Several of my facebook friends have become fans recently of this page. At the time of writing this post I was not aware of its origins, but have since found out that it has been set up by a thirteen year old who really cant work out why people are so against her perfectly legal and legitimate choice to come out of school - it got me thinking - Why are people so against people home educating? And who are these 'people'?
I had never realised quite how many people had a problem with home education until the CSF Bill began it's farcical journey through Parliament. People from the government, people from local education authorities, people from children's charities, members of parliament, lords and baronesses, journalists and reporters. And then there are the other people, the people in the street people, the parent people, the commentors on blog posts and newspaper articles people, the neighbours people...the friends people...the family people....
Now I think when it comes to Government and MPs and Peers etc, there are probably all sorts of hidden agendas for their disapproval of us. Perhaps it simply boils down to the fact that we make their 'approved' system of education look bad. Perhaps it is a control thing. Perhaps it is a cover-our-backs-at-all-costs fear thing.
And as for the media - I guess that comes down to whatever sells the paper, get the comments, grabs the attention.
Some of it comes down to misinformation and a lack of knowledge and understanding - although in these cases, why people think they have the right or the authority, to pass comment on things they have little or no knowledge of, is beyond me.
But whatever their reasons, I think it is important that we keep trying to work out what they are, because even if we do defeat this now, unless we can work out why they want to change us and address those issues, they will keep on wanting to change us.
Usually, I don't give a stuff about what people think of me or what I do with my life unless it directly affects them too. I try to avoid analysing the reasons behind their disapproval of me, on the grounds that it's probably more of a problem for them than it is for me anyway! But in this instance, this is a problem for us and for all home educators in this country, because in this instance, opinions are being made to count, and they are counting against us.
How many of my friends and family actually signed this petition when I asked them too? Sadly only a few - although I am very grateful to those who did.
How many of those who didn't sign, would give me a reason for not doing so? None. Not one.
Why is it that we have not been able to get the twenty thousand plus signatures on this petition that we really need for the government to take notice? Why are people so against home educators?
Do people perhaps view my decision to home educate as some sort of judgement or comment on their decision not to? If so, why? - I do not view their decision to send their children to school as a judgement on my decision not to do that.
Do people perhaps still believe that we are all insular religious nutjobs who hide our children away, wrap them up in cotton wool and indoctrinate them with our own misguided beliefs? If so, why? Just flicking through some of the blogs below shows that there is a wealth of evidence to the contrary.
Do people perhaps believe that our children are genuinely more at risk than children in school? If so, why? I find this one particularly hard to comprehend given the amount of evidence to the contrary that has been laid out for all to see.
Or perhaps it is not that people are 'against' other people home educating at all. Perhaps it is just that they really couldn't care less what happens to us, because they are not 'us'. If so, why? When did this become a 'them and us' thing?
I don't think I have managed to answer anything really with this post. I still don't know why people are against us home educating, but what I do know is that we will keep on fighting any misrepresentations of home education by the Government and the media, and we will keep trying to find ways of changing opinion. It seems sometimes that so much (re)education is needed in so many areas, when all any of us really want to be doing is getting on with educating our own children, but I can still see nothing else for it at the moment but to keep on keeping on.
The Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper - Hugely helpful summary about the real situation regarding the Green Paper from HE Byte.