Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blogging as evidence?

Someone seems to think we home educators who blog are doing so just to provide evidence for LAs. And we don't value our families' privacy. And we think our responsibility is to the state, not to our children. And that it's dangerous for us to blog about our lives because it puts home educators at risk who don't do that.

Why do people jump to conclusions about other people's motives? If I want to provide evidence to my LA I send them a report. If they want to seek information about my home ed provision they write and ask for a report. They don't read my blog instead. Even if they did read my blog, they wouldn't find out much about my home education provision, they'd just find out about my opinions on a few things, and one or two selected incidents regarding my children. Keeping a blog doesn't somehow make me safer than someone who doesn't keep one, and nor does it put them at risk, in my opinion.

This argument is as logical as me saying: I educate autonomously, therefore anyone who imposes structure or lessons on their children is threatening my position, because if some people do that, then we'll all be expected to do it. Of course I disagree: everyone should be and is free to home educate in whichever way suits their family best, regardless of how it affects me. And it doesn't affect me.

If I thought my responsibility was to the state rather than my children, my children would be in school. In fact, I'd have put them in state care as soon as they were born. In fact, I wouldn't have had any children: I'd have just worked for the state, for free.

Human nature is such a strange thing. Why does some people doing something make some of the people who aren't doing that thing, feel bad about it? Freedom, diversity, respect and choice are essential components to a healthy society I think. If we all made the same choices all the time, what kind of world would we live in?

I wonder how many people sit quietly chuntering and anonymously commenting on other people's decisions. Is this a rare phenomena, or a common one? It shocks me when I come across it. Then again, you could say that's me commenting on someone else's choice. Not anonymously though.

I don't, personally, like to think that my decisions about my life might affect people I don't even know about. I don't see why they should. It's certainly not my motive for doing anything, or not doing it.

73 Comments:

Blogger Allie said...

We have had an anonymous commenter recently who accused us of 'indoctrinating' our children with political beliefs. This was deemed wrong because it would be bad for 'views of home education' - presumably this meant it would lead the PTB to think that we were sinister and dangerous types. Oh, and we were abusing our children by 'indoctrinating' them in this way.

In my experience people do like to have opinions about other people's lifestyles and choices. I can't say I really understand it but I have encountered it often. When D and I were younger this took the form of frequent verbal abuse and even physical assault - because of our sexuality.

I suspect that fear is at the root of most attacks on other people's choices - especially when those attacks are anonymous. People feel somehow left out, or judged, or insecure about their own choices. This insecurity makes them attack.

Personally I don't mind people questioning my choices, asking for explanations, or even disagreeing violently with the choices I've made. But there is a difference between open-minded questioning and abuse.

5:57 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

The thing is, if we work from the assumption that diversity threatens freedom, nobody is ever allowed to do anything differently from anyone else!

No-one is allowed to home-educate, express political views, blog, speak...!

Anyway, thanks for your insight Allie. It helped my understanding. Sorry to hear you were accused of such things, and I'm very sorry for anyone who lives in fear for any reason.

A life in fear is a life half lived..

6:10 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

I saw that comment on Dare To Know and wondered at its meaning but didn't go back until today and saw it clarified. I did wonder how our blogs are seen as giving evidence? If so why does my LA still want a report every year LOL

8:29 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Tibetan Star said...

I just wanted to share my thoughts on making judgements about other people. I believe this is something we all do. Thoughts come and thoughts go, and in the same way we don't have total control over what we see, hear, smell and so on, thoughts just pop up in our minds.

But just because they pop up that doesn't mean they are 'true' or that I'm going to believe them! Any judgemental thoughts that cross my mind, I take them with a pinch of salt!

Am I making any sense?

9:24 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Tibetan Star said...

that's at the level of thought...

if you actually express them, that means you believe in them, I suppose...

9:27 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

Oh dear - I just put a blast on the comments on that post cos tbh I am sick and fed up of some peoples comments. If he or she really believes our blogs about HE keep us out of problems by giving evidence it is laughable. I get stalked anyway:( So do my kids:( I was particulary riled by the holier than tho idea that he or she, or those who do not blog assumedly, was only interested in their responsibility to the children and family life and privacy.

Deep breaths time.

11:51 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL good question Ruth! I haven't looked on DTK again yet - am upstairs on the sloooow PC. Will go and check out your handiwork soon! ;-)

Paula, oh yes that's helpful. But if I find myself thinking like that I usually want to analyse myself out of it. And it's contagious, because the person 's expressed judgment, so that makes us wonder about their motives, and so on, which is how trouble starts isn't it? Definitely better not to go there!

4:29 am, April 13, 2007  
Anonymous Clare said...

What a ridiculous idea! Our children are well below the age where we'd have to provide evidence and I blog! I also have pseudonyms for my children so fat lot of good that would do as evidence of the LA. Some people really don't seem to think things through sometimes! I suppose I ought to put this comment on DTK, actually - will copy it there now.

9:01 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Another thought - IF the terrible day of compulsory registration, (which we're all working hard to try and prevent, even those of us who are registered) ever comes, the material in the blogs, reports and anything else documented about home ed might have some use in future research to try and prevent close monitoring.

So even Mrs Unregistered Anonymous might be glad of us one day. I'm certainly glad of her - by staying under the radar for as long as she can she's delaying the time when the above will come to pass IMO - she and everyone else who manages to do the same.

Hey, here's a novel idea: let's all of us who are on the same side help each other out whichever way we can!?

10:38 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

I don't wish to comment on the right or wrong of what the anonymous poster said on DTK, but I will say this:

I think there is a big difference between one anonymous voice criticising a group of people who choose to allow other's a glimpse into their lives, and that group of people then ganging up to attack *one* person *who they know nothing about*. It smacks of playground mentality to me.

I'm sorry, Gill, I enjoy your blog and (as much as you can like someone who you don't really know) I like you. But I think this post was a mistake and I don't think it's fair or wise to write about someone this way, especially when you haven't a clue what might be happening in their lives right now.

10:57 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Adele:

I hope Mrs Anonymous reads my previous comment then, in which I said:

"I'm certainly glad of her - by staying under the radar for as long as she can she's delaying the time when the above will come to pass IMO - she and everyone else who manages to do the same."

I don't agree this post is a mistake. Our blogs made her feel bad. Her comment made me feel bad. I used my blog to process that, not to set up a witch hunt.

Also, she seemed to be trying to persuade us to stop blogging. Now come on Adele - how could I not blog that? ;-)

11:02 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Hi Gill

"I hope Mrs Anonymous reads my previous comment then"

Did I miss something? I don't recall that commentor saying they were female...?

Secondly, tacking on a fair and reasonable comment at the end of the thread doesn't undo the general spirit of the rest of it and of the post itself.

"I don't agree this post is a mistake."

Of course you don't agree that the post was a mistake, or you wouldn't have written it, would you? ;P

"Our blogs made her feel bad. Her comment made me feel bad."

You don't know that your blogs made him/her feel bad, so this is just further judging. Maybe she/he just objected to your blogs on a philosophical and/or political level?

"I used my blog to process that, not to set up a witch hunt."

Then why did you click "publish" not "draft"?

"Also, she seemed to be trying to persuade us to stop blogging. Now come on Adele - how could I not blog that? ;-)"

LOL! Well, I can see how that might be difficult, but I'm sure you could have found a way! ;)

11:15 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

No, I got the impression it was a female. I might of course be wrong. As this isn't a witch hunt I'm not even going to enquire, try to find out, or even wonder whether he/she is or isn't. But the person didn't make their gender clear, as you say, so assuming a gender is better than calling them 'it', which I guess you'd like even less?

The general spirit of my post and the rest of my comments is defensive, since I perceived myself to be under attack.

When we object to things on a philosophical or political level, they tend to also make us feel bad. I can't separate the two and nor can most people I know. I'll grant that the anonymous poster in question may have some strange ability to do so, but would hesitantly venture to suggest that such speculation leads us even further into the 'unfounded personal assumptions' territory that you're wisely warning us away from.

I clicked 'publish' not 'draft' because publishing the blog enabled me to process the emotion, not writing it. The anonymous commenter had publicly criticised home education bloggers for blogging. I am a home educator and I blog. Therefore I felt entitled to publicly defend myself.

I felt much better for having done so. I hope the commenter felt better for leaving her comment. I hope you feel better for defending her! And I hope the sun comes out soon for my walk to the shop.

11:26 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Pete said...

I just got an old friend of mine launch into me for my "one man campaign against schooling" after I blogged about a particular example of tin-pot dictatorship in one school.

But it's the same as most of the hostile reactions I get to home schooling, following one particular critical school about RPG's, being a pagan, not being a pagan, etc.

So many people seem to think that my choices and comments are aimed at criticizing THEM, having a go at THEIR choices.

It's just another symptom of projection; they're insecure about their choices, so they blame you for presenting another way of doing things, making them less secure.

As I believe Oscar Wilde said "F*ck 'em". I'm not going to stop doing what I do, saying what I want to, because it might make others insecure about their lives.

11:51 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

"When we object to things on a philosophical or political level, they tend to also make us feel bad. I can't separate the two and nor can most people I know."

Really??

This makes me curious as I honestly can't imagine being moved emotionally by every philosophical or political idea that I've objected to.

I would tend to consider emotional and rational drives to be separate ones that often overlap, but equally often *don't*. I think it would be hard to think calmly and rationally about philosophical issues if we couldn't separate them from our feelings, so I can't imagine what you're desribing.

Personally, if I said that I objected to something on a philosophical or political level, I would mean that my objection was a purely rational one and my feelings didn't enter into it at all. If there was an emotional element I would clarify that by adding "and, in addition to this, I find that it also affects me on a more personal/emotional level". I really thought most people were like this...

I have lots of questions that I want to ask about this idea, as I've never encountered it before, but I don't want to prolong this thread, so I'll button my mouth! :)

"Therefore I felt entitled to publicly defend myself."

I think you did more than defend yourself though, but that's just my opinion.

Like I say, *I* think the post is plain wrong. But *you* don't think it is. So let's not go round in circles here - we've both said our pieces - we can let it drop now, I would have thought? Personally, I would like to see this thread stop asap, so I'll try to avoid commenting on this post again.

Pete - you can't just assume that people object to another's choices because they are insecure in their own. I would have thought that the opposite is just as likely? If they are certain that their own choices are the right ones, might they not then object to choices they consider to be wrong?

11:59 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"I think you did more than defend yourself though, but that's just my opinion.."

Adele I could easily go to town and pick as many tiny holes in your opinion as you just did mine, but due to other priorities, lack of time available and sheer inertia, I'll happily agree with your suggestion to leave it there.

"I just got an old friend of mine launch into me for my "one man campaign against schooling" after I blogged about a particular example of tin-pot dictatorship in one school."

Hey Pete, it's not a one-man campaign! ;-)

"As I believe Oscar Wilde said "F*ck 'em". I'm not going to stop doing what I do, saying what I want to, because it might make others insecure about their lives."

Did he really say that? What precisely did he mean...? Adele? Do you know? ;-)

12:06 pm, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Carlotta said...

I too have been trying to sort out the points that I think Anon may be making in that comment at DTK and elsewhere in comments on previous posts there which I suspect may be by the same anon (though I cannot confirm this).

If it is the same anon, I think that they have had a number of complaints along the lines that in showing that we do what LAs expect, we are conforming to LA's expectations rather than facilitating the interests of the childs.

In my case, this is just so much rubbish. I never, ever give the LAs a second thought when it comes to doing what we do. The interests of my children are paramount in dictating the direction of their education.

It was the case, that on one occasion, I blogged something about what we have got up to regarding socialising. I did this in annoyance at some ridiculous assertion in the press about the restricted social lives of HEors. Anon roundly held me to task for this. I think the complaint here was, in my saying that my children seem to have a great social life, that I was reinforcing memes and LA expectations about children needing to socialise, all at the same time.

Actually, this was so far from my intent. I merely meant to show that HE children can get what they want by way of a social life, whatever that may mean, but I can see how anon would not have understood this in the way it was originally phrased

As a matter of using the blog as evidence, I simply could not imagine that mine would work that way, as I do not actually have the consent of the children to talk about what they get up to as a general rule.

In all cases when I do blog such stories, I do make sure that I have their consent and I usually read out mails to them to make sure it is OK with them...as indeed, I will do before I press send on this comment. So anon simply cannot have a problem either with my contravening their confidentiality, or with me making the LAs requirements the determining factor in their education.

As a general rule, I can't see that there is anything wrong at all with writing about what one does with one's children on HE blogs, just as long as I have children's consent. I can also see that it can be helpful and inspiring, and that one can get useful feedback that way, so I don't really see that Anon had much of a point when it comes down to it.

I can't see what problem Anon could possibly have with that, really.

I am very glad you did answer her points, Gill. I did feel that the actual debate was valid, despite the queries one would have with the anonymity.

12:38 pm, April 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I am not that person.

In the west we are so pround of our supposed democracys that tell us that we are free countries with freedom of speech and liberty. This is all an illusion as we have about as much freedom as individuals give us on an ongoing basis. We have made our emotions and our feelings 'gods' that cannot be offended or hurt. We have prized our own realtive lifestyles and goals so highly that we are viturally unable to take any form of criticisam, alas now we even have laws that stop us having an opinion on some subjects.

Why do I stay anonymous - because there is a strong pack mentality around HE blogs where much bullying goes on IMO.

I agree with blogger Gill though people should be able to read stuff without it condeming the reader, we need to get out of the 'its my way or the highway mentality'

Even though I read somewhere that it was wrong to have LA visits and to so call 'pass them' and get a good report as this could set a president that could damage other HEers who might do badly' What a joke.

12:40 pm, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"In the west we are so pround of our supposed democracys that tell us that we are free countries with freedom of speech and liberty. This is all an illusion as we have about as much freedom as individuals give us on an ongoing basis." - which is why I love blogs, because they do allow us that previously prohibited freedom of speech. So far! Long may it last.

Carlotta, do you have a hit counter on your blog? They usually have a record of traffic also, so you can at least gauge whether your anons are different people, or the same one.

12:48 pm, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"Why do I stay anonymous - because there is a strong pack mentality around HE blogs where much bullying goes on IMO."

Hmmmm that's not good. Hopefully, the more of us who keep blogs, the less this will be the case?

I hope my blog allows for difference of opinion and lively debate. One or two comments have touched nerves with me in the past, but I've never pulled a comment unless it was sales spam.

I have disagreed with people and possibly got overly defensive though sometimes. Whether that can be classed as bullying I don't know, but the very act of writing a blog post involves (for me) a feeling of scary exposure, so when someone comes along and rubbishes or ridicules something I've said - well, who is the bully?

Neither of us, I think, because we both have a choice about blogging, commenting and responding on an equal basis. Doesn't bullying usually take place in more restrictive environments where people have far fewer choices?

12:55 pm, April 13, 2007  
Blogger HelenHaricot said...

far more eloquent Gill.
i disagree that there is a bullying element to HE blogs - well, I have never seen it anyway? eg I enjoy reading Gill's blog [and others], everyone HE's differently [and that is the point?] but I enjoy the stimulation and debate on Gill's blog, even though we don't autonomously educate [not exactly sure what we do entirely - just what suits], even though i don't necessarily agree with her view s on the medical profession ;¬). I don't feel bullied by hers or others views where they differ from mine, but often take inspiration from an alternative viewpoint.
I don't see a problem with thinking something through on your own blog either.
I prefer a pseudonym to anon - at least have a blogworld identity. i have no prob with people being utterly anon and no identifiable with their real world persona, and there are many reasons people might want to do so. I just am not keen on no 'handle' - whatever the tone of the comment
[aargh to eord verification again]

10:08 pm, April 13, 2007  
Blogger 'EF' said...

*Phew*

So just hopping from blog to blog and trying to understand what is going on with my limited means and brains..meaning that I could only grasp the 'feel' of this thread of comments.

There was only one person being directly hurtful and antagonistic: ("Personally, I would like to see this thread stop asap, so I'll try to avoid commenting on this post again." ????....well, if anybody's emptied yesterdays congealing lunch out of the satchel into someone elses locker..!?! I mean if you are gonna aim a few punches no point pretending you weren't involved! Sorry luv...it doesn't wash...and am now scared of you in case you come over and pick on me *whimper* Now this is really playground. Me no like;)

The original 'anon' just threw a grenade in to watch the sparks fly. Probably in full knowledge..we are a touchy lot...it's just because of all this crap we get thrown at us. Paula was spot on as usual. We would do well to reread Paula's comment a few times. Takes the hurt out a bit.

Listen, I admire those who blog openly...because I cannot.

I read the 'open' blogs of cyber friends and am ceaselessly inspired and strengthened.

We all get bitchy from time to time, just a shame when it is just so mean and aimed at the kindly lot.

*sigh* War eh? What is it good for?

1:00 am, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

'ef' -

I was *not* doing what you accuse me of, and I doubt anyone else percieved it that way.

I was just trying to avoid being a hypocrite in saying I didn't like a thread whilst continuing to participate in it - you know the sort of thing - we see a lot of it on the internet and we always promise ourselves that *we* won't do it, but we inevitably do! :)

And, yep, you've got me posting here again. It's hard to stay silent when we feel attacked. For all of us. Myself and Gill included. I *do* appreciate that and never said otherwise.

My original comments still stand, but I've made my point, and don't wish to hammer it home. I think it better to drop it.

Why attack others when we feel they've attacked us? What good does that do? Like you say "War eh? What is it good for?"

And *that* is what I meant about wanting to see the thread end.

So, let's put our guns down and go play footie in the trenches, yeah? :)

Gill - You didn't see my comments how ef has described them, did you? My most sincere apologies if you did! I've read and re-read and I really can't see how they can come across like that, but if I'm missing something and I did sound "hurtful and antagonistic", then I do apologise!

2:09 am, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Adele, you do have a very intense debating style which I enjoy when I've got the time and energy to take you on. However, as I've explained in response to your email, I didn't really have either yesterday for various reasons.

Having said that I'm glad that people feel free to say what they think on my blog. I prefer it, by far, to silent dissent.

I do stand by my post though. Someone challenged the right of home educators to keep blogs, which is obviously an issue about which I feel strongly, so I made a robust defence of the charge and would do so again.

Adele perceives my defence to be too strong for her liking, as is her right, and we agree to disagree. By defending the anonymous poster, though, she's saved them the bother, which is a shame IMO. Still, we must all do what we think best at the time.

EF yes I agree the argument seemed like Adele was on the offensive, but that's Adele! I really don't think she means it that way. But if you haven't come across it before, her strong debating style can be quite a shock I imagine.

Helen, yes the anonymity is definitely a factor isn't it? Whichever way you look at it, though as the other anonymous commenter said, in this thread, there might be good reason for it. I'm glad you haven't seen any bullying in HE blogs. I haven't either, but different people have different understandings of the term I suppose. Sometimes just stating an opinion is seen by some people as bullying.

And Helen - the blooming word verifier just got me too! Gah

8:19 am, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

I wasn't debating at all, let alone intensely; I was expressing an alternative viewpoint with the expectation that we would agree to disagree.

All I tried to do was speak out against something that I percieved, and still percieve, to be wrong. I did not expect anyone to agree with me and I did not want to make anyone feel attacked.

I have made no attempts to judge Gill or anyone else on this thread. I have not speculated about the drives, style, or character, of the people involved in it.

All I have said is "I think this is wrong. You clearly do not think so. So there's no need to continue the conversation."

That's all.

But if people want to portray me as some kind of feisty, fierce, and furious challenger, then, by all means, go ahead! I could cry about it - in fact, I very nearly *did*! But what would be the point? I'd rather laugh at the incongruity of the image. :D

10:49 am, April 14, 2007  
Blogger these boots said...

"But if people want to portray me as some kind of feisty, fierce, and furious challenger, then, by all means, go ahead! I could cry about it ..."

At the moment I think the world could do with as many feisty, fierce and furious challengers as possible. Heaven forbid it should ever be an insult.

I love all these comments. I find them interesting and stimulating to read different people's viewpoints, even if I haven't always worked out where I stand on stuff.

11:58 am, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"At the moment I think the world could do with as many feisty, fierce and furious challengers as possible. Heaven forbid it should ever be an insult."

Well said, Lucy! Thank you.

12:10 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

"At the moment I think the world could do with as many feisty, fierce and furious challengers as possible. Heaven forbid it should ever be an insult."

:) Me too actually.

It's just that I'm not one! LOL!

If I were, then I would actually see that as a compliment - it's just that it's so far removed from my self perception and I know how much I agonised about commenting at all, how scared I was of doing so, how hard I worked to find a way to put my concerns that wouldn't upset anyone, how I liked Gill and didn't want to risk offending her but felt it only right to speak out, but really worried about doing so.

I know all that, yet I'm hearing this portrayal of myself as someone who goes in guns blazing, uncaring about who gets hurt in the crossfire - that could be really upseting and hurtful, not because it's an insult but simply because it's inaccurate.

But, like I said, I decided to deal with it by laughing at the incongruity. No one here knows me, so they don't realise any of this, and no one means to be nasty, I'm sure, so I'm laughing at how people percieve me instead! It's like calling Thatcher "a shy, retiring, slip of a lass" - incongruity makes me laugh! :D

12:21 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"this portrayal of myself as someone who goes in guns blazing, uncaring about who gets hurt in the crossfire"

No that's not how I perceived you. More as a highly intelligent person who really likes to debate and for whom the discussion of semantics is very important. A person who thinks deeply and seeks to challenge her own thinking by openly asking questions, and continuing to ask questions until she is satisfied. If that's totally wrong then I am surprised because it's how you come across to me.

If you're not brave about commenting, you hide it well :-) And it's doubly good that you do, in that case.

...I think. LOL, it's hard to make statements of opinion today! Things seem to be being misunderstood all round it seems!

I don't think I'll bother making a post...!

12:31 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Hi Gill

I wrote a lot, but erased most of it because I don't want to talk about myself so much - it feels weird. Suffice to say, your perception of me is accurate in some ways but not at all in others. Isn't it interesting how different our self-perception is to the way we are percieved by others? I find that a bit scary sometimes.

Semantics are important to me, yes. Very much so. I'm always joking that I should invent a parenting philosophy based on Wittgenstein! :D

I hate debate though. I don't enjoy it at all.

"...I think. LOL, it's hard to make statements of opinion today! Things seem to be being misunderstood all round it seems!"

LOL! I know the feeling! I hate it when that happens!

I remember many years ago, when I was in my early twenties and me and my friend M were getting ready to go out, and mutual friend P arrived all dressed up for a night on the town. Conversation:

M (shocked sounding): P, you look *good*!

(P looks hurt)

M: No, I didn't mean that you don't usually, I mean you look like a man!

(P's jaw drops)

M: Not that you look like a girl usually - I meant a man rather than a kid.

(P looks horried)

M: Not that you usually look like a kid either... I mean...

And so it carried on! :D

I can see this going that way from all of us! :D

"I don't think I'll bother making a post...!"

LOL! No, please do post! As long as it's not on the original topic! ;)

12:50 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Gill, Forgot to say - thanks for the email - I'll answer when I can get my brain into gear enough! :)

1:03 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL yes, it does feel a bit like that!

I really enjoy a good debate usually, if I've got the time for it and there's nothing else I really need to attend to. And if I'm not tired, so I can give it my best. I find there's a lot to be gained by hammering out issues in this way, especially in a friendly sense.

The trap I work hard to try to avoid (and don't always succeed, I'm sure), it when the will to *win* takes over from the will to learn more from the point being debated, so humility and honesty goes out of the window and people just say things for the sake of making an opposing point, when they don't necessarily mean what they say.

Not that I think this is what happened yesterday, but I think it was perhaps in danger of happening at one point, one way or another.

Oh, no rush re: the email! Take your time. We're having a nice lazy Saturday here. :-)

1:05 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

**is** when, not it when.
Let's play 'Spot the typo!'
Grrrr...

1:42 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

"Let's play 'Spot the typo!'"

Sounds like a good game for a lazy Saturday! :D

Or we could try to guess the missing letter on the dubious "Oscar Wilde" quotation!:D

I don't personally experience the urge to win thing. With me it's more of an urge to be understood. I don't mind in the slightest whether people disagree with me, or think badly of me, but I hate it when I fail to make myself understood.

It's bizarre - I'd rather someone said "I see just what you mean... And you disgust me!" than "What on earth are you talking about??!" LOL!

No idea why I'm like that. It's a question to ask myself another day anyway, as I'm planning on a lazy (well even-lazier-than-usual!) Saturday too, so I won't torment myself with self-analysis today! :)

1:50 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger 'EF' said...

I still stand by it what ever it was that i said I was right but of course everyone is allowed to say what they want just that I don't agree ..erm..etc. (eh?..not quite sure I can debate/discuss/comment intelligbly as am lost in these sort of things).

Adele, I took the liberty of reading a little of your blog and found some excellent poetry that kind of explained stuff. Just briefly reading your blog gave me more of an impression of who you are and where you are coming from etc so I must admit to being more sympathetic and compassionate about your 'sleight' of comment now. I misinterpreted your style.

It was very kindly of Gill to point out to me that: "...but that's Adele! I really don't think she means it that way. But if you haven't come across it before, her strong debating style can be quite a shock I imagine." But that's Gill really isn't it?..Kindly. :)

Am not brown nosing at all, (although that is one of my fortés) or backtracking as I rather liked the way I summed it up in my comment..about Adele's style. But as I said, making an attempt to understand the style (by reading a bit of Adele's blog) brought about instant sorrow that I could have poked a stick at Adele without knowing her. Bit slack that. I am not proud of that.

At the end of the day, some of us find it easier to 'get along' and others have to struggle more. Those who struggle more have often delved more deeply into areas that those who have it easier will never know the darkness of. Those of us who struggle bring stuff to light for those of us who find it breezier...this can be antagonistic. And there is basically no harm in that so long as the people involved are strong enough to cope. We all have a choice about how we respond to what other people create around us.

Just sometimes we get in a tangle clamoring to be heard and understood. Especially if we are tired or overwrought x

2:23 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

ef -

I saw the visitor to my blog appear straight after your comments and assumed it would be you. I didn't want this to happen. I didn't want you to "make allowances" for me, so I have now taken the contents of my blog down so that this doesn't happen again.

Sympathy and compassion are admirable traits, but they're more useful *before* an event than afterwards.

I cried for *hours* after reading your comments last night. I was afraid to get up this morning because I didn't know what I'd find waiting for me here.

Yes, that's my problem. Yes, I'm too sensitive. I admit that, all the same, whatever you might think, *I* thought about how my comments might affect people and worded them accordingly - I suggest you do the same in future.

2:36 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

This is why bullying happens and society doesn't stop it - because people know if they stand up for someone else, then the crowd will turn on *them* next.

2:44 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hey come on Adele. Nobody 'turned on' you. Can't you see what happened? EF came and thought she saw her friend (me) under attack and spoke out in my defence, because she thought I would be upset.

She didn't know you and didn't know the situation, but just saw what she saw and reacted accordingly. EF is a kind and gentle person who means no harm, as you are.

This whole dispute has just come about through perfectly understandable misunderstandings.

LOL, don't tell me you can separate emotions from debate! None of us can ;-) (IMHO)

Sorry to hear you had a bad night. I'd have stuck around if I had any idea of the way this was going to go, but I didn't, so I shut the PC down early and went to bed.

3:23 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

I never said I could separate emotions from debate - I said that I separated emotions from philosophy/politics.

This was never about philosophy/politics for me and I never claimed that it was.

Nor was it a debate.

I have a choice about whether I read what is said here or not - but when that choice is sticking around to see what is being said about you and maybe attempting to refute it, or walking away knowing that you will be talked about behind your back, it isn't *much* of a choice, is it?

3:39 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

First, please, look up the dictionary definition of the word 'debate', and explain to me what this has been, if not a debate.

Second, nobody is - or wishes to AFAIK - talk about you behind your back.

3:43 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Looked it up. It means exactly what I thought it did.

Person A: Isn't it a lovely day?

Person B: Personally, I don't like the heat.

Person A: Really? I love it, myself.

That isn't a debate, is it? And that's what this was.

As to not talking about me behind my back - this will be the end of the matter if I walk away now, will it? [raises eyebrows sceptically]

3:49 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

" this will be the end of the matter if I walk away now, will it? [raises eyebrows sceptically]"

Of course!

4:11 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger these boots said...

"Person B: Personally, I don't like the heat."

tiptoeing in rather trepidatiously (?) here ...

but wasn't the comment-conversaton more like:

"Personally, I don't like the heat and and so I don't think you should have mentioned it and I don't think we should talk about it." ?

And isn't that more a debate than a conversation about the weather?

Are we *really* debating what is, and what isn't, debating? Fab!

And I have never read backstabbing-y type posts or comments on Gill's blog. Can't imagine she'd stand for it.

6:17 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

"Of course!"

Seems you were over-optimistic there, doesn't it? ;)

""Personally, I don't like the heat and and so I don't think you should have mentioned it and I don't think we should talk about it." ?"

But what was "the heat" in this instance? Seems clear to me it was the act of a group ganging up on, and speculating about, an anonymous stranger.

So "Personally I don't like a group ganging up on, and speculating about, an anonymous stranger and so I don't think you should have mentioned it and I don't think we should talk about it" is exactly the same as "I don't like the heat."

Mentioning the heat is something separate to the heat itself - but mentioning our unfounded assumptions about a stranger's motivations, and talking about these, is *part of* the ganging up and bullying the stranger.

So, though I see what you are trying to get at, your analogy doesn't hold.

Incidentally, I assumed that anonymous commentor on this blog meant that they are not the person that Carlotta was refering to, but that they *are* the person that this blog post is about - did I get that wrong?

6:37 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"Incidentally, I assumed that anonymous commentor on this blog meant that they are not the person that Carlotta was refering to, but that they *are* the person that this blog post is about - did I get that wrong?"

You did. The anonymous poster in this thread is neither the person that Carlotta was referring to, nor the person this post is about, to my knowledge. It's another anonymous poster entirely :-)

Oooh. But.... the person that Carlotta was referring to is indeed the person this post is about.

6:46 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"Oooh. But.... the person that Carlotta was referring to is indeed the person this post is about."

Though actually this post is about me and my reaction to a comment, to be exactly precise.

6:48 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

ef -

Sorry if I over-reacted. I do think that your comments last night were out of line, but I also think that my upset over them *was* disproportionate, so I shouldn't have mentioned it. As you are aware from my blog, I am fragile at the moment for reasons unconnected with yourself.

You *are* responsible for what you said and the tone of it, but you are *not* responsible for how badly I took it.

I guess you are a very loyal friend, and that is a quality that I admire in a person.

I also don't know what kind of mood you were in yourself when you wrote those comments.

This is the point that I've been trying to make all along though - it's a risky business to condemn an individual in a personal way when we don't them and we don't know what is happening in their lives.

No one wants a suicide on their conscience, do they?

I'm not suicidal myself - I've whinged to my mom on the phone, cried a lot, eaten chocolate, yelled along to favourite songs, and am now in a far better frame of mind to keep your comments in proportion and stop over-reacting to them! (LOL)

I also don't think that anonymous poster is suicidal.

But my point is that no one *knows*, do they?

I think that *all of us* (ef, Gill, myself, anonymous poster, and people in general) should be very, very, careful indeed when we speak to and about strangers, because we don't know where they're at, and how slight the "last straw" trigger may be.

7:04 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

"You did. The anonymous poster in this thread is neither the person that Carlotta was referring to, nor the person this post is about, to my knowledge. It's another anonymous poster entirely :-)

Oooh. But.... the person that Carlotta was referring to is indeed the person this post is about."

Jeeze, I'm *really* confused now!

I thought Carlotta had speculated about whether the-anonymous- commentor-mentioned-in-your-post was the same one as an earlier anonymous commentor.

I thought the-anonymous-commentor-mentioned-in-your-post came along to comment here, stating that "No, I am not that person" meaning that they were not the same one that Carlotta meant.

So...

Is this second anonymous poster someone else entirely then? And we still don't know whether anonymous-commentor-mentioned-in-your-post is the same one as Carlotta's earlier commentor?

So we have at least two, possibly three anonymous commentors here??!

Which one am I standing up for! ROFLMAO!

7:11 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger these boots said...

"So "Personally I don't like a group ganging up on, and speculating about, an anonymous stranger and so I don't think you should have mentioned it and I don't think we should talk about it" is exactly the same as "I don't like the heat."

I don't agree ...

"I don't like the heat" is somebody saying they don't like something, while acknowledging that some people might".

"I don't think you should have mentioned it and I don't think we should talk about it" is somebody saying what they think someone else should - or shouldn't - be doing.

"But what was "the heat" in this instance? Seems clear to me it was the act of a group ganging up on, and speculating about, an anonymous stranger."

Now, you see, to me that's a point worth debating!

"Seems you were over-optimistic there, doesn't it? ;)"

And am I getting this right that you think everyone should stop discussing this ... because you want them to?

7:16 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

""I don't like the heat" is somebody saying they don't like something, while acknowledging that some people might".

"I don't think you should have mentioned it and I don't think we should talk about it" is somebody saying what they think someone else should - or shouldn't - be doing."

When *what* we don't like *is* the mentioning and talking about someone, it's a fair point. There isn't a separate "it" that I dislike and want people to stop mentioning and talking about - the mentioning and talking about someone *is* the thing that I dislike.

It's the "heat".

"And am I getting this right that you think everyone should stop discussing this ... because you want them to?"

Close-ish. I think that everyone should stop talking about and discussing the possible drives, feelings, and motives of a stranger. I don't want people to do that because I don't think that it's right. But I thought that I had made it plain several times that I don't expect them to agree with this?

*I* think it's wrong. *I* think people should stop doing it - BUT *they* might not think it's wrong. *They* might *not* think they should stop doing this.

And I don't think my opinion is any more valid than theirs. [shrugs]

That's why I don't consider it to be a debate, as a debate tends to be about establishing a fact, but I think that we have here *two* facts - my opinion and the opposing opinion, and I see no reason why we should have to work out which one is "right" by debating them - can't we just state them, hear them, and move on to state our next opinion? Can't we just have an interesting conversation? Do we have to have a situation where one person tries to prove that the other is wrong? I see no point to that. I think Gill is wrong to have made this post. Gill thinks I am wrong to think so. Why can't those two opinions co-exist harmoniously?

7:35 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger these boots said...

"Why can't those two opinions co-exist harmoniously?"

Well, they probably can, can't they? But why can't we keep discussing it and working through what each of us feel on the subject (if we want to) without feeling that anyone is offended by the very fact that we're continuing to discuss it?

does that make sense? going to bed now. :-)

7:41 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

"Well, they probably can, can't they? But why can't we keep discussing it and working through what each of us feel on the subject (if we want to) without feeling that anyone is offended by the very fact that we're continuing to discuss it?"

LOL! Because *if* people were continuing to discuss the stranger's inner life (which, I'm pleased to say we seem to have moved away from now, into a more general and hypothetical arena) then I *would be*, well not "offended by" exactly, more uncomfortable with, that.

That does *not* mean that you shouldn't continue to discuss it, merely that you can now add this piece of knowlegde "Adele is uncomfortable with this" to your experience of the conversation. And any non-participating readers see both viewpoints and can make up their own mind about what *they* think. Do you see?

It's information about *me* that I am giving here not some objective rightness or wrongness of an act! :)

7:50 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Going into this a bit further...

To debate, a person has to either think that they are right about something and the other person is wrong, or they have to assume the position of speaking as though they think this for the sake of the debate itself.

If we value debate, then it may be a good idea to do it more formerly like they do in debating societies - randomly pick which "side" we shall take and defend that position as best as we can, whilst keeping *our own* feelings, views, and opinions out of it. That way no one is ever condemned for their views and no one feels the need to take things personally, yet we all get to learn.

If anyone fancies starting a forum to do just that, where we can randomly allocate positions to take on issues, and see how well we can defend a point that we don't actually agree with - I think this could be a great mind-broadening exercise!

If we want to talk about *our own* views, feelings, and opinions, isn't it better to do so in a conversational way where no one feels that they have to be right?

A debate is to discuss issues.

A conversation is to discuss ourselves.

Problems tend to arrive when half the people involved in a discussion think it's the former, and the other half think it's the latter! :)

8:08 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Gill,

I finally got around to reading your email properly and I can see where you're coming from a lot better now.

You're right, an awful lot of this thread has been simple and understandable misunderstandings.

I basically called you a bully, didn't I? I was wrong, wasn't I?

I still don't like the post, and the way that so many people commenting speculated on the inner life of someone that they didn't know, but I understand your intentions in posting this better now.

The thread, in my opinion, took a really nasty turn, but...

*You* are *not* a bully. I'm sorry for pretty much calling you one.

8:57 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger 'EF' said...

Adele, I would've liked to leave you with the last word, but had to also add (to reassure) that it is the way Gill said, and that as a knee jerk reaction I was leaping to her defense. I cannot help it..try as I might, one of my best and worst traits is that I do this a lot (leaping in to defend those I deem precious by waving ceremonial swords around and brandishing mace).

I read some of your blog (knowing full well that you would be aware of my doing so) and discovered that you are 'fragile' (as you describe) and immediately wished that I could have had more insight into your original comment.

Your poems were so impressive that I wanted to comment on your blog but was aware that any comment I made would seem patronising and unwelcome. But your poems should be published. I would like to read more of them.

Reading what you wrote somehow put your approach to Gill's post in a new light...but I wasn't making allowances for you..and I know why you would find that offensive. It's just that suddenly I thought: "Oh..that's what she meant."

Gill may be right (can't agree on everything;) about me being a "kind and gentle person who means no harm" but I am abrasive too so there were barbs in my original comment that may have had a delayed hurt effect. Is not nice.

I know that you had a rough night and I am sorry about that and hope that you can somehow recover with energy.

11:29 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

ef,

Thank you for this.

I'm the same, so I can see where you're coming from. :)

You seem like a lovely person and, like I said before, I think that loyality is an admirable quality. :)

It's one of the things that I actually like about myself - I see myself as a being a bit like a Jack Russell Terrier - loud, yappy, irritating, tenacious, but fearlessly, unendly, loyal! :D

I'd say it sounds like we're cut from the same cloth, but, after that, it would probably sound like an insult, and the last thing we need is more misunderstanding! LOL!

Take care, and goodnight! :)

11:44 pm, April 14, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"*You* are *not* a bully. I'm sorry for pretty much calling you one."

Ah ok, thanks! I didn't think I was. A bully would have to wish people ill, which I don't. Or at least want to control people, which I don't think I do.

7:14 am, April 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You totally misunderstood. I wasn't taking a guess at anyone's motives.

I know your intention is not to provide evidence for the LA's.

The thing is, whether you intend it or not, when you show to the world how you home-educate your children, you are also saying we have to show to the world that home-education works.

That's what the LA's want, after all. The thing is, they want it on a family by family basis.

They cannot trust that every family is the same. While some might have clever arguing skills and not mind to show off their children a bit, other families that truly value privacy might prefer not be poked. At all.

There's more and more home-educator blogs. Most are in diary form.

You cannot argue against inspection by saying "right, there's no reason to inspect us because we really educate our children, look!".

It's a bit like the families that accept visits. They do risk making the others look like they are hiding. You certainly understand this?

"Why do people jump to conclusions about other people's motives?"

Yeah, that.

10:57 pm, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

A few of us showing a small part of our education provision to the world is one thing. All of us being answerable to our own LEAs is quite another. I can see why you fear that the one thing will lead to the other, but I myself don't think it will, or does.

Also, you can't try to dictate other people's behaviour to make you feel safer. Well, you can try, I guess - but I don't think it's a logical or reasonable request.

You're basically asking us all to home educate in secret, just because you want to do that?

11:08 pm, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Me again! :)

I wasn't going to get involved in the original question as I'm aware of the controversy surrounding it, and I am such a coward over these things! :D

But I'll venture to step my toes in the water a little bit, and will then probably run away to complain about being wet, and hide away under a bid fluffy towel! But, as Gill put it, "That's Adele!" ;)

Anyway...

I think Anonymous-Poster has made his/her points a lot clearer now.

And I would say it's *not* a case of A-P trying to dictate to anyone, but rather a case of A-P reading blogs that show the authors are interested in HE rights, and then making a point about how he/she thinks it best to approach the issue of gaining and keeping said rights. And that he/she is instigating this conversation with people who have publically expressed an interest in the subject.

His/her point seems to be that people should avoid publicising their family lives as HEers *if* they wish to promote HE rights. Ie that he/she considers the two objectives to be incompatible.

I don't wish to state whether or not I agree with this point - hell, I don't even *know* whether or not I agree with it - I haven't given it close enough attention to decide either way as yet. But I do think that it's a valid *hypothesis* to start a discussion about. And I would imagine that those interested in such matters may want to look at it more closely.

It seems that A-P is instigating a discussion on HE rights *policy*, rather than trying to personally attack individual bloggers.

But, far be it from me to speculate! :P

12:16 am, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

I do blog - and a lot of that is in diary form. But what we, as a family, choose to share with the world is one thing - compulsory inspection or assessment by a local authority would be something else! I would do all I could to resist such a move.

What LAs want is a regulated, standardised, box-ticking way of 'handling' home educators. They really wouldn't be interested in ploughing through our blogs. Our blogging is irrelevant to their demands.

I believe that our primary audience is other home educators - and family members who live far away. Of course, there is nothing to stop anyone looking at our blog and I don't at all mind if someone encounters the idea of HE through reading our blog. But I think that the primary purpose of an HE blog is to connect with other home edders. If a group is very much the minority, and spaced out geographically, blogs can be a community building tool. That's my fantasy anyway...

12:21 am, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Oh, one more thing (I meant to say this in my last comment, but got I distracted) -

"You're basically asking us all to home educate in secret, just because you want to do that?"

I think that question is hovering on the outskirts of the "speculating about a person's motives" area again.

I don't think that A-P said that he/she was a home educator that wanted to home-educate in secret.

And I don't think it matters.

The validity of an argument proposed doesn't rest on the personal circumstances of the person proposing it.

(Sorry, don't mean to monopolise the discussion - my mouth doesn't seem to come with an off-switch unfortunately...)

1:35 am, April 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you blog anedoctes, be it your own family's or some story or news piece you link, you provide the authorities with stereotypes to look for.

1:37 am, April 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=98210&p=3&topicID=10692974

A thread I greatly value, especially the conclusion.

1:42 am, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

OK Anon, I read the thread and I get the point of your argument.

But what about the inspectors who are telling the world 25% of HErs they see aren't doing any 'work'? And imposing SAOs on such families? And the general public and other HE inspectors are similarly outraged, so all autonomous learners are outlawed at a stroke (which surely is what the state would like)?

If those of us who are already known - and mine is definitely NOT a poster family - can publicly disprove such an assertion, should we not be doing so?

I have no choice about providing info - I either have to provide it to the state or to a court of law, which amounts to the same thing. I think it makes sense to use that position to the best of my ability. I'm 'out' now: might as well be out and proud! I don't want to 'out' anyone else at all, but to try to strengthen the ground in case it happens anyway is no bad thing IMO.

Also, my family may not be a poster one but my LEA is a poster LEA, so I'm happy to say 'My children learn without compulsion, on their own terms and the LEA sanctions this.'

You'll never stop HE schooly blogs IMO, that genie is out of the bottle now. Might as well have a balance then.

Also, are we never to provide any kind of visible counter to the school system? Children will continue to be dragged and damaged through that tawdry establishment in their millions until some people say 'Look, there is this other way.'

Your question on the forum thread was about poster families. Many - if not most of us on the UK blogrings are definitely not poster families. I'll grant you some are, but they're demonstrating activities, not standards of output on the whole.

7:55 am, April 16, 2007  
Blogger these boots said...

"When you blog anedoctes, be it your own family's or some story or news piece you link, you provide the authorities with stereotypes to look for."

That's an interesting viewpoint. I read the thread you linked to and agreed with what was said about resisting inspections, and resisting comparison to 'standards'. However I'm not sure that everyone closing their doors is the best way to achieve this ... although I would wholehearted support the right of anyone to do that (and for it not to be seen as negative) if they want to.

My kids are only just school age, so I am fairly new to HE. I learned about HE 5 years ago from internet lists. I learned about the many different ways that people do this, mostly by reading HE blogs.

The first book I read about HE was Free Range Education - a collection of accounts from HE families about their own, different, ways of HEing. I found that book incredibly informative, and I think I probably read HE blogs in the same spirit.

If any LEA inspector read these blogs (do they do that??) then surely they would struggle to come up with an HE stereotype?

I haven't read many blogs where people compare their child's educational standards to school children's educational standards, but tbh when I first started reading about HE I did need to read that kind of info for my own reassurance. Now it holds no value for me, because, like most HErs, I understand that school standards are not applicable.

I think the most likely attempt to 'standardise' us takes the form of inspections comparing HE children to schooled children, and that there may be an attempt to impose a curriculum in the future. Those that have inspections - in the main - hopefully prove to the LEAs that the various HE methods "work", even where the methods bear no resemblance to anything that the inspector understands as 'teaching', or even, perhaps 'education'. Hopefully this will then pave the way for the inspections to move away from applying standardisations, and to realise that trying to impose a curriculum is futile and counter-productive. That's if LEAs have our childrens best interests at heart, obviously.

Personally, I think that by blogging all the different ways people do HE, it can only help show that these standards are simply not applicable.

I am a new and somewhat unsuccessful blogger. My blog, such as it is so far, is partly for my famiy who live all over the place and who have little understanding of what this home education thing is all about, partly for other HErs, if they have the time/inclination to read it, and also for people who don't know anything about HE. If I can get my act together to post more often, my original intention was also that it would be a journal of what we do, a resource I can draw from if it ever gets to the stage where I do have to report, officially.

8:20 am, April 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is, when you think about showing off that different HE methods "work", you are doing nothing to combat the product mentality which is the only problem.

I'm not saying people should be forbidden to do it, but it's a bad idea to post journals of your children's activities.

4:49 pm, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

The only problem, as I see it, is the law making education compulsory. Any ideas how to solve that one?

6:55 pm, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Also, I'm slagging off the school system on this blog a lot, which does naturally give rise to the question: "What do you suggest as an alternative?"

I suppose I could just shut up. ^^ It is tempting. I get sick of the sight of my own text sometimes.

8:44 am, April 17, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Aww, don't shut up, Gill - there's too many people listening to you with interest. :)

Anyway, it's cool to have so many comments? Do you think you'll reach the 100 mark? :D

You can slag off the school system without having to come up with alternatives, so don't take that question as a reason to stop, will you? Alternatives can be looked at *after* people accept that schools as they are need to go - depose the dictator and look at how to run the country afterwards! :)

Anyway, I found the question interesting, so I'm answering as I would if it were addressed to me. :)

Personally, I think the compulsory element is the only real problem with schools.

If they ran schools on a drop-in basis it would be very different. If they advertised the start time of classes, and kids (of any age) could turn up for whichever ones they wanted to, on an as and when they felt like it basis, I think they'd be okay.

Open up the computer rooms, gymns, science labs, craft and tech rooms, and library in the same way - allowing kids to drop in and use them for their own projects whenever they wanted to. With teachers on hand to give assistance and answer questions *if* requested. Provide discussion classes with advertised topics, so kids who enjoy learining through discourse can turn up to those. Stuff like that.

Over-crowded classes or facilities start a booking system, and try to expand to allow more people to participate in them. Classes that don't get used at all, get dropped. The organisation of the classes, how they'll work, what they'll cover etc, gets discussed in-depth with those interested in taking them, and they're planned accordingly.

The main problem I forsee with this is child safety, as it would be far easier to abduct a kid on their way to school if no one was expecting them to turn up... However I'm sure there must be ways round this. Probably a computer system that logs the kid in as present but then auto-erases the information every 48 hours or so. Something like that *if* done consentually, and with a very strict privacy policy attached to it, might get round such problems.

Another problem would be funding the classes that only one or two kids are interested in. But, the opening up of classes to kids of any age may make it easier to get the numbers to make any classes viable. It is easily possible to teach effectively to a mixed age group - my local school has only one class and, as schools go (and I'm definitely *not* a fan of them!) it's brilliant.

Next problem is kids whose parents pressure them to attend when they don't wish to, but that's another issue and one that couldn't be solved by a change in the law. This is one that requires a shift in individual and societal (is there such a word as "societal" or have I just imagined it? Oh well. It serves the purpose anyway! LOL)thinking. And the dropping of compulsory schooling may even bring that about if we got *really* lucky.

Ah, sweet Adeletopia, it shall come to pass yet...! Or not. My bets are on "not"...

11:40 am, April 17, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Sounds good to me, Adele! I'd vote for it :-)

Now let's see. Who wouldn't?

Well, probably...

- Those schoolteachers who are only in it for the power;

- Those schoolteachers who lack the confidence to think they can keep people there without compulsion;

- People who think we need a population mostly full of unquestioning, obedient worker-drones, for whatever reason;

- People who think too much real knowledge is a bad thing;

- People who dislike children and would prefer to have them forcibly locked away all day;

- People who mistrust children and think they need forcibly controlling and restraining 'for their own good';

- People who don't understand the natural learning process and believe that humans are not naturally curious, because they don't know any who are, because of the current prevalence of compulsory education establishments;

- People who are scared of change and freedom;

- Parents who want to be able to work all day without worrying about where their children are and what they're doing;

- Parents who want their children to be forcibly schooled to enable them to earn lots of money as adults, because money matters more to them than the child's happiness, freedom, preferences or curiosity.

- Anyone who fears being put out of a job by the change.

Hmmm... what proportion of the population is left, then? That'd make a great survey question IMO.

I suspect school pupils would have to force the change, rather than it be opted for by society as a whole. Reading the news, this could happen any time.

12:17 pm, April 17, 2007  
Blogger Adele said...

Hi Gill

I know; it's hopeless, isn't it?

It's like I've said before, the system props itself up - generation after generation learns the values and attitudes that you have listed, so nothing ever changes. :(

And most people don't want to even *consider* the possibility that any of this could be wrong, because that would mean having to totally rethink their lives and only a very small number of people have the strength to do that.

"That'd make a great survey question IMO."

It would. But I reckon it would be pretty depressing to hear the answer...

12:32 pm, April 17, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

No I don't think it's hopeless Adele, because change happens anyway, no matter how much people try to stop it. It's happening, isn't it? The children are refusing to be treated that way and once that reaches critical mass, the change will take place. The only question is, which way will it go?

6:45 am, April 18, 2007  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home