Saturday, September 07, 2013

My thoughts on home education ID and membership cards

I've been home educating for quite a few years now, and the subject of home education ID cards has come up every now and again. People are attracted to the idea of using them to gain negotiated discounts and entrances and those who distribute them are perhaps attracted by the role of benefactor for whatever reason, or just want to be at the centre of things.

That's all well and good if everyone participating is happy, but could they be seen as a step along the route of mandatory home education ID? The gradualist approach of government takes what people have accepted as normal, then makes it official, then makes it compulsory. So you can start with some home educators joining a voluntary ID card scheme of their own making, and end up with this as a form of registration/regulation, with home ed ID cards being government-issued and dependent on certain hoops being jumped, and these then being raised ever higher, of course.

My children have benefitted from free home education, in pretty much every respect. It has cost us very little in either money or compliance, and it has still been possible, and enjoyable, and fruitful. It has been full-time, efficient and suitable to their ages, aptitudes and abilities etc as a more schooled education could never have been. We have deliberately avoided any kind of fund-raising and the compliance that comes with this, and have kept official intervention in our lives to an absolute minimum. I want my grandchildren - and all our children and grandchildren - to enjoy the same freedom, if they want it.

But the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and part of this is to watch yourself, and be aware of how much free grain you might be eating, and whether the fence posts are quietly, slowly going in behind as you munch.