Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Owls can wear skirts too

While Shark, Squirrel and Tiger dress up owls, maybe it's the opportunity to think about the many outfits owls can wear.

This blog is a record of what our family does and where we go. And this blog speaks for no-one else, but me, us, and our family. It might chart our changes, trials, problems, and the progress of the kitchen mouse, who midnight danced about my worktop undeterred by late night owls dressed as cabaret stars.

But if there is one thing I would like people out there to understand - especially those people who automatically choose school without being aware of options - it's that education comes in many forms, and one is not better than another, if the child likes it, and thrives.

Some children enjoy formal schooling; some children enjoy unschooling, or autonomous education; some children enjoy a mix of this, a mix of that. I trust every parent to know, help choose, and develop their own children as best they can. I think people do that, because they love their kids, just like me.

We all find our own way; the ways which suit us best. On that point, I have no objection to schools; if we had a decent enough provision, and had they loved nursery, I'd probably be packing Shark, Squirrel and Tiger off there. Then I'd be writing a blog complaining about that. If the local school offered flexi arrangements and my kids wanted every Thursday there, then we'd go there too.

Squirrel says she'd like a GCSE in French, and doesn't want to wear a uniform to get it. Shark says she wants to study marine biology, and doesn't care what she does for that. Tiger says she wants to study art, but wants to be free to find her own way, because if we ask her to go to school, she'll hide in the toilets. Then it's our job, as their parents, to find and make all the arrangements to meet their different temperaments and aspirations. Even when they change as they hit age 13.

Locally, we have a range of school options, flexi-school, and home education options and a-bit-of-this and a-bit-of-that social groups; I align with none of them, and all of them. Because in all of these, there are interesting people to know and meet; a wide range of beliefs to understand; a lot to be gained.

I don't mind what you do regarding the education of your children. That's up to you, but I want the state not to interfere with your - and my - decision. When you and I choose, neither you nor me should feel bullied by Balls, Badman, OFSTED, local government, school-choosing neighbours and home educating voices.

I want your choice and your freedom to continue, because your freedom is my freedom; it's the freedom to choose to unschool, home educate with conviction, use a home-based curriculum, to flexischool, to send kids to school, to transfer between those situations and opportunities as children need - so that they can be happy, realise their futures, gain their independence, and thrive.

Now, to get back to the owls. Here are their delightful costumes.