Norfolk Home Learning
The Story of Steven
and why I believe in home education
Imagine me 45 years ago - a young schoolteacher coping with an unruly class of 10-year-olds in the shadow of Leeds jail. When alarm bells rang they thronged the windows to see if anyone's dad was making a break for freedom. (Quite a few families had moved from slum to slum in order to stay near dad.)
One day, a lovable urchin called Stephen turned up late because the police had been questioning him at the derelict warehouse where he lived with his mum. During the night he'd stolen dog biscuits from a neighbouring warehouse to keep them fed for a couple of days. (He said you could make nice 'porage' just by adding cold water.)
To get at the biscuits he'd picked a padlock. He said he could easily unpick the locks on the drawers of my table and he proved it in front of his marvelling classmates.
Where had Stephen learned all this? It wasn't at school, that was for sure. And six more years of school wouldn't mend his miserable life or his 'discipline issues.'
I'd love to know what happened to that amazing boy. If he did become a master locksmith he won't owe me or his school any thanks.
But I owe Stephen a huge debt of gratitude. It was his example and examples (happy and sad) in other children's lives that led me out of the school classroom into lecturing, children's authorship and private tutoring.
We can't all be locksmiths, poets or composers but we can all be skilled creative selves, if we have the chance.
Tony D Triggs
My postbag is currently swelling as seasonal stresses build up.
I always reply but prioritise families in East Anglia.