, it was much more free. We would start whenever we thought it was a good time to start, whenever we got up basically. I would work until I we fulfilled whatever we had to do that day. Then we decided although it was great and I was learning lots I had to get some kind of qualification.
Did you take GCSE's?
No I went straight onto A-levels. Before that I used a distance school based in America. They allowed me to enrol and I loved that too.
How did you decide on your A-level subjects? Usually taking GCSE's would help you make that choice.
The school in America was all based on credits, I didn't finish the diploma with them and I decided to go straight on to A-levels. I am taking English Literature and History. I should be finishing those at the end of this year. Big year for me!
What is next for you after this, university?
I would like to go to university, I am not sure what I would like to study yet. I had a look at the Art History course at Cambridge. That sounded interesting. Or maybe Drama.
As you have been educated at home, how does that affect your application for University?
There is a lot of paperwork! Even to do A-levels there is a huge amount of paperwork. To even sit the exam you have to apply as a distant candidate.
I loved my school years, do you think you are ever going to regret missing out on that experience that most of us go through?
I am not sure. What you haven't had you can't miss. I find it hard to get up and meet people so I have never found it hard to be alone, although obviously I like meeting up with my friends!