Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Hornet's nest

If you read Grit's diaryblog you will know that she home educates three kids.

What a lonely tortured nightmare of persecution, doubt, self scrutiny and impossible challenge home education is.

There again, what a liberation home education becomes.

But you may find that if you step away from what is normal and expected of you and yours - like school and all the structured family lifestyle that institution imposes - then your well marked road ends, and your field begins.

At first there may seem like precious few tracks across that field to the other side. You feel compelled to choose your track wisely but, in setting out, you have no wisdom to guide you. Only your own instincts and the experiences, ideas and welcomes of others.

Some tracks will truly help you, but others will downright mislead you. Some people on tracks that look good will dig bear pits and cover them with grass. Then they might sit and watch you from their hiding place behind a tree while you attempt to navigate their path with your children, precariously, trying to do what's right, before you all fall down a big hole. At that point, I don't know whether I hear laughter, or whether that's just the murmurings of the trees.

Possibly, I am rambling. I am seeking a metaphor for the tracks and pits that make up local home ed groups.

Local home ed groups are strange alliances of peoples who band together in fields looking for tracks and paths.

Sometimes the only part of the lives of these wanderers, explorers and pioneers that can possibly cross and touch is the single fact that they home educate. Nothing else corresponds. Not lifestyles, not outlooks, not parenting values, not ages, not interests, not ambitions, not anything at all.

But here you are, stuck in a field with someone you don't like, or much sympathise with, and both of you have to navigate past each other. Either that, or slaughter each other right there on the spot. Overcome this hazard, and you may meet someone warm, helpful, supportive, who offers a hand when you're lost, or points you in a direction that will reward you and celebrate your achievements.

Now there is a general unwillingness to publicly discuss the slaughtering grounds of local home education. I've mentioned these and those. And there may be good reasons for this reluctance to explore the tensions and factions. Possibly because this is like a betrayal to the cause. Possibly because we seek a united front when so many still oppose us.

Those are good reasons, so right now I'll silence my mouth for the sake of that united front.

But there are some people who rise above it all, and act like some sort of directional signpost. They overlook differences, negotiate round mistakes, provide options, look ahead, believe in you and yours, protect and preserve their identities and relationships and never slaughter anyone. They are good people to find.

I don't know where this is going. I'm still in the field, finding a way through. I'll just say that if you are foolish, brave and crazy enough to leave those much trodden roads of school, and head off across this vast field of home education, you'll find many choices of paths before you, both helpful and harmful. And you'll meet all sorts of people in this field too, so don't worry that you'll be alone. Because truly, those fields are filled with people who can out-fool, out-brave and out-crazy you every time.

But sometimes, best of all, you'll meet people who manage to cross those fields, navigate those hazards, and still find time to show you a new direction. And those people are a real source of strength.

And never think there's nothing to do in these home educating fields.
Today there is support and help all round from home educators at the AIM gallery, Milton Keynes.


The Gossamer Woman said...

I don't suppose there is a better way to organize yourselves that being just a loose band of diverse and often opposing home educators, each with their own point of view and motivation. That's the best your system can offer and maybe it should be no different, hence too limited and restrictive. You're dodging the minefields very well, it seems, but I don't know everything, of course. Much is not told for a reason and I can understand that. You have a lot of courage and endurance and I admire you for that. You don't pick the easy way.

Grit said...

irene, you are right about home ed being diverse! and you are very kind, thank you!

kellyi said...

This is exactly how HE is feeling right now. The out-crazy bit rings true as well. I am starting to think we are perfectly normal in comparison. Still. I like the crazies the best. What's wrong with me?

(P.S. I have bookmarked this post for days when I am stuck in a trap.)

Jax said...

I think another reason why we tend not to too much blog the difficult bits is that the written word can be so easily misconstrued, and anything even slightly negative can become a focus for further discontent IRL.

There is that feeling of letting the side down too, by admitting that maybe it isn't all wonderful.

mamacrow said...

oh I hear you - but everything you've described,I've found to be true generally, not just in the homeschooling world... Tho I think it's all magnified in the HE community?