Home grown

17th March 2006 at 00:00
I am writing to express my deep concern at the manner in which Mike McCabe (TESS, March 3) has brushed aside the concerns of many home educators across Scotland, expressed by Mike Russell recently.

I, like many others, have personal experience of being strongly dissuaded from entering home education, and of being contacted on a daily basis in this regard. I was told my son was "at a bad age" and that I would end up having a nervous breakdown. These were among the tactics used to convince me that I was making an irresponsible decision.

I have been home educating for a year now, and my son has achieved far more educationally and socially in that time than he would have done at school, as he is studying subjects in which he has an interest. It is at his own pace and he is 100 per cent self-motivated.

May I also remind Mr McCabe that the only "potentially damaging decision" I could have made was to keep him in a situation where he was being relentlessly bullied by pupils and headteacher alike, a situation which was spiralling out of control at an alarming rate and damaging him both physically and emotionally.

Indeed, he is now in a situation where he is "safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, included, respected and responsible", and most certainly not being "disadvantaged by home education". Yes, children have rights too.

Mr McCabe would do well to address the concerns raised by Mr Russell if his wish to achieve the "productive relationship" between home educators and education authorities is genuine. How can home educators believe it is, when our concerns are being ignored?

As for finding myself in a position whereby I "receive no information or advice on education thinking, curricular changes or examination practice", any home educator with the most basic grasp of IT can resource this on the internet within seconds. Surely that in itself is an outdated attitude.

My son is using books published by Leckie and Leckie, in line with the curriculum, which appear to me to be much more up-to-date than the ones he was using at school.

Vivienne Farris (B Mus, LTCL, ALCM, SHND) Isle of Bute

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