Are we just a crackpot minority?

You know, us home educators who are ranting and raving about invasion of privacy following the Badman review of home education, are we just fringe nutters?

I admit we’ve made some unusual choices in our life. It isn’t standard to home educate your children after all. And if you don’t home educate them, finding a montessori nursery and school for flexi schooling isn’t particularly standard either.

But since when did making unusual choices become so worthy of suspicion? AHEd’s examination of the stats released by FOI requests show that home educated children are not more at risk of child abuse or neglect, despite the repeated claims in the media to the contrary. We should be celebrating diversity, not driving for conformity throughout education and indeed life itself. Diversity, innovation, creativity, these are the things we need for life in this day and age of frequent technological change and development.

Am I just whimpering that the world doesn’t understand me, like some goth teenager?

No, I don’t really care whether the world understands me. I won’t hide myself or my children away, or apologise for my choices, but I will fight to defend them. Not that I’ve had to, tbh, round here. Saying that I home educate doesn’t raise eyebrows, or cause ppl to move away from my children. Several families have gone out of their way to arrange playdates in fact. I don’t think home education is viewed with much suspicion here at all, and where ppl have been taken in by media spin, it has taken very short conversations to put them right again.

Sometimes it worries me that so few home educators seem to be involved in the battles against Badman, but then again, how many of the population do anything about anything these days? There’s life to be lived, work to be done, children to be raised, houses to be run. We’ve other things to do with our time and energy, just day to day things. Many home educators are raising children with additional needs, that give another layer of complication to daily lives. Some of them are doing it alone, not all families have two parents. Some are raising and educating children while running businesses to support themselves.

So I don’t think it’s apathy, and I don’t think it’s agreement with the conclusions of the review. I think that you usually get a minority who act in political cases – look at the political party membership figures for example. Or check out how many ppl actually volunteer to do anything in addition to their usual lives, it’s a small number. It doesn’t indicate that the ppl who aren’t members, or don’t volunteer don’t agree with the parties or the volunteers, it simply means it isn’t their priority.

And home educators are getting review fatigue. This government has conducted several reviews into home education and associated areas in the last few years, including compiling the currently missing in action guidelines for local authorities on elective home education(pdf link). Sometimes it seems it isn’t worth fighting on.

I believe it has to be. Despite or because of the ever encroaching nanny state, I think it is time to draw a line in the sand and say no more.

I think that we don’t need more databases, we need trust and community to raise our children and things like reciprocal childcare should be, as it always has been, acceptable in society. I think it should be fine to give your friend’s children a lift home from school, or cubs, or brownies without needing to be on yet another database. I think families ought to have freedom of choice in how their children are educated, particularly before mandatory educational age, rather than the government imposing a nappy curriculum on every childcare institution.

Am I being controversial, a heretic or renegade even? I don’t think so. Please feel free to point out the error of my ways 🙂

And if you are suddenly overcome with the urge to act, then there is a petition against the review on the No 10 website, and a consultation to be answered over the next month. I will be blogging more fully about that sometime over the next week.

About Jax Blunt

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Comments

  1. Bravo!

  2. Fantastic post Jax :o)
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..A day of pottering =-.

  3. Great post 🙂 xx

  4. Alison Sauer says:

    We’re just a bunch of loonies really.

  5. Great post. I like being a nutter :;
    .-= Ruth´s last blog ..The Mystery of the Missing 2007 HE Guidelines =-.

  6. Wonderful post Jax, well said!
    .-= Maire´s last blog ..2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education =-.

  7. yes, my thoughts run along much the same lines; i try and sit in amongst school choosing folk and remind everyone, sometimes by the very fact of being there, that we all have many options, from flexischooling to unschooling. i think the greater diversity of styles that exists, the greater pressure on the government to support all styles there is, and the more parents will be involved at some level in education, and not just interpreting that word to mean go to school.

    that’s why i keep sitting there anyway, even though sometimes i am like banquo’s ghost and everyone ignores me.
    .-= grit´s last blog ..Find something positive. Or die, probably. =-.

  8. Hear, hear! Funnily enough, this morning I was reading an old blogpost of mine about eccentric home educators (sounds so much more sophisticated than crackpot minority, don’t you think?) 😉

  9. Great post. The British have always celebrated eccentricity, such a shame this seems no longer to be the case.
    .-= Tech´s last blog ..DCSF Disappears EHE Guidelines down the memory hole =-.

  10. Great post, and I agree. For me, it’s about the idea that’s increasingly prevalent that parenting is some kind of science with a “perfect” formula. So many parents, as a result of this, are terrified of deviating from the norm, even if their instincts and circumstances would seem to require a different approach.

    I’m in a town where the nearest Montessori school is just slightly too far away for us to attend, although we considered it very carefully. I’m self-employed and don’t have the time to home educate – but it’s something I would consider and would take on if my daughter’s school turns out not to provide an environment I support.

    But yes, locally, I’m considered a crackpot. Ah well, I tell myself, all the best people are!

  11. I have been saying for years that home education is perceived by society en masse as a lifestyle choice for people who can afford it.

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