Some HE peeps were discussing this on twitter this morning. Unfortunately I couldn’t watch it (too busy “socialising” – HE swimming sesh) but recorded it for later. The general consensus was “lightweight, simplistic and predictable” (@frockery).
When I did watch it, the main message the programme managed to convey was how ill-informed and prejudiced the presenter Matthew Wright was on the subject. So biased, in fact, that he was almost putting words into the callers’ mouths.
MW: so do you have any friends?
JOSIE (age 13, HE for 2 years): I didn’t have any friends at school, but I have loads of friends now.
MW: NO friends now? Mmm.
Everyone in the studio: she said LOADS of friends!
Wright obviously heard what he wanted to hear, that HE kids have no friends and are missing out on loads of opportunities, and their parents are “mad and arrogant” to think that they could do a better job than teachers. He carried on in this vein with every caller (some of whom, to be fair, did their best to get across the positives of HE) – anything negative about HE met with a resounding “I’m with you on that!”, anything positive with “with all due respect” (of course they’re completely wrong) after the caller had hung up.
Fortunately the section finished with Jane, who called in because she had taught at a Saturday school and met a home-educated boy there who confounded all her expectations/preconceptions: “he was smart, witty, sociable, mature and very very likeable.” She then went on to educate her disabled son at home for three years, and he is now at University. Jane ended with a plug for Education Otherwise, and a warning that HE can be exhausting.
My experience of home educated children so far has been much closer to Jane’s – it was through getting to know HE families and their kids that we decided it would be a great thing to do for our family.
In Wright’s own words: “I obviously can’t understand home education in any shape or form…” No one is asking you to understand it Matthew. Just please don’t spout off about something you know nothing about, and are not prepared to listen to people who do.