Monday, 20 October 2008

The Magic of Oxygen

You don't see me organising events for our home ed groups. Yes, I feel guilty about that. Everyone except me organises amazing workshops and stuff, while I just take along triplets to pull each other's hair or poke each other's eyes.

But one day I am cruising about planet Internet when I eye-spy the Magic of Oxygen chemistry-based lecture to be held at the Open University. It's a breathtaking WhizzBangPop! aimed at school groups.

Then I immediately shoot an email to the organiser hinting at educational discrimination and threatening to disembowel myself over an office chair if home educated children are not encouraged to participate. Foolishly, because at that moment I am feeling the sweep of grand gestures and expansive statements, I suggest I could amass a group of, hmm, let's see, twelve people, children and adults, who would enjoy this lecture. Now I throw the gauntlet down. I say prove how much education matters to everyone and not just the Jessies in form 3G.

I expect to be ignored. But I am not. I receive a message by return which says the lecture will be well attended by schools but suggests perhaps fifteen home educators might be accommodated with some special chairs up the aisles.

And so I send out a message on the home ed email lists offering a jolly good deal on a Magic of Oxygen lecture and hey! because by then I am in full righteous organising flow, I throw in a Radioactivity lecture too.

And then I remember why I do not organise many home education events.

First, it is the organising. I am not good at administration. Of any sort. Numbers, ages, names, dates, locations, timings, letting people know, that sort of thing. As you can see, I have a problem recalling what day it is. Sometimes I beat my head with my knuckles to remember simple things like Where are my car keys? and What have I done with my glasses? Not surprisingly then, this Magic of Oxygen lecture quickly blooms to twenty emails in eight different directions, and several lists of names, notes and jottings which I immediately lose on my desk.

And here's the second reason why I don't organise things. Because it all goes out of control quicker than a rat up a drainpipe.

Here we are, showing up at the OU reception. From a promise of fifteen people, I turn up with an out of control rabble of thirty people and my face saying I don't know who they are, so don't look at me. The people who show up bear almost no resemblance to the list I carefully lost three days ago. Meanwhile, the receptionist is experiencing a bat-up-your-skirt day. Strange sorts of people not in suits are messing up her lovely reception and they do not have identity numbers or name badges and say they are meeting here and Now look! A baby with a pushchair has arrived and that is just about mind blowing and she may have to lie down behind the counter and inject drugs.

And this is typical of home ed groups. Tell me if yours is any different. From fifteen seats suitable for upwards of age nine I have amassed an intergenerational party of thirty for the WhizzBangPop! including a crying baby, two running about toddlers, grandma, and a selection of infirm who may need the oxygen. And now is foolish Grit thinking Crikey! We're for it! Because how can all our bottoms fit on fifteen chairs?

But should I have worried? No. The organiser is one step away from being more poorly organised than me, the out of control home ed rabble take over the lecture theatre, run about, and squeal yippeeyippeeyippee! and the school party leaves 40 empty seats because they never show up. Quietly I think, yup, next year, it won't matter how disorganised or out of control I am, because with a home ed lot like this, and a resource this good and free, I'll just send the invite to every home edder in a fifty mile radius, and we'll mob the place.

Be forewarned, Miss Bat-up-your-skirt.

Preparing for the WhizzBangPop!


HelenHaricot said...

we're prob just about within a 50 mile radius and perfect for receptionist terrifying.
sounds like typical HE group mix!!

alison said...

No, our HE group are very organised actually, and have been really obnoxiously strict lately about age limits - 3 recent events have been billed as "for 7+ ONLY so don't even think about it", which with a 6 year old, an 8 year old, and a 10 year old is really bloody annoying. Think I'll come to yours instead ;-)

sharon said...

Every now and then Grit, I wish I could have my time again and join in the fun of Home Ed! This outing sounds a bit like the toddler mafia picnic sessions a disparate (and sometimes desperate) group of childminders I joined used to have at the local park. We really were a rabble of types and ages from tiny babies to grannies, clutching bags, baskets and a motley assortment of strollers, reins and sticky hands! We didn't have receptionist issues though, just food issues. Had to give the picnic bit up in the end, it was too hard keeping the 'assorted allergies', 'no sweeties allowed', vegetarians and vegans apart!

PS. For those who may be worried, none of the allergy kids got the wrong foods ever, it was mostly the no sweeties group (surprise surprise!) grabbing contraband or the occasional consumption of meat/egg/dairy by a 'V'

The Boisterous Butterfly-by said...

Well, I can´t pop out another child and join and HE group, fun as they sound. I´m just thinking of all the things I could learn. Sorry, I´ve suddenly got to take a nap.

Anonymous said...

Wow - good show! I think you earned a quick tote of oxygen for that!

Michelle said...

I swore not to organise anything after that renewable energy day. My energy levels still haven't been renewed.