Today I am struck today by the fact that our primary reason for home educating our children is out of respect for their choice, for their individuality and for their right to self-determination. Alongside this is our respect for their right to privacy and ownership of their intellectual property. What is bizarre is that this latest review is (apparently) about children’s rights. I could laugh, or possibly weep, or maybe a bit of both. You see, I am not a ‘family rights’ advocate. I don’t think that children are owned by their parents – children are their own people and they deserve the care of all adults who come into contact with them. I think children’s rights as human beings should come first in any civilised society. Trouble is we don’t live in one of those.
So, I’m angry and I’ll just chuck the gloves off for a bit. Who is it who has to send out the police (the POLICE) to capture children back to their place of learning? Is it home educators who are chasing their children through the street with the law in tow? No, it isn’t. It is the local authorities who send out teams of adults to capture children like the childcatcher. And, are these children committing an offence? No, they are not. They have not broken a law.
Oh, but I can hear them say... “The children have a right to an education and they have to be caught and put back in the schools so they can get what’s good for them.” Like animals running wild? “They have to be saved from themselves – before they become ‘failures’. And if that doesn’t work then we’ll offer them the ultimate support of sending their parents to jail.” Yes, that’s great for children, isn’t it? What humanity, what understanding, what ‘care’.
So, let me put it plainly. Don’t come to me talking about children’s rights. I don’t need your lecture. I don’t ride roughshod over the needs, desires, dreams of my children. They are precious and I know it. And, you know what? When children live with that respect they learn like plants growing in fertile soil. They learn with a hunger and joy. Your tick boxes and statistics aren’t needed. But thanks all the same...