In the first post that I made this year, I remarked upon the extraordinary levels of anger displayed by quite a few home educators in the public sphere. Now if this were anger directed only at me, it would be nothing remarkable. I am an unusually irritating person, given to asking questions and expressing strong opinions. A natural consequence of this is that I do tend to piss off a fair few people! However, the anger of which I wrote is also aimed by these home educators at others. Their targets include teachers, schools, local authorities, doctors, psychologists, newspaper reporters and other home educators; to name but a few. Many of them appear to be in a permanent state of tension, ready to erupt in fury at the least provocation.
We have over the last couple of weeks examined one or two causes of this perpetual anger. Some of those at whom we looked have neurological difficulties, wiring problems in the brain if you like, which make it hard for them to understand what others are getting at. This naturally results in their growing frustrated and angry at things which make no sense to them. Others, who have no obvious disorder, cannot follow logical trains of thought. They are incapable of separating ideas into the correct category. This means that they are unable to distinguish between sensible and foolish arguments. This has the effect of making them angry, because they simply don’t get what people are trying to say.
Yesterday, I touched upon another source of anger in quite a few of the home educators who are familiar to us from lists and blogs. These are people whose experiences at school were bad and have therefore picked up from an early age a dislike of and opposition to authority in general. This colours all that they do, say and believe. Combined with an inability to weigh evidence and follow a coherent line of thought, it all makes for a pretty lethal combination! This dislike and distrust of authority makes such people prone to following all sorts of fringe beliefs, some of which may be harmful to their children. How does this work in practice? Well, two obvious examples are teaching and vaccination. The authorities and practically everybody else for the last four thousand years or so have always believed that children need to be taught. We will reject the authorities, while at the same time giving one in the eye to those teachers we so dislike, say such individuals. We will not teach our children as a matter of routine, but only if they specifically ask us to do so. There, that’s put one over on authority and no mistake! We are doing the opposite to what the authorities say we should do.
This attitude can lead to worse courses of action than this though. Authority says that vaccinations are a good idea and will protect your child from German Measles or Mumps. Ha, you fool! Don’t you realise that you will give your kids mercury poisoning or autism if you obey authority? Readers might care to correlate the most angry home educators with those who express the most opposition to the MMR vaccine. The initial dislike of authority, combined with the fact that these people cannot understand how to evaluate evidence, means that they end up hazarding the health of their children.
We are almost ready to pull all the threads together and put together an overview of the home education movement in this country. This will enable us to understand a number of things which do not make any sense to those with children at school. Things such as a dislike of regular teaching, the refusal to allow any monitoring of children, widespread adherence to unconventional ideas and the toxic levels of anger which are on show wherever one looks; not only on the internet, but in the day to day dealings of many of these parents with others.