Friday, 9 September 2011

Passing judgements, picking fights, and nurturing grudges

I am coming late to recognise Simon Webb's blog.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a coward to say this only now, after the fact. He stopped writing the damned thing. It sure pissed me off when it was alive. I hope he doesn't resurrect it from the dead.

What I found about Simon's blog - apart from how his confrontational, provocative, judgemental stance made me want to stab the computer - was that some of the home ed issues he referred to are fundamentally interesting and worthwhile ones to raise.

I don't know whether he covered them all, but I'd say of course these issues are worth thinking about as you make the decision to provide any type of education for your kids.

What do you want from school, what do you want from home ed, what do you want for your child, what involvement do you want the local authority to have? Your family values, your social networks, the composition of local school/home ed groups, the availability of transport, local sports and arts, libraries, clubs, computers. Then, you and your child together. Confidence/doubt, religious/secular, dis/ability, gifted kids, one-to-one teaching, non-coercive education, TCS (oh my god).

You can add legal jib, provision for statemented children, whether it's important to you to consider class, ethnic mix, composition of groups male/female. Try politics of school/home ed, your national and international connections, travel likes, and employment needs, finance, lifestyle choices, where can it all lead. Home ed/school for one year? Two years? All primary? Switch between the two? Right through to secondary, college, university, and do you or your child value that grade A pass? Or not?

It's your freedom of choice to consider it all, and more. Thank goodness we have this freedom; it's worth protecting, for anyone involved in education.

In fact I think it's a basic parental duty to explore these ideas; more worthwhile than fretting over put-up arguments over issues about teaching structure or child autonomy. These straw men are often a little pointless when you get into the home ed world, because most parents will try, over many years of learning, both those positions, which may both include school-at-home and running wild about woods, because the needs, wants and ideas of parents and kids change.

Well, I am not on campaign against any one aspect of education. I am on campaign against peddled misinformation, lack of imagination, and plain ignorance. Against the words 'compulsory school age'. Against every automatic assumption that now your child is aged 2/3/4 they must choose school, and so must you. Against anyone who chooses only one way because they never thought of any other option.

I want people to think, and choose education actively, whatever you choose, school/home/something in between. I want people to know that you can create your choice. If you want flexi-school, and there isn't a scheme, then you can make one happen. If you want autonomous, you'll find it. If you want private tutors at home, you can get those too.

So if you are thinking educational options, then of course go to homeedheretic. Ignore the fights; take away the issues. But then I'd recommend reading a host of blogs too. For the goss on all educational approaches, hazards, benefits, doubts, worries, everything. Calibrate the lot, one against the other.

And certainly don't alight only on grit's day. Because when I mentioned passing judgements, picking fights and nurturing grudges, I wasn't meaning Simon's blog.


KP Nuts said...

The first time I came across Simon Webb's blog I thought it was a very well written spoof.

Ruth said...

I drew the line at it when he wrote about my friend's SEN child and named names on it.

Grit said...

i cannot say i followed it as a routine, although clicked through every few months; i am quite impressed by the people who stayed there in the comments to provide alternative views for balance.