Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml en-gb 30 Thu 27 Nov 2014 15:02:30 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml Clover-Grl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=99#comment241 Bye guys! It's been great talking to you all, really interesting. Thanks. Tue 03 Mar 2009 18:58:50 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=99#comment240 I am *still* able to get here (knock me down with a feather time!) and just want to thank everyone for a lot of interesting stuff. Also to say hey, some of you don't turn up very often, and I think the blog would be improved by your coming along to other threads, sometimes, and adding to them, because this has been a classic thread.Cheers! Tue 03 Mar 2009 17:55:50 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=98#comment239 Yes, brilliant.And can I say, I'm not disregarding philtblog's ideas outright, I am genuinely interested to know how anyone might think they would be implemented/implementable. Tue 03 Mar 2009 17:17:17 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=98#comment238 Yes, thanks everyone. This has been a good discussion. Tue 03 Mar 2009 17:03:23 GMT+1 Dutchess57 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=97#comment237 Speaking purely on my own behalf, Philtblog, thank you for asking questions and probing into EHE. You co-created an extremely interesting discussion.Whatever your background or intentions, I think it is always good to critically re-think and re-confirm important choices and to regularly do 'reality checks'. The kind of questions you put forward on this blog were quite a lot milder (sympathetic?) than most I have had to deal with, especially when coming people who are hostile towards EHE (which I don't think you are).I can't help saying that it's significant in itself that so many people who choose EHE are very capable of arguing - and defending - their choice for education and life style. It makes it obvious that EHE and the life style that goes with it can't be anything but a conscious choice.How many parents of schoolgoing children would or could do the same? How many have actually made such a conscious choice? Anyway, I suppose there are many more aspects we could discuss, but that's not my intention. Thanks also to other contributors to this discussion, I found it very valuable and enlightening and it has strengthened me in my belief that we need to do all we can to safeguard EHE - as it is! Tue 03 Mar 2009 16:12:41 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=97#comment236 Into practice even.Take your pick! LOL Tue 03 Mar 2009 15:57:30 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=97#comment235 philtblog 234, I realise you have put ideas - I'm trying not to rule them out by asking you how on earth you envisage them being put into practise? Tue 03 Mar 2009 15:45:40 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=96#comment234 philtblog 231 wrote:"I don't share the belief that all HE is inevitably done well and cannot be improved"You have misrepresented the HE position in that remark.My own view - similar to others, I believe - is that: 1) the number of failures is likely to be small (as you concede) and 2) imposing a "system" will not help and will make things a lot worse for all HE.The latter seems to be the crux of our disagreement. I prefer to rest on the vast body of evidence. Tue 03 Mar 2009 15:35:37 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=96#comment233 OF - Look back over my posts, I think I put ideas down in three of them although I can't remember exactly how many it was. In any case I stopped repeating myself because I thought everyone would get bored with it.Parent - Clearly I fall into a group beneath your high standards. I'd like to reiterate that at no point have I criticised HE, said it was worse than schooling or that the majority of HEs don't perform a good job. I have repeatedly recognised that side of the argument and the principles of free choice for parents and children, not to mention the fact that HE is a perfectly valid, sensible, responsible and reasonable thing to do. I'm interested in what you think my horizons are given that I have never said whether I am a HE or schooling kind of person and I have at no stage speculated about the ideas, principles or perosnality traits of others. I don't htink that's what blogs are for.Once again, thanks all for an interesting discussion. Tue 03 Mar 2009 15:24:55 GMT+1 parent http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=95#comment232 philtblog said "I don't think we're moving forward and I don't think we will since I don't share the belief that all HE is inevitably done well and cannot be improved and you don't share my belief that it could be improved without interference in what is obviously excellent HE in the case of the majority."Perhaps we can help philtblog 'improve' with some 'interference'. Widen your horizons, think blue sky, be free. The discussion might then move forward... As for home edders, well, we are constantly moving forward :-) Tue 03 Mar 2009 15:10:24 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=95#comment231 philtblogI feel in part we're not 'moving forward' because I among others keep asking you questions about how you expect this system to work, and you keep not answering them! Tue 03 Mar 2009 14:46:57 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=95#comment230 Troi78 - I realise the start of my para was a little confusing. Clover-Grl said 'short straw' and only from my second para was I referring to your post.All - Many thanks again for this interesting discussion. I don't think we're moving forward and I don't think we will since I don't share the belief that all HE is inevitably done well and cannot be improved and you don't share my belief that it could be improved without interference in what is obviously excellent HE in the case of the majority.Anyway, thanks again. Tue 03 Mar 2009 14:02:36 GMT+1 parent http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=94#comment229 philtblog, you say:"My point is simply that child A under parents B and C might have a better HE experience, be guided better, encouraged better, achieve more of what they want to, get wider exposure etc. if parents B and C were supported/assisted by HE expert D. And further that parents B and C may not be aware of this. And further still that child A certainly won't be aware until they are old enough to understand this."Your default model is based on experts giving advice and teaching the ignorant. HE does not necessarily rely on this model. Learning is a shared experience, it happens through searching and seeking.Let us say you substituted 'parent' for 'teacher' and 'HE' for 'school' in your formula, we could change the face of schooling as we know it. Are you saying that schools must allow parents to choose a particular teacher so that their child would have the best outcome? What if the teacher your child has is rubbish, and if they had teacher X they could end up at Oxford? I'd like to see your model applied to schools. I don't think you'd even get through the door!But, as we all know, education (read schooling) is a lottery. Some of us are not gamblers, we opted for HE. Tue 03 Mar 2009 13:52:31 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=94#comment228 philtblog 220 wrote:"The arguments against seem to me to remain the same... those planning to do it won't do it well"You've underplayed that last crucial one - and one that I and at least some others find most exasperating (apart from the numbers, and you have accepted those) - the people that wish to impose and deliver these "systems" on HE are utterly useless for the purpose, if not downright dangerous! (And no, acceptance does not follow logically). That's why we opted-out in the first place.In spite of my ill-concealed impatience and irritation, I share your ideals about what a society should try to do - including support for minorities - but decades of personal experience have shown me that our present species is predominantly poorly adapted to wielding power in a benign way. Combine that with limited education, experience, capability and the inevitable targets and you have a recipe for yet another expensive bungle.The world is going to hell in a hand cart (in no small way because of inadequate "systems") and someone comes along to try to impose some new worthless burden of a system on those that have made a deliberate and highly-motivated choice to try to do better.I'm content to wait and see how the mess of current school education is fixed before anyone should be allowed to expand their remit. Tue 03 Mar 2009 13:12:45 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=93#comment227 Philtblog: I don't think I mentioned 'short straw'.Your point of 'better' is a bit vague. Firstly you have to define the problem before 'better' can be applied.You are suggesting that home-educators go out and look for the children whose lives might be improved or made 'better'. I cannot see how this could possibly work.There is absolutely tons of material out there in the world to improve a child's HE experience. The resources are endless. The guidance is there. The support is there. The books are there. The websites are there. The 'experts' are there. The libraries are there. The local groups are there. The national groups are there. The online and offfline community are there. Even the LA is there. A parent merely has to reach out.Are you actually telling me that a parent who makes the decision to home-educate is not going to take advantage of at least one of the above? And it is, therefore, the responsibility of the rest of us home-educators to search out these people? Frankly, I am at a loss. You haven't given us the standards you think a child should achieve. You haven't specified under what circumstances intervention is required. You haven't given a hint to how your proposal is remotely workable. All you have said is that there should be some kind of HE self-regulating system to enable parents who haven't a clue to be dug out of their self-imposed (presumably) isolation and make their kids' HE experience 'better'.I reiterate, a parent who makes the decision to HE will make enquiries beforehand or immediately after deregistration. A parent who is advised to deregister their child to avoid prosecution is not someone who has chosen elective home-education and is, therefore, the responsibility of the LA. Tue 03 Mar 2009 13:02:48 GMT+1 SDeuchars http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=93#comment226 philtblog: child A under parents B and C might have a better HE experience ... if [the] parents ... were supported/assisted by HE expert DIt seems fairly clear to me that many children's lives might be improved in different ways by being with different parents. Are you suggesting that society should also impose an "eating expert", a "clothing expert" and an "entertainment expert" on families? The normal way our society does things is to wait until a family asks for help or a problem emerges (e.g. by a child disclosing or a neighbour reporting a family) and to send in intervention (e.g. medical help or a social worker).I understood you to be saying that EHE families should be subject to proactive intervention from an "EHE expert", rather than waiting for the family to ask or for a problem to emerge. Tue 03 Mar 2009 12:49:42 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=92#comment225 repeat question, philtblog.How are you suggesting this is going to operate? Tue 03 Mar 2009 12:22:16 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=92#comment224 Clover-Grl (and later Troi78) - Actually, you're the one who said short straw in 215 and I simply agreed that these people exist and continued the point so I guess I mean what you meant by it. Additionally though, I mean a child whose parents aren't very good at facilitating HE and therefore who would be better off with more support in their HE environment.I'm not saying any particular educational milestone is a relevant marker of how a child is doing, I have noted and taken on board the idea that targets are a false measure of education required for mass education and unneccessary in the HE environment, one of its benefits, I agree.My point is simply that child A under parents B and C might have a better HE experience, be guided better, encouraged better, achieve more of what they want to, get wider exposure etc. if parents B and C were supported/assisted by HE expert D. And further that parents B and C may not be aware of this. And further still that child A certainly won't be aware until they are old enough to understand this. Tue 03 Mar 2009 12:16:03 GMT+1 Clover-Grl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=92#comment223 Philtblog, this is not the time to get me into a conversation about health issues - it would take too long, and invariably be off topic for this thread. Maybe another time though, because I have a LOT to say on that front (my mother is a medic).Back to the subject in hand. You mention people drawing the 'short straw', but it's actually not a concept I see fitting education. Unless the child has some severe mental disability, we all have the capacity to learn whatever we want. What you seem to be implying therefore, is that there are only certain things worth learning, and those who do not learn these things are missing out.So before we get too confused, I'd like you to define necessary learning, the things you think a child really needs to know. Oh, and with what aim they're learning these things (e.g. to become a good citizen, to help them live a happy life, to help them earn money, live within the law, etc.) I think until we all know what you mean when you say 'losing out' we need to know what exactly it is they're losing. Tue 03 Mar 2009 11:18:04 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=91#comment222 Home Educators Eat Babieshttp://tinyurl.com/c5s8cy Tue 03 Mar 2009 11:12:52 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=91#comment221 This might help:http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Schoolslearninganddevelopment/ChoosingASchool/DG_4016124 Tue 03 Mar 2009 10:55:04 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=90#comment220 Philtblog: Too busy to reply in full now. I did say (at 213) that was the welfare safety net. Perhaps you could help us out by outlining what you would see as 'failure' by a home-educating parent? Let's stick to elective home-education here because that's what we do. Everything else is a welfare issue. Tue 03 Mar 2009 10:49:25 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=90#comment219 Troi78 - That's health, not education. The point of the comparison is that it is possible to use a light touch approach to ensure the well being (in this case health related) of a child without offending parents and to answer the accusation that I'm proposing something for others I would not like for myself. The fact remains that this is a good example of a system which does not impose, which understands that children develop at different rates, but which is able to pick up failures in care and support parents to meet the needs of their children.Clover-G - That's not an adequate reason to say the NHS is failing, particularly not in the early years setting that we were talking about. Yes, there are always people who draw the short straw and you can't help everyone but the idea of society, for my money, is that we don't just leave those with short straws to deal with it, we do our best, sometimes feebly inadequate though it is, to help them. Which means being able to identify them, which, in the case of children, means looking for them rather than waiting for them to look for us, which is the point of inspection.I would not advocate the system that SD subsequently describes and I agree that it is unlikely to meet the needs or expectations of HE families. But that does not mean that the basic concept I've outlined is invalid.The arguments against seem to me to remain the same - it's only a small group so who cares, it's not my group so who cares, the school system is worse so let them deal with that and ignore us and those planning to do it won't do it well.All those apart form the last are absurd arguments and the last implies acceptance of the principle and should prompt, in my opinion, an effort to take ownership of the issue by the HE community. If a sensible suggestion were taken to government then there is a much stronger argument to combat there proposals. Tue 03 Mar 2009 10:26:35 GMT+1 SDeuchars http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=90#comment218 Clover-Grl wrote: Personally, I can see there are places in my life, and in everybody's lives, where 'full potential' was not reached.In the moderated post (sorry, I didn't intend it to break rules), I said that there were certain areas (such as crime) in which it is better not to reach one's full potential. Tue 03 Mar 2009 07:35:21 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=89#comment217 To my amazement I *can* still read this huge thread! :-)Clover-Girl @ 215, you do know that you are a splendid advocate for home education, don't you? I rate that post very high indeed... What with 20/20 hindsight, knowing the figures for iatrogenic fatalities, and quoting Lennon, you sound like a bit of one of the really good bar-conversations at one of the better SF conventions, at which all knowlege seems to be there and the Internet can eat its heart out!WL @ 207, I was clearly over-reacting, and I apologise: I just have a deep-seated loathing of any sort of mobishness, and I was beginning to feel that cooljumblesale was beginning to catch the flack beyond what s/he deserved. I didn't think that *you* were "intimidated by blogging mobs (mogs?)"; I thought the jumbly one might be, and I don't like it. Sorry about that. Not being clear that cjs is a bully, and fearing s/he might be quite the opposite, was what actuated me.(And after all, using 'government-speak' doesn't have to show someone to be part of the government: it may stem from trying to look properly impartial, in a sort of desperate way. And being muddled in one's thinking isn't really evidence either way, though I agree that it is characteristic of most of the stuff that comes out of the House these days...)It might be better if I were to come clean and say that my automatic sympathy goes towards home education, for all sorts of reasons. I'm not sure that they are good ones, though, because they are too personal and anecdotal. I had an absolutely vile time at four different schools; nobody I know seems to have any desire to say 'My school days were the best days of my life'. Justabout everyone I get on well with was either bullied at school (in one or two cases to the extent of broken bones) or in perpetual war against the authorities of school. Many were scarred by this -- havens, my father hadn't forgiven some of his teachers for their behaviour seventy years after he had been beaten for something he didn't do! This is *apart from my children*, for whose educations' sakes we as a family cut our expenditure on everything else to the bone so that they could take up the scholarships they won to a good local school at which it was possible for me to protect them if any member of staff seemed to be making a mess of teaching them. If it had been clear that any one of them was being miserable at school I think we would have tried to educate them at home, but luckily all three seemed to enjoy themselves really quite a lot most of the time, and end up in two cases with really rather impressive collections of exam qualifications -- the third had a medical condition that hit during the second GCSE year and played hob with academic work -- and happy with it in all three cases. Which is good, but three out of about three hundred isn't a very good score for schools, and this was a very good school by all accounts!Doesn't make a good argument for home education, though, as it stands, so I am fascinated by the debate here. I just desperately wanted it not to descend into personalities. Mon 02 Mar 2009 23:48:45 GMT+1 SDeuchars http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=89#comment216 This post has been Removed Mon 02 Mar 2009 21:54:03 GMT+1 SDeuchars http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=88#comment215 As the EHEer who was interviewed last Thursday, I am thrilled to see this discussion is continuing. I'd have joined in sooner, but I've had technical problems and was busy over the weekend.philtblog, it seems to me that part of the problem is that there is no universal description of what a "suitable education" looks like. This is why EHEers reject the use of that phrase. We are very happy with the phrase used in Education Act s7 - an education suitable to the age aptitude and ability of the child. I am that experienced EHEer that you wanted to see as part of a support system. I *do* offer support - but only to those who ask for it. I am not with a child 24/7. If someone says "what do you think", I'll happily discuss other situations I have known. But I am not the carer for that child and I cannot usurp the responsibility of the parent.The EHE review is couched in terms (ECM) that government should be the arbiter of what is best for each individual child. Worse, it suggests that government agencies can and *should* ensure certain outcomes for each individual child. This is a ludicrous situation that views the needs of parents and children as being opposed to each other. Mon 02 Mar 2009 21:49:08 GMT+1 Clover-Grl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=88#comment214 Oh, and another side point - thinking of the health 'safety net' mentioned in 212/3 I'd like to point out that iatrogenic fatalities (aka deaths caused by your doctor/heath-care system) are among the top 10 causes of death in the UK. So I'd say the NHS is a bit of a failed safety net too.In reality, there are always those who draw the short straw. Sometimes, it turns out it was possible to make things better...but hindsight is always 20/20. For instance, would you have couples routinely tested for dangerous genetic combinations, so they can avoid the risk of having a damaged child? This is similar to testing a home education family for the chance their child might do better in school.Personally, I can see there are places in my life, and in everybody's lives, where 'full potential' was not reached. But actually, it's okay. To quote Lennon - We all shine on. Mon 02 Mar 2009 20:49:01 GMT+1 Clover-Grl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=88#comment213 Troi78, 201I know I'm a bit late pointing this out, but if a kid's truanting, they're clearly not getting much of a state education, plus they're likely to be rather stressed (i.e. by the cause of their behavior)In that kind of situation, even staying at home being taught nothing is going to be more beneficial than leaving them in a system they clearly can't stand. Mon 02 Mar 2009 20:09:21 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=87#comment212 Philtblog 212: Ha! Exactly. We are all subject to those check-ups and visits. You said, "After initial visits further input is tailored to the needs of the family. It doesn't go on in perpetuity but ensures a baseline of safety (as well as it can) and then reappears at appropriate moments if required."So there's your safety net as far as welfare is concerned. We all go to doctors and the like, when the need arises.Now remembering that to take a child out of school means a huge commitment by the parent to ensure that the child is educated, don't you think that most of them take the trouble to find out a bit about the pros and cons of HEing before they do so? If nothing else, they will be spoken to by the headteacher, who *has* to inform the LA when a child is deregistered, by the way. Hopefully, that parent will make the effort to contact their local HE group, read a few books, go online, join a support network, etc.The other sector, eg where a parent keeps a child from school to be a carer or for some other reason is NOT electively home-educating. That is a matter for Social Services, not for a Home-educators' network.So why then, do we need yet another system? Mon 02 Mar 2009 19:34:45 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=87#comment211 Troi78 - It does occur in the form of midwives and health visitors when children are particularly vulneable helath wise and when new parents need the most help. I think that's a very good comparison to draw. After initial visits further input is tailored to the needs of the family. It doesn't go on in perpetuity but ensures a baseline of safety (as well as it can) and then reappears at appropriate moments if required. Not perfect, but useful to many and spots those in danger of becoming disadvantaged. Mon 02 Mar 2009 18:39:43 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=86#comment210 Philtblog: "don't feel comfortable with the argument that it's only a few kids, never mind, when there doesn't seem to be an objection except that you don't like being interfered with"You make it sound so trivial. Assuming you have children, would you like to have to submit to an inspection as to their health and welfare at home? Let's use pre-schoolers as examples, as they are a comparable group to HE-ers. So... the government announces that it is concerned about the safety, development, education and home environment of all pre-school children and is about to launch a 'safety net' to ensure you are 'doing it right'. Therefore you will be subject to a twice-annual (or more) inspection, when you will be monitored, evaluated and perhaps tested on your ability to bring up your own child.That's not the kind of country I want to live in. How about you? Mon 02 Mar 2009 17:21:02 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=86#comment209 How?What does it look like?How do you apply it? Mon 02 Mar 2009 17:08:52 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=85#comment208 WL - 2071. I suppose this is a question of perception, I don't think we're oging to agree.2. I'd rather be wrong than rude. I'm not upset, I just don't think on this forum one should need to resort to rudeness to make one's point. The important thing about that debate was not whether you (I mean all those who did, not you specifically) spectualted or made an assumption but that when someone presented an example which countered your argument, you tried to undermine their point of view by saying it was false and politically motivated rather than adressing the issues head on. Which further weakens your point as Chris Ghoti so eloquentley described in his/her later post.3. See 204Troi 78 - The fact that one system doesn't work doesn't mean that a different one won't. I think it remains a realistic goal to achieve support for all HEs as required and that the goal is valuable in spite of the small numbers alongside the larger, more expensive and more time consuming ongoing attempts to improve schooling. I don't see why the failure of one system means that another isn't important. Particularly if it is run by different people, in a different way, with different goals. Mon 02 Mar 2009 17:07:07 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=85#comment207 Philtblog: "I do have a thing about systems because the protect the vulnerable who do not have the insight to recognise that they need them."That's the point - the systems don't work. If they did, then there wouldn't be so many kids leaving school with little education and so many people living in 'vulnerable situations'. We could get into all kinds of political diversions with this but it appears that your desire for a system is happening anyway - at least in England. With Contact Point being set up, all children's details can be accessed by... how many is it? 400,000 'professionals'. So there you go, there's your net. Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:46:05 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=85#comment206 Chris_Ghoti 189: I don't consider a somewhat dispassionate critical analysis of an unsubstantiated attack to be mean or 'picking'. One can be moderate to the point of quite absurd even-handedness; aggressors tend to gain ground in that way. Like you, I don't care one way or the other about the nature of a particular poster; my arguments apply generally.Furthermore, please read my posts more carefully to understand what is - or is not - directed at particular individuals (e.g., "questionable purposes"). Remember, participation here is voluntary - unlike the mis-treatment of many children in schools. I suspect many people could tell worse horror stories of school experiences than those we've already heard, but choose not to.As for "mob behaviour", I'm not intimidated by blogging mobs (mogs?) ... next ...philtblog 191:1) See above2) "This is patronising and rude."Yes, but but my point stands; there is an important distinction between assumption and speculation. Please don't attempt to transform others' views and then get upset when challenged.3) Many home educators already use a range of support, particularly where they cannot provide for a subject (this is not so different from schoolchildren). Any system will have its failures; the point that I try to stress is that the failures in HE are miniscule in comparison to those in the school system. DCSF - and you - appear to have an irrational and dogged obsession with this tiny group. At the same time, many thousands - possibly millions - of schoolchildren are left to languish - or worse - with no one looking out for them.The "systems" that are in place for schools don't work. To quote my now home-educated child's former headmaster: "It's ridiculous to think that I can guarantee the safety of your child on school premises". So why pretend? That you fail to recognise this is a sad indictment of something; I'm not sure what. Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:44:26 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=84#comment205 Troi, CG, OF, D57 - I don't think we're going to come to agreement here but thank you for a stimulating and interesting discussion. Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:44:03 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=84#comment204 but philtblog, I have access to that woman! But of course, only if I seek her out.You are saying we should somehow provide that person, and inflict them upon someone who is not looking for help.How are you going to do that?For a start, your experienced HE practioner is not going to agree to 'help' anyone against their will!Serious question. How are you going to bring together the experienced practioner (who is already there, willing to share her expertise with anyone who asks) and the person who doesn't want to ask?What are you going to do, other than post about your group/activity/advice on the EO list, the HEAS list, the Christian HE list, the Moslem HE list, the local HE list, the newsletters and generally blab about it (all of that is already happening) but you are saying, there are people out there (and there may be, but not to my knowledge ) who are doing a lousy job, are not seeking out these opportunities, but should be helped by them. How are you envisaging this working? Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:43:56 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=83#comment203 OF 202 - someone who's done it before with their 3 kids, all now grown up, written books, organised groups, offering a slightly different perspective. Seems pretty doable to me.Troi78 - I don't feel comfortable with the argument that it's only a few kids, never mind, when there doesn't seem to be an objection except that you don't like being interfered with. Sure, schools fail more kids, there are more kids in school than HE and sure goverment effort should be focused there. This doesn't mean we should ignore the few hundred kids we're talking about - there's plenty of energy to deal with both and why not, if it helps?you may not think it will help, and perhaps it won't help you or the other HEs you're in touch with, but there are other people out there too, what about them? Might it help? If so, shouldn't we try? Surely there is a way to do this sensitively, sensibly and taking into account the enormous good work done by HEs already? Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:30:25 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=83#comment202 Philtblog: "The extension of your argument is that it is not possible to improve on the education of any HE child by outside input which seems bizarre to me"I didn't imply that! Of course it is possible to improve the education of *any* child with additional input. You were talking about something completely diiferent, i.e. some form of 'detection and support'. Detection and support would not be helpful to us in the sense you are suggesting. We don't need either. However, if you wanted to come and give us a talk your field of expertise, your 'input' would be very welcome. Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:30:19 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=83#comment201 philtpblog 200 a more experienced HE provider?since HE tends to be an individual process, who are we going to call a more experienced provider? Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:21:26 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=82#comment200 Philtblog: "My question remains - what do you do to help those who cannot HE well, how do you ensure they are detected and supported? What you describe won't neccessarily do that and it won't help child X who says I had a poor experience of HE if you tell them all the other local HE kids had a great time at the various group lessons etc."Well, it's an unanswerable question. If the parents don't actively seek support and the child is not in an environment where s/he has access to resources, then there is not much to be done. It's exactly the same for a child missing out in school. You think there is a 'net of support' to help stop kids failing but there just isn't. How are these children detected and supported?You still have to understand that this would be a tiny minority, guessing here, in the low hundreds and mostly confined to, for example, parents of truants who have been advised to deregister their child or face legal action. On the other hand the numbers that fail school are much greater; tens of thousands. This, we think, is where all the government efforts should be focused. Let them sort out their own Big Problems and then maybe we'll have some faith that they could help the rest of us.Being part of a wider HE community, we see new home-edders asking for help and ideas all the time. Some appear to have little education themselves but are determined that their children are not going to suffer as they did. These parents are brilliant. They learn alongside their kids and everyone is happy.Don't forget, Child X, who states s/he had a poor experience of HE is just as likely to have had a worse experience at school.Inspections, whether informal or formal aren't going to pick up the ones who don't want to be picked up. Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:13:32 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=82#comment199 OF 198 - I'm not saying they would do better at school, or that they shouldn't be HE'd. only that they could be better HE'd if the family had support from a more experienced HE provider and that a system to provide this seems sensible. Otherwise kids may lose out and no one know or help. Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:06:48 GMT+1 Dutchess57 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=81#comment198 Philtblog:It feels as if we're going around in circles here.I think you are still confusing home educators with people who keep their children out of school; educational matters with welfare matters. I think home educators are by definition highly motivated people who care deeply for the welfare of their children. But that point has been made and argued by many before me on this blog.I think your question is rather hypothetical, because up to now there is no actual or factual cause to think that a stricter or more intrusive system than the existing one is necessary. There are quite a few safety nets in place, already.Besides, a known result of more policing and more government dictated safety nets is a decrease in people taking responsibility for themselves and their communities.Troi78 @ 196: You can edit posts! Do preview before post comment! Mon 02 Mar 2009 16:02:57 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=81#comment197 "What you describe won't neccessarily do that and it won't help child X who says I had a poor experience of HE if you tell them all the other local HE kids had a great time at the various group lessons etc."All you're saying is that HE is not perfect. Well of course not. But compared to the number of kids who have a lousy time at school?How do you know child X would have had a better experience of school? In fact, how many children do you know who say how much they love school?! Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:54:37 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=80#comment196 I should sya that 195 is addressed to OF 193, 194 wasnot up when I posted my offering.D57 "When you mention a system that can provide support 'where necessary', I wonder if you mean a system that can be applied 'when the authorities think it is necessary'. "No, I mean when it's neccessary because a child is missing out, could be happier/better educated if support were available. The trouble with the opt in ideas that everyone raves about is that the people who need support the most may not opt in and no one would ever know.Troi78 194 - I'm not missing the point about education being different for everyone, I take your point about the socks, I still agree with it as I have in almost every post I've written. The extension of your argument is that it is not possible to improve on the education of any HE child by outside input which seems bizarre to me and I'm sure this has no evidence to back it up. Once again, what about the children who could benefit from input but whose educators do not opt in to the support networks you talk about? I do have a thing about systems because the protect the vulnerable who do not have the insight to recognise that they need them. And no, I'm not talking about you or anyone especifically, I'm just saying that there are probably children who could benefit but don't because no one is looking out for them and surely someone should even if it briefly irritates those who think they are (and may well be) doing a bang up job. Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:47:00 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=80#comment195 Me: children who are unable to keep placePace. I mean. I wish it were possible to edit these posts! Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:38:22 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=80#comment194 Not really because it wil help those seeking support but not those who don't. I'm talking about a safety net rather than an optional get together. What you describe is what i'd expect of a highly motivated group of educators but won't help anyone who doesn't fit this group. I don't really mind if it's not written down although any formal input inevitably would be so that information can be pased on when neccessary. My question remains - what do you do to help those who cannot HE well, how do you ensure they are detected and supported? What you describe won't neccessarily do that and it won't help child X who says I had a poor experience of HE if you tell them all the other local HE kids had a great time at the various group lessons etc. Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:36:12 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=79#comment193 Philtblog: "No, tere is a systemt in place which acts to support those in need in this situation. It may not always work but it is there."Is there? Please explain how that works then. Tell that to the kids (and their parents) who suffer from bullying. Even the bullies are suffering from something or they wouldn't feel the need to hurt someone else in order to feel better themselves. If the bully is determined enough, bullying will take place, system or no system.And how about the teacher who is struggling to keep the class moving along - she has lower ability children who are unable to keep place and able children who are bored out of their minds - what system is in place there? The National Curriculum? What system is in place to ensure *all* children leave school able to read and do basic maths? It's not there, is it? If it were, there wouldn't be so many failures. Philtblog: "...there must be some HE children who would gain from the support of more experienced, outside, objective HE providers, it makes sense to have a system in shich this support can be provided where neccessary."You do have a thing about 'systems' don't you?I addressed it in 164. To reiterate: the support is there for anyone who asks for it. Have a look at the Education Otherwise website or AHED or any of the other support groups out there. Asking Home-educators to open their doors to anyone, whether they be an LA bod or an 'independent home-educator inspector' is not going to be accepted gladly. The law states that the parent is responsible for their child's education - no one else. You keep missing the point that one person's education is not necessarily another's. There is no standard that needs to be reached, no balance to be aimed for or achievements to be attained unless the individual child/person/parents wish it to be so.If you take the view that education is a life-long undertaking then it matters not a jot whether someone learns long division at 10, 20 or 30. The point is *it can be learned at any time*. Anything, within reason, can be learned at any time. I just learned to knit socks and I'm 50. How can you possibly measure a learning process like this? How can you judge it to be a success or failure? C'mon... even you can see the logic in this. I know several parents who decided to let their child be the judge of when to learn a certain skill, say for example, reading. Some children want to learn earlier than others. Some wait until they are older than 10. Then they learn in a few months and are easily able to reach adult levels very quickly. Who are you to say whether this method is right or wrong? Some kids spend years focused on one or two topics, say maths and science. They show no interest in literature or the arts. So what? Their education is right for them at that time. Should they then wish to explore other avenues later then they can. You have to lose this 'they need to be inspected in case they are missing out' - it doesn't work like that. As home-educators, our job is to offer alternatives, make suggestions, be willing to join the child in his or her interests wherever possible and to be open and ready to facilitate learning as the child develops in their unique way. We are able to get our kids out in the community, we are able to give them experiences that we wouldn't be able to if they were in school. We are in the unique and much appreciated (by us) position of being able to watch these children enjoy a 'proper' childhood. There is very little peer pressure; they do not whine for the lastest trainers. They are not impressed by 'what's hot'. They can think for themselves. Their lives are not lived by the school bell, timetables and two hours of homework.All we want is for the government to do its job and let the responsible parents get on with theirs. No inspections required, thanks very much. Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:33:55 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=79#comment192 philtblogI think it kind of has been addressed, but I'll give it another go.I think this kind of support does exist, but by the nature of the thing it's informal. There are groups everywhere, but you can't make someone network if they don't want to. Some people HE because they have children who simply do not like to operate in a large group, because of autistic spectrum disorders, or, hey, because they just don't. One size does not fit all. Each child matters. Individually.My children attend some HE groups, but not many 1) because if they attended everything on offer round here - forest school, music, from classical to rock, hockey, badminton, computer, robotics, sewing, knitting, gardening, languages, homekeeping skills ... I could go on but I won't ... we'd never do anything but groups and 2) because as it happens they attend quite a few activities not specifically designed for HE children, such as cubs, scouts, swimming club, etc. BUT all the groups mentioned are unofficially organised by parents and other home educators, sharing talents, or organising group lessons, with professional coaches or tutors, or trips or outings.I think that is pretty much exactly what you are suggesting. What perhaps you are not comfortable with is that it is not documented or registered somewhere? But that's exactly what makes many HEers comfortable with it. It's organic, it just happens!Does that address your suggestion ? Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:30:20 GMT+1 Dutchess57 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=78#comment191 re 191 Philtblog:"All, I am saying (for the last time...) is that given that there must be some HE children who would gain from the support of more experienced, outside, objective HE providers, it makes sense to have a system in shich this support can be provided where neccessary. I would live someone to address this point although 190 posts in I think I'm being optimistic."I would like to reward your optimism :).There is already a huge supportive system in place, only it is not government dictated. There are several active national networking organisations for home educators. There are numerous local groups. There are quite a few experienced home educators who've written books and reports about the subject and who can be approached for any kind of support. There are both real life and virtual contact groups on different subjects within home ed.So if home educators feel the need for expert support, it is there, in abundance. When you mention a system that can provide support 'where necessary', I wonder if you mean a system that can be applied 'when the authorities think it is necessary'. Therein lies the difference, and the cause for the whole uproar about this fourth consultation in three years. Does this answer your question? (And I mean this as I phrase it and not in a patronizing way.) Mon 02 Mar 2009 15:24:26 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=78#comment190 CG 189 and your last few posts - thank you and well done, I agree.Cooljumblesale - Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses on this blog. Assumptions (or speculation) made about you should be ignored.WinterLightning 179 - "(Note to philtblog: this is speculation, not assumption; consult a dictionary or a home educator, of which there appear to be several posting on this blog topic)." - This is patronising and rude.Troi78"Philtblog, do you take personal interest in all cases of bullying, assault and abuse in your local primary and high schools? etc." - No, tere is a systemt in place which acts to support those in need in this situation. It may not always work but it is there."If I tell you my child goes to school and give you the name of the school, you would be satisfied that my child was receiving an adequate education. You wouldn't think my kid might be in danger or not receiving an education, right?" - I'd think there was a system in place to ensure they did."However, if I tell you my child is home-educated, from what you have previously written, you might immediately think this is cause for concern. Why?" - Read what I've said again. I would not assume they were in this danger. I would assume that if they were unlucky and their educator wasn't good at educating there is noone who would notice nad pick up the pieces.I said defensive because the suggestion that not everyone is brilliant at HE recieves cries of foul and suggestions that I'm trying to end HE or put it under OFSTEDs wing when I have very clearly, in several posts, said the opposite of this.All, I am saying (for the last time...) is that given that there must be some HE children who would gain from the support of more experienced, outside, objective HE providers, it makes sense to have a system in shich this support can be provided where neccessary. I would live someone to address this point although 190 posts in I think I'm being optimistic. Mon 02 Mar 2009 14:06:01 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=78#comment189 ps to 189, this thread is getting large enough now for my computer to become unhappy about it, and I expect that quite soon I won't be able to open and read the thread, nor reply. So if I vanish it isn't necessarily because I lost interest or felt defeated or whatever, it may just be that at around 200 posts it starts to shut me out. Mon 02 Mar 2009 13:41:09 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=77#comment188 WinterLightning, as expected, I am jumped on for advocating a bit of moderateness (I don't say moderation because that is for the people who 'moderate' the blog) in response to somebody who is saying what may be disliked.I don't honestly care whether cooljumblesale is or is not exactly as s/he claims -- though I don't really see the point of somebody trying to be a government stooge on the PM blog, why would they bother? What I suggest is that if what s/he has said is true, it's probably hurtful for that person to be stomped on. We don't know that s/he isn't being truthful, just as much as anyone here saying 'I home educate my children' or 'I was/am home educated' is or is not being.Or to put it another way, what does anyone gain by picking on him/her? What does anyone lose by *not* picking on him/her?And being mean to one individual about whom we know nothing is not 'wanting the best for one's children' or any of the other positive things you mention in your last two paragraphs: it is being mean to one individual.As for cooljumblesale's 'questionable purposes', I see no evidence of them being any more (or any less) questionable than anyone else's here. Mob behaviour is precisely what we probably dislike most about school: let's not join in a little gang of people and be unpleasant? I am not saying that everyone who has expressed doubts about cooljumblesale is being mean to him or her, just that it isn't a defence of home education to attack someone who doesn't like it. Other people have also spoken against HE: why pick only on one person's comments for adverse criticism? (I would draw your attention to for instance post #2.)If advocating a cause, it is important not to behave in a way that might make you, and by extension the cause, look bad. People who have a fish on the back of their car had better be good drivers, or the person they've carved will be put off Jesus! :-) (If it's a Darwin-fish, the same applies about evolution.) Mon 02 Mar 2009 13:36:33 GMT+1 Dutchess57 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=77#comment187 Winterlighting @ 187:I'm not sure whether you were also referring to my response to Chris-Ghoti (184), but I'd like to clarify myself:I reacted purely on my own behalf and I hope I made that clear enough. I felt that cooljumblesale had had enough platform on this blog and I felt it didn't do the otherwise very informative discussion a lot of good to further speculate about whether or not s/he is a plant and whether or not the story was true. Either way it's someone I feel sorry for, and I genuinely mean that. Besides, how dare I accuse Mr Patel and the govt of making false and uninformed accusations and assumptions and then do a similar thing myself?Again, this is my own personal view.Let me also tell you that I am an elective and autonomous home educator and I have home educated all my children. I've had to defend that choice in a situation where I didn't even have the legal right to choose to home educate, which in spite of everything still exists in this country. I made the not very easy choice to move away from my family and friends to this country, because I felt my children would benefit from a situation where home education was both legal and well supported. I will do what I can to defend the right to home educate, because I wish for my children to be able to make the choice to home educate their own children.I strongly believe in the values and benefits of home education and I think as a community we would benefit if people who do not choose to home educate their own children will come to understand - and support! - our personal choice. That is my reason to take part in discussions such as this one and I am pleased to see that some posters have found it positively informative. Mon 02 Mar 2009 13:12:42 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=76#comment186 A couple of points:1) One should not assume that "posters" appearing for the first time only on this topic are actually "first-time" people on the PM blog; many people may choose to protect their identity in matters relating to their children. Furthermore, a public blog such as this is not the exclusive preserve of a clique that write about anything and everything. 2) There are suggestions that the treatment of cooljumblesale is too harsh; I presume I'm one of the targets of this so let me deal with it:Whether the identity and background of this poster is as they purport, we can only speculate - as I have done, on the basis of some peculiar phraseology noted also by others. The purpose of that speculation is to ensure that readers consider a reasonable spectrum of possibilities.cooljumblesale is clearly capable of making a point without concern for others; to begin, I could object to being lumped-in with the middle classes. However, most importantly, I object to cooljumblesale's clear imputation that home educators are abusing and indoctrinating their children - simply on the basis of his/her unsubstantiated anecdotes and implicit rejection of clear evidence and substantial studies to the contrary. The personal experience described by cooljumblesale is mild in comparison to that of a great many schoolchildren (many more than are actually home educated, even if we assume that most are not registered). Given that he/she clearly had some contact with other children, would he/she really wish to be in school with them? Such associations usually lead to more negative behaviour in the playground, as I note below.However, it seems that while some people are happy to have wooly-minded discussions about the pros and cons of home education (and may even offer some words of sympathy), when it comes to the hard issue of practical defence against those who would deny their freedom, the easy choice - so common in the playground - is to cower at the side of the bullies and say "don't be mean" to the victims that stand up for themselves.It isn't mean to want to do the best for one's children. It isn't mean to want to protect them from bullying, cries of "swot", physical abuse and knife crime. It isn't mean to let them mix instead with a diverse range of children of their choice - home-educated or not - that behave in a civilised manner. It isn't mean to help them develop the intellectual and social skills to be happy and successful as they find their own way in the world.And it isn't mean to defend this way of life from those that attack it incessantly for their own questionable purposes. Mon 02 Mar 2009 12:08:25 GMT+1 Clover-Grl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=76#comment185 I'd like to add my response to cooljumblesale. I think I have to agree with what many others have said - this sounds pretty fake. I've told hundreds, maybe thousands of people that I'm HE in my lifetime, and not a single one has had a negative response. The worst response I think I've ever had was "Why?". But, assuming you're not a plant, it might be possible that your experience is different to mine. Though I'm pretty much certain you wouldn't be asked "what's wrong with you that you don't go to school?", simply because adults are too polite, and kids aren't that judgmental.On the middle class jab you made, if you had read the previous posts,you would know there are plenty of 'lower class' home schooling families, who are doing just fine, thanks.If in your case, you were isolated, that does not come under the heading of 'Education', so a government inspector would not have saved you. Talking to your parents might have, or taking the initiative and calling a child support line to ask for advice. Or did your parents not allow you to use a phone? In that case, a wander down to the police station could have helped you.As for this boy, it doesn't sound like his father is in a position to look after him, and therefore it is a matter for child welfare, not education. Oh, and since he's over 16, the HE inspector you want wouldn't have to come round there either - his father could just say he was no longer obliged to educate.I can't say whether you are who you say you are or not, but it sounds like at least some of what you say is fabricated, if only due to the improbability of the events you describe. And really, if you are now a mother, and someone brave enough to enter an online debate with the minority view, HE can't have left you that badly off, can it? Enjoy your blessings, be grateful that you're doing so well despite everything. Mon 02 Mar 2009 09:40:33 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=76#comment184 Nevertheless, we might like to bear in mind, that never having posted on any other subject (and I'm not sure I have either, though I may have done in the dim and distant) could mean more than one thing.It could mean that cooljumblesale, like many one issue posters including myself, really does have a passionate personal opinion, based on experience, in just this one subject.Or it could mean s/he is a plant. And some of us have noted aspects of his/her backstory that don't quite add up. This is the internet. You shouldn't believe all that you see.Like troi 78 (177) I have NEVER had anyone say 'what's wrong with you?' to my children. It sounds like the fevered imagination of an anti he zealot. As does all the bowing and scraping to our great and glorious Government and their Minister.And the ludicrous assertion that sadly, if s/he has offended anyone, it is all down to the shortcomings of a woeful home education, as s/he"One of the drawbacks of missing out from having peer group mentors at school, is that I never learned the social niceties of what is permissible to say in social situations and what is not OK. Therefore please excuse any indiscretion I might have made with regard to another person."Well, you certainly learned to speak in memo speak, didn't you? And your grasp of grammar is admirable, so you didn't do too badly. Call me an old cynic. I don't believe you.And the 'I have just heard of a case..'Sorry. cooljumblesale, if you are real, a thousand apologies. But I don't think you are. Of course, I may not be who I say am. I am though. I am the mother of two hard working home educated girls who are continually being praised for their manners and their ability to speak to adults and children of all ages, and who have friends from the local comprehensive and one of the most expensive private schools in the country, all of whom they treat pretty much exactly alike. My nine year old will be off to Brownie camp again this Easter, and I shall have no idea whatsoever what she's up to! I do trust Brown Owl though, which is more than I did the teachers at the local school. Mon 02 Mar 2009 07:26:52 GMT+1 Dutchess57 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=75#comment183 Chris_Ghoti @ 182:I agree, it's getting a bit harsh. We shouldn't do upon others as we don't want done upon us. Especially if this person has genuinely had the described negative experiences. And I do agree that by now it's evident that cooljumblesale has had a really tough time as a child, which would explain such a bitter and subjective response to this discussion.I do hope that cooljumblesale has by now understood that under current legislation and guidance local authorities do have the means to investigate and if necessary intervene in situations such as her/his own and that of the 17yr old boy. Which is precisely the reason that elective home educators tend to get slightly upset about the ongoing review - the fourth in three years; one might wonder why they have them so often if they don't trust the outcome - and about the yet to be founded assumptions and allegations about abuse. Mon 02 Mar 2009 00:10:04 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=75#comment182 Gillianian: troi78 (178) Hey! That's my lad and his lovely pals you're maligning! ;o)Sorry, sorry... but you know what I meant. I'm sure yours are lovely indeed. I detest generalisations and there I was giving them out all unnecessarily.Anyone hear Sandi Toksvig on The News Quiz telling her story of the lads on the London tube, their 'fruity language' and her response, "Now that will do!" in sternest, headmistressy tones - that's what I feel like saying when I hear them ff-ing and blinding in Tesco!Sorry again, going off the subject. Sun 01 Mar 2009 23:01:58 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=74#comment181 Gillianian @ 175, yes, indeed. Well said.Sometimes, too, those first-time posters manage to wait for long enough to pass moderation, get interested, voice opinions on other topics too, and are generally a Good Thing.Anyhow, I'd much rather hear one point on one thread, than hear one point on every single thread and that the same point whether it has anything to do with that thread or not, which some posters seem to manage.Naming no names, obviously, because that would be Rude... :-)Just one thing I'd like to put in here: cooljumblesale has only talked about this topic, no others, and if the three posts here are a reflection of genuine feeling I think it might be pretty hurtful of us to attack someone with obvious problems in the way we have been doing. Maybe we have to accept that whether or not it is objectively a fact, a subjectively horrible experience was horrible for the person who experienced it?Sorry to sound goody-goody, but it does seem a bit mean. Sun 01 Mar 2009 23:00:13 GMT+1 Gillianian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=74#comment180 troi78 (178) Hey! That's my lad and his lovely pals you're maligning! ;o) Sun 01 Mar 2009 22:43:43 GMT+1 GlassCasket http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=73#comment179 In reply to cooljumble 169;I just wanted to point out that home ed. is on just a cosy, middle class event,No it jolly well isn't. And I resent the implication by Mr Mooney that some kiind of two tier system exists wherein the children HEd by middle class parents do well and the children HEd by parents on council estates do badly and thus require "his advice" and state intervention. It is a universally, let alone generally, acknowledged fact that it is only once children enter school that the gap in terms of attainment levels between the different classes starts to widen, first into a chasm and then eventually into wide gulf.People from all sorts of backgrounds and classes HE. I should know, being one of the council estate sub-class Mr Mooney referred to with such despicable derogation. I am a single parent who happily HE's my 7 year old son. I withdrew him from school because I felt the education he was receiving wasn't meeting his needs and simply wasn't up to par. He had switched off learning all together and had 29 other children in his class. Although his teacher was fantastic, I didn't want my son to become another statistic, and not being able to afford private schooling I felt my only other oprtion was try and teach him myself. When I withdrew him from school my son wasn't interested in anything even slightly formal educationally speaking. After a period of leaving him alone to do whatever he wanted, and not pushing education down his throat, he is now highly motivated and curious again. He's a different child. It's amazing. I wouldn't have believed the change if I hadn't seen it myself. He now says that he was bored and stressed in school. HE allows for more flexibility and allows you to tailor your child's learning to their interests. We are now doing basic Latin after doing a project on the Romans. He would never have had that opportunity in school. He would never have wanted to do it in school. HE is not for everybody and it can be exhausting and not everyday is wonderful. Sometimes it's uphill. But for us it beats school hands down. We can do what we want, when we want. I also think that those who believe that HE requires huge sums of money and can only be done by the middle classes should examine the findings of research done by Paula Rothermel, as well as those of others; such information is easy to find via the internet. Cosy, cooljumble? I think not. As for Mr Mooney, I certainly wouldn't feel obliged to let him come into my home, scrutinize my affairs, and mentally adopt my son. But then that's just the manners you'd expect from someone living on a council estate. Sun 01 Mar 2009 22:27:36 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=73#comment178 Our Freda wrote:"cooljumblesale 169 ... ... You are Vijay Patel and I claim my five pounds."My money is on Dame Delyth.(Note to philtblog: this is speculation, not assumption; consult a dictionary or a home educator, of which there appear to be several posting on this blog topic).cooljumblesale wrote:"the children's Minister wants to ensure that the rights of all children are protected"Then it's a pity the children's minister doesn't focus her efforts where they might be more productive. First of all, think about the numbers involved (exercise for the minister: see my post #127 - make some reasonable assumptions, fill in the numbers and do the math; this was primary arithmetic when I went to school, although admittedly it's probably A-level maths now). On any reasonable basis (e.g., the children's minister's statement that the majority of home educators are doing a good job) the problem is clearly likely to be orders of magnitude bigger for children in schools.Secondly, if this numbers and facts stuff is all a bit difficult, and anecdotes are preferred, let's consider the biggest child abuse scandals of recent times; take the North Wales example, although this was probably the tip of a countrywide iceberg (see: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2000/05/16/4992/a-catalogue-of-failures.html ). These children were in local authority care, or sometimes private homes under contract to the LA. Children from some of these homes attended local schools; whether or not these particular children were abused, they were still victims of a highly abusive environment; none of this was ever picked-up by their attendance at school and these children weren't remotely achieving the Orwellian objectives of "Every Child Matters" by any stretch of the imagination - yet DCSF implies that every child in school meets these today. What's changed so much for the better? Ah, but of course, Blair said "Education, Education, Education", waved his wand and now everything is fine (note to philtblog: this time it's "irony").More recent cases of LA/social services failure have already been covered here; that of Victoria ClimbiƩ is worthy of repetition because the NSPCC admitted its own failing, but now wrongly tries to associate it with HE.Methinks the children's minister is less interested in reality and more concerned about her own public image; HE appears to be an easy target, but she's probably not accustomed to such standards and aspirations combined with a biological imperative for the well-being and success of children.If only she was as interested in listening and learning as our happy, curious and highly motivated children are - whatever their social background. Sun 01 Mar 2009 22:07:02 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=73#comment177 I said "Well, in my opinion, overhearing teenagers speak, most of them have no idea what 'social niceties' are, or what is permissable, or rather, acceptable to say in social situations. Most seem unable to string a sentence together without an obscenity."Sorry, CloverGirl, present company excepted.I meant 'schooled teenagers' :-) Sun 01 Mar 2009 21:58:40 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=72#comment176 cooljumblesale 169"the usual response from people was "what's wrong with you that you don't go to school?" which after a while get's pretty humiliating to take"The usual response? Not one person has ever asked my children "What's wrong with you that you don't go to school?" Not a one.They do get asked constantly, "No school today?" They either say, "No." Or if the person seems actually interested my children say, "No, we're home-educated." Then the other person usually goes "Oh..." and asks another question which is answered accordingly. Nearly everyone expresses interest and we have never received a negative comment. So did you never try to speak to your parents about your isolation?You also said "I never learned the social niceties of what is permissible to say in social situations and what is not OK."Well, in my opinion, overhearing teenagers speak, most of them have no idea what 'social niceties' are, or what is permissable, or rather, acceptable to say in social situations. Most seem unable to string a sentence together without an obscenity.You are old enough to have educated yourself in what is required in a social situation. If you were out and about then you must have interacted with other people of all ages. You must have had conversations with your parents. If you didn't and you really were treated this appallingly, then I'm sure you left home as soon as you could and never spoke to them again.You surely have overcome your lack of socialisation, having now had children of your own? Sun 01 Mar 2009 20:58:38 GMT+1 PerfectlyPerky http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=72#comment175 Seconded, Gillianian - I suggest other posters ignore U10780386 - it usually works. Sun 01 Mar 2009 20:47:08 GMT+1 Gillianian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=71#comment174 re: U10780386 - (38 and 166)I for one am pleased to note ''that on certain subjects posted on the "Blog" (Andrew Sachs, Home-schooling - amongst others) so many otherwise unheard-of "posters" have appeared.''Most of us ''posters'' were unheard of before we started commenting here, and some of us like to voice an opinion on anything and everything.Others choose to speak only about matters which concern them directly, or as a response to the question posed at the heading of this thread - What's your experience?I've learned a lot from the comments made here, and I hope there are more still to come. Sun 01 Mar 2009 20:27:37 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=71#comment173 "U10780386 wrote: 170My Point is, this:"Is it just me, or has anyone else noted how, on certain subjects posted on the "Blog" (Andrew Sachs, Home-schooling - amongst others) so many otherwise un-heard of "posters" appear..?""Yes, and some of them even say something different each time they post. Enchanting, isn't it? Sun 01 Mar 2009 20:16:36 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=71#comment172 cooljumblesale 169In reply to Dutchess57;"One of the drawbacks of missing out from having peer group mentors at school, is that I never learned the social niceties of what is permissible to say in social situations and what is not OK. Therefore please excuse any indiscretion I might have made with regard to another person. Personally I don't see any problem with what I have said in my previous blog, I just wanted to point out that home ed. is on just a cosy, middle class event, but is also a real problem for many kids.which is presumably why the children's Minister wants to ensure that the rights of all children are protected. As mine were not."Now I know you're a plant.I have yet to meet a home educated child who isn't 100% better at social interaction in a mixed age group.I have yet to meet someone so adrift from society, who yet uses government speak like peer group mentors, and yes, capital M for Minister, may he live forever.And the rights of all children, protected? Don't make me laugh.You are Vijay Patel and I claim my five pounds. Sun 01 Mar 2009 20:15:28 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=70#comment171 171. At 7:01pm on 01 Mar 2009, U10780386 wrote: 170My Point is, this:"Is it just me, or has anyone else noted how, on certain subjects posted on the "Blog" (Andrew Sachs, Home-schooling - amongst others) so many otherwise un-heard of "posters" appear..?"You didn't make a point; you merely asked a question.And that question is relevent to the current discusion because...? Sun 01 Mar 2009 19:24:24 GMT+1 Charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=70#comment170 170My Point is, this:"Is it just me, or has anyone else noted how, on certain subjects posted on the "Blog" (Andrew Sachs, Home-schooling - amongst others) so many otherwise un-heard of "posters" appear..?" Sun 01 Mar 2009 19:01:30 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=69#comment169 As I said earlier...38. At 7:27pm on 26 Feb 2009, U10780386 wrote:Is it just me, or has anyone else noted how, on certain subjects posted on the "Blog" (Andrew Sachs, Home-schooling - amongst others) so many otherwise un-heard of "posters" appear..?And your point is? Sun 01 Mar 2009 18:48:10 GMT+1 cooljumblesale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=69#comment168 in reply to troi78;I didn't have any friends to go to any clubs with.I was definitely allowed to go out, the usual response from people was "what's wrong with you that you don't go to school?" which after a while get's pretty humiliating to take, so I just kept quiet about it and kept away from people, which I think may the best policy for me to continue to observe.In reply to Dutchess57;One of the drawbacks of missing out from having peer group mentors at school, is that I never learned the social niceties of what is permissible to say in social situations and what is not OK. Therefore please excuse any indiscretion I might have made with regard to another person. Personally I don't see any problem with what I have said in my previous blog, I just wanted to point out that home ed. is on just a cosy, middle class event, but is also a real problem for many kids.which is presumably why the children's Minister wants to ensure that the rights of all children are protected. As mine were not. Sun 01 Mar 2009 18:33:56 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=69#comment167 It occurs to me that as well as any altruistic reason to do with any potentially abused child not being in school, I seem to remember talk of there now being a record kept of every child in state school, one which follows that child up its schooling and on to the employment or further education stage.I assume that home educated children don't have these records kept of their every mistake or achievement from age four upwards, and thus cannot be so easily put into a database at some later stage.Clearly home education is Bad Naughty Stuff that doesn't conform with this government's need to monitor every sneeze in every member of its proletariat. Tut. Sun 01 Mar 2009 18:28:13 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=68#comment166 philtblog wrote:"I guess when you're unfarily criticised it's easy to become defensive."This isn't merely a case of defending HE against unfair criticism; we're defending ourselves from being saddled with the kind of third-rate system and standards from which we opted-out in the first place.We're not seeking to impose our views upon others and in return we ask that we be left to get on with the difficult but important and rewarding task that we have set for ourselves.However, (speaking purely for myself), if I have to move from defence to attack, you'll find me asking why we should tolerate and sustain a system that is broken and is intolerant of dissent from those of us who seek to do better. Those arguments might put the non-HE community on the back foot. Sun 01 Mar 2009 17:16:23 GMT+1 Charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=68#comment165 As I said earlier...38. At 7:27pm on 26 Feb 2009, U10780386 wrote:Is it just me, or has anyone else noted how, on certain subjects posted on the "Blog" (Andrew Sachs, Home-schooling - amongst others) so many otherwise un-heard of "posters" appear..? Sun 01 Mar 2009 17:07:07 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=67#comment164 Cooljumblesale 148: Are you telling us that your parents never allowed you to go out to play? Or to sports club? Or Brownies/Guides/Scouts? Or to church meetings? Or family gatherings? Or birthday parties? Or shopping? Or to the park? Or the beach? Or daytrips? They actively prevented you from forming friendships and caused you to miss out on any kind of social life?I find this very hard to believe. If it is true, did you not speak to your parents about it? What were the reasons given? And why did they remove you or decide not to send you to school in the first place? Sun 01 Mar 2009 14:53:18 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=67#comment163 Cooljumblesale 148 and 149 and Philtblog 162: You are confusing elective home-education with welfare issues. Philtblog, do you take personal interest in all cases of bullying, assault and abuse in your local primary and high schools? Do you take action to safeguard those individual children? Because that is exactly what you are suggesting home-educators do. Do you call at your neighbours' houses to check that their pre-school child is safe? Do you make a visit to parents in the long summer holiday to make sure they haven't locked their kid up? Or left them alone or aren't abusing them?If I tell you my child goes to school and give you the name of the school, you would be satisfied that my child was receiving an adequate education. You wouldn't think my kid might be in danger or not receiving an education, right?However, if I tell you my child is home-educated, from what you have previously written, you might immediately think this is cause for concern. Why? Everyone knows, with no doubt, that the odds of a child becoming damaged, stressed, bullied, harmed, psychologically disturbed or missing out on education is probably a million times more likely at school than being with his or her parents.I am not being defensive; I am merely wondering why you logically conclude that electively home-educated children need to be monitored by people who are unable to do the job where it so obviously needs to be done most, i.e. in schools?I do understand that you think that there needs to be some kind of self-regulating system or network put in place but you know as well as I do that it could never happen like that. You would be attempting to turn people who believe in freedom of choice into people who don't. We already have home-educating communities, groups, meetings, support networks, etc., and if any of us thought for one instant that another parent were harming their child then that person would be reported. No question.However, you cannot force anyone to be part of a network if they don't want to. It would be highly unlikely for someone who was intent on harming their child to want to mix with a group of parents who are so concerned about children's well-being. This whole discussion is being held by people who only want the best for children. There *are* people out there who don't give a bugger for their children - these are *not* home-educators and therefore they can't be lumped in with home-educators. These children are, or should be, the concern of welfare officers.I am trying to explain that we, *elective home educators*, by definition, probably care about child-welfare as much as (or more than) any other bunch of people on the planet. The fact that we are happy to sacrifice so much time, income, effort... our whole lives, in fact... should tell you that. Sun 01 Mar 2009 14:37:44 GMT+1 Dutchess57 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=66#comment162 Re Post 148Cooljumblesale:Excuse me, are you saying that you - and apparently other people - are aware of a 17yr old boy, who has not been going to school for seven years and all that time people were aware of the fact that his father was ill (which suggests medical authorities involved) and the boy was just being kept at home and - according to you - neglected??? And am I right in understanding that in all that time you or any of those other people have never thought of reporting this??Shame on you!As stated many times before, 'not going to school' is not equivalent to home education. And local authorities and other agencies have many legal tools to investigate a case such as you mention. (See i.e. the reactions to comment no. 74). Existing legislation and guidance provides ample protection for children missing education.The deficiency of the existing system has nothing to do with elective home education, but everything with local authorities and other agencies not knowing how to use it. And what to think of people in our community who do not take their responsibility and either offer support and help to the father and son, or report it to people who could.Maybe you are a 'rat', maybe you're not. If you are, it's proof yet again of the ignorance of those who choose to attack home education.If you're not, I honestly do not understand why you - especially you, with your background - are here pointing a judgmental and biased finger at home education instead of out there, trying to help and support these poor people. Sun 01 Mar 2009 13:33:26 GMT+1 philtblog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=66#comment161 I guess when you're unfarily criticised it's easy to become defensive.CJS - you make na important point. How do you support children who are not recieving an adequate education form their HE environment? I have argued on earlier posts that a supportive network of experienced HEs could rpovide this and spot those children, like the boy in your example, who is losing out.Denying that people like this exist does not solve the problem. Ignoring their plight is not, in my opinion a solution. unfortunately in suggesting that not all HE is without fault or entirely perfect you have raise dthe anger of some bloggers here and I'm sorry tat they have gone on to decide your comments are invalid becasue of an assumption they have made about your job.Ignore this, your point is a valid one and some of the other HE bloggers on the site will provide reasonable arguments against this point of view such as CG who has provided some interesting data on how tiny a minority this group you describe is. This does not alter the fact that society should try to support all children in gaining an education and even if more children fail in schools than in HE that does not mean we should ignore the HE group.The other argument against assessing HE seems to be that it is difficult beacuse of the free form nature of education in the home environment and the lack of milestones to assess. Once again, an experienced HE provider would very likely be able to tell who had spent 3 years doping nothing and who had not. The HE parent could simply keep a diary of what is done and any physical work produced by a child which would easily demonstrate time spent. A discussion with the child would elucidate areas of interest and skills etc. that they have developed during their HE. If it is done well, sensibly and with due attention paid to the special nature of HE (by HE providers) it seem sto be that it may well help avoid the rare but inevitably present failures of HE in which children could have recieved a better education with outside support. Sun 01 Mar 2009 11:43:16 GMT+1 Gillianian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=66#comment160 parent (159)Or as Oliver Cromwell put it - It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deny a man the liberty he hath by nature upon a supposition that he may abuse it Sun 01 Mar 2009 10:24:55 GMT+1 parent http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=65#comment159 Relevant Petition to the PMhttp://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Homeedreview/ Sun 01 Mar 2009 01:31:13 GMT+1 parent http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=65#comment158 ARTICLE 8http://www.hri.org/docs/ECHR50.html#C.Art81. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. (Posted for information, just in case some of the readers think that it is fine to just object to HE and enter our homes on a whim.)- We are not breaching national security, public safety or economic well being- We are not criminals- We are not a health hazard or morally reprehensible- We are not a threat to the rights and freedoms of others- We are tax payers, paying for schooled children to be educated, saving the Treasury considerable sums of money, while not entitled to claim any of it to educate our own children (we pay twice for education)- We enjoy and contribute to the diverse community- We wish to be allowed to legally and legitimately carry on with the joyful task of raising our children to be upright citizens, free from threat or harm- We take our freedom, rights and responsibilities very seriouslySo, for anyone threatened by this, please ask yourself whether you would like to be treated in the same way as you are expecting us to be treated. Sun 01 Mar 2009 01:23:23 GMT+1 Sid http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=64#comment157 How embarrassing to get to post 157 and still have people who can't tell the difference between neglect and home education ... Sat 28 Feb 2009 22:01:12 GMT+1 parent http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=64#comment156 Hi cooljumblesaleAre you suggesting that this 17yo would have fared any better at school? Sounds like he was disaffected anyway and lacking a proper family supportive environment... Perhaps that's why he ended up at home, to escape his worse fate. If he was 'escaping' school, do you think the 'authorities' would have bothered to find out whether he was bullied or abused in school? And would they have sued the school if he were? No.Like you said, he was not really 'home educated'. He was 'at home'. Not 'home educated'. Full stop. If all parents were aware of their real rights about education, this family might have approached matters differently. Additionally, some families are so fearful of the 'authorities' that they just hide and cover up all their worries, because of the threats to take children away from them. Are you also saying that you would have fitted into school? Probably not. There is no guarantee that school would have saved you and made you someone you are not. Accept that you are who you are, use your experiences to change your life. Perhaps you would have complained and blamed someone anyway. Quit dwelling on the past and move on. Don't tar all home educating families because of your own experiences. Most home educators are magnanimous enough to accept that home ed is not for everyone. Home educating parents have to be 100 percent committed, love their own children and take full responsibility for their welfare and education. Not all parents are willing to do that. Schools are ideal places for them.As has been mentioned, your manner and information sounds interesting. Are you sure that you are not breaching data protection and discussing the case of a real person? I wonder.... Sat 28 Feb 2009 21:42:22 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=64#comment155 Our Freda wrote:"Do we smell a rat?!"Rats are intelligent and sociable creatures that attempt to keep themselves clean; that they have caused havoc over the centuries as plague carriers, bringing death and misery to millions, is not due to any malice or stupidity on their part - their parasites are to blame. In recent years, rats have redeemed themselves somewhat as laboratory animals.Politicians and the creatures that feed off them, on the other hand... Sat 28 Feb 2009 20:49:54 GMT+1 veggiesnotflowers http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=63#comment154 I was home educated. I finished at 17 with no GCSE's. I went to work in a shop.Within 4 years I was manager of a shop. 3 years later I was offered area management only I could not do the job. Not due to lack of education but due to not being able to drive because of medical reasons.I run my own business, I live in a council house, I home educate 4 children. One of my children is aspergers, try telling him a complete stranger wants to either take him to one side and talk to him alone or send him to school.Send my children to a place where pupisl have to have metal detector searches and sniffer dogs, CCTV in toilets...I don't think so! Sat 28 Feb 2009 20:24:12 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=63#comment153 You have a point there, WinterLightning.Do we smell a rat?! Sat 28 Feb 2009 20:02:03 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=62#comment152 "Our Freda" wrote:"By the way cooljumblesale, do you work for the governmentnspcc?"I think the phrase "our Government" is a little suspicious: "our" and upper-case "G" are not the kind of thing most self-respecting ordinary citizens would use. Sat 28 Feb 2009 19:31:02 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=62#comment151 By the way cooljumblesale, do you work for the governmentnspcc?'These things are happening more and more'They are? Your evidence please? Which things? Happening more where?Have you been talking to 'Some People' again?The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. Sat 28 Feb 2009 18:02:17 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=61#comment150 In your first post, you say he was home educated.In your second you say he wasn't.I have just been told that 25,000 children a year drop out of education in schools because it is letting them down. We all get told of tragedies and failures.If his dad was off work sick, might it not have been the thing for the government to do something about that - perhaps he held onto the boy for lack of any other support.Do you think no schooled children have fallen prey to needy controlling parents?I think your logic is just the sort of narrow prejudice that would like to see us turned out of a machine, cloned to be on the safe side, take no risks, dream no dreams, dare no dares. Just exist. Sat 28 Feb 2009 18:00:22 GMT+1 WinterLightning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=61#comment149 Dear "cooljumblesale"Your "case" and the new one you describe are beyond the experience of any of the many home educators I know and those who oppose the government's ignorant and prejudiced approach to them.You own personal example sounds more similar to that of some strange religious groups (indeed, the government might consider that forced marriage is more likely to be associated with families of certain religious affiliations, but it doesn't dare go there)Your new example sounds very much like a case of a sick person and their carer being neglected by the state; that's a common problem but demonstrates why home educators shouldn't trust an incompetent state system with a couldn't-care-less attitude.Of course, a piece of trophy legislation "to protect the poor little children" is good publicity for a minor unelected minister; much better than tackling difficult issues like lack of support for carers, school bullying, lack of education in schools, teenage pregnancies or fat cat incompetent bankers running away with large pensions.Home educators and their children are much better adjusted and "socialised" than the great majority of the population; you should get out more often and meet some real ones. Sat 28 Feb 2009 17:53:43 GMT+1 cooljumblesale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=61#comment148 PS to my previous blog just posted at 4.39.The young lad, although he was kept home for 7 years, his Dad never gave him any education it seems! these things are happening, more and more, so something must be done by our Government to protect these kids. Sat 28 Feb 2009 17:03:29 GMT+1 cooljumblesale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=60#comment147 I have just been told of a lad of 17, near where I live, who has been home educated since he was 10, he lives with his Dad who has been off work sick, for years. The boy is now very uncommunicative, spends his time playing computer games, he has no friends or peer group activity, his Dad has asked an aquaintance to talk to the lad, try to get him to look for a job.I was home educated myself and I know how isolating it is to grow up without a peer group, from school,so much is learned about socializing , forming friendships, learning to take rejection, all those things I have seen my children learn from their school experience that I never had.I do worry for the future for this lad and the many, many others like him who basically have been neglected.Believe me, I know the pain of being kept separate from my peer group while growing up, isolated and lonely for the company of other children and adolescents and its not nice or healthy.What have all these enthusiastic home educators got to contribute to the future of this lad, I would like to know? Sat 28 Feb 2009 16:39:54 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=60#comment146 You've also got to wonder if the endless involvement of 'officials' doesn't give people a false sense of security.If a neighbour suspects something is up with a child, and they see that health visitors or social workers visit the house, they're bound to think it's all under control. And in any case, they daren't speak to A CHILD themselves. In case they're caught on camera!Not so long ago, they would have been able to say 'everything alright, love?' and mention their concerns to the vicar, or the WRVS ladies or the family doctor. Whose name they would have known.Likewise, the governmentnspcc seem to be taking the view that as long as they're in school, it's ok, they're being 'monitored' which, as we can see, is rubbish. Sat 28 Feb 2009 09:19:21 GMT+1 John_Booth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=59#comment145 Parents have good reason to fear the professionals who want ever greater powers over their children. There is plenty of evidence of abuse as well as of incompetence in wielding existing powers. I know that most professionals are trying to do their best but it takes only a few bad apples to cause immense damage. Do we want a country where everything we do is monitored, recorded, analysed, and assessed against targets set by faceless officials? And what happens when that information falls into the wrong hands?Education is but one example where the state seems intent on removing personal choice and imposing the state's values and standards. Is there a whiff of hypocracy when ministers praise diversity and then talk about British values? Surely, freedom from an overbearing government is one of those British values? Sat 28 Feb 2009 01:16:28 GMT+1 shepherdlass http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=59#comment144 troi78 wrote: "What happens to enthusiastic primary school kids when they go to high school? That is what needs addressing"Actually, events in primary schools can be just as big a problem. My daughter's experience of primary school was one of being applauded for attainment by her teachers, but shunned as a swot by most of the children. Despite being isolated by most and bullied by several of her peer group, the implication of the teachers was that it was my daughter's fault for not 'fitting in'. Yet she has no problem in socializing at all the activities she attends outside of school. Now that she is home educated and has met other children who were taken out of school we have realized that this is a common situation.Could the magical phrase 'fitting in' equate, within some school contexts, to feigning stupidity? Sat 28 Feb 2009 00:24:05 GMT+1 Our_Freda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=59#comment143 Maybe they all live on Tony 'Gollum' Mooney's council estate? Fri 27 Feb 2009 22:31:02 GMT+1 troi78 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/02/home_schooling.shtml?page=58#comment142 missouridude: Bravo.. every point you make is spot on.Philtblog: "My only point, and one which I feel has not been answered is this: how many children are left worse off as a result of HE and how can they be helped."How can this question be answered? How do you define "worse off"? You can't use exam results to make comparisons. You can't use curricula. If the child is happy and making a useful contribution to society in however small a way, then that must be a good thing. Education does not stop when a person reaches a certain age. There is nothing stopping anyone from continuing their education for the rest of their life.Better that the question be put "How many children are worse off in school than they would be at home?"This week the Telegraph reported: "Up to 25,000 pupils are dropping out of school every year aged just 14 after becoming bored with education, according to a Government adviser."Surely this must be of more concern to the Government than how many children are being failed by home-ed? These kids are sick of being on the receiving end of a badly "delivered" education. There is nothing there for them. Their natural tendency to learn has been driven from them. What happens to enthusiastic primary school kids when they go to high school? That is what needs addressing.25,000 per year! Fri 27 Feb 2009 22:24:16 GMT+1