Monday, 15 December 2014

Home Ed Of All Things

Very occasionally I remember what this blog is supposed to be about, or more often coincidentally happen to write something on-topic.  I must apologise for this.
So today I was listening to the very annoying 'Woman's Hour'.  It irritates me mainly because it seems to be about "women in the workplace" so much, which means work for an employer most of the time, and it doesn't seem very liberating to me for someone to become a wage slave instead of a slave to housework, and whereas it's good to have an income and do something socially useful, it just seems to me that society needs to be completely differently structured and this is just window dressing.  It's not always like that but it often is.  I don't know why.

Anyway, 'Woman's Hour' has just started a serial on a transgirl which I haven't listened to, but I did listen to the interview with a mother at the start of the programme whose daughter was trans and went full time at the age of nine.  She told her mother at the age of four, and her mother describes the primary school she went to as "very understanding", although she still pretended to be a boy at school.  At the age of nine, she found the prospect of puberty so daunting that her mother decided something pharmaceutical had to be done or she wouldn't survive the next seven years.  My heart goes out to the girl but of course there's also a little voice in my head screaming "why her and not me?", to which the answer is that I didn't tell anyone and it was the '70s at the time anyway, so it wasn't really anyone's fault but mine.  I do occasionally daydream about it, but then I remind myself I HAVE CHILDREN!!

That all sounded quite good until her mother said that her daughter had started to grow her hair out at the age of nine and transitioned between primary and secondary school.  That made me wonder.  I suppose there might have been a few children who would've bullied her at that school for having long hair although younger children are often very accepting and just take things as they come, so it sounds more like a school rule to me or an expectation of the school.  I mean, this poor child was already being forced to wear the wrong clothes all day and I think I'd just assumed that she was also wearing her hair the way she wanted it, which doesn't necessarily mean long but in this case did.

This is where it becomes relevant to home ed of course.  Isn't the obvious thing to do in that situation to remove the school aspect of education from the child's life?  Why would it have to conform in that way just because of a school?  I always find it really weird how that doesn't occur to people to try home ed of all things, but often it doesn't happen.  Another example is of children with nut allergies whose schools refuse to use or let them use epipens and children with Type I diabetes in a similar situation.  I'm aware of a parent who used to sit around at school all day guarding the epipen just in case, and if she's going to do that, why not just home educate?  What is going on here?  Is it lack of confidence?  Is it not believing children would get the opportunity to socialise?  Or what?  What is it?

Of course there are plenty of children who don't go to school or conform to their perceived gender, probably for two reasons.  One is of course that some parents withdraw such children from school, which in a way is a pretty major indictment of the school system.  The other is that the pressure to conform is less powerful for those children.

Anyway, this is a headscratcher for me.  Why is it that this happens?  It just seems the obvious response to me but it happens so seldom.