Wednesday, 9 September 2009

But They Need To Learn How To Cope In The Real World

Now this is one that really does make me cross. Particularly when it's used in relation to bullying.

Let's define what the real world is.

Now this is interesting! I typed "real world definition" into google, and the first definition that came up was this one:

"the practical world as opposed to the academic world"

The practical world. That would be the one in which we all live our daily lives, go about our business. The one where the shops, banks, doctors, dentists, hospitals, libraries, hair dressers, butchers, post offices, market stalls, opticians, fire, police and ambulance stations etc etc are.

The academic world. That would be school, college, university.

So home educators, by being out in the practical world every day aren't enabling their children to cope *in the real world*.... Can you see my point?

Bullying apparently teaches children how to cope in the real world. Now tell me, if you were going into the office every day and one of your work colleagues was thumping you, what would you do? If you had a lecherous colleague with wandering palm disease, what would you do? If a colleague discriminated against you on the grounds of your colour, religion, gender, size, age, what would you do? I'm hoping that you wouldn't put up with it, that you would take steps to stop it happening, and if it didn't that you would walk away and seek help.

Why shouldn't children have the same options in similar circumstances? How does being beaten, abused, threatened, made to feel worthless help anyone? If you can, please do explain the logic of that one to me, because I've yet to find a single adult who was bullied as a child who wasn't damaged by it, who doesn't still hear the words ringing in their ears from time to time. It's well documented that those who have been bullied often go on to bully. If we all want to live in a world where bullying is seen as an acceptable thing to do, then this kind of attitude must be allowed to persist, but most people find bullying abhorrent, so how does it make any kind of sense to say that children need to experience it to cope with it *in the real world*?

It's another of those crazy cultural memes, and we need to make a concerted effort to stop them spreading.


  1. It also arises because of this idea that home ed, like school ed, relies on isolation of the child from the real world, but more so.

    To which, I can only say what my dear grandmother said when she dropped the roast potatoes; "Oh.. Oh I nearly said bollocks then."

  2. Love the above comment. Yes I detest the bullying does you good myth, if that were so we would mistreat our animals and pull up our crops.

  3. LOL & Petes comment:) The they will have to enter the real world is a comment I get all the time from people who cannot grasped they are already in it. Those same people seem to think school is character building cos of the idea bullying is somehow good for us. I just think many do not like the idea of children being happy. Great post as per:)

  4. That's the nub of it, if a child is happy, then something must be done to stop it right now.

  5. We enter the real world at birth. Most of us are then removed from the real world at the age of 5 or earlier in the UK, and sent to school to be indoctrinated by the state and told what and how to think. School is prison. You do not have to ask for permission to use the toilet in the real world. You do not have to wear the same clothes as everyone around you, who is the same age as you, in the real world.

    The real world is family, friends, community. School is anti- all of those.

  6. HEAR HEAR! Bullying is character destroying, not building. Unles u want to build bullies that is. But please dont buy into the 'home ed children dont bully' myth. It has no basis in reality, as we found out pretty darn quick.

  7. I was certainly very damaged by being bullied at school and having no escape. Not only did the legacy of that stay with me well into adulthood but i was (maybe still am) hugely resentful that my parents didn't make it stop and - i've since discovered - knew they could take me out of school but didn't.

    By contrast my children have been brought up with a firm knowledge that it is unacceptable and not something they have to put up with. In Fran's brief school stay, she experienced some mild bullying from a girl apparently determined to make her feel uncomfortable. Fran told us she was just ignoring it because it was the girls problem and on one day, when really pushed by this girl, said "oh WHATEVER!" to her.

    Being at home for her formative years and gaining a strong sense of herself and her rights to be treated decently, didn't seem to stop her from coping with a bully.

  8. Mamacrow, I absolutely don't buy into that argument - my children suffered quite severely at the hands of a HE boy a couple of years ago, but the difference was that they could walk away from the situation, they didn't have to walk into it every day.