Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We Can Manage, Thanks.

The cheek! From an article about Home Education in Norfolk:

"Norfolk County Council runs a home educator service, which offers support and advice to parents opting for home schooling. It can link children together to ensure they interact socially, ...we're here if people have a query or want support. We advise on curriculum websites, books about home education and provide links to organisations like Connexions when young people are starting to think about their next steps after school.”

We and practically every other home educating family we know have managed very well thank you very much without any help from LAs. We socialise frenetically already. Any more socialisation and we'd bust! And if HEors really can't find the information they need in this information rich age, I really don't think they should HEing in the first place. We manage all this through our own HE networks, social and IT. This is NOT difficult though it seems as if Norfolk LA would have us believe that it is and implicitly that we must therefore be dependent upon them.

What we do need, however, are things they won't help us with, eg: easy access to exam centres.


Jax said...

I met a home educator not so very long ago who couldn't use a computer due to sensory issues. I'd imagine it's quite a lot more difficult to link up with the various networks if you don't have the net to do it.

I can't see a problem with LAs offering assistance as well as the networks outside them, as I remembered earlier today, various home education groups can be very cliquey, and if you aren't one of the in crowd, I'll bet that's a lot less fun too.

I'd agree that the easy access to exam centres would be good too.

Ruth said...

I think it is "being helpful" to try and control us myself. Some HE might take a while to find stuff out and some may not find any HE to socialise with but there is more people in the world to socialise with than just other H.E.

Connexions get in touch regardless of LA involvement unless a family is not known at all.

sallyll1000@yahoo.co.uk said...

I think LEA employees and policy makers (and much of the lay public ... in fact almost everyone who I ever spoke to who had no experience home educating) have an instinctive concern about socializing and socialization as regards home educated children. We have, for over a century, been sold state education on both of these rationalizations, so there is no wonder if everyone's first thought is for these two things.
I'd be surprised to meet any home educator who says they never had a wobble about it too!

In our house, we are also fit to burst with socializing. We would, also, much prefer to choose how to socialize our children rather than leave it up to the 'lord of the flies' situation in school among peers (in the classroom and in the playground ... as I remember from being a teacher in schools in the UK and the USA). Let alone the sort of socialization they receive from being in the system, and from teachers (well meaning or otherwise!)

I do know people who are reassured by support from LEA's. I just wish I lived in a frame of mind where I could really trust that there is no hidden agenda (same with the FSES HE pilot scheme you posted about.)

Maybe the atmosphere will change so much toward HE that the support will really be support to home educate with no other agenda (if it is not that already). My worry is that as the rates of HE increase (and become significant to the government, rather than a tiny minority) the more likely it will become that the 'nanny state' will think they need to begin to keep tighter tabs on the 'standard of education' received by them (according to their criteria of what constitutes an education.)

The British establishment is famous for incorporating movements into the mainstream in order to dilute and control them ... which is why we haven't had any real revolutions in our recent history. I expect there is going to be an increasing element of this. Maybe you are right to be suspicious Carlotta.

Ps: People have home educated without the internet for millenia!

sallyll1000@yahoo.co.uk said...

Ignor my ps, I forgot the actual nature of what you wrote in that bit until I reread it. I was trying to express that I find it dangerous to make any judgements about who is fit to home educate their children, precisely because we all judge from our own subjective positions ... and judgements cannot exist with neutral values (there are no neutral values.)

Elizabeth said...

So--what's your take on making the school days longer for art/sport clubs so that they can learn to socialize?


Anonymous said...

Am I paranoid to think one day this kind of help won't be optional?

Carlotta said...

Jax...Do agree with the problems with not being linked up via IT, though suspect that once one has made even that just that one first phone contact to EO local contact, then the network starts to spread pretty quickly, without any help from the LA. This is how it worked for us when we first left London, and I had yet to plug in the PC ie: had already got ourselves swimming and pooterintg in a field, looking for bugs with a big group of HEors after just one phone call to EO.

At that time we were the newest in a well established group, though we then soon moved to another area where new groups were forming all the time. It was a very different experience but I now go out of my way to try to be welcoming to newcomers. Just have to remind myself of what it felt like to be the newest and I then do make a deliberate effort to say "Hi" and "welcome" etc.

I feel it has been a huge learning curve for many of us to be facilitating large groups of people over whom one does not have any actual authority. It is such a useful paradigm for consensual living, and for working out how one does this in a non-authoritarian but also not too chaotic fashion...and for the most part it has worked very well...a huge and useful lesson, I believe.

Carlotta said...

My feeling is that Ruth and Sally are completely right...ie: that this LA offer of help with socialisation is primarily a way to rope us all in and keep an eye on us.

And your last paragraph, Sally, is very apposite in view of what is going on in Bedfordshire, ie: yet another way of incorporating us into the mainstream and controlling us.

Carlotta said...

Thanks for the link Elizabeth. That looks like a whole other blog post, I suspect!

Interested to know your thoughts?

Kath said...

Hi, I found your blog through Jax. Norfolk is my local LA and my impression (indirectly, we're not known so far) is that they would like us to be dependent on them. They still send out misleading info about how they are going to monitor home ed provision, yet everyone I've spoken to locally is full of how wonderful and helpful the inspector is when they have their yearly visits. I can't think of anyone who has said they refuse visits here.

Carlotta said...

Hi Kath,

In some ways, it is great to hear that the relationship between most Norfolk HEors and the LA is working out. The trouble with this it seems to me to be that LAs are notoriously unreliable in their treatment of HEors, so say if new LA officer were to come into post who conceived of education in a very prescriptive way, I wonder how HEors in Norfolk would then feel about home visits; and it could be that there would be a problem if HEors there tried to return to other methods of demonstrating that an education is taking place, since the local precedent of home visits would appear to have been established.

The other problem for HEors who on principle would rather not have to let an LA officer into their homes, is that they have a harder time arguing the case if all other local HEors are happy with the situation.

Do feel very sorry for anyone in this position, and suspect it is happening in more an more LAs.

Could it be that we will need some more case law in order to demonstrate clearly that LAs should not automatically disregard other presentations of evidence of education, as they seem to be doing in some areas such as Nottingham?