Friday, December 02, 2005

Any Time Now.

It's not long now, folks. That moment that we "unknowns" have been dreading, that hollow knock on the door from someone we've never met before asking to come in immediately, that chilling phone call from a complete stranger which doesn't pan out into something pleasant like "Your books are ready to collect", that letter with the fateful words, "we understand your child does not have a school placement", well it should happen any minute now.

Indefatigable EO volunteer and level-head, Phil Hicks reports that the DfES has instituted a non statutory December deadline for LEAs to "have systematic arrangements in place (by December 2005) for identifying children missing from education so that provision can be made for them, drawing on the non-statutory guidance ".

So we should just get over it, and OK we will do our best to do this. But for those of us whose children are heavily invested in home education and who would just hate to go to school, it can put you on edge. Instead of the holding in mind the nice, honest question "how can I genuinely improve the learning environment for my child", lurking all the while at the back of one's mind is also the question "how can I make the learning environment 'seem' efficient to someone who doesn't necessarily understand home education, let alone autonomous home education, and yet who has the power of judgement over my intimate family life and the power to infringe our choices?" Not a good question, because it distracts from the first one, which is a good question and it may mean that you end up doing the wrong thing, such as sitting down with a much hated and therefore useless workbook.

I shall do my best to prevent this from happening and I will also do my best to give the ptb short shrift, but the knowledge of their potential for misunderstanding and bullying and interference in what should be private family life, errgh, frankly on a personal level, our family would do much better without it.

On a general level, I suspect all this information gathering is a disproportionate measure. It will generate masses of data at huge cost for very, very little gain. The problem for Victoria Climbie was not that she was not known about, nor that there was a shortage of information on her case. Her problem was a lack of experienced social workers.

And very seriously for the future of autonomous Home Education, we worry for new home educators who may find that the usual progression from structure and teacher-led learning to increasingly following the lead of the learner will be less spontaneous, given that they know that they will inevitably be checked over by schoolie types educrats.


Julie said...

Have you written your "Philosophy of Education" yet?
If not I'd start to tackle it , if I were you. Then forget about it. If/when they knock the door tell them to go away and put their requests fior information in writing. Then write back and tell them you are sending your Ed Phil as your evidence of the education you are providing.
We are known to our LEA, as you know. They accept our Ed Phil with a very brief list of activities/projects/visists we have done through the year. They have never, in 5 years now, seen any work, they have never met the children. We are completely autonomous educators, we have made this very clear. The reply from the LEA states "I have no concerns about the quality of education being provided for your children at home." It can be done ;o)
But yes it's true that we have to be there-available to to talk to new home educators, to spread the word about autonomous home education as a choice for all. And thank goodness for the likes of Phil, Mike FW and ARCH who watch and listen to what this government is up to. Fore warned is fore armed and all that!

Clare said...

Can't you buy some cheap workbooks and fill them in yourself to show them? :-P I did a child study on a pretend child for my Childcare GCSE, and did some cutting out of shapes using my left hand so it looked like a child had done it - I got a B. Sorry - being a bit frivolous as a way of sticking my head in the sand about how BigBrother-ish our country is!



Anonymous said...

We need guns.

Ron R said...

I read in an old issue of GWS (well, they are all old at this point) where a mom used the rec room in the basement as a craft/art area. She put lots of the work up on the walls. The furniture was traditional school furniture and anytime an official visited she showed them the basement.

Not everyone could do that but a fantastic idea.

Carlotta said...

Great suggestions all...thanks. The basement idea would cap it all, what with the workbooks and the left handed shapes, but can't help thinking of the end of Silence of the Lambs - though am not quite sure which side has the night vision specs!

Also note to self: had better make sure my Phil. of Ed. has better grammar than I normally manage here. I find, what with time pressure, that it's either a question of blogging without caring too much about editing, or not writing at all.

Good to hear that you manage the LEA so well, Julie. You guys seem to have yours well tamed.

And also wanted to second that re Phil, Mike FW and ARCH...thank goodness for these guys.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how many families already show what they do educationally voluntarely by the way of blogs?

Anonymous said...

Oh btw any work such as projects, art, doodles, letters etc is the property of your child and may not be viewed without your childs consent.
Our LEA has left us alone, but you must get on with your Ed Phil so you are prepared.
Write what you have done , not what you are going to do.
Be more knowledgeable than them, and I know that if/when they do come knocking you'll hold you own. :-)