Saturday, 4 July 2009

We can't even hide them in a damn field

The UK government's seedy insinuation, delivered via the Badman review* - that home educated children are hidden from view, that no eyes ever see these unknown children - once again opened the flood gates. All the familiar prejudices poured out from newspaper columnists and commentators.

That everyone knows home education is a kitchen table operation. That home educated children cannot socialise. That they do not leave the house. That the mother is the prime teacher and she, with her iron hat and iron bar, controls and regulates her child's environment, possibly because of her emotional neediness, but also because of her unrealistic academic demands. She'll attain her goal through regular beatings, slavery, torture. Most certainly, she'll be driven by her sexual appetite.

Well, old trout Grit - that predatory mother intent on abuse - takes her children off to fields regularly, as readers of this blog will know. Here she has found that she can equip the home educated Shark, Squirrel and Tiger with some key elements in a well rounded education.

Because it is in these wonderful fields that she can put these little beings in positions where they must socialise, interact with teachers who are experts in their, ahem, field, and can take advantage of the world that is their classroom.

Of course I'll forgive you non home educators for thinking that these English fields must be lonely, isolated places with not a soul in them, and that possibly Grit only seeks to hide her children all the better in the long grass and smelly weeds.

In reality, these fields are quite busy. Spend a little while investigating, and you'll find ramblers, archaeologists, bat watchers, frog followers, butterfly spotters, musicians, drama groups, twitchers, Buddhists, and a blue badge officer guiding a party of American tourists on a two-hour walk to a medieval ruined church.

Today we join the geologists. There's kids on this walk too, as of course there will be, because even geologists have children, so there's a mixed age group if you need evidence of socialisation.

We've met these people before. Two of the geologists I know from Burham Beeches last week. One is an arachnid and insect expert and shows the kids a labyrinth spider and all the stages of a ladybird metamorphosis. I don't know what Mr Badman and Mr Balls call that, but I'd call it an education in our community with people who are passionate about their subjects, and committed and eager to pass on their knowledge to younger members of society. i.e. teachers.

It is truly such a fine day, one where we learn widely and freely about spiders, ladybirds, Victorian archaeology, Richard II, the difference between Portland and Blisworth limestone, and the effects of hydrochloric acid. Here are some photos.

Romano-British tumuli. And look! We're following other people! How did they get here?

Thornborough Bridge, the oldest in Buckinghamshire, built with Blisworth limestone and dating from the medieval time when Richard II was poncing about dressed like a Christmas tree. Oh you just have to know your history. Join the history group staggering along behind us.

Aunty Dee, do keep up.

Coombs quarry, where we find and identify bivalves, gastropds, brachiopods
and sea urchins. But not ammonites. You don't get ammonites over here.

An out of focus picture of a banded snail.
It can join the out of focus pictures of spiders and ladybird pupa.

You can see the day is so good, so busy and alive, and filled with people and talk, that when I get home, I could kick myself.

Because I could have given at least seven adults these cards, confident that we would have been understood, supported, and these cards would have been posted.

So I'll sort those, and take the opportunity in that field next time. It might help get over those ignorant, worn out prejudices.

And Dani, a big, big thank you.

8.4 '...
attendance at school brings other eyes to bear'


emma said...

I printed off my cards yesterday and gave one to the lady at our favourite science museum this morning (all the other staff were weekend parttimers who I didn't know bah) and one to the girl in the fish and chip shop on the way home. It feels really good to begin being out and proud :)

Still working on the one-liner which says

Ed Balls is an evil toe rag who wants to treat us as if we are under suspicion of child abuse


this is how things really are


oh, please write to your MP.

The Green Stone Woman said...

I am sorry that I'm a Dutch person and can't join in the fray, because I would so very much like to. Just tell me where to send my letter as a witness on the sidelines.

Clare said...

Brilliant cards, thanks for posting this.

cosmic seed said...

ah memories! I went to school in the next hamlet along from thornborough :)

emma said...

Are you serious, Cosmic? I am another north bucks lass, born and bred, so Thornborough was very much part of my childhood stamping ground :)

cosmic seed said...

quite serious, i went to thornton college...

emma said...

good lord.

you were probably taught by my mother!

cosmic seed said...

No!! Ooh you'll have to tell me!