Sunday, 28 October 2012

Not the post you might have seen

You're not seeing things. Or not not seeing things. There was a post about Humphrey's visit to a home education group meeting, but I shouldn't be writing late at night or early in the morning, and I posted it instead of saving it as a draft.

I made a mistake.

Not a big mistake.

I suppose the world won't end. Not your world. Not mine.

Instead I will apologise. It wasn't ready though. The blog post entry wasn't ready. It was a draft. I was experimenting. I was thinking and writing. And I wasn't satisfied with the writing. It didn't inspire me. If it doesn't inspire me it might not inspire you. I want you to be inspired. I want me to be inspired.

My children always inspire me. They do. They've made me more me. I have had their company in the home educating journey for years and they've taught me every day.

They are inspiring. The young people. They are.

I like my children. I like spending time with them. I like learning about them and with them. I like them, and I'm so grateful to have had all this precious quality time with them to enjoy them and to enjoy seeing them change and grow. 

I know they've been happy at home base. I know they've chosen to educate themselves about things they find interesting. I know they've been more themselves, instead of the false selves that school forced them to construct for protection. I know that they've never been stuffed into small pigeon holes because you cannot pigeon hole a human spirit.

We've been happy. We are happy. What better way to educate your child than to inspire them to be happy?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Death of a thousand cuts

The cut of constant consultations. 

The cut of negative media 'reports'.

The cut of governmental reports.

The cut of bad men who masquerade as good men in politics.

The cut of people who 'allow' us slaves our freedom.

The cut of offering 'help and support'.

The cut of universities demanding x number of A levels.

The cut of numpties from local councils offering to monitor home educators even though the real meaning of education escapes them.

The cut of 'no funding' for home educators.

The cut of being made to search for non-existent jobs and not assigned benefits even though we are doing vitally important facilitation work with our children's education.

The cut of home educators accepting monitoring because they think the lady from the council is 'nice'.

The cut of local authorities Education Welfare Officers shouting at a new home educator that she MUST let them into her home.

The cut of local authority officers being told of the agony of your daughter having been bullied to within a few degrees of the death of her sensitive spirit and telling you that "you should have come to us for help".

The cut of some MPs 'getting' it, but never being able to trust them because we don't trust MPs because they've let us down before.

The cut of being suspected child abusers, over and over and over.

The cut of people who say they want to check our children because some home educators might be abusing their kids and not seeing that they are defaming our good names, our reputations and sinking our hearts into the black hole of distrust and hurt because they are really accusing us of damaging our children.

The cut of schooled people not understanding that we understand that children learn independently and freely and not through coercion and pain.

The cut of local councils saying you should be on a special database because you love your child enough to give up your usual life for him.

The cut of turning to the possible apparent sources of help in society when you are falsely accusing of hurting your child and find that they all agree with your accusers.

The cut of ignorant people who don't understand and won't understand admonishing you about socialisation for your children when their kids are out desecrating public spaces and ripping off elderly neighbours.

The cut of everyone thinking that schooling is education.

The cut of local councils putting your child in a database of NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) because you don't think it's their business to know what your young person is doing.

The cut of local council assigning your child to a list of NEETS because they are home educated.

The cut of Child Benefit losing your form, that you carefully and tenderly filled in, and cutting you off Child Benefit.

The cut of the government 'helplines' not recognising home education as a legitimate alternative to school, and cutting off your Child Tax Credit or Child Benefit.

The cut of not knowing whether you will be able to see your grandchildren home educating.

The cut of other countries falling to the demands of anti-home education lobbies.

The cut of thousands of hours of work by home educating parents in re-analysing incorrect statistics (Badman) promulgated as an excuse for radically changing home education.

The cut of having friends and families and neighbours think that you are nuts for choosing to home educate.

The cut of having nothing in common with people in wider society when they complain about the terrible job schools are doing and you say "home educate" and they look at you like you are a freak.

The cut of telling people who are ranting about the school's reaction to little Royston being bullied and you suggest home education, and they say, "Is it legal?"

The cut of trying to tell someone about home education to have them say, "Do you have safe and well checks?"

The cut of your child going to Harvard at the age of fifteen because he is so ready for the challenge and everyone saying that you 'hot-housed' him and that you've abused him by not letting him be a child.

The cut of seeing the 'inspector' calling at your door when you haven't made an appointment when the dog has been sick on the cat and you're late getting up because you took your youngsters to see a London show and you all slept in and you know she's going to report that she 'saw no evidence of an education going on'.

The cut of assuming that, as the local council person doesn't like what you do, he will issue a School Attendance Order which assumes that SCHOOL IS BEST.

The cut of knowing that complete strangers can demand that you jump through lots of hoops which can still end in a School Attendance Order, just because they don't 'approve' of your educating habits.

The cut of having a school fail your child and being forced to accommodate the prejudices of someone who thinks school is best.

The cut of Education Welfare Officers asking what sort of socialisation you give your child and frowning when you tell them that young Lisle goes to home educating groups, and then asking if he sees any 'normal' children.

The cut of everyone thinking that you're a bad parent for being so stupid as to think you can educate your child because don't experts do that?

The cut of having local authorities tell you what they believe is the law and what their policy is, but you know what the law really says and you have to tell them that they don't know their job, but they don't care because they believe what they say is right and, anyway, they have a policy that says they can do whatever they say they wish to do.

The cut of.... (insert your own. If you're a home educator, I'm sure you'll have more)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Ivan the Great

Ivan Illich, that is. Ivan Illich the great.

He says: "Like highways, schools, at first glance, give the impression of being equally open to all comers. They are, in fact, open only to those who consistently renew their credentials. Just as highways create the impression that their present level of cost per year is necessary if people are to move, so schools are presumed essential for attaining the competence required by a society which uses modern technology. We have exposed speedways as spurious public utilities by noting their dependence on private cars. Schools are based upon the equally spurious hypothesis that learning is the result of curricular teaching."

"Highways result from a perversion of the desire and need for mobility into the demand for a private car. Schools themselves pervert the natural inclination to grow and learn into the demand for instruction. Demands for manufactured maturity is a far greater abnegation of self-initiated activity than the demand for manufactured goods. Schools are not only to the right of highways and cars; they belong near the extreme of the institutional spectrum occupied by total asylums. Even the producers of body counts kill only bodies. By making men abdicate the responsibility for their own growth, school leads many to a kind of spiritual suicide."

From Deschooling Society, Ivan Illich, Penguin Books Ltd, 1971