Sunday, 2 January 2011

I'm talking labels

Labels? Not Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, obviously. The only way I'll get my hands on those beauties is by exchanging a few dollars for a Mong Kok rip off.

No, we're talking labels as definitions and descriptions, for people who home educate.

If you're one who thinks all kids should go to school, I guess you already have it sorted. Home ed people are freaks, crazies, bonkers. I guess you don't want to know what home ed people call you.

But we're not looking at extremes here. The discussion seems to be, can we find labels for home educators that work?

No, is my answer.

That's not to say there aren't advantages to labels. Making a lot of noise about a lot of labels could show J. Publics a huge educational variety, of which they may be ignorant.

Choosing home ed for primary; choosing home ed until age seven; choosing for under nines and tens; choosing home ed full stop; best choice for individuals; forced by circumstance; one-year out for travel; single term while moving house; pretending to do it while the kid plays truant...

If those descriptors become too confusing we could shorten them up. CHEP; CHEUAS; oops.

Of course not all labels are necessarily bad. Some people seek them out, because they define an identity, suggest a common purpose, or signal belonging to a community. I bet some folks become quite attached to their label. Do not call me a Chuffer! I am a Huffer! Once defined, I suppose a label can be used to apply political pressure. Freedom for Huffers!

If we think up some labels, then maybe it helps. Like, it would help people in officialdom who create tick-box forms. You may want to help them or not. That's up to you.

Labels are then short-cuts by which to filter people and organise resources. It's up to each person whether they want those resources, and that's freedom of choice.

The other pro-label reason I can think of, is that they make any form look very official and important. If you are an official box ticker, I bet that in itself is very satisfying.

For official use only. Tick one box.

[ ] Chuffer
[ ] Huffer

Of course I'm going to be awkward and not quite fit. I have a general difficulty with most labels. But it doesn't mean I won't use them.

The gritty style of education is to wander about and have a bash at everything. Thanks to that, we're unlikely to fall into neat boxes or fit under any label. Then we'll mess up any label with ambitions vs realities. We might have various philosophical outlooks on living, but we don't put them all into practice. And I'm difficult. I reserve the right to talk differently about what I do at any time, cosy up to whoever I want, and wriggle away from any label at any moment. Hey, I'm not even particularly happy with the term home educator!

In fact, as far as I can see, there's a distinct advantage in being difficult to pin down with a label. (Except for Still breathing when the organ donation team come looking.)

Without a home ed label, I'm like water. You never know where I am! I could be right behind you! If there's lots of us spilling about in society at all levels from top to bottom, left to right, we can't be easily defined, picked off, or set against each other. Huffers vs Chuffers.

But I know that if I don't label myself, someone else is going to do that for me. You never know, I might comply. Perhaps it's expedient for me. I'll think about what's on offer.

Meanwhile, you call me whatever you like. I'm taking the triplets to see Cantonese Opera. They adore this stuff. Can you believe that? How am I going to find Cantonese Opera in the UK to feed to my strange alien beings? I'll have to find a group.

Maybe when I do that, we should occupy a label all of our own. Home ed Known Unhidden Legal Illegal Expat Flexischooled Autonomous Cantonese Opera Loving Triplets. With false beards.

Say what? Simpler to call us Freaks.


sharon said...

Seekers of enlightenment?

Grit said...

that is kinder, sharon. somehow i feel that should come with a telescope. i still have a weakness for 'renaissance educator'. i sound exotic, and possibly wear velvet and satin.

sharon said...

Ah yes, but satin and velvet would probably not be a good idea when in your favourite field whereas wellies and a large magnifying glass will work in most places ;-)

Big mamma frog said...

Well I started out as a BC4I (best choice for individuals), then became a CHEAS (choosing home ed until age seven), and somehow have now shifted into a WOEWISTTS (why on earth would I send them to school).

I dare anyone to pigeonhole me.

Deb said...

Oh dear, am I the only one who cannot stop twisting the words around to create dirty-word acronymns? Perhaps some category for the Persevering Progeny of Perennially Puerile Parents?

How about Living in Freedom? Or, on a less tolerant day, Leave Me Alone, You Nosy Parkers!

we don't need no education, we don't need no thought control....

kelly said...

I've been following the labelling thread on a forum and it has made my head spin a little bit.

You can't label home ed people, because for us anyway, it depends on the day of the week/ tides/ my water rentention.

One day I could be singing the praises of autonomous, next cracking open the maths worksheets.

(and we are all so weird, you are NEVER going to find a label that keeps every one happy.)

MadameSmokinGun said...

I like FREAKS.

ladybirdcook said...

thinking about labels is interesting...I looked at the later posts about paper all over the floor and three giggling daughters and wonder where I went right/wrong as I am a SCTSBSHABME (sends children to school but still has a bloody mess everywhere). I wonder what people are like who ONLY do school? I can't help but 'home educate' my children whenever they are not in school...or to undermine school by agreeing that things sound boring and that I wouldn't want to do them either and, hey, how about carrying on with the project of filling the whole living room with small bits of paper and sellotape? Or draw all over the piano again?
Maybe we're lucky that the school is damn good really and that I only have a few, minor problems with it...but I'm struggling with the idea that people who send kids to school can have non-creative (tidy) houses. What are they doing?