Monday, 4 January 2016

4MA0 4ETO 4B10 4CHO /01 /02

Welcome, people seeking home ed diaries! You keep coming here from mumsnet, and I keep wondering if I'm home educating.

My gritlets are within whispering distance of age 16. On burfday, I say my home ed job is done. Expect grit's day then to be a diary of pot plants and politics.

Age 16, eh?! Out of skool from age 5!

Yes, I refused to let my children go to school, no matter how hard they begged me. No matter how many times they pleaded, Please let us wear black and white and go and sit to be socialised in a closed room for seven hours a day! And I said NO. 'You are going travelling / to the garden / into that quarry / up that hillside / over that field / to the coast where you will jolly well learn how to sail a ship / now stay here for an hour with a pensioner who will teach you Latin.'

We dun our home ed, most of it outdoors. If you are looking for places to go, I can suggest you search the archives. I leave them to the nation for posterity.

But 2014/2015? These years saw a change. I did not much diary! Not only because life was working out the choice crap it could offer me, but because my three gritlebobs told me, STOP! ENOUGH GOING OUT. WE WANT TO STAY IN! For it was in these years that the grifflets discovered the world of learning towards examination.

Pft. Exams. If you are home educating ages 14-16, and exams are on the agenda, it all changes.

Forgive me, but I have observations. (Not organised; out of fingertips; probably ranting.)

1. Prove to me that gcse exams are anything other than a means to kettle kids, keep them tame, socially bully them, find ways to divide them, alienate them from their environments, prevent from thinking independently and estrange them from their own thirst for strange knowledges. I do not believe that these exams 'increase the nation's productivity', 'grow the economy' or 'raise the salary expectations' of anyone, not one bit. If I were sat at a college entrance porch, you could show me a child with 150 A*s but I would much prefer to be met by a child with a personal portfolio that boasts what they love to do, what fantastic ideas they have thought up for themselves about the world, and what they have made (yes! made with their bare hands!) But I'm not in charge in education UK, so, it's all exams exams exams.

2. Exams are all politics. They are sod all to do with what children want to do. Example: Nicky Morgan
spouting how the nation would be so much better had you not followed your arts nonsense. Who cares you claimed happiness was being an actress / singer / painter / musician / writer / dancer ? Admit the truth, you would be richer if you had been forced to do medicine or science, then Britain could be great again and show China a thing or two. It's all your fault, poxy arts graduate. The End.

3. Exams are boring. They impose a control over mind and body. (I'm sure Foucault has writ about it somewhere.) For me, this has meant I cannot jump up, as I was wont to do, and shout, Let's go to Dover!

4. The change of pace here from autonomy to exam is not my fault, and it's all my fault. While not overtly insisting that my griffletips must take exams, I advised that English and Maths were probably the exams college / sixth form want to see, at least as evidence that you know what an exam is. With that idea in mind, the griblytips have run with it and are now taking (in my opinion) too many ruddy exams.

5. Actually, exams are all down to children making choices, so it's not my doing. Shark decided she wanted a university degree in Marine Something-or-other in 2006. She probably checked the entrance requirements and laid out her plan. This year she's IGCSE'ing Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English, and has started her courses in Marine Engineering. Then is it not true that our children press us to the lifestyle we live?

6. Looking at these years through my home ed lens, I'll say it's proof how child-led education works. The way my grittlebuns have taken to exams show that children choose and change as they darn well wish. They can segue from autonomy to structure without much fuss. Self-discipline and inquiry are simply characteristics of both; you need a firm backbone for both autonomous education and for organised learning.

7. Grit, shut up. I shall leave you with this article drawing on research published in the Journal of Biological Education (2014) about the results of cramming and swotting for a 2-hour session, and you can make up your own minds about the worth of exams.

8. Today I submitted all the exam codes for my three grittlepongs as private candidates to a local skool. I suggest you mumsnetters looking for exam-related home ed, that you all join the home ed exam-group:


Lynn/Kitty said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are a heroine. I've loved reading your blog all these years. Those girls are damned lucky to have you as their Mama. I hope they realise that. Go forth and enjoy your pot plants. x

Grit said...

oh yes, kitty, they turn 16 this year and my mouth guard is off xx