Skip to main content

Rebels Without Applause

I hate uniforms, always have done.
When I was at high school, I did all I could to put my own stamp on it - especially in the last two years & was always getting into trouble for wearing my red socks or a t-shirt instead of the school blouse & my extra large men's chunky sweaters, instead of the grey v-neck...
A year before moving to Cornwall, I changed my job & worked for a housing association as a community visitor - which unfortunately, had a hideous navy & grey uniform. I thought it looked great with my red baseball boots & it actually thrilled the old folks I visited!
When I started work down here for Social Services, I was back to wearing my own rags. Then one day I had a phone call from the boss of my department, she said she had seen me out & about with a client & she was horrified at my clothes! She said that I should be wearing slacks & a smart top & not the "left-wing, socialist, hippy outfit" she saw me in & that she had been informed by my line manager that I always dressed like that.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing...
I explained to her that my job involved supporting people who mostly lived in quite terrible conditions, people who had mental health problems & there was no way I was going to wear anything smart, besides if I turned up to my clients' homes looking like someone high & mighty they wouldn't have given me the time of day, they wouldn't allow me to befriend them, to get them out of the house, to just sit on the floor for a chat or help them to help themselves - it wouldn't have worked... And I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing anything smart - it isn't me. Besides, when some of those clients were feeling low - they often said my patchwork trousers cheered them up!
Anyway, I won the argument, I visited my union rep & was told she had no right to tell me how to dress!

The other day, there was a comment on Facebook about how sad it is to see all these little kiddies with their school uniforms on & I agree. 
We're made to believe that the reason for uniforms in schools is to make the kids feel part of a team & equal, so kids from different backgrounds can be the same without standing out...
Rubbish... It doesn't make a difference, all it does is makes the kids hate school even more.

Saying that, we wanted to home educate our kids from the start, but Sal really wanted to go to school, have the uniform & she loved wearing it, well until she got to high school - where she only lasted six months (Thank goodness). The school was awful & when we met with her teachers at parent's evening, hardly any of them knew her name or could tell us how she was getting on. Poor Sal was bored too - the school had a policy to keep each class at the same speed, so kids who got through their work quickly had to wait for everyone to catch up before moving on... Sal was one of these kids.

I am so glad that Rose hasn't had to go through all that, as she finished school at 9 & Hugo has never been to school, in fact he isn't even registered with our local authority. Though things may change. Apparently, a child under 16 who takes an exam has to be registered to receive the qualification. Hugo should have a GCSE in Circus Performance & at the moment we are in discussions about whether being registered is a good idea, as he can't officially have the award.
Registering isn't usually a bad thing & we haven't got anything to hide, but it's just the principle. We've come this far without any government help & education officer visits. Hugo is an intelligent young chap & he has the freedom that most kids don't have, but he is sensible. As with the girls too, we trust him & we have a lot of respect, all 3 of them never cease to amaze us & as long as they are happy - that's what counts for us.

To me, there is a big difference between school & home educated kids.
School children are forced to do things they don't always want to do, they are sometimes taught subjects they have no interest in, they get bored & tired & these days not all kids come out of school with the ability to read & write. We have been told before that home educated kids are wrapped up in cotton wool, that life is too easy for them & they can't learn to look after themselves in difficult situations.
What is true is that the kids get more choice, they socialise in smaller groups than most schools & when they do leave home - they are ready to face the world, probably at a younger age than if they'd gone to school. Both of our girls chose to attend college from the age of 17, they were ready to settle down to complete their courses & were eager to achieve. Their fellow students were only interested in messing about, they were suddenly thrust into this mature world called college & they struggled to get the hang of this new relaxed life. 

I think we have given our kids the best start they could possibly have, not only have they been home educated, but they have been taught by interesting people from all walks of life, not just a trained teacher who has to get certain grades. We could never teach them everything, but we've given them opportunities to learn & they in turn have taught us so much.

Why stick your kid in a uniform, inside four dreary walls - when there's a whole world out there that is better than any classroom.

Happy to be home educators!

Kay :)


Anonymous said…
I am so happy that my daughter has decided to finish her last year of high school at home (except one class). I have been begging my son to return home, but he says no way.
Mel - You've given him a choice & he's decided for himself, so that's great!
Kath said…
Oh Kay, the more I get to know you, the more I realise we're very alike and although I did not home educate (because of my sons dislexia), I agree with your principals totally.
Karin said…
Our state education system isn't perfect, but I'm not sure home education would work for everyone. I tried teaching my son to write a little before he started school, but he wouldn't let me tell him how to hold the pencil. Once he started school, he deemed whatever the teacher had said to be 'gospel'.
Kath & Karin - Thanks for your comments.

I think boys are mostly slower to progress too. Hugo had no interest in reading & writing until he was 8. It took a lot for us not to push him, but with support from others - we were able to let him go with the flow...

He's now reading books like Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" & has naturally developed an interest in science & the universe.

Popular posts from this blog


Our garden yesterday.
Tall Nettles TALL nettles cover up, as they have done These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough Long worn out, and the roller made of stone: Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.
This corner of the farmyard I like most: As well as any bloom upon a flower I like the dust on the nettles, never lost Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.
~ Edward Thomas ~
Every time we venture out to pick nettles, Sime always goes on about this poem!

Anyway, thought I'd share with you the article I've written for next month's Parish Magazine...

Our hedgerows are coming alive with food aplenty, but hardly anyone really notices the nettles that surround us, they grow quietly while using their juices to produce a medicine that can bring health. Anaemia, arthritis, rickets, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, colds, catarrh & lymphatic problems can all benefit from this wonderful wild & free super food.
Nettles are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potass…

Take Time

How often do you take time to be thoughtful and quiet? To breathe and be in nature? Do you start your day slowly, even when busy? 
We like to spend our mornings gently waking - reading to each other, writing, sometimes singing, making breakfast and taking time to leisurely eat and digest our food before we begin our day. We choose to live in the slow lane, from where we observe others rushing through their days, often stressed and with a need to fill every moment doing what they consider to be meaningful.  We feel no guilt in being lazy and happily sit around chatting instead of doing what we loosely planned to do. You may think it's procrastination, but we prefer to think of it as "going with the flow". There is more to life than filling your days with stuff, working hard, keeping up with your neighbours and it's not until you get off that treadmill that you can see for yourself just how great life can be. Part of the process for us in slowing down was to write mor…

Soil, Soul and Society

Please take some time to watch this video.
Take some time to look at your life and learn how to live differently.

If  you are unhappy, make changes to your life.
Find gratitude in each day.

Try not to criticise others and instead feel compassion.

Enjoy time in nature.
Be quiet and calm.

There is so much anger and stress surrounding many of you out there at the moment...
Take care of yourselves, take time out from the news and stop worrying about how many times your neighbours are venturing out. Occupy yourselves doing something new and interesting instead.

Most of our days are spent weeding, planting, cooking and eating.
We go to bed earlier than we have done in years, usually aching...pleasantly so though!
We are learning about growing vegetables, enjoying playing with soil and it feels good spending lots of time out on the land.

Sending you all much love,

Kay and Sime xx