'How will they catch up?' Add expression of bewilderment.
Now you have the question posed to me yesterday in my accidental meeting when they found out what I'd kept - for the sake of social nicety - hidden. That my children have never been to school.
But by then I was tired of keeping up appearances. I was ungracious in reply. We were unlikely to meet again. I became, shame on me, a bit mean.
But the question is telling. It betrays the idea that children should not be out learning in a non-managed environment. Is it really an education? Climbing trees, wading in rivers, running across fields chasing butterflies? Children must be managed to come to a uniform level; to make this mark; achieve an expected grade, by this age. It must be so, with each new year.
It's an idea that has no educational basis. Teachers, educationalists, people who see how humans grow, know how all people grow at different rates; they learn skills at different ages; they can walk, talk, read, at their own steady pace, learn about the world, at their own steady, human pace.
Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 - this managed, monitored, bought-in learning regime made suitable for children, it's an agenda that suits those corporates now working in the educational delivery business.
Every child should learn the same things by the same age? We can help!
The argument could go like this: dismiss that unqualified teacher, kick them out, and place your child in our managed and progressive learning experience, best where we can test them, feed back their results, so you, parent, classroom supervisor, technician, know which box has not been ticked; now we all know where to focus energies, so each child can make the grade, bang on time, just when they should.
First we need to downgrade the teachers.
And we need to demand everyone is doing exactly what they should.
Then we can suggest the corporate edu-business provides every parent who cares about their child's future with a monitored child-based educational service delivered straight to your learning platform (annual fee payable).
My bet is on Pearson.