Home educators of yesteryear

I have been musing lately about the recent past; a sad habit of many as they approach their twilight years. Those able to remember the fuss over the publication of Graham Badman’s report will perhaps recall that shortly after it came out, I had a couple of articles published in newspapers about home education. These were my personal views on the subject and they provoked a storm of protest from some other home educators.

I did not understand then and still do not to this day, why reading the views of another home educator who disagreed with one’s own views could cause so much rage, but we will let that pass. What I have found curious over the three years or so since this happened is that the most aggressive of my critics have shown that they were actually following a fad at the time and had no real commitment to home education. I am not going to name any names here, but am talking about mothers who became heroines of to home educators for their Freedom of Information requests and so on.

One of the most well known figures in the campaign against Badman was only home educating her daughter because she had not been able to persuade her well-off family to shell out for a private school. This has since been done and the child is now attending a good, independent school. Another only ever wanted to keep her child at home until she was 11, always having the aim of getting her into a grammar school. She has now done this. Three other women who were both extremely active in fighting Badman and also very angry with me, have now sent their children to school.

I do not say that it is wrong to send children to school, but it is odd to see people who are one moment utterly gung-ho in favour of home education and the next packing their kids off to school. This has confirmed what I suspected at the time, that the real cause of their anger at me was that I had decided to home educate my child for no other reason than that I wished to home educate. This was and still is rare in the British home educating scene.


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