Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A televisual treat!

My many admirers will, I am sure, be thrilled to have the opportunity to see the Family Webb at home. The link below will take you to Inside Out East.


Don't bother with the first ten and a half minutes, it's about windmills or something. Start at 10.30.Of course, when I say the Family Webb, that's not strictly true. Sharp eyed viewers will be asking themselves, "Where is the child's mother?"

Long before I started home educating, I was already familiar with various famous home educated children such as Ruth Lawrence the maths genius and Judith Polgar the chess prodigy. One thing that all those well known home educated families seem to have in common is that one never sees the mother! There is always some slightly demented looking father with an eerily precocious child, usually a daughter. One never sees Mrs. Lawrence or Mrs. Polgar in the pictures though. I always used to assume that this was because the father either kept the mother locked up in the attic out of the way, like Mr. Rochester's mad wife in Jane Eyre, or that he had beaten her to death and buried her under the patio. Both would be quite understandable; nothing gets in the way of a properly regulated home education more, than some soft hearted woman fussing around and asking whether the kid really needs to be able to read Chinese at the age of two!

However, now that the years have transformed me into one of those same, demented home educating fathers, I am able to answer the perplexing question of where is the wife when the cameras are rolling. In my own wife's case, she refused point blank to be involved with the business and retired to the bedroom to re-read "Follyfoot". She said that if I insisted on dragging her in front of a television camera, she would denounce me for being a cruel and tyrannical parent. I thought it best to let her have her way......


  1. Well, as usual your appearance won't increase your rating in the "Home Educator of the Year Popularity poll" but I don't suppose you were aiming for that!

    Trouble is that TV programmes never compare like with like -ie you (successful structured home educator) vs autonomous family with a much younger child. It would perhaps be fairer to compare the outcomes of your Simone with an older autonomous teenager, (but that is never going to happen) or politicially to look at your views compared with those of other structured home educators who are against more regulation. But not such good television .....

  2. Yes, I agree completely. When I gave evidence at the select committee, I met a bunch of autonomously educated teenagers who had formed some sort of pressure group. They were very much like my own daughter in speech, dress and so on. I'm sure they were just as knowledgable as well. However, that would make really lousy television, comparing two identical teenagers in that way!

  3. It would have been interesting to have Glenna Trout (in the piece that followed yours) commenting on the faces in the home ed bit! I thought the HE advisor was very sensible ('let's have more consultancy') and David Whiteley was irritating with his *hair* and his *eyes*, but the rest was what I expected.

  4. I thought the highlight of the whole thing was the long hair and beard. Almost reminiscent of those "touchy-feely lifestyles" you can't stand. ;) Any more old pictures from the archives you want to share with us, Simon?

    I'm in two minds about the "let's have more consultancy" thing. Maybe it's just me being grumpy, but I got the impression it doesn't even occur to him that people are capable of finding things out for themselves and need telling by an authority figure. Fairly typical of the education establishment though, if that's the case.

  5. Ah Ciaran, I'll warrant that there are one or two pictures in your own photograph album which do not show you to best advantage!

  6. Ok, you've got me there. Too many to count. But I keep most of them locked away.

  7. I'm in the wrong country to watch it on the BBC iplayer, has anybody uploaded it to youtube yet ?