Monday, 16 February 2009

Vijay Patel drove me to drink

This home education blog jogs along, doesn't it?

Today we went to the theatre and came home. Or, Today we had a big fight.


Because all Grit wants to do is tell you about a home educating lifestyle. It's one among many.

Our home education is mainly conducted in English fields, or in places like battle sites, sewage farms, Tesco, museums, science parks and the occasional monastery. I've wanted you to know what a child's day is like if you choose something other than school. Perhaps because some people have bizarre ideas about home education. Like the kids never go out, or they don't have friends, or they never see anyone, or maybe that we chain them to radiators and beat them all day long. So this blog hopes to let you in on our world, to show you home education is a normal choice and, despite the problems and frustrations, a safe thing to do, and that - dare we say it - we think it's more fun to learn this way than at school.

But now! Now look! That happy daily home ed diary is all upset and spoiled and pissed on.

And how has this sorry state of affairs come about?

Vijay Patel.

If you haven't heard of him, I'll explain. Mr Patel is policy adviser for the NSPCC. He says,

'Some people use home education to hide. Look at the Victoria ClimbiƩ case.'

Now Grit is no longer a home educator. She is a child abuser. And potential murderer. When you meet me walking down the street, will you wonder, just a little bit, whether everything is alright with Shark, Squirrel and Tiger? Will you? I hope not. If you don't, you'll probably know that Victoria ClimbiƩ wasn't home educated. That the little girl was referred to the NSPCC. That they did nothing to help her. And at the following inquiry, the NSPCC conveniently lost key documents and censored names to protect NSPCC staff. But hey! say the NSPCC! Forget that! Because do you know who's really to blame? Yup! That's right! Home educators!

Now Grit is shaking her head in confusion, disbelief and horror. Why are we being demonised, slurred, and why are such defamatory remarks made against us? Would I be right in thinking such remarks are deliberately designed to bring about a negative opinion of home educators in the eyes of the school-choosing public?

So I'm afraid I have drunk not one bottle of beer. Not two. But three. Vijay Patel drove me to it.

Worse. With the effects of the demon drink my blog will become, intermittently, the toxic outpourings of an exploding spleen from a rambling, incoherent git who swings punches and SHOUTS FOR NO APPARENT REASON, and then suddenly jumps up and sets off down the road with plastic bags tied to the string she keeps for a belt to hold up her trousers. Soon I will be lying in the gutter, burbling.

But Vijay, I'm not going without a fight. I'm keeping to my daily diary of home educating triumphs and disasters. And I'll tell you what the abusive home educating parent did today with the beaten Shark, Squirrel and Tiger.

We read some more of The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, then Shark, Squirrel and Tiger all ran off in the sunshine to play.


Jan said...

We've just read the Little White Horse - great book. :)

I accused Michelle recently of not really being a home-educator, as she's just never at home but always gallivanting off to museums and workshops and forest school and classes in this and that, and I think the same charge could be levelled at you. :)

Mr Farty said...

The Bad Man's been put in charge of child welfare. You couldn't make it up.

I'm off to read the rest of that article...

Brad said...

Sounds like Mr Patel was a good student of the former Bush Administration. The masters of contorted words and missing documents.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Mr Patel is an evil do gooder, the most dangerous kind in the world. He ought to be fired as quickly as possible and someone with an ounce of sense be put in his place instead.

Frog in the Field said...

Dear Grit, may I send you an enormous Caterpillar (I mean Hug), There will always be a tendancy to pigeon hole people and lifestyles.
As a fee paying private school parent, we of course are believed to have piles of £50 notes stacked up around the house and drive a Bentley with private number plates, drink Chablis for breakfast, glitter with diamond and live in a palatial enormous farmhouse bursting with exquisite antique furniture.
Truth...small cluttered cottage, pretty frugal through necessity (our choice of course), old Volvo and tonight going out for a Beer and Bar snack with a couple who are home educators...really.
Rise above it Grit, show your might!

Gina xx said...

Wait until they mantion the S word...SOCIALISATION.

(Today my Eldest socialised with 11 other children ranging from 7 to 14 at a pottery class where she began her coffin shaped earring box complete with pottery skull.)

Grit said...

jan, it is true that home educators go gallivanting, and you are right. but let's not admit it, because in the current climate we will be accused of flaunting our children, over-socialising them and forcing other people to look at them.

mr farty, there is so much stuff out there on mr baadman i am already drowning. mr patel has formed a bit of a fan club in the last 24 hours as well.

this is true, brad. misinformation, misleading information and downright lying seem to be the strategy now.

yes! i agree irene! that's what i like! no nonsense!

frog, admit you are mining diamonds and gold in the north. but your stereotype is flattering. until mine (thanks to mr patel) became murderous abuser, home educators were probably just weirdo drop out hippies.

gina, i love the pottery skull and coffin. i cannot wait till tiger enters the goth years and paints her room black.

Ruth said...

As an article from 10 years ago pointed out, the NSPCC actually NEEDS the public to believe that there's an out of control epidemic of child abuse.

They're not in the business of protecting children they're in the business of feeding public fear, and generating it from whole cloth if necessary. If child abuse really was stamped out the money would dry up and a lot of people would find themselves looking for jobs.

No, they NEED abused children and they're perfectly happy to invent them if necessary to keep the gravy train rolling.