Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Wondering why we home educate

Yes, I do. Wonder why. We home educate.

Such a strange unnatural thing to do. Keep your children near. Know their screaming laughter.

They are upstairs now. Rocking the rooms with their joyful outbursts of sheer love of living.

They are laughing fit to burst, heartily, with gusto.

Laughing hard.

I never heard them laugh like that during the long, cold days of schooling.

Not that joy-filled absolutely untethered screamy laughing that makes your lips slide upward just to catch the merest whisper.

That makes your tummy jiggle because it is joining in the fun.

Laughter is, like flu, infectious.

Infection and contagion, of the positive kind.

I home educate because my children laugh, because they burst out with joy in the middle of the day, because no one tells them to 'be quiet' or 'do your work' or get out and go to the Headteacher's dim and dismal office.

One day, when I was in high school in Canada, a teacher screamed abuse at a sixteen year old boy. The boy stood, red in the face, then turned to her and said: "I don't have to take that kind of thing from you."


Teacher was cross - not at anything he had done - she was just in a mood that lesson and he was handy to shout at.

The boy disappeared, presumably to go to the Principal's office. He was thrown out of school for a few days. Expelled, of course. I thought that unfair. I wished I was strong enough to have stood up too and marched out. Supported his cause. Told her, the teacher, that she was wrong. Anything. But I didn't.

Too afraid of shouting teachers.

The boy was right. The teacher was wrong. No one should have to be the butt of someone's sheer bad temper. Even a sixteen year old. Even a high school pupil. Even a kid.

This comes a little late but I say now John Diamond, you were a hero to me that day. I will never forget that you stood up to a misguided authority figure and you told her the truth. Thank you. I wish I could've helped you. I wish I had been true to myself and my beliefs. I respect you for that, John Diamond.

Wherever you are I hope you've had a good life thus far. I hope you've kept your sense of self, your idea of fairness.

This blog entry is for John Diamond, one of my real teachers.


  1. Wow. What a powerful story. Like all great stories, it makes me want to know more. Did he get in trouble at home? What were the repercussions in his life? Did he become a home educator himself, as a result of this kind of thing, or might he have decided to become a teacher, to try to do a better job for kids. Or did it just all roll off his back. Was he glad of a little break from school. So many possibilities as a result of that one little encounter and power play.

    On the other hand, while I totally agree with you on the laughter thing, I honestly wish no one in my house could say they had ever been told to be quiet or do their work :). I'm afraid my kids have some days with evil grumpy mommy teacher occasionally.

  2. Before I discovered home ed, I applied for a job at an inner city school as a teaching assistant.
    After the interview they show you around the place, of course. It was during break time that a member of staff and I ended up in a huge crossover/stairwell type of place..hundreds of kids were passing through to their next lesson.

    There was a young about 14/15 who was pinned up against a wall by an older male. This person was shouting and yelling at this youngster, who seemed, naturally, mortified. Yelling at him in front of all these other people, teachers included....humiliating him. I asked why he was allowed to do this? Turned out the older male was the young lad's mentor!

    Some mentor, eh?

    I decided there and then that school was not for me, never mind my child. I was totally shocked. I was on a part BSc course at uni at the time...hoping to become a secondary school teacher at the end of it change and all that. But I could never work in that sort of environment, where the kids are routinely screamed at and humiliated by adults who have 'lost it' or are just normally plain mean. I wouldnt have been able to stand by and watch it again without saying something. Maybe the young lad had done something wrong, but you lead by example, as an adult, don't you? Respect is a two way thing.

    I hope that young lad is ok as I wish I'd stepped in, too. I also wish I'd told the Head exactly what I thought of her school!