Monday, 10 September 2012

How does home ed happen?

Ran the second of two workshops about Shakespeare's Richard III in a local park. This is how home ed happens, if you are unsure about that, you people coming in from Mumsnet.

Parents get together, talk over what their child wants, and someone usually says, I can do that! Then we create a load of activities, think up some more we can share, and we run them. Simple.

Between us, other home educators, Planet Internet, and a blind, dogged belief that anything is possible, we can divvy up art, languages, English, maths, science, making unwise electrical items using string and dog hairs, and conduct a trip to the local museum that doesn't end in a brawl. Usually, no money changes hands, except for hall hire, contributions to the cake and crayons, the two pounds the museum wants from each of you for the workshop, that sort of thing. And if you run your own event in the park, then bring waterproofs, just in case.

Now is there anything else that stops you doing this? You don't need to let anyone know; you don't need to do any risk assessments; you don't need to tick boxes from the Local Authority; you don't need to have them come and watch; you don't need to do much apart from enter into the enjoyment of learning about the world, communicate your passions, be prepared to make a loud noise of yourself in a park, and enjoy the dangerous company of children. That, by the way, includes your own. Even when they keep interrupting your brilliant demonstration of the crafty Buckingham to ask, When are you handing round the chocolate fingers?

This is a way of doing learning that people sometimes struggle to get to grips with, it's true. Maybe people tend to think, if it's learning, then it must involve an organised hierarchy with post-holders or official functionaries, that it must carry out pre-set duties, follow systems of accountability, and provide diagnostic reporting feedback on learning goals and achievements.

Well, I suppose a home ed group could do that, if anyone can be arsed to set it up, or needed to do it to fulfil some other motive, like working with the council to extract cash. But fundamentally, for the vast majority of us, I'd hazard that really, home education is the motivation of parents to see their own children succeed in a way which meets their interests too.

Now, I've brought up the mini grits to love Shakespeare because him and Richard III are passions of mine! Obviously! As is The Globe, and mucking about in fields with dramatic tendencies on my side, transgressing those borders of normal.

The Wars of the Roses. 
Or, the key defence team deciding where to plant a flag in Capture the Flag.
It all turned tribal and competitive quite quickly. 
Then the opposing team won by sending in the fastest, tallest runner.
Reassuring me that despite all the terrible administrative deprivations our children experience, 
they still turn out the same as yours.

No comments: