It is pretty obvious that there is no appetite among readers for learning more about the history of home education in this country. One can always tell when people are becoming twitchy and trying to prevent further information being published here! Yesterday, for example, one person commenting expressed the view that it would be better if I were to discuss the educational system in Prussia. Prussia of course ceased to exist as an independent state on the unification of Germany in 1871! Others then followed with various foolish questions, such as asking if I thought that all those who advocated self-sufficiency were Marxists. The effect of this sort of thing is to render any rational discourse impossible; but then I dare say that was the purpose.
There is nothing unusual of course about this. Followers of cults, religions, political parties and unconventional belief systems in general, often become anxious when people are looking objectively at their origins. I quite understand this. It is, never the less, a pity. To give one example, we are all familiar with the fuss about home visits and local authority officers requiring sight of children. None of those involved in the current conflict about this aspect of British home education seem to have asked themselves how and why this situation arose. As I explained a couple of days ago, it was once the practice to invite parents to the divisional office, without their children, for a chat. The reasons that this changed in the mid 1970s are fascinating and have a good deal to do with the actions of a tiny minority of home educators. Having precipitated this, these same people promptly went mad and began demanding judicial reviews…
Still, there it is; Vox Populei, Vox Dei. If people prefer to cling to myths and legends, who am I to object? I shall not be answering any comments for the next few days, because I have a signing and some publicity in Colchester for my latest book. Those who wish to meet me in person may turn up at Waterstones at 12:PM on Saturday.