Monday, 19 December 2011

We've been top to bottom, right to left

By now, it should be obvious to anyone curious about home education.

One reason we declined school and chose other, is that we wanted to give our kids some social advantage.

I'm not joking. It is true. The problem with school is that a young person is locked for up to fifteen years within an institution that contains, more or less, people just like them; all treated pretty much the same.

It does not give a young person the widest view of society.

You school-choosing parents I have encountered who wanted to rectify that - to pack into a child's 'free' time of evenings, weekends and holidays a greater range of peoples, with a full variety of experiences - have had to show similar determination and guts to the parents I usually meet in the home ed world.

Hats off to you, because at some point you inevitably end up sword-waving at some little Hitler in post of headteacher who threatens that your day off for an outing with Weird Aunty Laura is be defined as 'truancy' and thus will count towards your prosecution.

But I could never be bothered to go down that fighting route - nor roll out of bed, dress, make egg sandwiches, or play poxy school-gate politics - so we chose the conflict-avoidance path of other, and considered the wide range of social worlds home ed could lead us to.

And it has. Even though we've had plenty of family punch-ups on the way.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger have been pushed into many social worlds and met people beyond their normal boundaries of class, wealth, cultural values, and social attitudes. Some they've liked, some they've feared, some were frankly bizarre, and some they couldn't understand.

It's all our great experiment, you can put it down to that, if you like. To introduce children to a great many people and circumstance (i.e. the real world) in the idea that kids come out the other end as adults with a wider understanding of people and society, i.e. having social advantage.

Well this is how it works in practice. Yesterday Shark, Squirrel and Tiger considered the life of necessity and hardship led by Shoeless Farmer Chang.

Today (thanks to Sophia leading me astray), they've enjoyed the life of frivolous extravagance, taking tea at The Peninsula where, if you're one of us, no explanation is needed.

1 comment:

Nora said...

That's a very swanky place. Were you dressed for the occasion? Did you bring a good handbag? And did you wear nice enough shoes? Goodness, the things you have to think of when you go to a place like that. XOX