The extraordinary suggestion was made in a comment yesterday that I am engaged in a crusade, the supposed reason being that I am determined to make a name for myself. This is a pretty odd idea, but I thought that I would examine it anyway, because this is not the first time that this notion has cropped up here. Just to remind readers, over a year ago I had a couple of short articles published on home education. Since then, I have kept a little blog on the subject. This is hardly 'making a name' for myself! I doubt that anybody other than those who come onto this blog know my name.
Of course, there is my famous book. Another suggestion which has been made is that this blog is acting as publicity for the book, which is all part of a long term plan of mine to make money at the expense of home educating parents. If only that were true! The fact is that academic works of this sort do not make money for their authors. Most people buying it will be professionals working in the field of education. A great deal of work has gone into the thing and I will be lucky to break even. Whatever motive anybody has for writing a book like that; it is certainly not financial.
Why did I write the book, if not for financial gain? Was it just to advertise myself, as some of those who comment here evidently believe? The reason was simpler than that. I wrote it because there is a good deal of ignorance about home education among teachers and local authority officers. as well as ordinary non-home educators, and I wanted to produce something which would provide them with a bit of background knowledge. I am aware that there are already books on home education, but these tend to be either self-published or from very small presses. I wanted something from a major publisher which would be available in big commercial outlets. That way, both professionals and parents could find it freely available without having to hunt through obscure sources to find it. It is being sold everywhere; from WH Smith to The Guardian bookshop and The Stationery Office. For those who fear that this is little more than a collection of my rants, I can assure them that it is nothing of the sort. The first six chapters are an objective survey of the phenomenon of home education, starting with the Sumerians four thousand years ago and covering up to the Ofsted report on local authorities released in the Summer. The seventh chapter is less objective and sets out my own prescription for how home education should be regulated in this country.
I should remind readers that I originally appealed on this blog for any autonomous educators to help, by contributing to a dialogue between local authority officers and home educating parents. I did plan to have a chapter where autonomously educating parents could speak directly to local authorities and local authority officers would put their concerns. I had some people from local authorities who were prepared to be named and give their views, but not a single parent wished to take part, even anonymously. I also emailed a number of the more vociferous people on the Internet lists, but nobody wanted to have their views included. I did not think it fair to allow the local authorities to have their say without a response and so scrapped this idea and put the case for both sides myself. This is shame. It would have been good for autonomous educators to have a platform of this sort in a book which is likely to be widely read by those who shape and implement policy, but obviously I couldn't twist anybody's arm!