Barry Durdant-Hollamby

 

This article by Barry Durdant-Hollamby appeared in the April 2004 EO Newsletter

I'll never forget the night in the Spring of 2001, that my wife Winnie and I sat down to talk about home education for the first time. There I was, father of two girls Anna and Sophie (now 14 and 11 respectively), already beginning to wonder how to find the time to balance my growing business in personal development with my desire to be an active and involved father and partner. With a new book about men nearing publication and a growing list of clients and talks, I started off that conversation feeling sure that there was no way I could give even more time to my girls. After all, I worked from home, they were attending a Steiner school which was just five minutes walk, we spent hours together every day - why risk creating greater pressure?

The truth was that cracks were beginning to appear in the walls of their 'education'. Whilst it all looked superficially lovely, and there was certainly much more of a 'holistic' approach to their education than we had experienced in conventional schools, warning bells were sounding. For five years the girls had been very happy. We had adopted a policy of giving them freedom of choice as to whether they went to school or not. Interestingly they were unusual among their peers in hardly ever missing a day. However, when we started to hear comments such as 'I hate...various subjects' and even more worryingly 'I'm no good at...' or worst of all 'It was so boring because the teacher spent most of the lesson trying to control the class...' we both knew that it was time to listen more closely to what our girls were really saying.