Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Economist says...

We happened to pick up a copy of The Economist this week. It was fate. Nothing to do with 'Leviathan stirs again', the briefing on the growth of the state. The article talks about cutting back in the public sector.

"...pruning will be more difficult than it has ever been before. Getting the public sector to do 'more with less' is harder after two decade of public sector reforms. Across the OECD more than 40% of public goods are provided by the private sector (thanks to privatisation and contracting out) and 75% of public officials are on some sort of pay-for-performance scheme."

This is where we see the rise of LAs administered by private companies who then have none of the checks and controls of public bodies to control their headlong rush towards their performance-related pay.

Three quarters of public officials are on some sort of pay-for-performance scheme. What can you imagine passes for 'performance' in the local authorities? Is it perhaps sending home educating children back to (or to) school? Is this what will count as their pay-enhancing performance? Are we due to see an avalanche of School Attendance Orders being handed out as the happy little public servants count the extra money in their bank accounts?

Surely this would be deemed an illegal practice? Surely they care for the child in all this? But I suspect that the child's best interest probably won't feature in the performance that will be recompensed by an increase in salary. It is not an award to be rewarded.

"The public sector is subjected to all sorts of perverse incentives."

Like a man recommending the National Curriculum for home educators, and - coincidentally - being the head of Becta: "Becta is the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning."

And here from Becta:
"Exploiting technologies to support parental engagement, including online reporting"

"The evidence is clear that parents can have a greater impact upon their child's education than schools do. In the 21st century schools are transforming to take advantage of the benefits that technology offers in communicating between home and school to both inform and involve parents in their children's learning and life at school."

Home educators KNOW, Mr. Head of Becta who just happened to conduct a review of home education, that PARENTS CAN HAVE A GREATER IMPACT UPON THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION THAN SCHOOLS DO. That's because we parents who have a duty to provide education for their children take it goldurn seriously, and we home educators do it up close and personal. We're on the spot, we can step in where and when the children need help and the youngsters aren't just left floundering in a hot, noisy, busy classroom where a host of other kids are demanding attention too.

I would call seeking to extend the school 'education' into homes a perverse incentive for a school-advocate to recommend so many startling and demanding changes for home educators, wouldn't you?

Picking up the theme of perverse incentives, we have the comment from The Economist that "These perverse incentives mean that governments spend lots of money without producing any improvements in public services. Britain's government doubled spending on education between fiscal 1999 and fiscal 2007, but the spending splurge coincided with a dramatic decline in Britain's position in the OECD's ranking of educational performance."

Ah, I see it all now. THAT'S why they want home educating children. To elevate their position in the OECD's ranking of educational performance!

Two more sentences from the article sprang off the page at me:
1) Government departments are good at expanding their empires, and
2) Government workers are also good at protecting their own interests.

None of it is really news to home educators as we've suffered through the last year, watching disbelievingly the process of dismantling the freedom in education we have enjoyed in the UK. We've lost hours of sleep and we've chewed our nails up to our armpits while skipping lunch in order to follow debates in Parliament or fine-tooth comb Hansard.

Meanwhile from the Schumpeter part of The Economist: "Civil services are congenitally inward-looking organisations, led by people who are plucked from elite universities and shielded from the rest of the world in governmental palaces."

We'll make sure that they aren't shielded from our growling stomachs and our blood-shot eyes any more. Civil servants, look out of your palace windows, we're coming to give you an education.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Who owns a child?

I know that there are all kinds of political committees, and cloak and dagger doings going on in the world of Westminster with various people looking forward to dining on the bones of home educators. I know, but I thought I'd leave it to other people to discuss the circus of lies, spin, counterfeit claims and sheer stupidity and chat about something else.

The something else is a question: who owns a child?

I suppose it's a bit rich starting the thoughts off with a bald statement like that; however, I woke up thinking that it is the nub of the matter.

Who should direct the child?

Who is responsible for the child?

This is a bit like a Biology lesson. Children are the result of an egg in a human female and a sperm from a human male meeting and joining. At least, the genetic components called the chromosomes - mainly the bodily blueprints - meet and bingo! a human embryo starts to grow some little time later. If all goes well, nine or ten months later, a human infant emerges from it's mother's body and there is another individual in the world.

So, it seems quite pertinent to me to ask could there be an infant without a father or, in some cases, a donator of sperm. Astonishingly, there could. There is probably nothing stopping us in the scientific line from removing the bare and basic packet of genetic information from one egg and injecting it into another. The resulting child would be female (since the sperm carrying the Y or male-making chromosome would not be involved) and the baby girl would have all the genetic blueprints she might ever need to live and grow successfully.

Unfortunately, that line of thinking appears to rule out men. Men, basically, are unnecessary. Their sperm are stripped down and carry virtually nothing beyond a pack of blueprints. Some men, of course, prefer to stick around to help raise their children, but very many do not and they are expendable. So many children are living in one parent families where they have no father that they know, no resident father or an absent and sometimes unmourned male parent.

This is not to trivialise men's importance in their children's lives at all. I believe that men can contribute greatly to their children. It is a mere speculation upon who should be the ultimate arbiter of the fate of a child.

We're left with the woman who is the bed and nourisher of the developing human being. Blood from the mother swishes around next to the baby's blood both removing toxins and delivering oxygen and other nutrients. The woman maintains the child. We cannot grow an infant in an embryonium in a lab. For there to be a new baby in the world a human female must secrete it in her uterus, nurture it beneath her heart and birth it in due course.

Women are vital in the lives of children.

Now we have the state...

In some outlying cases a mother may not be able to care for her child, and the state should, in that case, failing any other relative ready, willing and able to take over, step in to assume the maternal role.

The state, whatever the denizens of the state think, is not responsible for conceiving, nurturing, maintaining and growing a human being in its first stages of life. The state is irrelevant to the support system that a mother develops for the benefit of her offspring.

The mother - the woman who holds an embryo and then a foetus inside herself - is the true right and absolute judge of what is good for and that will maintain and elevate her child.

Mothers are the very force of creation.

They are the goddesses of production and fecund power.

They are the growth of the human race and the source of its power.

You cannot replace a mother with a state official. You cannot get rid of mothers in the headlong race to zombify children.

A woman who bears and raises a child is the right person to interpret and realise the needs and wants of that child. She is the child's representative and guardian. She is the 'owner' of the seed of her body.

No matter what the state may think or say.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The social respectability of the home educating parent

I lost a friend recently. At least, a friendly acquaintance who had known me and my children from when our youngsters were quite small.

We ran into each other, had a brief chat, and arranged to meet for a comfortable cup of tea and cosy catch-up natter.

She works and her children have had all hell break loose at school. The eldest is a fine young man (they are both lovely young men) and is a strong individualist. Naturally, school did not suit him nor, naturally, did he suit school.

There were ructions.

Friend, L, works. She and her husband both work. This is relevant, I think.

L and I ran into interpersonal ructions over working and motherhood and responsibility to one's children. Frankly, I think I was put on this earth to mother my children, that they come first because they are not adult and, putatively, able to look after themselves, and when they encountered a surfeit of stress, anxiety and strain at school, after trying quite a lot of strategies, I took them out of that place.

They didn't suit it and it didn't suit them. I was more bothered about school not suiting my children than the opposite. My children are not in existence to please a shoal of misguided bureaucrats and an outmoded, damaging institution.

L started off by polishing her children's achievements in front of me, especially those of her younger son because he had more GCSEs. That got me a little narked. I mean it's hard not to say what a bunch of useless accomplishments your child has been conned into, but I bit my tongue.

I wanted to tell her that she had better have used her time keeping her young at home and joying with them as they journeyed into true learning. More tongue biting. Once or twice my poor tongue was raw (and painful).

Eventually, L went off in a fine huff. She doesn't care for non-working women who spend her tax pounds. That I am not a woman spending her tax pounds didn't seem to matter. I have been thinking over the whole situation and have come up with this:

I am no longer a person with social respectability. I'm not socially respectable. I don't do respectable any more because I don't do what I'm expected to do (sail out to a useless, meaningless, soul-destroying job every day rain or shine, heaps of snow or ice). My respectable position as a wife/mother/partner/worker/bitcher about what-my-children-don't-do-that-they-should-do has disintegrated.

I cannot face L because she disapproves of me. I cannot face her because I disapprove of her. Now we have nothing in common but the brief time of a shared past and that is, apparently, not enough. Her prejudices have conquered her. My prejudices have conquered me.

This is the second time I've lost a 'friend' that way. R was a friend I thought I'd have for life. Same deal. Working. Child bullied. Wouldn't give up work to protect child. End of story. Except that I told her what I thought. Goodbye, R.

I really do attempt to understand them. I do. Even more, I attempt not to judge them. I do.

Christmas 2009 I sent and received fewer cards.

No loss there then.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Picking up the pieces

Gill of Sometimes it's peaceful has pointed out that Balls, Coaker and various denizens of Parliament actually don't care about our children, and I think that is true.

So, if these dreadful proposals come to pass, it won't matter to them because, even if their children were to be unhappy at school, Balls etc. would just find them a private one to suit.

I don't know whether Parliament has always looked like a children's playground with a bunch of bullies riding roughshod over truth and other people's lives, but I know this: I will never vote Labour again. Most of my dead family members would be astounded and probably quite hurt to hear me say that. But most of them would not understand that those amazing people who were from quite ordinary backgrounds and who struggled to right imbalances in this country (UK) were different to what we have now. Now it is all career politicians. They're like barristers, hired to pontificate on and force through policies that they haven't thought through and they never put themselves in anyone else's place. They haven't 'become' home educators who are battling to have jurisdiction over a precious, beloved child's life opposed by ignorant and pathetic wage slaves who cannot understand that we would rather be sawn into little pieces than hurt our children in any way.

It's like the story in the bible where the wise Solomon saw a baby placed in front of him, and he asked what was the problem. His attendant said that two women claimed to be the child's mother. Woman A shouted that she was and Woman B cried that no, it was her baby.

Solomon looked from one to the other. Then he said, "Let the child be cut in two and give one half to each."

Woman A looked smug and nodded. Woman B screamed, "No, no, please, oh, mighty lord. Give the child to her," and pointed desperately at the smug Woman A.

Solomon said, "The child belongs to Woman B. He is hers. Return him to her."

I see this government as Woman A, wanting to dance its puppets, wanting to know every inch of our children's lives. Wanting to have the time to indoctrinate them in whatever our bosses would have us all think.

We are their mothers and their fathers. Their grandparents. Their friends.

We know every twitch and glance from those beloved little faces. We care so much that we would cry, "Give them to her," if it would save those lives.

It is a pity that there is no Solomon. It is a pity that there are viruses infecting what could be such a great institution as Parliament. Perhaps, though, we have outgrown Parliament. Maybe we children are ready to govern ourselves and those for whom we are responsible.

The prophets said that the sheep and the goats would be separated. That we would see the difference in men (as in all people) made most clear and so now it happens. There are those who would gladly throw our children to the wolves and who have power and have no humility and no ability to hear truth (possibly because they do not respect it), and there are home educators who would rend ourselves to pieces and eat stinking mud rather than have our children's lives infringed upon.

So what will happen if destroyers like Balls and Badman have their way? What will happen? We will be left to pick up the pieces. We are responsible. They will attempt to destroy and we will salvage what is left.

Is that any way to run a country? Is that any way to be in the world? Are these people even remotely fit to govern another human being, never mind the millions they apparently can control at will in Britain?

We will be the ones to pick up the pieces when you've had your fun and games with our children's lives, Mr. Balls. You can laugh at the destruction you cause, but we will be left with the consequences.

And so will our children.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


I am a lip-smacking braggart today but I'm so proud and wanted to shout about it.

E. has won a £25 voucher in a writing competition.

The judges said her story showed "A clever technique and an ability to use words in a sensual and engaging way."

They also said: "...there is some exceptional talent here. I suspect, in a few years, this writer will be one to watch."

And they also wrote of her story: "Heart-breaking, superbly-written, profoundly moving, an extraordinary piece of writing. Brilliant!"

Darn it, I'm spouting like a demented teapot.

Crying. Sobbing tears of sweet-unadulterated pride.

I knew she had talent. I've read some of her stories, and others she's showed on different websites and they've been praised.

But, gee, writers have written such nice things about her short story.

And she hasn't been lost in a crowd of mediocrity at school where Jody, who normally doesn't put pen to paper, gets an award for making a biro mark on his exam booklet.

I am so proud of both my girls I could - well, I could gosh, darnit - I could spring for a takeaway to celebrate.

Where's the phone?

By the way, shall I email Ed Balls? Or would he say we're living in a hot-house? Sad, sorry little man.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Diana, cyberman

On 6th January 2010, in a snowy London, threatened by further floatynice and extra cloudshitey, a group of some people met. The home educator kind of people were there, having paid a good portion of their weekly grocery money to travel to the Houses of Parliament to listen to a cyberman called Diana Johnson.

The people who often spend their time in the houses were there because they wanted to meet a cyberman in person and hurl sense and reason at her.

The home educator type of people took notes:

Gifties from cybermen to horrible - er - home educators:

"LA forums for HE families
Plans to extend flexi-schooling
Use of school libraries to be made available
Support to families with children with SEN."

It's what the cyberman came out with at first. Nothing wrong with that. I'd love to listen or watch a parade of pathetic school lovers droning on or typing reams about what school can do for my girls. Indeedy, yes. I remember what it's already done for my girls. And I am still picking up bits. So I don't think I'd be teddibly welcome on their forums...

Flexi-schooling could work if you're working with anything less than an indoctrination regime like school, but I wouldn't want to force my children to attend toilet between 13:00 and 13:15 to have them 'fit it with the rules at skools.' They can go potty whenever they like here, thank you so much.

We've got a superb library at home. We don't have to trek up to thankfully receive one or more of the snow-laden, carefully-chosen bunch of germ-ridden, scribbled-all-over volumes (that's books, cybermen). We can pass around George Orwell's 1984 between us and be sure to remain foreign microbe-free. Oh, but you can borrow some of our nattier books, school librarian, every so often, especially those tomes on the Balls' Banned List.

As far as I understand it, schools promise all kinds of miraculous things to students with SEN, then spend a great deal of money denying those kinds of things because they fund loads of lovely cuddly experts to tell the parents that their children just aren't SEN at all, and it's ALL YOUR FAULT, parents besides which your kid has school phobia because he won't go because he's being beaten up in the microbe-ridden toilets by kids from feral-land and the trick-cyclist says that ain't normal that he don't want no skool.

The cyberman would like to preface all of her remarks with the comment that home education is a well-established and important part of the education system.

Cybermen aren't too intelligent, then, are they? Home education is not a well-established and important part of the education system. IT IS NOT A PART OF THE EDUCATION (OR SCHOOL) SYSTEM AT ALL. That is the whole point.

It is not administered by bureaucrats (or cyberpeople)
It is not funded by government
It is not the responsibility of any government to give a home educated child an education.
It is the responsibility of parents to give their children an education.
Parents are not responsible to bureaucrats.
Bureaucrats should be responsible to parents (as the parents are those lowly things called payers of taxes).

To digress, I asked E. today if, at some point in the future, she did not think her education was suitable or reasonable or she thought she wasn't educated just who would she sue?

She answered: "Myself."

How's that for autonomy? Stick that in your cybernetic bureaucratic pipe and smoke it, cybermen. Yee ha!

She is autonomous. Truly. She does not seek to unload the failing of what she is giving herself onto another institution or bureaucratic group or anyone else. She is autonomous. Autonomous - being aware of and responsible for oneself. Autonomy. Something that is rapidly being drained out of our population of citizens. Or, as I prefer to call them, people.

Back to the snow-encrusted Houses of Parliament now mightily infested with cybermen.

"The government is committed to continue home education as a choice."

No, it isn't because to pursue this course will see the end of home education. It will be
DELETED. At the hands of bureaucrats and cybermen. It will be deleted because there will be a) failures to register so the child gets handed back to cell-block school, b) many failures of the cybermen in local authorities to see that an education IS taking place, c) trumped up charges so that cybermen can do what they wish to do which is to DELETE home education.

HE families oppose cybermen therefore we are a "'quasi-guilty category in need of special investigation.' The statistics don’t bear this out. They have become an 'object of a particularly intrusive regime'.”

We are objects. We are not people to cybermen. Cybermen do not care about people. They demand conformity. They demand schoolership. We are to be DELETED.

Cyberman: "We need to explore more issues about home education, such as autonomous education, explaining autonomous education and what an efficient education is. Referring to the statistics around EHE there are some safeguarding concerns. But to stress again, for her it is about education, she is concerned about supporting families."


We need to annhiliate autonomous education. We mustn't have the populace being able to think and question and say no to banks ruling us, and politicians ruling us and anyone darn one ruling us. Autonomous people question. Autonomous people think. Autonomous people need no stupid Peter Polliwog to make their life complete. (Peter Polliwog: sold at all good stores for an amount you could cruise the world with but that your child MUST HAVE THIS CHRISTMAS or birthday or day when the poor child has to play quietly in the corner because you are busy compiling a bent report on home education).

Explore the 'issues' then. Take the academic route and explore the good things in home education and revolutionise schools with them. Make children responsible for their own learning and see the world shimmer and sizzle with possibility. Watch our nation increase in health, wealth and prosperity. Witness the burgeoning and growth of superbly inventive, creative and clever people doing what they are GOOD at and getting better because they want to do what they are doing.

Stop strangling the British people.

"Safeguarding is taking over the issue of home education, in contrast to what the minister has discussed."

No, ducks, it isn't. Safeguarding is not an issue. The statistics say it is not. The fact is that government cannot safeguard any child anywhere. Community safeguards, parents safeguard, concerned individuals safeguard, people safeguard. Cybermen kill.

Cyberman: "We want monitoring to be in the spirit of co-operation not some kind of examination that parents must pass."

Silly cyberman, every monitoring episode is an examination. When someone monitors me, they tell me I am not trusted, that I am not trustworthy and I can be stopped from doing whatever is monitored. I can lose in the game between local authority cybermen and home educators. Only it's not me who will lose, it is my child who will lose her freedom to learn.

Cyberman Diana: "Wants to make sure that Local Authority (LA) officials have the training and understanding of the issues."

Local Authorities have been trained by home educators for years now regularly and tediously. Home educators are expert educators and tell silly little schooled people how to go on; that is, if they are not in awe of the total power that silly local authorities have over ordinary folks. Yet local authorities blithered about not understanding their role, not being able to access the child... etc. ad nauseam and ad tedium. They are untrainable, unlike the average worm that is cut in half and each half learns a different lesson. Also, training local authorities is not in the government remit. They want local authorities to DELETE home education.

"It really is about developing positive relationships."

Really? Double-take, I mean REALLY? Well, I decided to develop a positive relationship with my new neighbour by publishing salacious rumours about her in the local free paper and telling everyone I knew that she was selling her slaggy chav body down on the local pier as the ships came in. Then I rang the SS to tell them that her live-in boyfriend was abusing the girl child and sending the boy brat out to earn rent in anyway possible. Then I flung a barrage of snowballs with icy cores at the dirty trollop as she tried to avoid me by hiding behind her sofa when I barged into her house, and dragged her children off to care.

Is that how you develop a positive relationship? You must be one strange and sorry little cyberman, Diana.

You need psychology imprints, cybermen. Of course, sorry, you don't need psychology when you intend to delete people.

Diana, cyberman: (this is the gist of some commentary). "Lovely, lovely trainy-trainy local authority roboties. Understandy home educationers. Home schoolers. LAs, choochy, choochy-coo, kissy, kissy home schoolingers. Kissy."

Sensible MP: "I don’t share your optimism about local officials. This will take away the essence of home education. If you talk to parents you will hear a different story from that of LAs. Parents have often withdrawn their children for very good reasons."

People never start their children in schools for good reasons, too. They don't want their children to become cybermen or to be deleted.

Diana, cyberman: "We don’t know how many children are being home educated. Part of the reason why Badman and the Select Committee want a registration scheme (yes, she said this) is to find out the numbers so we can plan for resourcing."

Well, a logical person might say about now that, naturally, mechanical people like and enjoy numbers. Mechanical things like finding out the weights and measures, and examining stuff to find lots of juicy numbers.Find out the numbers so we can plan for resourcing? Exactly how does that work then? Do we know how many people will be born next year, or even this year? Can we plan for resourcing (is that even a word? Maybe a cyber-word?) Do you go around spying on couples who have sex to estimate how many babies will be born? Does that help? Isn't any plan an estimate? If I decide to raffle off my dog (no way!), I might print one hundred tickets but what if I'm off by a thousand or so? Then I have to print off some more. Or rethink. Or keep my dog (phew!)

What I believe the old cyber-Balls' babe is saying is that they know they will punish and exile home educating children into school, therefore they have to know how many school places to open up. BUT what if we have an influx of Chinese or French or Polish pregnant women or every currently pregnant woman has two sets of twins in the next five years? We just have to get on with it and put aside a reasonable amount of money. Which is what most intelligent planners do. Or they just deny the needs that pregnant women with several sets of twins have, and tell them that there is no funding, bitches, and to get on with it.

It's like the floatynice that has fallen in the last two weeks. No one really predicted it. Therefore no one has prepared for it. But we all survivin', ain't we?

Then, in the meeting, there was a bit of too-ing and fro-ing. A lot of savvy MPs said good things. Cyberman Johnson said nothing other than delete the home educators. Delete. Delete. Repeat. Delete them. With a few 'exterminate them' phrases for variety.

"We need numbers, but we need to monitor. We will get the numbers, but we need to monitor to make sure children are receiving education."





Rational argument faced with irrationality all the way.

You cannot argue with daleks. You cannot convince cybermen.

Daleks get their butts kicked routinely.

And you know what happens to cybermen? They disappear. They rust and die. They are not adaptable. They are not people. They are enemies of the people. They go.

By the way, don't you think Diana Johnson looks tired...?

This blog entry was inspired by Dr. Who, and the notes of the APPG meeting starring quite a few intelligent and concerned MPs, dedicated and loving home educating parents and one cyberman.

The APPG reference:

The floatynice and cloudshitey references come from here:

Peter Polliwog was a child's plaything mentioned in Miracle on 34th Street, the remake with sweet, uncyborgy Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle.

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.

Friday, 1 January 2010

The Newness of the Year

Hi all,

Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.

To sum up this year, I've had a roller coaster of shocks and horrors. I've had swings and roundabouts of downs and ups. I have had distorted mirrors throwing up daft reflections. I've missed a few ducks floating past in the circle of bright water. I've changed and grown.

I've been astounded and dumbstruck by the idiocy of those I thought knew better than me. And now I know that I am my own measure, I need no other. I am confidence herself as she unfurls her beautiful petals because I seek not to trammel any wild thing.

I wish everyone goodness. I seek not to conspire to hurt or grieve another human being. I no longer think that what I think is right for another person IS right for another person.

I wish with my aching heart that the world was fair and full of undeniably radiant spirits who care for other people and desire the best for them. But I haven't aways found that.

I hate jobsworths and interferers and those who look at me and know what I am and look down their sharp noses at me because I don't dress in Donna Karan outfits or tote Lulu Guinness bags or totter around in Jimmy Choos. My dog knows me and loves me and sticks his wet muzzle on my knee in the confidence that I won't belt him because he's ruined a fortune in clothing. He knows I'll ahh and stroke his loving little face.

What I can say, from the debris of my belief in politics, politicians and local authorities, is that whoever picks up the pieces from the disaster caused by a wrong decision should be the very one considering and making the decision in the first place.

I cringe at the thought of seeing all those little ones who were damaged by school being forced back into their cages by mechanical actions of clockwork toy public servants.

I thrill at the thought of being part of a group of people who will not lie down and be walked all over by big government and small cogs in dreadful institutions. I am amazed at one group of human beings who have risen to every challenge, knocked their blocks off working and thinking and evaluating and re-evaluating and calculating and writing and re-writing to protect the dwindling rights that we parents are scrambling to hang onto. I speak, of course, of home educators.

What a bunch of splendid people.


Thank you all for standing your ground, for going the extra mile, for engaging the treadmill, for challenging evil and just generally being so wonderful.

Here's to a year full of success for every person whose child or children are educated or who are educating from a home.

You're just the very best.