Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

Adapted from a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Khyra Ishaq & Home Education

If you came across this news item, find out more from Gerald Warner here, "It is clear that the Government and other “progressive” agencies, their propaganda helpfully promoted by the BBC, are already exploiting the Khyra Ishaq case to advance their agenda of attacking homeschooling" - and from the following:

Maire-Staffordshire - Dare to Know - Sometimes It's Peaceful - Renegade Parent - Tech - Firebird - Debs - Lou - Ciaran - Stuart Dunstan - Ali - Jem - Sue - Cat - Sally - Merry

There is also a pledge

"I will withhold my TV License Payments until the BBC apologises to Home Educators."

you can make here.

Also on the news:
Tories promise to block home school plans

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MPs error over home education vote

MPs are debating the Bill that would give the assembly the power to make laws in the field of home education.

Tory MP Graham Stuart has tabled an amendment to to block this part of the Bill.

Mrs Randerson said: "My colleagues in Westminster subscribed to this amendment in error and will be removing their names from this Tory amendment."

Read it here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't stifle home schooling

Neil Fernandez explains, here, how the proposals to register children educated at home would subject families to the misguided whims of local authorities.

Jeremy Wright, MP for Rugby and Kenilworth, explains why he voted against recently debated the Government’s Children, Schools and Families Bill here.

Socialization and Homeschooling: When my husband and I first considered homeschooling our two children, the most common response from friends and family was: “What about socialization?” It’s a legitimate question. Read it here.

USA: Homeschooled kids honored at state contest: A local team has managed to put together an award-winning performance during its first year of competition in FIRST Lego League. Homeschooling mum Jennifer saw the competition as a great opportunity for her son and daughter, ages 14 and 9, to learn about science and technology.

“I am always looking for ways to give my kids fun, hands-on, real-life meaningful learning,” she said. “My kids love Legos, so any chance I get to incorporate Legos into teaching that I do is a good one.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

On the News

School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at home

Home Team Advantage: If your ADHD child struggles in school—and dreads going every day—help him shine by teaching him at home. Read here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Take Back Your Education by J. T. Gatto

Nobody gives you an education. If you want one, you have to take it. Only you can educate you—and you can’t do it by memorizing. You have to find out who you are by experience and by risk-­taking, then pursue your own nature intensely. School routines are set up to discourage you from self-discovery. People who know who they are make trouble for schools.

To know yourself, you have to keep track of your random choices, figure out your patterns, and use this knowledge to dominate your own mind. It’s the only way that free will can grow. If you avoid this, other minds will manipulate and control you lifelong.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dorset parents sign petition against the bill

Andrew and his wife Mary-Clare teach their 15-year-old twins at home.

Andrew: “If they were able to interview the child separately from a parent that would be completely wrong. It would not normally be the case that anybody in authority would be able to interview a child without a parent present. Police interviewing a crime wouldn’t be able to.”

Mary-Clare: “If you choose to home educate you feel you can do a better job. We wanted our children to learn things when they were ready and in their own time. It’s more natural.”


Some comments are also worth reading, like this one:

This Bill reverses the assumption of innocence in English Law, giving the authorities powers to enter law abiding family homes. If this legislation goes ahead it will well and truly open the flood gate of yet more state interference into private family life.

Parents are responsible for their children's education, not the state. Schools are "subject to checks and inspections" because with our taxes we pay for that education service and they have an obligation to parents to prove that they are fulfilling their paid duty. Parents do not have to prove that they are raising their children correctly, in law it is just assumed that they are.

"Under the plans, parents or their children will have the power to block the child being interviewed alone."- in the bill if parent or child exercises this power, then local authorities are allowed to issue a school attendance order for non-compliance!

Schools are not the foolproof "safety net" Government would like us to believe, nor does every child leave with a good education. In the current economic climate our taxes would be better spent improving the provision for the majority, rather than policing a tiny minority of home educators, for which there is no evidence that there is cause for concern.

Elective Home Education Day Conference

This day conference seeks to develop critical discussion on all three aspects (EHE, policy, and the academic debate). In particular, we seek to review ‘suitable’ and ‘efficient’ as educationally significant (see Section 7, Education Act 1996), which the Badman Report largely side-stepped.

The conference, stimulated by a number of papers and responses, will seek to explore the legitimacy of this conceptual framework for EHE, and possible conceptualisations which offer a practical way forward for parents and policy makers in a UK context.

Event details here.

UPDATE: Please read this letter to the organisers.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

16 y.o. unschooler speaks out

Emi is 16 years old and has been an unschooler for many years. Here she is, interviewed by her sister.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Homeschooling: not for desperate housewives

What's on the news today

Jayne, who educates her three children aged nine, 12 and 15, said: “A lot of us feel the proposed changes are not about benefiting the child but about control. As the current legislation stands we have a very free system and that is a good thing. We want to protect it for people who need to make that choice in the future.” Read more...

Plans to force home-schooling families to register their children with local authorities are “not a good use of public money”, according to a member of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board. Read more...

Rising numbers of parents are being fined for taking children out of school for cheap term-time holidays. Read it here.

Homeschoolers excluded from laptop grants

Another petition:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to allow home educating families to apply for home access laptop grants.

At the moment home-educating families are purposely excluded from the Home Access free laptop scheme for families on low incomes in England. We believe this to be discriminatory against families who strive to bring a nurturing and personal education to their children and at their own cost. Ed Balls said that children without access to the Internet at home are "...at a disadvantage to their peers..." yet is utterly at home leaving a tiny section of society in that very place: at a disadvantage to everyone else.

Please make the laptops available to home-educated children too. The current criteria is negligent and exclusive. More here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Our children have been nationalised

Gerald Warner reckons that the German homeschoolers' political asylum in America exposes the EU Gulag:

Why did the German homeschoolers not seek political asylum in Britain? Because our rulers subscribe to the same tyrannical statist philosophy, is the answer. Every possible obstacle is put in the way of homeschooling parents in Britain.

The mentality is that the state – not parents – is the natural controller and shaper of children’s lives and beliefs. When a schoolgirl can be given an abortion without her parents’ knowledge, we know that, while public utilities may have been privatised, children have been nationalised.

ALSO on the news: One of the growing number of children who are being taught at home, for Archie there will be no dreaded Sats exams and when the time is right he will likely bypass GCSEs and move straight to A-levels. Read it here.

AND, on EO's campaigning site, a new page -Where are we up to with the Bill? - which can be read here.

Finally, we also have the Memorandum submitted by AHEd: Children Schools and Families Bill.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

EO questions assurances about EHE funding

"the guidance notes specifically instruct local authorities not to include home educated children in any funding applications."

Read it here.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Are home-educated children better off?

Parents who choose to educate their children at home are concerned about Government plans to force inspections on them. Cambridge News speaks to one local family who have shunned the school system. Read it here.

Today, 19:30 on BBC One (Cambridgeshire, East only): Dave Hough educates his son at home because he thinks schools are too regimented, offer a poor standard of education and tolerate bullying. The government is planning to introduce much stricter regulations on home schooling with inspections by Ofsted. Dave Hough and many other home educators claim this goes against their right to educate their children in the way they see fit. David Whiteley asks who really is best-placed to ensure the child's right to a good education, the state or the parent? As seen here.

Also: Are Home Educators Worrying About Nothing?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

This week on the news

So, what's on the news this week?

In London, a 9 y.o. boy hanged himself after being told off at school. He wasn't the only one: in a Texas school another 9-year-old boy was found hanged. In Mumbai, a 12-year-old, ashamed of failure, hanged himself too.

In Scotland: 500 kids kicked out of school each year over drink and drugs; fears over rise in violence at schools involving weapons; PE teacher cleared of kiss and in Castletown parents want to sack the head teacher after girls one to five had their underwear checked.

In North wales a primary school teacher was suspended for ridiculing pupils; in Wiltshire, a maths teacher groomed pupil before having sex with her in school cupboard and in a top public school in London a school teacher 'fondled pupils'.

In Cheshire, the PE teacher who punched special needs pupil escapes ban but Pembrokeshire sex assault head teacher lost his appeal. A teacher in Hull has been jailed after a traumatised teenage girl he sexually abused called ChildLine for help. In Nailsea, a 12 y.o. boy is given hardcore porn at school.

In Sudbury pupils are to be given talk on knives and in Gloucestershire a school bus driver over alcohol limit crashed vehicle. I also found out that in England smacking is allowed in certain schools. Despite all this, the crackdown on school truants continues because school is were children should be!

In Germany, an elite school reports sexual abuse cases but everything is OK now that rector has apologised. In Vietnam, a wartime shell explodes at schoolyard and in Haiti 50 bodies are found in a school.

In South Africa, a pupil kills herself after a grade bungle, a pupil has died after being stabbed in the grounds of his school, and a 12 y.o. pupil is shot dead at school. In yet other school of 1 200 pupils, 100 per class, one toilet! I think I'll stop now...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home educators' house swapping holidays

11-year-old Ruaridh finds the whole experience exciting:

“Well, if you think that it’s hard, its not,” he said. “You just forget what you did at home and consider it as something new and something different. Home education really does teach you that you can make your own decisions about that, you’ve just really got to think what you want to do; it gives you an opportunity to do anything you want to do.”

Read it here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homeschooling Family Granted Political Asylum

“This decision finally recognizes that German homeschoolers are a specific social group that is being persecuted by a Western democracy,” said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney and director of international relations for Home School Legal Defense Associaton.

“It is embarrassing for Germany, since a Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children. This judge understood the case perfectly, and he called Germany out. We hope this decision will cause Germany to stop persecuting homeschoolers,” he added.

Read more here. The story also appeared on the Guardian, the Deutsche Welle, the Local, and in spanish here.

UPDATE: Commenting on this, Ed West says here that the British Government is trying to make homeschooling even harder because he suspects many of the parents are religious.

NAS position on home education clause

Proposals in the Children, Schools and Families Bill implement the recommendations of the Badman Review to register and monitor home educators:

Research suggests that children who are home educated are nearly twice as likely to have statements of SEN, and children with autism are heavily represented within this group. A lack of understanding of autism means the school experiences of children with the condition are frequently marred by misunderstandings, inadequate support and often bullying. Some parents are, consequently, left with little alternative other than to home school in the best interests of their child's education and mental and physical well-being. In some of the worst cases we also hear that parents are placed under pressure by schools to remove their children under threat of permanent exclusion or prosecution.

Far too many parents of children with autism who home educate are simply left alone 'to get on with it' without any support at all or say their local authority has been unhelpful and even hostile to their attempts to provide an appropriate education. This is particularly where the relationship between the parents and the local authority has broken down, during parents fight to get the right support for their child.

It is vital that the proposals in the Bill take into account the needs of this group of children. We want to see local authorities who have the training and resources in autism to be able to work in partnership with parents and give them the support they need to home educate their children. It is absolutely essential that this is a two-way relationship with an emphasis on support and not monitoring alone.

Mark Lever, chief executive of The National Autistic Society, here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dealing with truancy, the american way

Simple! Tag the children with GPS Tracking Devices!

More here and here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wales Environmental Home Education Camp

30th Aug – 5th Sept

This is the fifth year that the camp has been running at Pengraig. A beautiful farm set in 78 acres of countryside near Carmarthen in West Wales. The farm is home to the Majical Youth Theatre Group external link image who have more than 20 years experience in running and organising events of all sizes, for kids of all ages.

Cost: Early bird tickets are available at the cost of £150 per family. This offer is available until 1st April 2010. The price from 1st April will rise to the full tariff of £200 per family. Limited concessions are available for single parents with proof of benefits.

Find out more here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

CSF Bill House of Commons 2nd Reading

Michael Gove

Mark Field

You can also watch here Mark Field highlighting the concerns of home educators with regard to the recommendations of the Badman Review in a Westminster Hall debate he tabled on 9 June 2009.

Continue watching...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NH Home Schoolers Protest!

"New Hampshire home educators protesting proposed government regulations making NH the most difficult state to home school. It is a short account of why these ordinary families came out in frigid New England weather to voice their concerns to the New Hampshire legislature. A suprising mix of people with differing political, religious and social views gathered in a unified stance against their representatives."

N.H. Homeschoolers Praise Vote Against Tighter Regulations
The N.H. House of Representatives rejected a bill that would tightly regulate homeschooling. The state House voted 324-34 against changes to the current law.

A Libertarian Perspective on Home-Ed

Sophie Robbins (Home Educated Student; blogger, ValleyForge) talking at LIBERTY 2009: the Annual Conference of the Libertarian Alliance. Oct 2009, London.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On the news...

Children's Secretary Ed Balls has defended plans to force home-educating parents to register with their local council as "very light touch indeed" [dismissing] Tory claims that the plans would "alienate and antagonise" home educators. Read more...

Here, Lord Lucas shares his "close interest in home education, in the Badman Report, and in the bill now before the Commons, which sets out to demolish people's right to educate their own children" and his difficulties when trying to get answers to his questions.

Meantime, in the USA, home schooling soars in Central Florida
... the number of kids sitting for lessons in their kitchens and living rooms surged 20% last school year. Read more...

While in New Hampshire home school proposal too strict
Parents portray the legislation as state interference in family affairs. "Some people think the government knows what's best for everyone, and that's not always true," said Pam Altemose, who brought three of her six children to the State House last week. Altemose, a Rochester resident with a master's degree in education, said she first chose home schooling so she could work individually with a son who has special needs. Read more...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Consultation Results

Home Education - registration and monitoring proposals
can be found here.

Home education and the children, schools and families bill

* The Guardian, Monday 11 January 2010

We believe that schedule 1 of the children, schools and families bill represents an unacceptable imposition of state control over families. Although it is aimed at children educated outside the school system, it has implications for all families.

Most parents would not make home-based education their first choice; but any family might need it if school seriously failed their child. Currently, this choice is lawfully available to all parents. If enacted, the bill would – for the first time – transfer responsibility for a child's education from the parents to the state. We believe this is a matter which should be of great concern to everyone.

A change in the law is unnecessary. Parents are already required by law to provide an education suitable to the age, aptitude and ability of their children, and to any special educational needs they may have. Local authorities already have the power to take action if parents do not do this.

Evidence indicates that home education is highly effective. Many home educating families use child-led educational methods which lie outside the prevailing educational paradigm. Diversity in education is precious in a democracy, and we need the law to protect it, and to protect the best interests of each individual child.

The interests of children are strikingly absent from schedule 1, which is concerned mainly with setting up a bureaucratic system administered by local authorities. They would be given the power to deny parents permission to home-educate, at any time, unless parents adapt their educational approach to fit in with the requirements of the system. The resulting insecurity would be damaging to many children, especially those with special educational needs.

Schedule 1 contravenes two principles of the government's own children's plan: that families bring up children, not governments; and that services need to be shaped by and responsive to children, young people and families, not designed around professional boundaries. Given the controversy surrounding this section of the bill, and the serious criticisms made of it by the children, schools and families select committee, we call on the government to withdraw schedule 1 of the bill, and the accompanying clauses.

Ralph Lucas House of Lords, Oliver James, Child clinical psychologist, Anne Fine, Dr Frank Furedi Professor of sociology, Professor Anna Craft University of Exeter, Michele Elliott Founder of Kidscape, Professor Roger Scruton, Graham Stuart MP Chair, all-party parliamentary group on home education, Michael A Peters Professor, educational policy studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Brian Thorne Fellow, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Professor Emeritus Janet Moyles Early years and play consultant, Tricia David Emeritus professor of education, Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Andrew Samuels University of Essex, Professor Tony Kouzarides Cancer research scientist at Cambridge University, Professor Ian Cunningham Chair of educational charity, Dr Sacha Powell Acting director, Centre for Research into Children, Families and Communities, Canterbury Christ Church University, Dr Felicity de Zulueta Consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy and honorary senior lecturer at King's College London, Fiona Carnie Vice-president, European Forum for Freedom in Education, Dr Alan Thomas Visiting fellow at University of London Institute of Education, Harriet Pattison Research Associate, School of Education, University of London, Dr Richard House Senior lecturer in therapeutic education, Roehampton University, Peter Humphreys Chair, trustee, director, The Centre for Personalised Education and Personalised Education Now, Veronika Robinson Editor, The Mother magazine, Sue Palmer Literacy specialist and author of Toxic Childhood, Dani Ahrens Open letter co-ordinator, Badman Review Action Group, Roland Meighan The Centre for Personalised Education Trust, Dr Teresa Belton Educational researcher, Dr Ben Anderson Department of sociology, University of Essex, Melanie Gill Forensic psychologist, Claire Fox Director, Institute of Ideas, Vincent Nolan Trustee, Synectics Education Initiative, Dr Marilyn Fryer, Director, The Creativity Centre, John Harris Professional storyteller/children's author, Norman Wells Director, Family Education Trust, Derry Hannam Researcher/adviser/trainer in education for democratic citizenship to Council of Europe, UK government and NGOs, Liz Steinthal Educare Small School, Dr L Safran Educationist, Chloe Watson Chair, Home Educated Youth Council, Cathy Koetsier Media officer, Home Education Advisory Service, Kathleen Thompson Committee member of Education Everywhere helpline, Annette Taberner Trustee of Education Otherwise, Kelly L Green Founding member of Freedom and Choice in Education, British Columbia, Wendy Priesnitz Founder of Canadian Alliance of Home Schoolers, editor of Life Learning magazine, Beverley Paine Editor Home Education Association Australia publications, Deborah Markus Editor, Secular Homeschooling Magazine and more than 1,000 other signatories (for a full list see http://is.gd/5ViV7)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Homeschooling couple arrested for not registering

In a move designed to send a message to parents, a New York couple were arrested and ticketed for homeschooling their children and failing to register their them with the school district. Read more here.

Watch more on the same story here.

Home-ed 14 y.o. offered place at Cambridge

Cambridge University offers place to home educated 14-year-old - find out more here.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Hampshire restrictions on homeschooling

New Hampshire lawmakers are moving ahead with a bill to restrict home schooling. More here.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Home-ed voices from the Cotswold

"The Government wants to change the law so that inspectors can come into our own homes, test our children and interview them on their own. We are being made criminal in our own country."

"I have home educated my 14 and 22 year old from scratch with no interference from the state. My eldest gained a first class honours degree from Imperial College in Computing and Maths and now has an excellent job with a local games development company."

"Quite a lot of children are withdrawn from school because they have learning difficulties that the school cannot deal with and some because they have been abused and bullied by other school children. Without the freedom to home educate these children would have a very unhappy childhood."

Read it here.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Unschooling for Social Change

The Freechild Project defines unschooling as the process of learning through life, without formalized or institutionalized classrooms or schoolwork. Unschooling relies on interpersonal relationships and natural learning progression to have effect on learners, instead of textbooks and classroom teachers. Self-education is the liberating practice of teaching yourself.

Freechild believes that deschooling is also anti-formalized and anti-institutionalized education of any sorts. However, this process deliberately emphasizes the absence of the systemic approach to learning, and negates the need for schools. Some homeschoolers use a "deschooling" process to get ready for learning at home.

Check it out here.

"Your life, time, and brain should belong to you, not to an institution."
Grace Lwellyn in The Teenage Liberation Handbook

Friday, January 01, 2010

Home-ed news links

North-East and North Yorkshire parents fighting a town hall crackdown if they choose to educate their children at home have won support from MPs after an investigation. Read it here.

South Yorkshire parents who educate their children at home gathered in Sheffield city centre as part of a national protest against proposed 'big brother' reforms which could become law next year. More here.

In Northumberland, MP joins condemnation of home-education red tape. Read it here.