Not for the first time, I find myself taken aback at the astonishing capacity possessed by some home educating parents to make a lot of fuss about nothing. An article in the Guardian on Saturday about child prodigies contained the following quotation from the mother of a gifted three year old;
"Stories of home-schooled geeks scare her. "What every parent wants for their children is to give them a happy, balanced, enjoyable childhood. I don't think any adult is ever going to go, 'Damn, I didn't do my GCSEs aged nine'."
No suggestion of course that home educated children were in general 'geeks'. The only mention of home education in a pretty long article of almost four thousand words; hardly something to worry about, one would have thought. Several mothers were furious, though. One woman was 'absolutely fizzing with anger'! Fortunately, Mike Fortune-Wood was quickly on the case. He dashed off a long and bizarrely phrased email to the editor of the Guardian, saying among other things;
"Formal educational methods, of the sort employed by pushyparents attempting to hot house their kids are so rare as to bestatistically insignificant, yet your article has left the public with theimpression that this is the predominant methodology."
Curious indeed. How on earth does he know this? We are not told. Besides, all the wretched mother apparently said was that stories of home schooled geeks scared her. Understandable really; many people are made uneasy by cases such as Ruth Lawrence. It would be absurd to deny that there are actually home schooled geeks. If anybody should take offence at such a remark, I would have thought it should be incredibly structured home educators whose children are pushed through a clutch of IGCSE's early.......
I suppose that the truth is that with a change in the law on home education very much on the back burner at the moment, parents have to look harder at the newspapers in order to find things to be upset about. As a matter of fact, the Internet lists seem pretty quiet at the moment. We must hope that this is because all those parents who were spending so much time posting on them in the run-up to the election are now concerning themselves with the education of their children.