I have to admit I shy away from reading articles about Home Education as they are rarely positive and even when they are the comments from Joe public are less than positive and most often damn right damning with the good old socialisation debate thrown around by well meaning folks who have no idea what Home education is about.Hoping to hit the damned with that holy word and watch them turn to dust…whilst they sit back..fingers poised on their keyboards ready to argue until the cows come home about a subject they know little about..
In all honesty most parents know little about the education system or schools as a whole… I admit to being one of those people. Yes I was a teacher for over 10 years but being in the role of teacher is very different than being in the role of student… it is not until you transfer yourself into that role that your mind is opened. .and for me it was what I like to call my WTF moment!!!
Because I’d been on the rat wheel of life… living to work.. single mum juggling 2 minions then…dropping my kids of at a childminder (lovely lady) who transported them to school, where they were “educated” and then picked them up again and kept them busy until I returned from a hard days slog tired and my mind still computing what essays I needed to mark. .what meeting I had coming up. .what new initiative I needed to digest so that I could improve learning.
I’d checked out from my own children and entrusted the school to do their part with blind fucking faith…and those so called well meaning people commenting on those articles have provably done the same in some part..because that’s what we do..we trust school because we have to… we have jobs to go to in order to pay the mortgage and buy things for the children we hardly ever see. Put food on the table.Clothes on their backs yada, yada, yada….
Anyway I digress (as I often do)
This past week there has been an article in the media which has created alot of debate. Okay debate is too mild away to describe it…you may have read it about the mum who allows her children to play games for 7 hours a day… well that’s the headline it opened with. . You can read it Here
And a little from her interview ..where I think she comes across really well Here
…. at first I was enraged…seriously ..I almost became one of those…you know. .those who shall not be named (whispers keyboard warriors.)
How dare this women smear Home Education the way she did…. now it’s just given Joe public and the government (Badman style) more to beat us over the head with and use for their agenda of registration and regulation. ..
After a few deep breaths and my hot headedness had subsided I saw it for what it was..fucking click bait. A nice sensationalist piece..that had no doubt been edited to represent one aspect of that families home education journey. Now I don’t condemn her style. What I do take issue with is her doing a Mirror feature story without considering the implications.
Now if you took the time to visit the blog of that family you’d see that their home education journey is not just so one dimensional.(Sadly due to harassment the blog has been set to private)…but that is not what everyone got to see. Her article was the face of Home Education in the UK the moment it was printed and that should have been considered because her style does not represents thousands of Home Educating families up and down the country.
I’m not saying her Educational style is wrong..the childrens interests are being followed at the moment and I know through personal experience that games and online learning has its benefits. Lil lady has learnt about the periodic table through a Minecraft inspired educational game. The boy is forever coding or learning Japanese via online lessons. Technology has its place but the article has given people a handle to grasp hold of to use as evidence that Home Education is wrong in favour of school
Believe me I’ve had to sit in the back of lessons. Shadowing children as a teacher and it was boring as hell..not to mention your sense of self being totally eroded (but that’s a whole other blog post). What we see as parents on schools Facebook pages, websites and parents evenings are the instagram highlight reels. Carefully staged pictures… alot of the time that picture of your child baking..what that snapshot doesn’t show is that your child got to mix that cake once so that every child in the group got to take a turn and the rest was watch time. Again not a teachers fault but ever increasing class sizes and reduced funding means this is becoming more of a reality. (Don’t get me started on teachers paying out of their own pockets to buy resources- been there done that! )
What has shocked me are the comments. .a place I’d said I’d never go. But it was not only joe public condemning her but also fellow Home Educators.
Fellow Home Educators who know how it feels to have the very decision to Home Educate questioned at every turn.To know how it is when you decided to ditch an activity and head to the park, to have that feeling the local LA bod is going to jump from behind a bush with social services in tow and the fear of them threatening to take the kids (yes irrational thoughts but very real concerns in the beginning.) I get it I do .. as Home Educators we are constantly having to work hard for our existence. And proof of that is now more media coverage in The Times, Sky News the bloody sun and its gone international.Not about how people Home Educate. But about its existence and whether it should be “allowed” at all. Personal scathing attacks of Katie herself as well as damning Home Education..they couldn’t get any home educators to take part in interviews or to use soundbites from. ..and they wonder why… because believe me being interviewed about how IT plays a part in your child’s education (as her blog post suggested days before the article was released) then for it to turn into this media shit storm ..well I’d be hiding too..
The second article I read today…again so different in tone and mood and quite a positive piece.
From the same bloody paper in less than a few days…seriously!!
But the reason I’ve mention this is that no one Home Education family is the same as another. Our styles are different, the way we decide to structure, semi structure or free range is a decision we make knowing our children. Making a decision of what is right for them because we know them best….and the ridicule that Katie Pybus has received from the Home Education community in my opinion is wrong!
Did I like the article? Hell no! it was a one sided piece of trash media. Its damned Home Education in one fell swoop feeding into the publics already negative image of it. But it gives no one the right to treat Katie Pybus the way she has been…our anger as a Home Educating community should be directed at the media and not her. Yes her article was a catalyst but it could have been anyone of us trying to raise the positive profile of Home Education. I do understand the anger… I ferl it too, I’m fuming at the direction this has taken.. a lot feel they have been “thrown under the bus” by her actions and I get that too but I think that our anger needs to be channelled positively.
With all that said I have a feeling that this won’t be the last we hear about Home Education in the coming weeks.