Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Shark said keying an Audi is okay, but posting dead fish? Definitely not.

One of the bits that make up this grit is determination to bust ignorance about home ed.

Yes, it's like getting all argumentative because someone on the internet is wrong, but I can still do my bit for this community, and that is through ordinary information.

Politics is not how I want to give my time. How draining is politics?! Blimey, last month I went nose-to-nose in a local arts argy-bargy and I'd done my bit after the first round. It seems to me, in all local politics, you must chuck into the bottomless pit your days, your emotional reserves, your intellectual time, and a chunk of your sanity. Be a stronger person than me to keep your perspective.

But home ed politics? Turf wars, big egos sitting aloft on moral clouds, unpredictable bedfellows and a basic lack of trust - two weeks with this lot and you might even sympathise with the local authority. Nope, I can't be in home ed's political thick. Get involved in everyone's problems, and everyone hates you anyway. It ain't for me, which is why I remain grateful to those who persist in it, what ever their forms.

But I still want to help, right? So I show any passer-by how home education works for us. We don't do school at home; we don't do autonomy, and we do both of these in any one week. We mix anything and everything, living and learning, label it how you want, and I make sure I unchain the kids from the radiators once a day at least.

So this is one big reason why I keep grit's day going. To show home ed as normal, to show what my kids do, where we go for the S word, and to indicate some of the rich resources around - for which you don't need to pay teachers, you don't need to sit Tinkertop in a classroom, and you don't need a CRB-checked leader with a teaching certificate. Home ed can be anything your child needs or wants. It can be exhilarating, and it can be the worst decision you ever made. On the same day. And sometimes in the same moment.

So it depresses me hugely to see articles like this. The report Richard Garner refers to explicitly excludes home educated children. But would you know it from this article? Doesn't this article, raising that image of kids out of school, just ask you to consider we're all swilling round in the same pot of uneducated, anti-social delinquency?

A disregard to factual accuracy, the ignorant mixing of school and education, the dramatic language of prey and abuse stalking the text. That just made the issues of we 'out-of-schoolers' a little less clear. It made my life a little harder. It made it a little more hazardous for Shark to walk alone to the secondhand bookshop next Monday morning. It made our culture a little less tolerant, a little less understanding, and maybe a little less forgiving.

Worse, this article rides on the back of a greater, unseen force. Yes, there are politics afoot in the world of home ed, and there are people gunning for us; they are pressing to put those registrations in place, they want the monitoring to be there, they're looking for another job in Ofsted. The idea of home ed - as the invisibles, the unmonitored, the unknowns, the unaccountables, the cruel abusers of the preyed upon - it all adds up to an easy target where something must be done. And articles like this always take us closer to that event, simply by spreading ignorance.

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