Saturday, April 04, 2009

Home Educators at the Conference on 21st Century Schools

Further on the sentiment expressed by These Boots in the discussion in comments below, (that many of us are interested in improving the learning experience of all children), there is a report here on home educators trying to raise the profile and methodology of HE at a conference on the future of schools.

Of note, we had Ed Balls MP telling us that he wouldn't home educate because he is worried about socialisation. Of course, the HEor did the best she could at the time and EO twittered about this too:

"Ed Balls said yesterday he fears HE kids miss out on socialisation. We say "Ed you need to meet our kids and see just how wrong you are!"

EO are followed on Twitter by the DCSF.

And just in case you ever come by this way, DCSF, just to tell you that honestly Ed's fears are completely unfounded. If anything loads of HEors are remarkably well-socialised and have a huge sense of civic and personal responsibility. We, parents and children, have to learn how to do it for ourselves. We find out how to set up and run groups, about how to be inclusive, about how to work with others of all ages and cultures, about conflict resolution etc. It is easily possible for all HEors, no matter where they are in England, to socialise their children. I myself live in one of the most rural parts of England. At last count there were 45 HEors at the meeting we help to run in a tiny, tiny country town. We go to other groups in the neighbourhood and meet with loads of other HEors there. We form lasting friendships. Please believe us: we are so often model citizens that Ed does need to adjust his views on this point.

But back to the meeting, it also worth noting that Jon Coles, Director General of Schools, claimed to the floor that it would be a bold experiment to let children decide on their own learning and that most parents would not want to go down this route. An HEor later challenged him on this point also in front of the entire hall and within Ed Balls' hearing, saying that home education had been around for a long time and that it could offer a model of the success of child-led learning, should he be interested.


Anonymous said...

The socialisation issue again!

It's hard to see why people have a problem with this issue. One doesn't have to know a lot about HE (especially autonomously HEed) to appreciate that whilst some children might have socialisation issues, given that there are always exceptions, the majority are probably better socialised than their state schooled counterparts. He needs to look at what good socialisation actually *should* mean. It doesn't have to mean masses of team sports - not that they do this any more - or sitting in a room packed with same aged kids.

Why doesn't he express concern about socialisation in schools? The media certainly do! They are always reporting on the terrifying teens in hoodies, the progressively more bullying and anti social behaviour of primary school children, and so on ad infinitum! Why doesn't Ed say - 'gosh isn't socialisation in schools a bit of a disaster!' The wonderful thing about most HEd children I have met is that they will speak to anyone of any age or back ground like an equal, I have rarely met a schooled child who is able to do this, schooled', as it were, to only socialise with children born in a narrow age band.

Imagine, say, a country where 50% of the adults were home educated. In this country it is probably no longer necessary to be anxious about age discrimination in the workplace - because children who are respected and are used to a variety of ages would become adults who didn't hold age prejudices, or about integrating people with disabilities, or about bullying in the workplace - the list of how are society could be improved by this eventuality is pretty long.

It is so exasperating that this issue needs explaining again and again. A tiny bit of research Ed please!


Anonymous said...

It is rather worrying that the Secretary of State of the DCSF repeats this rule of prejudice. He surely should have had enough information filtering through from the poor menials at the bottom of the heap who have to wade through three or four thousand consultation responses from home educators to know that socialisation is only a problem in the mind of government. I can only suppose that, since there is no proof that home educators abuse their children, Ed has to fall back on the socialisation non-issue. No doubt he also thinks that black people loved being treated like slaves.

mum6kids said...

So Ed Balls(up) is ignorant of home ed. I want to be shocked, We knew really didn't we? *sigh*
I bet he neither wants to know nor cares very much.

Firebird said...

Socialisation isn't a non-issue, is the very reason some parents decide to HE in the first place! They're so unhappy with the way that schools do it that they'll take on all the extra work of HE to provide their children with HEALTHY socialisation.

I could be catty and say that I'm happy Ed Balls isn't going to HE, I'd be worried about HIS ability to instil his children with a sense of civic and personal responsibility and to give them the opportunity to mix with the variety of people that we do. Yeah, it's probably for the best that HIS children go to school. ;)

mum6kids said...

Carlotta, I've put a blog entry together pulling as much info as I can to update. If you or anyone else wants something added in-let me know and I'll update.

Anonymous said...

I think ideas should speak for themselves; it isn't necessary to insult individuals holding opposing views. This weakens an otherwise good debate.

Carlotta said...

Thanks so much mum of 6. This needed doing badly!

Carlotta said...

I agree as a general rule, Anon, though in this instance, we are talking about a government minister who has the power to control our lives and it is therefore necessary to name the person and elucidate their views.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Guessing how some one else's mind works doesn't illuminate anybody.

Anonymous said...

If Mr Balls cannot see that schools have a negetive effect on socialisation, and that it is not only possible but entirely preferable that socialisation happens in the family and the child's natural society instead, it is right that we criticise him personally for those views, one would love to expect more of someome in his position.

Anonymous said...

Put that way, it is hard to disagree - at last you say!

Firebird said...

Could the Anonymous posters please pick a number or something? We've got Anon (signed D), Anon and another Anon? Name/URL doesn't require giving any private info.

On top of that who was one of the Anons complaining about insulting someone with an opposing view and er, which someone? I've read through several times and it's not getting any clear.

Anonymous said...

It is confusing Sorry

I am anonymous at 4.29!!
I am not any of the other Anonymouses!!

It does look pretty confusing, one of the anon thinks I'm another anon making hir point clearer, I'm not I'm a totally new anon to this comment thread.

I forgot to sign my name I usually do so, just can't be bothered with singing in to a Google Account and inventing a name remembering it next time etc

Elizabeth Mills