Tuesday, 13 October 2009

We have the right to choose

Today is the day home educators storm Parliament!

Look at that! Government by the home educated! That would be a coup, eh?

You'll be alright. We won't be able to agree on anything.

Actually, that bit is not surprising. We home educators are so very diverse. Some use worksheets and some home educators just passed out because that word came near their eyeballs.

Some home educators use their local school for resources, support and ideas. And some home educators would like a Hadron Collider so they could suck the local primary into a gone forever black hole.

When it comes to providing an education, all kids have such different experiences and interests, and families have such different philosophies.

But what home educators have in common is a belief that choice in education must stay with the parent and child, and not be taken by the state.

Home educators choose to take responsibility for a child's education everyday. We roll up our sleeves and dirty our elbows. And what many agree on, is that an everyday home education experience won't be helped by the imposition of someone else's curriculum, control, or by their supervision.

When you send your little Tinkertop to school, you trust a teacher, a classroom, a headteacher, a school philosophy, a pre-set curriculum, and national assessments to provide the bulk of that education.

If you're a professional parent, you may try to fill in any gaps between that school and homework, with interesting and creative activities that your child wants to do.

Then home educators are no different from you. They are usually resourceful at finding stuff to do; they work alongside their child, support interests, find workshops, join groups, make playdates, and shiftily approach other parents for birthday parties, joint tennis lessons, or evening French clubs.

But to know what home educators are upset about, you only have to think about the summer six-week holiday.

Think whether in July you would like an inspector from the Local Authority to have the right to enter your home and check whether you have a suitable schedule of summer educational activities chosen from their prearranged curriculum. And, by the way, before your little Tinkertop returns to school in September, the Local Authority might pop back and test her to see if your educational plan worked. They probably won't make you feel any better by saying they're making sure she's safe too, and checking you're not beating her up, because everyone knows that you might.

Then you can see what the fuss is about today.

Home educators think they are doing pretty well, thank you. Mostly against the grain, but independent, resourceful, capable, determined. Just like most parents, dedicated to creating an educational environment for their children, but mostly based on stuff their child likes to do.

To protect that educational freedom; to protect that right to choose; to support the rights we believe children have, home educators today gather in a mass lobby of Parliament. The BBC reports it here.

If you've read this far, know that parents who home educate are just like you. I choose a lifestyle, just like you. I love my children, just like you. I choose to raise them in the way that I see fit. Just like you.


mamacrow said...

'Some use worksheets and some home educators just passed out because that word came near their eyeballs.

Some home educators use their local school for resources, support and ideas. And some home educators would like a Hadron Collider so they could suck the local primary into a gone forever black hole.'


fab post all over, Grit.

kellyi said...

I think this is your best review related post. The comment about the six week summer holidays is great and I shall be quoting it to all my friends with children in school to give them an idea of what the review means.

Thank you :)

sharon said...

Freedom of choice in most things appears to be a rare commodity in Brave New Labour UK. I sincerely hope some sensible results come from this action but I'm not holding my breath. You'll all have to emigrate.

mamacrow said...

where to though Sharon? I don't think Scotland is going to be able to remain separate in this matter for ever, and anywhere germanic is out, plus main land europe generally doesn't seem like a good idea...

Amercia? well, you have to be real careful to pick the 'right' state, and even then you have no guarantee things won't change. To hear Obama on the subject isn't encouraging.

Tech said...

fabulous :)

Potty Mummy said...

I put my name on the petition Grit - just so you know...

Rebel Mother said...

Its just not a barrel of laughs anymore is it? This parenting thing I mean. You get crap when you take the kid to school, you get crap if you educate at home.

You just cant bloody win!

I think you're amazing. You go girl!!!

Love RMxx

Trevor said...

Hi Grit

Long time since I've posted here (although I still try to read when I can). It's always nice to get your comments on my blog and I appreciate you making the effort (I don't know where you find the time, honestly I don't).

Anyway, found this interesting blurb on education and thought you might find it interesting (if you haven't already seen it)


Keep up the fight. Hey, do you realise that every paragraph has managed to end in parenthesis? (Except this one)

Casdok said...

Well said!

Grit said...

hello people, thank you for all the supportive comments. the little grits are learning a lot about parliamentary process right now, if i'm looking for a silver lining.

thanks for that link, trevor. i find the time because as everyone knows i ignore the children. either that, or i get up early and rarely watch tv.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hi Grit. Came over form Potty Mummy's when I read her post. I had no idea it was this tough for home educators out there.

I'm always in awe of what you do and surely the government should be supporting you, not making life as difficult as possible.

I've signed the petition, and I really hope things change soon.

Brilliant post.

Grit said...

hi jo, thank you for your support!