On the other hand

Just because I didn’t want such negative home-ed news to be atop the blog for long: have this wonderful and inspiring story from the (fabulously named!) Southport Visiter.

All children learn in different ways, they are all individual with their own talents and abilities but the school system treats all children the same. In my opinion, schools are too concerned with exam results and Ofsted reports than they are coaxing an individual child through a learning experience. The more I read about teens self harming, suffering from stress and developing mental issues because of the pressure of school, I was determined that our daughters would not have to face that. Home education was a viable option for us and we took it.

Hooray for them. It’s nice to get away from the angst and just have a reminder of what home-ed is all about.

Money money money

Another day, another “attack” on home educators. The story first broke in the Independent, but I saw the first mention on this Mumsnet thread. [Quick aside: the Mumsnet home-education topic is excellent, with a small number of prolific supportive posters; but when home-ed comes up on Mumsnet outside of that topic, it does tend to get a little, er, shrill.]

The story itself is sadly familiar. It boils down to, “some people who home educate their children do bad things, therefore the freedom to choose to home educate should be curtailed and controlled.” (In fact, this time around it’s actually “We haven’t done much about illegal unregistered schools at which some people do bad things which reminds us that some people who home educate do bad things therefore…”)

Start with the general lack of knowledge about the facts about home education, and add in to the mix a bit of muslim/christian/any-religion/immigrant bashing, and the comments are predictable enough.

What amazes me though is that nobody gets beyond the sound and fury of accusations of abuse and radicalisation and welfare and all the rest to get to the real agenda: this isn’t about religious schooling, or even about home education, it’s about the monetisation and creeping commercialisation of organised education. Home education is just the proving ground, the test bed.

Yes, I’m sure there’ll be no monetary effect at first. First registration, then compulsory checks, then curriculum advice followed by curriculum materials – and all paid for by diverting your child’s £6000pa from the LEAs to commercial organisations who will be happy to provide these “services”. From there, it’s a very short hop to all schoolkids being offered study packs, “curriculum support”, fees for examinations beyond an officially sanctioned number and timetable. And so on. And so on.

Education and health – the two last bastions of nationalisation, where it’s still unacceptable to say you’re going to privatise. So governments have to find ways to privatise by stealth.

As always, Grit has it dead on…

[Story re-hashed at the Guardian, Telegraph (paywall), Daily Mail]

Back to life?

So, I came back to this blog after almost two years, and what did I find? Somewhat inevitably, nearly five thousand spam comments awaiting approval. Most of the utterly mundane workaday kind, but some that went far beyond that, into the realm of brilliance.

Easily the most surreal:

if the buffalo in my head could speak german i would not know a god damm thing. What i do know is that the language of art is out of this world.

Er, quite. There just aren’t enough German speaking buffalo on the internet.

Most pointless complaint ever:

The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as significantly as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have something intriguing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something which you could fix in the event you werent too busy seeking for attention.

Er, welcome to the world. Hilariously, there were many variants on this, with alternative words, which I will reproduce here in my own imitation of machine written spam:

The subsequent|next|following occasion|time someone said|I read|learn a weblog|blog, I hope that|hopefully it doesnt disappoint me as approximately|significantly|considerably|a good deal|a whole lot as this 1|one|brussels. Come on man|I mean|imply|am talking about, I [do] know it was my substitute|option|choice to read|learn, nevertheless|but I in fact thought youd have something|one thing intriguing|attention-grabbing|fascinating to state|say|express. All I hear is [really|usually] a few|bunch of whining about something which you could|may repair|fix really for those who|should you werent too busy on the lookout for|seeking|in search of|looking for attention.

The best telling off:

Ive to say, I dont know if its the clashing colors or the dangerous grammar, however this weblog is hideous! I mean, I dont need to sound like a know-it-all or something, but might you could have possibly put a little bit more effort into this subject. Its really attention-grabbing, however you dont signify it nicely in any respect, man. Anyway, in my language, there usually are not much good supply like this.

I’m not much into clashing colours, but I’d consider it a compliment to seriously be told I’ve used dangerous grammar.

And, in this context, the absolute all time winner, out of many thousands:

I used to have a website that I used to cover this, but it got spammed to death. You seem to be better at keeping out the spammers than I did! Well done!

Irony indeed!