Friday, 31 August 2012

Because I like power with my responsibility

One of the brilliant things you get to do in the ordinary home educating day is TAKE POWER.

It is a total thrill. Home education means you get to exercise some control over the learning and the environment, organise the resources, assess the pace, introduce the stuff that meets with your approval, and bring up people who enjoy doing things you do. Yes, whether it's embroidery, completing RSPB jigsaws of native British birds, or learning about German Expressionism and what is an auteur. You get to choose.

Now I've heard all those accusations: sad women in middle age living through their children, preventing them becoming their own people, surrounding themselves with companions to swell out the aching days of a lonely and frustrated life... Blah Blah Blah.

That type of argument can be used for any anti-woman anti-home ed purpose. Go and complain that musical parents teach their kids a musical instrument, Jewish parents have Jewish children, and people who run shops bring up kids who know how to handle themselves in business.

It's a simple fact. Parents play a big part in the upbringing and culture of their kids. The way I think about it is, may as well do it deliberately.

For which demonstration, is film night chez Grit. I prepare the popcorn and press play on A Man For All Seasons, the 1966 version with clever, tight screenplay by Robert Bolt.

By the rolling end credits, I note that Shark, Squirrel and Tiger haven't moved a muscle throughout. They've stuck with this lengthy, talk-heavy, conscience-loaded, play-to-film, all the way through.

Tiger awards it nine out of ten. Shark and Squirrel agree, on the basis that nothing could ever get ten out of ten because that would suggest perfection. Then we have a debate about conscience, belief, principle, and the point at which we'd sign a document to save our skins. (Quickly, it turns out in my case.)

Then I think, Was that extraordinary? No exploding buildings, no dinosaurs, no KABOOM BAM BAM BAM, no zombies, cute deer, wise-cracking animated animals running from bursting ice sheets, nothing that I'd think of from a popular film, yet here are the Gritlets, expressing opinions on Thomas More's conscience and Tudor politics.

I'm putting this entirely at my door. I'm having the credit for it as a result of the power with this responsibility, an outcome of a cultural, creative education, the result of an upbringing that values learning about the role of the auteur.


Okay, I admit there is that other thing. Bringing up the kids to make their own independent judgements. So when they choose the DVD of Ice Age 4, you'll find me in the other room, probably doing the embroidery and the RSPB jigsaw.

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