Grab for Freedom
From Ms Barbara Kelly, August 2009
Dear Mr Hodgkinson,
I’ve just read your article online in the Daily Telegraph concerning proposed changes to the home ed scene in the U.K. I agree that governments have extreme difficulty handling any grab for freedom by the common man.
Last year, my son, Lachlan and I embarked on home education. We are still doing it. In Western Australia you are required to be registered and you have to follow the state curriculum guidelines. These are contained in a huge volume which I gravely attempted to navigate once. Too full of soulless edu-speak – not a pleasant experience at all. I decided right there and then that I did not want to be intimidated by that book so I haven’t opened it since.
We have a moderator who visits towards the end of each year to assess our effort. Our moderator is a nice, relaxed friendly person. When she came we had an easy going chat and showed her some of our work – I also keep a diary of our daily doings. The good thing is that aside from this visit no-one interferes with you at all during the year.
This year we are a little less structured than last year. Lachlan, is mildly autistic (we’ve just had a formal diagnosis) so the freedom is particularly helpful. For instance, Lachie doesn’t like maths. He’s just not interested in quantifying things. Today, in an effort to make it a little more enjoyable for him, I made up a board game based on Ludo. This one has a Spongebob theme (his favourite cartoon). I’ve told him that when we play we have to use two dice – the object being that he had to add up the numbers before he can move his character.
I really love the freedom of home-education, however, I am feeling challenged at the moment to decide the best way to go with Lachlan. He does have difficulties socializing with his peers and would benefit from more interaction. We do mix occasionally with local home-schoolers, yet are still a little isolated. I envy you, having a village school for your children. Something like that would be ideal for Lachlan.
Since I last wrote I have acquired a computer and a mobile phone. I don’t use the phone much but use the computer a fair bit. Lachlan is quite a technological whiz. I have to keep a lid on his usage – both computer and T.V.
As an antidote to the increased technology in the house I have created more room for vegetables in the garden. At the moment, we have potatoes, spinach, peas, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, lettuce and leeks.
And we got some chickens – very attractive chickens, I might add. My daughter promptly named them after the members of Monty Python. One of them has begun to lay, but I don’t know if it’s Graham, Eric, Michael, John, Jerry or Jerry.
I read The Idle Parent – great work. I love reading your stuff – there’s nothing else like it.
Barbara Kelly, Western Australia