Tuesday, 4 December 2012

An old chestnut and nuts that are not nuts

Due to the fact that i go to Loughborough all day on Wednesdays, i've uploaded three videos today.  Here are the two which have yet to become public:

This is my old chestnut that everyone home educates, as usual entitled using the word "homeschooling" because it's likely to attract more North American viewers.  My argument is basically that parenting is home education and that there are therefore only a minority of people who don't do it, and also that for those families whose children go to school, just over 8% of their childhood is spent in lessons.  However, you've heard it all before i'm sure, so i won't cover it here.

The reason i keep harping on about this is that it's really important both that we recognise that we are only engaging in the kind of activities that everyone who has the opportunity and is involved with their children is likely to do, just a bit more of it, and that they recognise that we are just them and not people who are in some way isolated, special or, most importantly, in a ghetto.  We all start out as home educators, most of us send our children to school and those who do have a minimal difference to the rest of us.

It's also interesting to look at the people who are literally not involved in home education.  These include parents whose children are in care, fostered or adopted, absent parents, parents in prison and parents whose children are at boarding schools.  The last category does in fact involve some home education, just for a minority of the child's time rather than a majority of it.  I'm also not judging any of those people.  Parents whose children are in care may well have had them unjustly removed or simply be unable to care for them, absent parents may really want contact but have seriously broken relationships with difficult ex-partners, parents in prison may be there because of civil disobedience and parents whose children are at independent boarding schools may have children whose lives have an unusually high quality of education compared to those at state schools, which is why they're there.

The other aspect of this is again that it takes a whole village to raise a child, and therefore that children are likely to learn from all sorts of people in the community and not just their parents.  The current paranoia doesn't help with this of course.

The other video is nuts.

For some strange reason, botanists have decided to define both nuts and berries in a highly counter-intuitive way, such that much fruit we wouldn't think of as berries, such as bananas and pumpkins, are called berries by botanists, many we would think of as berries, such as strawberries and blackberries, are not, and that the majority of things we call nuts, are not - it's really just hazelnuts and that's it!  In other cases, botanists use words for types of fruit which signal that they are being used in a specialised sense because they have been coined for that purpose, such as hesperidia, drupes and pomes.  These are of varying degrees of utility, but they at least have a technical aura about them.  This is what happens when we don't bother to separate registers.  To some extent, yes, these are clever-clever jargon words, but if we don't signal that it leads to confusion.  For that reason, there is a point to jargon.