Saturday, 5 January 2013
What does he mean, high profile home educators? What constitutes bizarre beliefs?
It was perhaps inevitable that as soon as I mentioned ‘high profile home educators’, a contrapuntal murmur should rise in the comments here, to the effect that nobody had ever heard of any high profile home educators. It was similarly predictable then when I mentioned mad belief systems, I would be accused of imposing my own standards upon others. After all, where do I get off calling other people’s worldviews barking mad? The easiest way of dealing with this is to give one or two real-life examples, being careful not to identify the individuals concerned.
Whenever home education, particularly the autonomous strand, is put forward as a successful alternative to school; two examples are sure to be cited. One of these is a boy from Leytonstone in East London who was home educated and then gained a place at Oxford University and the other is a young man in the north of England who studied bio-chemistry at Manchester. It is at the second of these two cases that I wish to look.
The mother of the boy who went to Manchester is one of those I have mentioned before, who spent years patrolling the internet to defend home education against sceptics. She has appeared in a national magazine under her own name as well as many provincial newspapers. She has also been interviewed on the wireless. I think it fair to say that she is a high profile home educator. She is also one of the mother/daughter pairs that I mentioned a few days ago, where the mother develops an unidentifiable neurological problem and the daughter duly follows suit at puberty.
This is one instance of what I meant when I talked of high profile home educators; a woman and her son of whom most of the people commenting here are likely to have heard.
As regards bizarre belief systems, I am by no means the most conventional of men myself. It takes a lot for me to view somebody else’s beliefs as barking mad, but I have my limits. One of those who helped Alison Sauer produce her famous guidelines was also one of those nine people who were barred by the Department of Children, Schools and Families from making any further Freedom of Information requests. Her name appeared on every internet list to do with home education and she also commented constantly on the online versions of newspaper articles about home education. Another one who could well be described as a high profile home educator. She also happens to be a follower of David Icke. A well respected man whose initials are NT, one of the most well known figures on the British home education scene, is a devout believer in the New World Order. When I meet people who believe that the royal family are really lizards or that the Jews are taking over the world, I have no hesitation in calling their beliefs barking mad.
I have given a few examples here of both high profile home educators and also made beliefs. I hope that readers now understand what I mean by both phrases.