Wednesday, 21 September 2011

But I forgive myself. (Frequently.)

After yesterday's pleasurable indulgence I wouldn't want anyone to think that my main motives, driving this home ed life, are to take delight in my capacity for mischief making, and secretly enjoy the expression I can bring about on someone's face.

I deny nearly both of those.

What fundamentally drives me to live life without the institution of school is not petty spite. Of course not! It's that I have to put into practice what I believe in. (Oh holy! Get out the nails!)

But I accept that being able to put something into practice is no measure of how strongly we might believe in it, or even want it to happen.

Which means, I just met someone who looked at the happy-go-lucky grit and the adorable free-range gritlets, then imagined a similar life for their mini-humans, led without school.

They can imagine this life is about perfect. They even imagine it working for themselves. They know how learning outside the walls is no hindrance to a person's happinesses, successes, well-being. Most importantly (because we have not yet come to the promised land) they could ride out the suspicions and negative judgements that can be employed in a trice by neighbours, media, government.

But for a load of reasons, they can't put their belief and strong arm righteousness into practice, and give up school.

So I want to tell them, don't be sad about that. We home educators only look like we're in perfect joy! It's not all roses on this side of the fence.

Because how many of us live a pure ideology? And is that even desirable? Most people make a mish-mashery of compromise. Either that or maybe blow themselves up with the effort of bringing it all together.

So the autonomous-leaning might have to implement a structure and a timetable, because without that, their partner, pursuing them through the courts, will have the kids back in school. Then I've sat next to crumbled pieces of parent who say, We don't want to home educate, but having been through what the school system did, now there's no real choice.

It's probably no help right now, but maybe it's also what I'm motivated by (apart from petty spite), and that's freedom of choice. To have your kid experience and learn the way they want and need; to choose the service or support you want, and freedom not to choose, too; to live it the way you want, as you want it.

I don't have any ideological commitment beyond that. I have not much judgement to make about any school, flexi-school, nor home-school agreement. I have my suspicions about faith schools - I fear organisational control - and I have my suspicions about free schools - I fear organised capitalism - but if they suit, then how can I argue?

So spare my fingers and toes and nail my flag to freedom of choice.

But don't expect me always to stand under it.

Because sometimes I really have to do things in spite of myself. I must deny it all, choose regrettably, make bad judgements.

In this semi-tropical, money-happy paradise, where air con is every breath you take, the trees hang thick with the pollutants from Shenzhen, and the water churns with plastic, I take the kids here.

Yes, I can take the kids to the ice-in-the-tropics skating experience, while hand on heart believing I should be helping create a balanced and harmonious environment, one that's sustainable, both kind to us and to the planet.

We're all driven, somewhere along the line, into the arms of compromise.


sharon said...

Some times you just do what you need to and those green principles evaporate into the ozone ;-) A bit like my all-out chemical warfare on our current over-abundance of millipedes which the bigger bugs, spiders and the birds all avoid like the plague.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I agree with you Sharon, just enjoy it grit, you're worth it! Let others worry about the environmental crap.

kelly said...

I came here today, having a wobbly moment about maths (I hate it, husband does it for a living and regularly freaks out about how little the kids know.)

I feel better now.