Oh, I've had a fun day, catching up on those home education discussion lists!
You school-choosing people who imagine that home educators cannot socialise?
Pah! How wrong you are.
Those lists remind me how socially skilled home educators need to be. They must possess the diplomacy, tact, and social negotiating powers of Kofi Annan simply to navigate a route from one taxing minute to the next, and thus avoid a big bust-up before bedtime.
Fortunately, I am unimpeded by social skills, so here's a quick guide to some character types you can meet in home education discussion land.*
See if you can spot them by what they might say!**
The autonomously righteous.
'We simply need to keep the true spirit of home education, which is pure freedom, unimpeded by control, state, or funding.' (Approach carefully. These people may actually levitate on the power of an educational theorem alone. And don't ask if they draw child benefit because you will be struck dead.)
'Didja see that? The state is out to GET US. Sure you know why. Shh. This list is monitored. We sussed the trafficking. Schools, children. See? Those education officers? In league. Just watch. Adoption agencies, welfare, police, courts. High ranking officials? Sewn up. And don't go near the shed. They can do things with lasers.' (Whisper Bilderberg, then stand back and watch them run.)
The ylang ylang brigade.
'Let us go back to our wisdoms here and tap into our natural energies. Remember, our mother teaching state is intuitive. Children grow and learn in peace and harmony with all the world if only we relax and let our mindsets go free.' (And next time they set themselves on fire with a scented candle, please don't sit and watch. It is not part of the energy flow.)
'Hey, folks! Reading through the Education Guidance to Authorities (clauses 3 to 5) I note that the reference in clause 2.56 to the 1978 Act may or may not affect the clause 7.8.9 in the amendments to the 2004 Act. Can we have an opinion on this please? England and Wales only, obviously!' (How I wish these people just had big, scary, tattooed arms, plus a couple of rottweilers.)
'Has anyone thought about this? Surely now is the point to consider the constraints of individual education and empowerment within a controlled system experiencing hierarchical societal pressures.' (No one else knows what they're they're on either. Freaks.)
'Wow! I've discovered this amazing group! It's like, incredible! Have you seen these people? They don't send their kids to school! Can you imagine this! They're like one big happy family!'
'It's clear now, how capitalism wrought education. We are nothing, nothing more than slave animals trained to better perform tricks for our masters. We are nothing, our children are taken, their futures are sold, we are only the powerless mutants chained to service greed. God, sometimes I get so depressed.'
The disciples of specious pseudo-educational theories.
'Hey everyone! I need to share this with you! My child fits perfectly into the Associative-Introvert-Judging personality type which requires the intertwining of gross motor activities at intervals with reflection in a non-combative group where the walls are best painted yellow. Why don't schools seem to know about this?!'
The people who really wish Tinkertop was at school.
'Would anyone like to review this curriculum I bought? It has eight stages, assessment, and 12 controlled assignments. I have to put in place a timetable and what we've called homework study period (she does that 7-9pm, otherwise no TV!). Say, has anyone been to the Local Authority with this model? I think it would be very good if they gave us funding!'
The wolf (entering discussion stage left, in costume).
'Hi! I'm new to this group! We've home schooled my daughter to Grade IV. We are so delighted that she is now accepted to medical school! She is aged 14 and we achieved this incredible result in a three-step teaching programme available to download at only $33.99 monthly subscription over here!' (Moderator has deleted link.)
The people we all should worry about.
'Actually deriving problems from loopholes to gain the acceptability of authorities with common organisational goals requiring new approaches for the fundamental organising in systems for underpinning of social structures. That means sometimes we all have to wear the hat.' (You can guess that schools are so very happy they don't have to deal with this one.)
'No, I'm not saying everyone should educate like me. Really, it's not a problem, not at all, it's just that I think what they are doing is wrong and maybe misguided and let's face it, who are they to impose their ideas on me? I mean, what they choose is affecting me. I am only saying this to share my concerns and is not in any way negative.'
'Was it only me? Did anyone else find that word offensive? Actually, I found the whole d... post offensive.'***
*See how varied we are out here? And I never get on to the religious, political, nor founding-father types.
**Not drawn from the lists, obviously. Would I be that WRONG?
*** Just before the offended get offended and the lawyers take me to court, I am proud to say, that in my time, I have belonged to nearly all these groups. Which is why I love 'em, this big, happy family.