Thursday, 14 January 2010

A funny kind of day.......

After snowing lightly for 12 hours solid we find ourselves marooned in a snowy Walton. There ia about 2 foot of snow directly surrounding the house due to the large quantities falling off the roof, and some of the guttering has even broken off! Once again there was no school for the children living in the village so the boys spent the day building snowmen and igloos with their friends. It's been fun and the snow is very beautiful, but it has been virtually impossible to get about for us. The nearest food shop in any form is 20 minutes drive away, even in good weather, and activities looked forward to and enjoyed such as swimming lessons and dance classes have been impossible to get to. So we'd all like it to thaw now.

But for my eldest daughter and I the day has been overwhelming consumed by an unexpected learning experience!

She loves to use Facebook. Living in a rural area, she finds it a great way to chat to her friends and generally keep in touch. To be honest it's been a bit of a lifeline for her recently.

Well she was sent a group invitation to join a group that is campaigning against the new home education laws. She joined the group and thought she'd send out invitations to join to everyone on her contact list. This seemed inocuous enough.

To cut a very long story short, she received some very aggressive and abusive responses to this from some of her "friends", which she tried to deal with in a mature assertive way. However, they persisted in misinterpreting everything she wrote and twisting her words. After being accused of being "full of s**t", together with sarcastic comments such as ..."what is the home educated genius doing today then..." she decided to post on the home ed group, sections of what these people had said to get their comments! Well that opened a can of worms. Many articulate and well informed people, who are lobbying to protect our rights, got involved in the debate. It was all a little overwhelming but encouraging as they were able to put these young men straight about many of their misconceptions in a way we were finding hard to do.

We were shocked and horrified by the level of aggression expressed by these boys. We couldn't see how the issue should matter to them. The irony of it all was that they were implying that they were getting a better education at school and that home educated children would be indoctrinated by their parents opinions, unable to think for themselves, as well as being overly sheltered from life experiences. Yet their spelling was appauling, and the use of expletives when they were losing an argument, offensive. They had been well and truly indoctrinated by the system as far as I could see. They certainly struggled with the art of thinking and could not listen to or consider another point of view. I am not suggesting that all schooled children are like them It was just two teenage boys who were ill informed and unwilling to listen. But it certainly reinforced my conviction that school is not for my children at least.

It was at first an upsetting experience but as a result we "met" new people who were willing to give of their time and effort to help and support us, even if just in cyberspace! We learnt about how contentious some issues can be, thought about how to deal with them, learnt a bit about politics and the difference between assertiveness and aggression and which is the most effective.

You just never know what learning opportunities may come your way do you! Mind you I'd rather not have too many days like today :-)


Big mamma frog said...

Wow..that facebook stuff must have been difficult to deal with. I'm glad that you have seen some positives come from the experience. Hopefully now that the snow is melting you will be able to get out and about.

Carol said...

To be honest I was gobsmacked by it all. It's funny, I was always ready to face hassle about home ed myself, but wasn't expecting the children to encounter such direct hostility :-(

And yes, the snow has rapidly melted (at least for now) so life returns to normality......whatever that is!!!