It's well known that education doesn't stop when you leave school or university. I know that several things that I found boring at school have become interesting to me over the years, such as history. Of course, there are others that I hated at school and have yet to really overcome the dislike despite the passage of many years, but that's probably just as well because I haven't got time for them at the moment.
While this is primarily about C's education, I find that my experiences over the past year are not what I would have expected had you asked me back in March 2009.
Then Badman hit the fan. In common with a lot of the home education community, I was horrified, and started my media career that week by means of a radio interview with the local radio station. I've always been low-profile, so it was novel to put myself up for such a thing. It was only afterwards that I remembered that the presenter was a former teacher.
Since then there have been other things - I didn't go to the picnic, but because I'd sent in an email to the radio station that morning wishing luck to those who were going, I got contacted and ended up arranging for them to interview someone from the area who did go, having found her contact details, called, passed on the radio station's number, called them back to say she'd contact them when in a better place. I hate making phone calls, but I managed it.
Then there was the select committee inquiry. I put something into that at the eleventh hour, sitting in a hotel room in Hawaii, and the consultation. I managed to organise a meeting between some locals and our MP, and conveniently passed over some petition signatures. Watching the select committee interviewing witnesses courtesy of Parliament TV.
Then it was onto the Bill itself, and I saw the draconian section on home education that had nothing to do with the best interests of the child and everything to do with bureaucracy and making people obey or else. I've learned an awful lot about how Parliament works, and how the reality is often far removed from what we'd like it to be. Vigorous debate, followed by slavish obedience to the party line regardless of evidence and concerns. MPs voting despite not having heard a word of what was said in the chamber, delegating their thought processes to the whips.
Somewhere in there I had a go at working through the Bill and writing up amendments. They were a bit cautious wanting to disarm the worst of the proposals rather than propose anything new because I know that what's OK with me may not be with others. Having seen what MPs submitted, I could have been a lot more radical about ripping the guts out of Schedule 1. I guess there's the opportunity of the Lords for that.
I volunteered the family to be filmed by the BBC. It was an interesting experience, seeing how a programme is put together from the inside. C enjoyed being on TV and the cats showed how creative they could be at disrupting interviews. It also gave me an idea for a scrutiny committee submission, which was duly submitted almost at the deadline. It turned out to be useful because it provided Graham Stuart with some of the material for his piece in committee on the last day.
We've just had the Khyra Ishaq media blitz, and I was listening to Badman and then Ann Newstead on BBC Radio WM via iPlayer. I overcame my dislike of telephones and called in and got to say my piece on-air.
Now we're engaging with the Lords, and need to get enough of them interested in debating the Bill to hold it up until Gordon Brown gathers enough bottle to go and see the Queen.
I look back over the past year and there seems to be a lot of distance covered between then and now. I'm sure that many other home educators have made similar journeys in knowledge and achievements as we all pull together to get this awful legislation thrown out.