Hello from HesFes, the home educating festival, held annually in a field, where I am happy getting down with the hippies!
Actually, all types of people come to HesFes.
Exhibiting all sorts of behaviours.
Not just hippies.
In fact, I think hippies might be an unfair generalisation of the types of people who attend HesFes.
Why don't I offer a guide? After all, if you've never been here, I bet you're wondering, Could HesFes be for us? See? I am so very helpful! (And safely out the way.)
Here it is then, Grit's (very dodgy but thankfully brief) guide to some of the lovely HesFes hippies!
A straight down-the-line liberal approach, taken as far as it can go. Parent bungs Tinkertop a sleeping bag, thirty quid, and bag of weed saying, Make it last the week. Actually, may not provide the sleeping bag. (You can always doss down with someone, somewhere.)
From the outside, this parenting style can appear, to the untrained eye, dangerously indistinguishable from the couldn'tgiveatoss approach. However, proponents of ultra-permissive will argue there are significant differences based on ideology. Feel free to come and shout about the distinctions while holding a wooden baton.
Barely visible beneath piles of offspring. Wraps babies across chest, round ankles, papoosed on back. Has several toddlers dangling from necklaces. When not dreamy singing while staring into space, or discussing the miracle of the breast, can be found crawling about the floor making choo choo noises.
The free range.*
Demands Tinkertop sit calmly to consider endless personal-safety instructions suitable for all manner of everyday hazards (strangers, play equipment, parks, water cannon, breast enhancement surgery, kettles, food, plastic bags, cash machines, paper, sky), before suggesting Tinkertop (for whom it has all gone in one ear and out the other), should now go out to exercise her autonomy to play. Parent misguidedly thinks Tinkertop is now well-equipped to make a common-sense judgement if called upon by chums to combine a hosepipe with a cat.
(In my experience, a high incidence of this type of parent can be found at HesFes.)
A treasured heirloom from the sixties.Wears miles of rainbow-dyed organic cotton, has strange hair, talks earnestly of big pharma, one-world government, the practical problems of building cess pits, and travels about the country lanes of England in an old van with the exhaust dropping off. After two days, the sole child in their care is indivisible from a mud bath.
The spiritual guidance.
Uniquely bonkers, can be found tapping into the earth's energy flow while carefully avoiding setting themselves on fire with the open flames that become the womanly hearth. Tinkertop may have her own set of 500 healing crystals, talks chakras with ease, and can hold a lengthy discussion with a pine cone.
Eminently sensible types carrying sun hats, wellington boots, jumpers, tee-shirts; seen hoicking large straw bags around, containing 20 litres of factor 50 sunscreen, 2 litres of insect repellent, spare hairbands, extra bottles of purified rehydration water, and two packs of sanitised handwipes because you never know. Child is nowhere to be seen, but is probably catching up on a little light George Eliot in the travelling library.
Irresponsible type who dumps the kids, turns off the mobile phone by accident-on-purpose, and legs it to explore Stowmarket. I have no idea who this could be, because obviously, you can't find them, but let's all pray there's no emergency requiring the fire brigade, and anyway I have pitched the tent next to an earth mother welly type who is sure to have a plaster.
Control-freakery type parenting approach probably not found at HesFes.
One who, to all
appearances, seems to have been driven to despair/madness with Tinkertop's outrageous ways. Ends
the week by being banned from the camp site for ever and ever after
telling the organisers to go pleasure themselves.
I think that might be it for now, or should be, before I get into trouble.
But, casual reader, do not think that home ed has a monopoly on these parenting styles! Yes, I know it looks like it when 500 hippies converge
on a field, but you can find these parent-types in all ways of life, whether choosing home ed, the local comp, or dumping Tarquin as a boarder.
And you HesFessers are welcome, of course, to add your own observed types to the rich guide that is home ed life to be found camping in a field.
*Not to be confused with the business which supplies educational support services, probably requires the accountant to declare a loss and thus avoid paying tax and, basically, isn't free.