According to the BBC news this morning,
"Britain's youth are among the most badly behaved in Europe, a study by a think-tank has suggested. On every indicator of bad behaviour - drugs, drink, violence, promiscuity - the UK was at or near the top, said the Institute for Public Policy Research. "
And the reasons that are suggested as being contributory?
"Nick Pearce, from IPPR, (a left leaning think tank) said these figures pointed to an "increasing disconnect" between children and adults. He said youngsters were learning how to behave from one another instead of from adults. "Because they don't have that structured interaction with adults, it damages their life chances," he said. The researchers concluded that the lack of adult interaction has left British teenagers increasingly vulnerable to failure. "
Well there we go Home Educators everywhere: this is not our problem and in fact we appear to solve it rather well since one of the things that distinguishes HE from schooling is that children do spend much more time in the company of adults, with all the attendant advantages that this can confer.
And of course, HE kids not only spend more time in the company of adults, they often spend a great amount of time with much younger children, which we suspect is also hugely important in terms of developing a sense of empathy and responsibility for others, as well as learning about parenting skills. I watch my daughter caring her dolls with immense skill for someone of her age, and I suspect it comes from a combination of playing with children younger than herself and watching all those other mums at HE groups parenting their babies so well.
You can only conclude that despite the prevailing meme, school appears NOT to be the perfect place to learn to socialise since pupils spend almost all the time mixing with people exactly their own age. And what with adults working ever longer days, and the recent proposals to extend school hours without more adult involvement, it would seem we have a recipe for disaster.
HEors can afford to make these points as widely as possible, I believe!