Confessions of a (semi) Structured home educator

Now that all the damage is done the DCSF have rather strangely decided to start some research into home education. They state the object is

Close the gap in educational achievement for children from disadvantaged backgrounds

Of course I laughed. If they really want to ensure hardly any EHE families come forward this has to be the way to do it.

But I do wonder, just how my family and group would fair in research like this.

I have wondered if on the surface at least, my family and group set up looks quite good to someone of Badman’s mindset. After all he could turn up and quite often find a load of children sitting around a table doing history and mapwork.  That might look “suitable” to someone with a ‘school-knows-best” mindset because it looks a bit schoolish. But then I wonder what he would make of the lessons.

I write a sort of timetable and have a fairly structured approach to the week with the young ones. We were talking about all this yesterday and Iona said she writes herself a timetable for a week so she can plan out her work schedule and make it flexible enough to accommodate any changes that might need to be made.

If Badman saw my folder of timetables and curriculum resources all laid out he would probably think this was all jolly good.  But then he might notice those things that were missing from my timetable; such as teaching carbon sequestration or whatever pet propaganda Badman thinks should be forced onto children.

So, would my semi-structured, sorta-timetabled, mainly American form of home count as “suitable” “efficient” or “full time”?  Ans. I really have no idea.

I think I would get a nod of approval for some of the resources I use and even the trips to Think Tank (seeing as schools go there) but I am unsure what they would say about my use of overtly Catholic and other Christian resources. After all that bloke Traves made it very crystal clear what he thought of people who had religious reasons for EHE.

I am sure some of the worksheet type stuff would get a nod of approval. Schools seem to be riddled with worksheets-but what about the fact that the children frequently wear ‘costumes’ or worse still pjs to do their work.

And would our home ed be considered “full time”. Most of the time we have it all done by lunch time and the afternoons are spent with less formal activities or science experiments, cooking or craft.

A suitable education, we are told, is that which achieves what it sets out to achieve. Well I am hoping that the education my children get will equip them for a good life and a very good afterlife.

The Dcsf approved researcher might frown at Alex (now 18) who while going to college (check) to do a Btec in Art and design (possible check but it isn’t and A level in science so maybe x) doesn’t want to go to university (major X). I did tell Connexions to get lost when they arrived on my doorstep one day asking for him so he might be a NEET as well. Umm I’m starting to look like a failure at this HE lark.

The more I wonder about all this the more I come to the conclusion that most of what we do as a family and as a home ed group is not all that measurable. Even the words “full time” are not measurable. All I know is that my children are learning, are happy and expanding their horizons.

People do research for a reason. I’ve taken part (given blood) for breast cancer research because  I want more understanding of the causes of breast cancer so women can avoid it, and for treatments to be better so more women survive it. People agree to take part in research because it means something to them; the outcomes might help their families, friends, communities.

The aim of this research in saying they want to close an educational gap must be to find one. If one isn’t there….umm the dcsf; what would they do???


2 responses to “Confessions of a (semi) Structured home educator

  1. Yes, I am certain that they are in the process of a creating a gap with this research.

    I really do think that even the most structured HEors have much to fear from this renewed assault. No education will pass the DCSF’s definition of “suitable”, “efficient” and “full-time” if it is something the government does not approve of.

    That could be educating otherwise than at school, being religious, introducing your children to the Bishop Hill blog, raising personally responsible and intellectually independent young adults, whatever.

    I wonder what schools such as Summerhill are thinking at the moment?

  2. Don’t trust the government! They will MAKE a gap so their little fiefdoms grow to be big fiefdoms. No problem? THen no THEM. And that’s not going to happen. How many government entities dissapear when they’re not needed? Few and far between. [Probably the last one handling rationing books from WWII finally died off, but I wouldn’t hold my breath!)

    RP: my guess is the government would think them ahead in the “sex” department.

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