Some readers probably feel that they are not yet proper home educators, because they are still on quite amicable terms with their local authority. There is really no need for this, as putting people’s backs up is a fairly straightforward business. It is not hard to draw attention to yourself and make your local authority think that there is something fishy going on. Let’s see the best way to go about this.
Some parents welcome visits from their local authority as a chance to talk over concerns and ask questions about their child’s education. They would ideally like to see their EHE contact more often than once a year. These people are what we call traitors and fifth columnists. Always keep an eye out for such characters on the lists and forums and be sure to denounce them, saying that they are making the lives of genuine home educators a lot harder, by encouraging local authorities to expect visits as a matter of routine. Remember, any professionals who ask questions about the fact that your child is not at school are not really motivated by concern about your child’s welfare or education. Be sure to brush off any questions and remind those asking them of the legal situation. A few friendly words might reassure the person and the matter will end there; that’s not what the true home educator wants at all. Best of all, refuse brusquely to answer any question at a hospital, clinic, GP’s surgery or anywhere else. Become upset and angry if anybody asks the most casual and innocent question about your child’s non-attendance at school.
The fun really begins when having aroused the liveliest suspicions in the minds of concerned professionals about just what is going on with your kid, you then get a letter from the local authority. Typically, this will be couched ina chatty and friendly way, asking if it would be possible for somebody to pop round for a chat. There are Quislings and collaborators who give in to this sort of approach, which is in reality little short of fascism. Do not be one of them. Instead, contact all the Internet lists to which you belong and send an agonised appeal into cyberspace, announcing that you are being hounded and pursued. Explain that your child is so sensitive that he is likely to have a nervous breakdown if any unfamiliar adult enters the home. With luck, you will find other like-minded individuals who will help you to compose a really snotty letter to the local authority. This will achieve the double purpose of both putting their backs up and also leading them to suppose that you have something to hide. The stage is now set for confrontation and you may look forward to an increasingly fraught atmosphere. It would be no bad thing if your child were to pick up on this atmosphere and become distressed himself. Here’s a handy tip. Why not tell him that the bad guys are trying to force him to go to school? If this does not distress him, then why not hint that some people might want to take him away from his mother altogether? His inevitable anxiety will then provide you with yet another grievance. This strategy is particulary effective for children who are on the autistic spectrum.
It is not hard to spend years at daggers drawn with your local authority and the more fighting you manage with them, the more you will know that you are not one of those supine wretches who sell out at the first opportunity to the forces of the state. They may prefer a pleasant relationship with their local authority with a good natured hour once a year to chat things over; you are made of sterner stuff. If you ever have the nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you have turned into a a quarrelsome crackpot who argues for the sake of it, just spend some time on Home Ed Forums or HE-UK. You will soon be reassured that this behaviour is perfectly normal for a good home educator!