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 -

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My draft A4 to Mr Badman

I've written and re-written my A4 to Mr Badman.
It's strange, in one way I feel there's already many people writing extremely good pieces, so maybe I shouldn't take the focus away from them. On the other hand I really feel it's about me, and about my family, and about the future of my children and their children, so I need to add my bit to it.
Obviously everyone's dilemma is what to write in such a limited space. How to phrase all that's so utterly important to us in so few words? I wonder if Mr Badman realises that each and everyone of us conscious and elective home educators could talk for hours and hours about the why and how of uninterfered-with home education. How can you make someone understand the essence of autonomous education if they are walking an entirely different path in life?
Anyway, I've decided that this - here below - is what I want to send. Any comments or corrections to English are most welcome.

Dear Mr Badman,

Thank you for inviting home educators to write to you regarding the ongoing review of Elective Home Education and thank you for your promise to read it all.
It was hard to decide what to write about, as I could easily fill a book with relevant facts, figures and feelings. As I expect you will be inundated with facts and figures by other home educators, I chose to write to you on a more personal level.

After all that's gone on and been said since the start of this review - and the previous consultations - it's hard to withstand the tendency to feel suspicious or hostile. Everything I believe in, live for and love dearly, seems to be under threat of being changed to such an extent that it would change the very core of my existence. And that's scary.

However, one thing I've learned since we chose to home educate our children autonomously, is that the only way to deal with fear is to stand up to it and face it. I will not let fear get the better of me, I will not let it rule my life. I will have faith and trust that my well considered choice to take full responsibility for the education of my own children gets the respect and recognition it deserves and is entitled to.
From that faith and trust I am now asking you to not let the overwhelming sense of fear that seems to rule our society nowadays, stand between you and sound judgment. To please look beyond and recognize that one very good way to conquer fear is for people to take responsibility for their own lives and, as a possible consequence, for the education of their own children. In whatever way they see fit.
And that by doing so the well-being of young people is improved and the chances of them being abused or neglected are reduced, not only within their own families and communities, but - eventually - in society as a whole.

As the absolute expert on my own children and after twelve years of autonomous home education I dare to say they wouldn't be the well balanced, confident, competent, independent and happy young people they are today if there had been a compulsive need for monitoring. Or if any outside and non-committed party had in any other way interfered with or tried to take control over their self directed way of learning and living. Being able to home educate in our own autonomous way has been very beneficial for our children and for us as a family.

Nothing and nobody can ever totally eradicate evil from this world. I am absolutely sure that existing legislation and guidance in this country is more than sufficient to tackle possible child abuse and threats to children's welfare as good as possible. There is enough evidence to suggest that LA's and other agencies involved in education and child welfare are not sufficiently informed and therefore not efficient when it comes to relating the existing legislation and guidance to elective home education. Improving that would surely result in a better outcome for all involved, and would certainly prevent a lot of unnecessary aggravation and harmful experiences to home educating families.

Please, Mr. Badman, let us get on with what we do so passionately and with more love, dedication and commitment than any system could ever offer: Providing our children with an education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude and to any special needs they may have.


Anonymous said...

Such a nice letter to Mr. Badman, Mieke. Well done.


Dawny said...

Mieke that's just spot on sweetie, thank you for saying it so clear and heartfelt - surely he's got to listen . . . .

Maire said...

Well put, and this is a very pertinent point.

'And that by doing so the well-being of young people is improved and the chances of them being abused or neglected are reduced, not only within their own families and communities, but - eventually - in society as a whole.'

Ruth said...