Friday, 1 March 2013
A question about autonomous education
I was talking the other day to a local authority officer who works with children who are not attending school. She asked me a question which left me a little foxed, so I thought that I would ask readers here to offer their views. As most home educators probably know, the Department for Education, in addition to closing down the practice of flexi-schooling, are targeting the children of Gypsies, Travellers and Roma; with a view to ensuring that they spend more time in school. There is a bit about this here:
Now as we know, some home educating parents feel strongly that a child can receive a perfectly good education just from being part of a family and participating in ordinary, everyday activities. We looked recently at Iris Harrison and her children. This was the lifestyle that they pursued; really just doing what they felt like doing and so educating themselves. Some days playing the violin; on others tinkering with an old car and so on. Some autonomous educators believe that this is the best type of education, where a child is free to choose his or her own curriculum and learn only about those things in which there is an intrinsic interest.
The question I was asked was this. Would this sort of education be regarded by many home educating parents in this country as being a suitable one for members of minority cultures such as the GTR community? Would it be acceptable just to leave it to these children and their parents to worry, or not, themselves about what might constitute a suitable, full-time education?
There was a supplementary question, depending upon the answer to this first point, but we might return to this later.