Friday, 18 November 2011


People who claim that home educators don't leave the house? They are idiots.

Tell it like it is, Grit.

Several times this week, across forums and lists, I've run into this bizarre idea: that people who don't choose school must ipso facto stay at home.

Maybe people think home educators bolt and lock their own front doors, imprisoning themselves with their kids on the inside?

I can only sit here puzzled. What? Not leaving the house? All day, every day? Who would do that? Not, in my experience, your bog standard home educator.

Even those home educators who are a little far out, well they eschew anything that remotely looks like your conventional 2up 2down house.

They'll be off teaching the kids how to construct a yurt, or knitting straw bales, or making the offspring live in holes in the ground, probably to experiment with life as a beetle or something. But bolt the door on a suburban semi? Just them and the kids inside? Never.

Because there are two simple disadvantages to locking yourselves up with kids. Some folks obviously haven't thought them through. Here they are.

1. The kids.

2. The crap that kids produce. (E.g. tip out all your cupboards, strew trash all over your house, and build a train track on top of it.)

I'll explain that second point. Because, faced with the request to leave the crap in situ, maybe to admire until next January, many home educators will say alright. Who notices, anyhow? It can join the production of art and craft in every room, draped all over the walls, on every surface, and in every doorway.

Remember, you're in a home educating house now. By the windows are the 2-year old plant experiments, the rocks for the geology will be half way up the stairs, on the table you'll find the stains of the volcano experiment, and in the kitchen you'll find the odd pot of borax, citric acid or iodine between the paintbrushes and the cream crackers.

Why do we do this? Because education our way means valuing all a person's emotions, ambitions, motivations and likes and dislikes. Those human states we nurture, via the crap they produce.

But you can imagine, as the entire domestic interior sinks under piles of trash, paper, toys, plastic droppings, craft peelings and cut up pairs of old trousers, after a couple of days most home educators have had enough.

Watch them then, battering a way out their own front door, desperately seeking a clear bit of floor or a scrap of carpet tile to stare at in envy down at the local museum, the village hall, discovery centre, library, gallery or sports hall.

Going out now is the only way to stop her.

So think about it, you people, before you happily claim home educators never go out. Of course we do not stay at home all the time! Seriously, who would?

But look! I always like to undermine my own points. Here's a clear front room!
And it belongs to a home educator!

Well, the room is clear if you discount the dozen kids running about in it.

Playing a game to turn monosaccharides into polysaccharides, probably.

You start off single and join up chains, obviously.

I think this is just before I got kicked in the face.

It's a stupid angle to photograph kids from anyway,
so don't give me any sympathy.

By the bye, I hope those photos confront two other myths:
that home educators never socialise, and we can't teach chemistry.


Blue Dragonfly said...

Aah yes, floor to ceiling, rooms bursting at the seams full of stuff. All of it vital and none to be thrown away under any circumstance.
Our home has been collecting like this since she first picked up a crayon.

We're at the stage now (9 years later) where it's so full that we have to either declutter or move! Don't much fancy doing either, so I'll just ignore it all for a bit longer.

Personally I blame the LAs.
As terrified new home educator I kept EVERYTHING in order to prove we were doing the education thing should they come nosing around.

Now they'd be lucky to find us in all the mess if they did.

Grit said...

you are right, blue dragonfly - keeping the crayon scribble (age 5, colour-in an engine) was, and remains, highly important evidence in the kid collected works.

I still hang onto these things, half in fear the kids never produce anything I can ever show again to the LA, or maybe the kids only produce something worse, so the coloured-in engine still represents a pinnacle of achievement.

then the other half of me thinks, right you interfering LA jobsworthy git, you asked to see it, you can sit down there and i shall start with the eulogy of the coloured-in engine and i'm not stopping till i get to the dolly house (2011) or you run screaming from the house. whichever's first.

kelly said...

"the rocks for the geology will be half way up the stairs"

Now I know you're spying on us, as half way up the stairs on the windowsil is two piles of rocks. Classified and unclassifed, and God help you if you move one for fun, because THEY know.

(Sorry if this comment appears twice...having an internet issue.)