Thursday, 1 October 2009

The diversity that is home education

In this blog, you'll find a normal family. We fall out, make up, scream on the stairs, laugh together, talk about life, hide a rubber rat on the path to spook the postman, save the last chocolate slice for someone else, feed the birds, climb over the sofa, tell each other off, fight over who won Snap, eat take-aways, make cake, and shout Put that down before you have someone's eye out.

We are totally normal.

And we don't send our kids to school.

Earlier this year, Graham Badman was put up to write a review of the type of education offered by people who don't send their kids to school.

Badman could have said What can we learn from you? After all, many of the 'new initiatives' and 'developments' that we see emerge in schools, are totally normal in the daily lives of kids who don't attend schools.

Out of school, kids have time to concentrate on craft, to apply their creativity, do work experience, play, carry out science experiments, work through personal and family relationships, learn languages, meet socially, read, take music, cook, go out, shop, visit art galleries, museums, public lectures, take part in society, smell the flowers, play sport, learn from specialists.

All on that list is, at some time or another, taken up and championed by the school system, like it's some great new revelation they just gathered from two years of research.

Yet for kids out of school, these activities are normal. This is our daily life.

It seemed to a lot of people who don't send their kids to school in the normal way, that Badman, Balls and the DCSF were not so much interested in this huge variety of talented, different children we have in this country, nor what actually goes on in the huge, varied world of everything except school, but perhaps they were more interested in ensuring that certain types of education were promoted, and the unschooling, the autonomous style, eliminated. To some, that process of engineering the type of education you want is not education, it's social control.

Alongside the Badman review, came a load of news about how home educators are a suspicious lot. We may be hiding our children, abusing them. Many people who don't send their kids to conventional schools, felt that was some vilification. It gave the communities we work in, and rely upon, a sudden ground to suspect us, to see us walking down the street on a Monday morning, and wonder.

So it's no wonder that people who don't send their children to school, organise themselves to present their lives.

In the Grit household, we don't educate autonomously, we don't run a school at home. We create our own curriculums, we have half an eye to the National Curriculum, we go to the park. We mess it up. We get lost in woods. We meet a monk with a pet moth. We find a Viking in a field. We find our own way. We make it work.

And we support the huge variety of education that takes place in this country, and are so very glad of that diversity, and we want to protect it. Because it offers, truly, every child the opportunity to express themselves.

And we hope you'll support us. Because one day, you might want not to send your kids to school.


Nic said...

Top. Post. :)

Mr Farty said...

Well put, Grit.

martine frampton said...

it's not that easy to spook a postman:-)
much love Martine

Merry said...

I predominantly come here to say "hear hear". I have no creativity at all :D