Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Breaking the law is a simple step

The little grits went about their normal business today. Reading in bed first.

When the clock hands turn to eleven, it's time for me to threaten them with skewers. We must arrive at French early. If we do, we have time to chat and meet the regular group of kids, mostly ages nine to twelve. And, secretly, I suspect Mme is less generous with the fruity chews for late foot dragging stragglers who interrupt her quatrevingtdix.

The weather is cold and wet and grey, so after French, the children choose not to stay for outdoor play. Anyway, Shark is keen to make a splash with her spending money at the second hand bookshop in town. Choosing Leopard Trail, we hurry back home, and pick up our project to make leather bound notebooks for our summer journeys.


The leather is donated by a local bag and shoe making business to Scrapstore. I go there weekly, and pick up great, exciting bundles of cut offs and cast offs for our art and craft. The butterfly is recycled from a belt, picked up at the hospice charity shop.

The notebook took half an hour to make, is stitched with embroidery thread, has a magnetic catch, serves as a jotter, and helped me take my mind off things.

Because today the bill which contains a licensing scheme for home educating parents like me, makes its steady passage through the House of Commons. And, if it becomes law, the question of how I will break the law has been much on my mind.

Probably, I will break the law by non compliance. I will not put forward my family to the local authority. To do so is to accept the premise that local government should licence me annually. That, I cannot accept.

Because as a parent, my first promise is to my children, not the state.

I believe that my children are my responsibility. I am the person they look to for support, to defend them and protect them as they grow. It is a very great trust my children place in me, and I have a responsibility to meet their trust as best I can. I want for Shark, Squirrel and Tiger to grow and make their bigger and better decisions independently, wisely, imaginatively, bravely, while knowing of themselves, and knowing of the world. I do not believe the government can match the education I offer for that. I offer creativity, imagination, boldness, independence.

I will not permit a situation where government says these states cannot possibly exist, this condition of trust cannot be, unless they have inspected me; examined my home; approved me, furnished me with a licence to be with my children, but only for one year, renewable upon my compliance with any further requirements they make.

I cannot accept that. And from that basis, breaking the law will be simple.

23 comments:

LPG said...

make that two of us here then...

Raquel said...

license to be with my children? No Way! I'll be joining you.

Maire said...

Well said, if ever this comes to pass I look forward to your bold and imaginative ideas of hoe to combat it.

Susanna said...

Have managed thus far to raise and rear child - will continue as before. Incense may have been sniffed along the way... this may or may not be significant.

Today, Diana was heard to say words to this effect: "Parent doing a good job = Co-operating with their Local Authority"

Whatever did mummies and daddies do before Local Authorities were born?

Sally said...

Little concerned by the 'hoe' slip Maire! You planning some ogre fighting with pitchforks and the like?

I'm heading to scrapstore now Grit!

I share your complete consternation that the Government could think they can have the final say where our children are concerned. I am most baffled by the logic.

Sally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Firebird said...

Today Diana came across as whiny and petulant, her lies weaker and more hollow sounding than usual. It didn't help that she was wearing an old dog blanket.

The Tories and Lib Dems won the argument pure and simple.

The bill will still be with the Lords when the election is called and I'm now feeling as confident as I can where politicians are concerned that the opposition will not let it pass with Schedule 1 included. The blasted thing is still alive but its days are numbered!

Tech said...

Pass the pitch fork over here please.

Expat mum said...

Grit - you and I have discussed this before and I'm still struggling with one point. I am big on society's responsibility to our children - to keep them safe, healthy and to ensure that they are being educated. While I don't think they should be able to barge into anyone's house, I can't see the overall problem with having people who want to educate their children at home prove that they can, ie. obtain licensing.
I have only raised children over here, but from nursery school through to high schools, they have to be accredited. I realise that it's partly because some charge for their educational services and the others answer to the government, but how else do we know that children everywhere are beig educated? Or do you think that it's nobody else's business? (Just trying to get at where we are differing - perhaps the reply would be too long for here but I really am interested.)

Expat mum said...

And yes I probably would break the law if it was something I felt really strongly about - as long as it didn't get my kids in trouble.

Sam said...

Well said Grit.

To Expat Mum, if you don't mind me answering as well, I would say it is no-one else's business.

I am answerable to my *children* for their education. Just as I am in how I look after them, feed them, clothe them etc.

If it looks like I am failing to take care of them, or actually harming them, then the state (or someone) needs to step in to help.

Otherwise it is family business. They are *my* children - they don't belong to the "state" or society.

Cathy at nurturestore said...

Aside from the weighty discussion, which I'm following with interest, I just wanted to say I think the notebook is beautiful.

Ruth said...

Love the notebook and I am with you. Pitch fork at the ready.

belzi23 said...

Well said Grit. There'll be no going forward for licensing here either.
P.s. Love the notebook :-)

MadameSmokinGun said...

I won't be breaking any laws - laws of nature - like....hmmnnn......parents being responsible for their children. Won't break that one. The govt on the other hand - now, let me see......... How many natural laws do you think they have broken? How many promises? How much trust? How many spirits? The fabric of society? Somebody stop me.......

Have hoe ready to do battle with LA ogre at the very first glimpse.

The more they try to squash us the more unsquashable we seem to have become. Funny that.

sharon said...

Love that notebook Grit.

I hoPe you don't have to break the law but I'd back you against that bunch of devious no-hopers (who shouldn't be in charge of an empty paper bag let alone even one single child's education any where, time or place) every step of the way.

Have two spare rooms, a craft room and a double futon in the second lounge room should you need sanctuary ;-)

kellyi said...

I am prepared to do a deal with the government. When they become decent people with some moral fibre (isn't it about £1m they owe us in expenses?)

Then I will consider that they have my childrens interests at heart.

Until then, I will be rebelling all the way.

Barry the Jackal said...

Grit, there always seems to be a couple of days delay for me before your blogs appear, not sure why.

But another fantastic post. It's a curious thing, potentially overnight thousands of people seguing from law-abiding to criminal, for not complying.

Firebird - yes, she clearly thinks it is sufficient to constitute a debate if she just reels off the same tired lines.

Maire said...

Ha, glad to add a graphic metaphor to the debate. I did it on purpose of course!

Katherine said...

Can you hear my applause from there?

Tattie Weasle said...

If the state says you have to be registered then it won't be long before it says I have to explain why my kids go to private school - basically because the state is failing.
I have never met a home educated child who is not engaging, rounded and curious about the world they live in. It was a delight to talk to them and share my experiences, in fact I consider it a highlight. I am not in a position to do the same but if I were I would.

Grit said...

thank you for your comments, people. the home ed lot are the most awkward, resilient and feisty people i know. well done!

sunnymama said...

I agree with you completely! :)