For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Friday, March 20, 2009

And then there was life...

I intended to do a post with 'evidence of ignorance', but life took over. Besides, I haven't received any additional info, nor did I have time to gather it myself. And looking at what's going on other blogs, on Facebook and on various lists, I am trailing behind and it would be a shame to waste good energy while I have plenty to do anyway.

Meanwhile, in spite of efforts to break home educators down, home ed life in this family has never been stronger. And busier for that matter. We've had amazingly intense weeks here, with lots of extremely exciting and positive things going on, which I will come back to in a minute.

There is no way I would ever concede the education of my children to the state. I strongly believe my children are quite capable of being in control of their own education in order to achieve their own goals in life and I've gladly taken it upon me to provide for them in any way I possibly can. I also believe that love, trust and respect are the strongest foundation to build a well balanced life on. And up to now the state haven't given me much reason to believe they're in any way capable, let alone willing to give my children the same opportunities as I as a parent can and want to give them. In other words, I do not want the responsibility for a suitable education for my children taken away from me.

At this moment I'm not sure what's the best way for me to help guarding the rights and the educational freedom we have in this country. I am trying to find out in what way I can put what I've got to offer to best effect. What have I got to offer, for that matter? That's not a question in self pity, it's a genuine attempt to self analysis.

- My knowledge of Dutch educational legislation, Dutch political systems and the mysterious ways the Dutch educational system works is of no use whatsoever, that's for sure.
- I am not very good with virtual groups, yahoo groups and all that. In 'real' groups it's hard enough for everyone to find a comfortable place, feel the dynamics and try and create - and maintain - a balanced atmosphere. But you can actually see the people, their facial expression, their body language. In a virtual group all you have is the written words, and if you're lucky you know one or a few of the other group members. You can't see the quiet ones, you don't feel the vibes, you don't see how people look at each other, whether they smile or not, and it's very hard to determine if what looks like an aggressive remark is based on frustration, sadness or bitterness. Also, unless you've been with a group from the very beginning, you won't know what's already been written about, if and how other members know each other, and you haven't got a clue how people really perceive your written words.
- Our geographical position and our way of life don't leave much room for meeting up with lots of other - politically active - home educators and the fact that I have to earn a living as well as eat and sleep, doesn't leave me with an abundance of time.
- In spite of everyone saying my English is good enough, language is a handicap. I still think in Dutch and writing in English is a challenge.

So what have I got to offer?

- My personal experience, I suppose, and the things I've learned in my own life. Mostly through trial and error.
- My passion for autonomous education and the fact that in the past ten years I have had to stand up for that on several occasions, in court, in the media, on seminars about education, in one to one situations, etcetera. Mostly in Holland, but I'm gathering quite a bit of UK experience :).

So where does that leave me as in making a constructive contribution to securing the legal right of freedom of education in this country?
I'm still not sure. And until I am I think I'll just stick to what I feel good and comfortable with and that's enjoying our autonomous life to the fullest. And every now and then I'll stick my nose into political matters, or I'll make a comment of the list I'm on because I really feel connected to something or someone.
But most of all I'll try and live in the moment, be calm and assertive when it comes to making sure my 'pack' is safe and happy and all the while love my children to bits. And my husband of thirty (!!!!) years, of course.

The past two weeks I was overwhelmed with happy and successful moments. Moments where my children were happy, ecstatic because they reached goals they'd set themselves. Because they had achieved what they wanted to.

Our eldest (19) started in her new job and after only two weeks got offered a fulltime job, including paid training to get the qualifications she wants. She is over the moon, feels self-confident and strong.

Our son (17) has been promoted to Lance Corporal in the army cadets and at the same time got given a few quite responsible tasks. He was commended for his commitment, for his dedication ánd for his ability to stay calm under pressure. Not bad for an Aspie, hey? Plus he got his grading to orange in Hontai, the classical form of Jiu Jitsu and he was asked to help train the youngsters twice a week.

Our youngest (13) took part in the Carlisle Music Festival and managed to win four of the six (singing) classes she took part in and get a second prize in one. Then she had to sing in the finales and won that, singing O Mio Babbino Caro. So she won the trophy for best under 18 vocal performance (which went to Andrew Johnston last year, by the way :)).
As a result we might get an article about home education in the regional newspaper, because she seems to have made quite an impression on the journalist who interviewed her.

Of course there are lots of little and big moments where I know, see and sense that autonomous home education was the best choice for our children. And I certainly do not measure the success of our home education by the prizes my children win or the qualifications they earn. But it's definitely good to see how capable they are to carry themselves in this world without losing one little bit of their unique selves.


liz said...

great big :-)

Carlotta said...


Dawny said...

wow , as the americans say 'you go girl.'
I must share this with Lana :-) brilliant.