There you have it.
I caught an article by Adharanand Finn yesterday in the UK Guardian’s Mortarboard blog. Finn pointed out an August ‘o8 article [No School Like Home] about 2 authors who had followed some homeschoolers around. They discovered this :
Alan Thomas, a visiting fellow in the institute’s department of psychology and human development, and Harriet Pattison, a research associate, conclude that informal learning at home is an “astonishingly efficient way to learn”, as good if not better than school for many children.
“The ease, naturalness and immense intellectual potential of informal learning up to the age of middle secondary school means they can learn certainly as much if not more,” they say in How Children Learn at Home.
But back to Finn’s post, he reported that next week, Graham Badman (former Managing Director of Children’s Services at Kent Council) will release a government initiated Department for Children, Schools and Families “Independent Review of Home Education“.
(Home) school’s out forever? If Graham Badman’s recommendations for home tuition are adopted by the government, a whole way of life is under threat
Home educators have been feeling nervous ever since Graham Badman began his review of home education earlier this year.
The government’s announcement of the review came wrapped in sinister language about the need to investigate “claims that home education could be used as a ‘cover’ for child abuse such as neglect, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude”.
The Freedom for Children to Grow (Education Otherwise) site provides more details below, and that “Many home educators have a problem with the premise of the Review questions” mentioned below. The purpose does seem a bit unsettling:
The government says that there may be safeguarding concerns around home educated children and that some people have said home education could be a cover for abuse and forced marriage. The question has been raised over whether home educated children can meet the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters ie to be safe, to be healthy, to enjoy and achieve, to achieve economic wellbeing and to make a positive contribution.
No parent I know (homeschooling or otherwise), would think in terms of 5 outcomes for their child. Seems incredibly limiting, even as it could be a dangerously vague determination from a stranger wielding some power.
These Outcomes remind me of Northwestern University’s Kim Yuracko ditty on Illiberal Education: Constitutional Constraints on Homeschooling. Her premise was this:
Modern day homeschooling raises then in stark form questions about the obligations that states have toward children being raised in illiberal subgroups. Surprisingly, the legal and philosophical issues raised by homeschooling have been almost entirely ignored by scholars. This paper seeks to begin to fill this void by making a novel constitutional argument. The paper relies on federal state action doctrine and state constitution education clauses to argue that states must — not may or should — regulate homeschooling to ensure that parents provide their children with a basic minimum education and check rampant forms of sexism.
My first reaction has generally been that these people need to get a real life, as their concerns certainly don’t seem to coincide with homeschooling families’ realities. Finn also pointed out that: “Ironically, the very reason some parents take their children out of school is because they suffer abuse, through bullying, within the school system”.
Seems like the school folks would have better things to do with their time? But yet, this review could recommend compulsory registration, along with minimal standards of education for homeschoolers. That doesn’t seem likely with the strong network of United Kingdom homeschoolers pushing back. But it will certainly take precious time away from their families contending with the issue.