I think I have it right when I say that at the last HE meeting, every single HE parent there has either seriously considered emigrating or is actually doing so.
There are several reasons for this. One of the main ones is the increasing sense that HE, as we know and love it, will effectively become impossible in the UK in the not too distant future. And the main reason for this surmise: those who have had the opportunity to explore the situation extensively have recently drawn this conclusion. For example, Mike Fortune-Wood of Home Education UK had the foresight, under the Freedom of Information Act, to ask for all the consultation documents that the DFES received in response to their call for criticisms of their draft guidelines about how LEAs are to deal with Home Education. The documents from HE organisations are predictably pretty sensible. The ones from the LEAs are almost unremittingly awful, most often calling for much greater powers of intervention and control. It is hard to believe that government will continue to ignore calls for strict regulation of HE in the near future, particularly given their recent track record of intervention in family life.
There are other reasons for considering a move. The housing market here is still crazy. People who find it impossible to live in appropriate housing could do very much better in many other countries. The country is gradually going bankrupt. Nobody likes the look of their pensions. Stealth taxes afflict us more than many dare to contemplate. The amount of red tape gets you down. Various bits of impending legislation, such as the Education Bill and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, look as if they will erode our freedoms further. (The Tories promise to set about limiting the powers of the latter, so that it will indeed just limit red tape, but aside from wondering whether more red tape can really limit red tape, we worry that these amendments will be simply ineffective.)
Despite all this, most Home Educators have decided to stick it out for the moment, and thank goodness for that, but there are implications for HE with this sense of impermanence. Those who are moving will be missed so badly. The links between HE families can become deeply significant. Certainly parents who have done both the school gate and HE meetings say that it is a vastly different experience. HE parents can become deep friends. Forget the kids- it's us we are concerned about!
Seriously though, we go on and on about how socialisation isn't a problem for HE kids, but the fact is, that it isn't that it just isn't a problem, it is that it really can be vastly superior to many school relationships, often simply because there can be SO much time to form deeply meaningful bonds between children. If their HE parents have any sense, (and most of them do), these kids are not called away by a school bell in the middle of a complex interaction and games can become serious entities with gradual evolutions that are deeply meaningful. All of which can mean that breaking these ties can be a serious wrench. Given that the HE community is still small, and the people within in it can be so wonderful, it can make the loss of relationships seem doubly sad. HE parents need to be there to pick up the pieces. Sometimes it is hard not to pre-emptively protect yourself and your family by not getting too involved in the life of someone you know is harbouring thoughts of emigrating. Doesn't really work though.
We will miss you so much SP. You won't be surprised to hear that JFT and I are both distraught and I have to admit that I keep dreaming in melancholy fashion about you and yours. Even the saintly SM has admitted that she harbours thoughts of sabotaging your preparations! Ds has gained so much from knowing your family, for which I will forever be grateful. We all know it is the most utterly sensible and brilliant decision for you and yours, but sniff, sob, OUCH.
Meanwhile, we ourselves ain't going anywhere just yet. Dh and I have talked about the extent to which we would go down the route of civil disobedience first. Dh seems quite happy with the idea. Me: Ummm...errr....