Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Some days, life's just a walk in the park

One of the best things about being a home educator in this wonderful, wired world, is that you can wander over to the opinions of other people and discover what they think.

Like all things considered, taking the rational view, there's only one conclusion. You home educate, which means you are probably a child murderer.

Give someone a minute or two in an open comments box and they'll come up with the highly original explanation that we home ed types are driven by religion. And you can be sure we abuse our kids for years before we plunge the dagger in the head and reconstruct the patio. Yes! We have been indulging in years of emotional and physical abuse!

Of course nothing has been proven yet, so we could just be irresponsible parents who just don't care. Our lack of care means we're restricting the social networks, life chances and study choices of our kids. PS, we're also ignoring the human rights of our child, and no-one ever mentions their welfare!

What's the cure? Send in the good government! Set up a committee and let us try and persuade 12 rational people of the necessity of our lifestyle. Force us to do the same as everyone else. Let there be standards! Because we may be anarchists, antisocial, poor. Ignorant. Pity us. Then again, we're beneath your contempt.

When all else fails, we're turning our back on society because we are - this is the best one yet - middle class.

I can take all of this because today I got to walk with my kids in the park. I met other home educating parents. Some of them played alongside their kids. Some of them didn't. Some of us chatted about the need for handwriting as opposed to keyboard skills.

Maybe on that controversy I should be strapping a bomb to my arse and heading off down the bus station. I never like to disappoint.

But I wish that people would think things through before they pronounce judgment or make great sweeping statements about parental options. All it does is make it harder for people. It makes it difficult for kids who are terrified of school, who don't fit, who are begging to find other ways of learning. It makes it harder for parents to be bold and brave and listen to their inner voices, their hearts, their child.

Well people, listen to this.

Sometimes home ed really is simple. Sometimes it is life. Sometimes it is just a walk in the park, in the sunshine and the wind, and everyone goes home, happy.