Thursday, July 31, 2008

School v. Unschool

A previously unschooled teen goes to school and compares his experiences.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who to Vote For...

The UK Libertarian Party explicitly supports home education in the video here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Judgement in the Harrison Case

Judge (1977)

"It is, in my view, for me to construe the Act; not for us to accept evidence of others as to its meaning. I propose to construe the word EDUCATION as meaning "The development of mental powers and character and the acquisition of knowledge through the imparting of skills and learning by systematic instruction".

We are told that educationalists recognise two broad approaches to education:- (1) the "transmissive" (which should describe as didactic) and (2) the "autonomous" method or self-directed study, in which a child is permitted to pursue its own interests. Be that as it may, in our judgment, 'education' demands at least an element of supervision; merely to allow a child to follow its own devices in the hope that it will acquire knowledge by imitation, experiment, or experience in its own way and in its won good time is neither systematic nor instructive. We adopt the view of Mrs Bromley that such a course would be not education but, at best, child-minding.

The Appellants' children are, and have been, allowed to follow their own interests and to investigate subjects largely of their own choice without restriction. They have not, however, so we think, been simply left to their own devices. The overwhelming impression left by the evidence is that the children are always engaged in concentrated and creative activity or study, and that, idleness or ineffectiveness would simply not be tolerated. On the evidence, we conclude that despite the fact of formulation or structure, these children have received and are receiving education capable of [?] recognition as the autonomous method, and which can properly be described as systematic and which is certainly "full-time".

In this system of education "efficient"? A system in my judgment (and I so direct the Court) is "efficient" if it achieves what which it sets out to achieve. By that test, the evidence that the education of these children is "efficient" is all one way."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Single Parents and Home Education

I still haven't got the hang of embedding YouTube vids, and after an incident with a potato peeler this evening, I am not going to spend too much time trying. However Aspie Home Education Blog has Rowan Fortune Wood's take on the Single Parent situation.

(Pinching seems Rowan will for me forever be a small child atop a worryingly huge climbing frame.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Family Courts and Accountability

Heads up, anyone who has had problems with social services and family courts.

The Times newspaper is running a campaign this week calling for family courts to be more open, and for childcare professionals to be accountable for their decisions.

If you haven’t yet done so could you to fill in the 30 second survey they are doing to gauge the scale of the injustice.

Main Campaign page:

Online survey to fill in:

There is also a form to submit to your MP as well on the page:"

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Home Education in Germany on the Learning Curve (available for another 6 days).

The programme also has a piece on the ridiculous Early Years Foundation Scheme, with contributions from the eminently sensible folk at OpenEYE.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pupils Shouldn't Know They're Being Tested

...says Ed Balls.

Of course one's first reaction to this story can only be similar to Pete's. (headdesk, headdesk, headdesk. Ow...Pete's forehead is clearly harder than mine. )

On top of Pete's other comments, I would love to ask Mr Balls " Just how deceitful, patronising, Machiavellian and tyrannical do you think adults should be towards children? And "Do you really think such behaviour sets a good example of how humans should behave towards one another?".

And "If a child realises that they may never know when they're being tested, isn't this likely to raise rather than reduce their anxiety levels?"

And finally, "How ridiculous is it to imagine that you will get accurate results when a child doesn't know they're being tested! I have numerous examples of this problem as there was a fashion at my own junior school for surreptitious testing, but here is just one: a school friend of mine who went on to get prizes at Oxford, failed her 11 plus (quite badly apparently) all because she had no idea we were being tested and had decided to spend the morning staring out the window as whatever it was we were doing seemed too easy and boring. Was that test helpful in any way?" I would like to know.

Of course there couldn't be any other possible motive for Mr Balls' comments, now could there? Not with all the other current problems with SATs? No surely not...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Home Educators Win the Day at Wimbledon

...and it wasn't just the Williams sisters. 14 year old home schooler Laura Robson won the Girls Singles Championship with considerable panache.

At interview she was funny, engaging and completely appropriate for a 14 year old. On court, despite reporting having experienced quite severe nerves, she held it together completely in front of a huge crowd, maintaining a great match face which led the commentator to remark that she was "mature beyond her years".

Now, who says home educators don't learn to socialise?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wimbledon Finalist

...home schools. Laura Robson (14) who has just reached the finals of the Girls' Singles Championship, explains how it works for her here.

An Article on Home Education the Sheffield Star has plenty of story for your money:

The importance of togetherness for the first family is very a significant quality of HE for many other families, and yet is often underplayed as a benefit, perhaps because it is so easy to take for granted.

Then there's the experience of the previously autonomously educated but now college educated teen, also in the first family. We have seen this story played out repeatedly amongst the HE teens around here. All the first swathe of autonomously educated people who we've known over a long period of time now are currently going about getting qualifications in their areas of interest and all are doing it with dedication and interest, unlike the many unwilling conscripts who have been doing this way too long.

The second story in the article covers the impact of probable benefit changes on HEing lone parents.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Letter of the Year far

From Shena in the FT (you may have to register).

"Why does society need to ‘have a grip’ on education of my children?

Sir, In general, Rob Blackhurst's article (“A class apart”, FT Weekend Magazine, June 21/22) was very informative and accurate.

What a pity he marred it at the end with errors of fact. The “concept of universal education” in the UK is less than 140 years old, having been introduced by the Education Act 1870 for children between five and 13.

The national curriculum is not legally enforced “for every pupil at school - whether at Eton College or an inner-city comprehensive”. Only state schools must implement the national curriculum. Private schools (and home-educating families) may choose to use it but do not have to do so.

I was also disappointed that the last word was given to the general secretary of the teachers' union. Philip Parkin almost certainly knows nothing about home education and is unlikely to be in favour of any scheme of education that reduces the number of teachers required by at least 1,700.

Society does not “have a grip” on whether or not I feed or clothe my children. Why does it need to : “have a grip” on their education? The law leaves the primary responsibility for education with parents and provides for measures to be taken against parents who do not educate their children, just as it does for parents who neglect their children. What more is required?"