Sample letter's to Local Authorities
There have been a sudden spate of letters being sent out all over the country, some with the standard pointless form, something the usual amount of fear mongering and coercion and some with just a bunch of lies in them that triggered some random sarcasm centre in my brain.
These ramblings and so on are a humorous response to these woeful and frankly mind-numbingly blinkered world view and should probably never be sent to any one. If you do (let me know how it goes) but I am letting you know right not, on your own head be it!
my family and I thank you for the letter's and questionnaires you sent out. They were really quite humourous and made for a good laugh before they were turned into some delightful decoupage, some lining for the hamster cage and some vital paper mache in one of our many projects.
You seem awfully found of tick boxes and questionnaires so in the spirit of generosity we came up with our own questions for you.
What research into education other than mainstream schooling have you completed this (academic) year?
Please list the books you have read and their value.
Please explain in as much detail as possible how a government curriculum based learning invites curiosity, individuality, creativity and happiness in children. Special interest (though not compulsory) in emotional well-being, emotional intelligence and play; providing as much specific information to how this "happiness" informs the curriculum.
Please describe how sitting in a room all day requiring permission to speak, drink, eat and pee enhances the ability of of an educator and the children to become a bright, adventurous and worldly adult.
Show me how does having a strict structure to all aspects of the day, regardless of health, light levels, mood or weather aid the learning of children? Please cite your sources appropriately.
High school students are now encouraged only to read the sections of books they will be tested on how do feel this will educate them fully in English language and literature?
In fact the "allowed" or required reading gets less and less and the trips to see plays are replaced with seeing a video in a class room an hour at a time. How does this foster the knowledge, appreciation and understanding of these texts?
As adults we are taught in any way that works, but schools insist on all children doing things the exact same way, even if they find their way faster or better, why is that?
There is a great divide in how adults and children are treated within the school system making "control" more important than connection. How do you re-adjust this divide to make socialising with all ages normal?
When you wish to encourage literacy and expression, can you explain why children need a "pen license"?
How does what you wear affect your ability to learn?
Do you think you have a right to wear make-up, colour your hair, or wear nail polish and bright colours? Does this affect your ability to learn?
Are gender norms deeply re-enforced and are you segregated often from your co-workers because of their gender or yours?
Is sexual harassment, bullying and physical violence acceptable from your co-workers and bosses? If it occurs are you targeted by those higher up and told to "toughen up" just "fit in more" or told to "give it time"?
Would you or your family feel it would be appropriate to threaten you if you didn't return to where this harassment took place, tell you that you were "over reacting"?
How often do you mix people of your own age group of different ethnic backgrounds?
Would you say you have many friends and are they enough?
Do you think your world view is restricted by your lack of peers?
I hope you find some value in answering these questions. It does get awfully mind-numbing to be educating in a world without restrictions on what is learned to try and put it "back in the box". Home education doesn't like to fit cosily into boxes which is why we like it. It is about taking children out of the narrow confines of "literacy and maths" and teaching them to read, write, listen and express them selves. To count, add, tell time delve into the language of the universe and weight flour for cake.
When you send out these sort of forms to families it is a red flag. It say's "I don't know what your doing but it looks wrong!" It get our backs up, makes us suck our teeth, and want to avoid you because these kind of questions show us "free-range chicken farmers" that you work for the chicken factory, and you have no idea how to deal with a chicken that is outside a cage but to try and put them back in it! When you ask us (metaphorically) "does it lay once a day?" and we sort of shrug and say "I don't know, maybe once a week, but the eggs are bigger, and it's a happy chicken!" you look at it like there is something wrong with our non-factory system, Sure you have to "pack them in tight" and it would be lovely to let them have more space and such but when they do they just fight each other.
I sort of got lost in that metaphor. Home educators are amazing and very quickly sussing out who want to throw their "chickens" back into cages and it has nothing to do with how "nice" you sound, or how woolly the cardigan is you wear. If you are not educated in anything beyond the school system, have read no books or blogs your ignorance about the world outside the "chicken factory" is not only upsetting, it's down right dangerous.
For now, enjoy your questionnaire, I know I did.
Home education is too important to take seriously.