Feedom in Education

We initially created the Freedom in Education website almost twenty years ago, as a backup to a book that we had recently published on home education: One-to-One – a practical guide to learning at home (0-11). That book, together with the follow-up, Unqualified Education – a practical guide to learning at home (11-18) have gone on to sell over 10,000 copies, and were particularly well received by people using them as a resource either whilst home educating their children, or as a counterbalance to work that their children were doing in school.

However, despite the efforts made by parents, teachers, and many others, it seems that little real progress has been made towards achieving greater freedom in the education system as a whole; on the contrary, the drift towards an ever-more authoritarian, centralised system of education has continued, and children and young people probably feel more pressure to conform with it than ever before.

Of course, freedom in education is not a simple or easy-to-achieve objective. It is inseparable from freedom in society as a whole; perhaps the main lesson that I have learnt over the past twenty years is that you cannot reform the education system without addressing issues relating to work, employment, consumption, and care for the environment.

I have therefore decided to update the Freedom-in-Education website with a series of articles, outlining what I have learnt and observed since publishing One-to-One.

The first article looks at the hierarchical nature of a school / classroom / exam / qualification-based education system, and is an attempt to put it into context, particularly for anyone who finds themselves sitting in a classroom wondering why they do not have a say in what is going on.

Authority in the Classroom

 

Our two best-selling books on home education are still available, either from Amazon, or direct from us. They outline some of the experience that we gained through educating our children at home for over fifteen years.
One-to-One covers the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and also has sections on crafts, gardening, and cooking. It is designed to provide encouragement to parents who may be doubting their ability to teach their children at home, full-time, but it has also been used extensively by parents whose children attend school to some degree or another.

One-to-One -– a practical guide to learning at home, 0-12
Revised edition. Published 2003

available from Amazon or direct from the publisher – contact freedom-in-education@orange.fr

 

Unqualified Education tackles the difficult question of what purpose education should serve in the life of a young person. Should it be about training for a job? Should it help a young person start to think for themselves? Are these two goals compatible?
The book contains extensive sections on history and literature, plus extended sections on gardening, cooking, and crafts.

Unqualified Education –  a practical guide to learning at home, 12-18.
Published 2003

available from Amazon or direct from the publisher – contact freedom-in-education@orange.fr

 

Since publishing these books, we have been working of our smallholding in Brittany, France. In 2016, we published ‘Twenty-First Century Hoe Farming – An antidote to globalisation’. It looks into the economics of modern farming, and the relatiionship between money, farm produce, and soil fertility.
The book describles how to work an area of land by hand to produce food, fuel, and shelter for oneself and one’s family, in a way that is beneficial to local flora and fauna – whilst still leaving time to engage in paid employment or community activities.

An Introduction to Twenty-First Century Hoe Farming
– an antidote to globalisation

Available direct from the publisher
10€ + 5€ postage and packing

 

We always like to hear from anyone who has enjoyed any of the above books, and we are also looking into holding courses on a variety of subjects:

  • Traditional agriculture
  • Community-based education
  • Income with compromise – is it possible?
  • Coppicing and wood crafts
  • The vegetable garden
  • The rural community
  • Small-scale publishing
  • Growing linen for fibre
  • Soil fertility

The courses are to be non-structured, and non-paying – held on our four hectares of land in Brittany, none of which has not been treated with agricultural chemicals, or worked by large machines for at least ten years (some of it for longer). More info: freedom-in-education@orange.fr