Monthly Archives: October 2009

Tomato and Apricot chutney.

Spinning 3D Jack-o-Lantern It’s that time of year again. Getting ready for Halloween and All Saints, starting the Christmas prep and I suppose if I got organised (LOL) I would even get something sorted for 5th November.

P1000880I bought “culinary” pumpkins this year to make the lanterns with. I thought maybe there would be enough flesh to make something with once I’d hollowed them out-but there really wasn’t. I do however have a pile of seeds. I’ve washed a few and am leaving them to dry overnight and then I’m going to try roasting them and see how it goes. Apparently they are a lovely snack and very good for you. I am a skeptic on all things pumpkin-but I’ll let you know.

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Thank you Graham Badman. Good things from the Review

Poor old Graham Badman has been feeling a bit got at after publishing his review on home education. He managed to gain all one star reviews on Amazon and feels that the anger of what he calls a “minority” of home educating parents, just because we believe being treated as guilty until proven innocent of child abuse, is unjustified.

But I have to say the results of Badman’s little Review have not been all bad. I think I have seen some very good results.

To begin with Badman, Balls and pals have stirred up a quiet nest of family life and found it full of stinging hornets all ready to protect our young’uns. We have reached out from group to group, from parent to parent across the internet and around our local communities. We have had the chance to expand the number of home educating families we know and have found that whatever our philosophy of education, political views, religious beliefs or even parenting approaches-that we all believe in the freedom to live as families with the right and duty to the education of our children. Only one or two home ed parents have sided with the idea that the state owns our children and that we are to prove ourselves innocent of abuse and get a licence to parent our children.

The other good outcome is that more parents who have sent their children to school are beginning to realise that they too are threatened by this Government’s drive to break families. There are even some teachers willing and active in writing letters and filling out consultation questions supporting us.

While I certainly don’t think the mainstream media have done us many favours they have, even with the nastier side of their reporting, raised the profile of home education and thanks to the comment section of online papers such as The Times, The Telegraph and even The Guardian and the TES, a more truthful view of home education has been made very public. In doing so I am finding that more people are positive about the notion of home education and as a result I can’t help wondering whether there will be a spike in the numbers of children educated otherwise than school.

Only this morning I spoke to a parent whose children had a dreadful school experience and for her son has led to problems in his adult life. Her first grandchild is to be born soon -perhaps that child will have more choices in life; (unless the Badman recommendations go ahead of course). This mother had heard about home ed on the radio this morning and was fascinated by it. My guess she is not the only one. While Badman admitted that parents felt “despair” at the state of schools I wonder if he has realised that this feeling is common among parents whose children remain in school. Raising the awareness of home education will surely lead more children out of the school gates and to freedom. So thanks for that Mr Badman.

I am also glad to see MPs (mainly Conservative; in fact apart from UKIP has anyone else politically come out for family freedom and home ed?) standing up for the rights of families and the freedom to educate our children as we see fit. It’s good to know some people in the higher echelons do have some grasp of reality. It has also raised awareness that not only Labour but also the LibDems are not so keen on family rights. It’s always good to know where we stand.

So I hope poor old Mr Badman doesn’t feel too bad. Some good has come of all this.

Half term days out: Blists Hill Museum

Yesterday we spent the day at Blists Hill Victorian Town Museum. It actually seems to be Victorian and Edwardian and it’s very good.

P1000854The little ones enjoyed having some old money. Unfortunately the queues everywhere were so long they didn’t get the chance to spend it. Oh well, we’ll take it with us next time.

They were amazed that their poor ‘old’ mum remembers this kind of money.

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Year of the Priest: History of the Priesthood: Jesus chooses 12

12apostlesJesus went around referring to Himself as “The Bridegroom”. I think it is fair to say that the leaders of the Temple understood Him all too well-and they didn’t like it. He was calling Himself a priest-a priest of the old pre Levitical order-a priest like David and Solomon and a priest like Adam and Abraham. He also went around forgiving sins; something only God can do. Something the High Priest only had the authority to do once a year (remember when Zachariah met the angel and lost his voice so he couldn’t give the absolution blessing?). Jesus offered proof of His authority through His miracles.

He raised the dead, healed the sick, cast out demons and calmed storms. Witnesses could see His power first hand. They were then to decide whether this man Jesus really was the Messiah they had been promised and had been awaiting for generations-or whether he was just another wannabe.

The Messiah would restore Israel. All of it. Not just Judea (in the south) with Judah, Benjamin and some Levites-but the WHOLE of Israel.

Jesus chose 12 men and a lot of them came from the north, Galilee. We are not told what tribes they all hail from, only that they are Galilean. So they were probably a bit of a mix but not many Israelites were around. In choosing 12-Jesus is speaking about the whole of Israel. The men are not all Levites (John was related to the High Priest so he may have been but we are not told). We are also not told how old the men were. While it seems likely most were older, tradition at least tells us John was well under thirty-the age a priest could be ordained.

The question modern people raise is why all men? Where are the women? And the silly answer is that Jesus was tied by the conventions of the time. The men he chose gives the lie to this.

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The BBC and the Government School’s Minister attack Christian home educators. No one seems surprised.

I must admit the fact Roger Bolton came out with bigoted rubbish about Evangelical Christian home educators was hardly surprising. The BBC are openly anti-Christian in all sorts of ways. But I would have thought Diana Johnson would have hidden her agenda just a little. She didn’t seem to feel the need to though and backed the smear from Bolton implying it was part of why Badman had to come after us home ed families. This interview comes on the heels of Peter Traves from Staffordshire Children’s Services comments to the select committee.

While I have come across some home educators whose view is ‘my freedoms but not yours’ they are thankfully few. Most of us back each other’s freedom to teach children within their religion, culture and education philosophy that suits them. Stamping on relgious freedom soons leads to other freedoms being stamped on.

Tech stands up for freedom.

The more they try to pick off groups like autonomous educators, ‘poor’ home educators, Christians and whoever is next-the closer we will stand together.

I am waiting to hear a very strong statement from the Tory’s that they would ditch the whole process as a useless waste of time and money. I am waiting…

Select Committee: Money and exams. Do Home Educated children need GCSEs?

carrot_or_stick

One of the carrots that has been waved at home ed families has been money.  Would be we happy to be registered, poked and prodded and peered at, if we got some money?

While it has been said that some home educators have approached their LAs looking for proper help. I can’t imagine many have done this as we all know there isn’t any. Nevertheless one of the big bugbares appears to be that many home educators do not have their children do GCSEs, IGCSEs or A’levels because there are no free and local exam centres and the costs are prohibitive. In our case Alex was able to sit his exams locally, but the centre closed. The costs were over £120 per exam. For Iona who did IGCSE Maths the costs were £135 plus over £60 a day for travelling to Bristol and back! I met one mother who had travelled miles for her son’s IGCSE Science exam and had needed to pay for B&B the night before.

Most of us are simply not able to find that kind of money.

During the WED SESSION Douglas Carswell MP (Con) began this conversation:

Q69 Mr. Carswell: I have a general question for the panel. In Clacton, the parents of 16 children have, rightly in my opinion, refused to send their children to a school that they believe is not able to provide the children with a proper education. They have successfully demanded that they receive a home education grant from the local education authority. Is this something that you welcome, and do you think that the sort of extra regulation and oversight demanded by Badman could be conditional on receiving the grant? If you get the grant, you can be overseen by the state, but if you do not, it should leave you alone.

Zena Hodgson: I am from the Home Education Centre, and we were approached by Somerset, who said that it had managed to put aside some sums to assist home educators. It asked whether we would accept it, as they felt that they were not able to give it to individual families, but could give it to a group to spend the money best to benefit as many home educators in Somerset.

Chairman: Zena, you are not answering his question. [Actually she WAS answering the question and I would have liked to hear the full answer. I am fascinated that Somerset were willing to hand money to a home ed support organisation that could be used for genuine help of home ed families. I am especially interested because my time teaching in FE taught me that school money follows the child into college. It should therefore follow the child home shouldn't it?]

 

Q70 Mr. Carswell: Would you like a legal right so that home educators could say to the local authority, “It is my money-give it to me now”?

Zena Hodgson: As a family?

Mr. Carswell: As an individual. My child, my money-give it. [Money per home ed child as in school?]

Zena Hodgson: Yes, I suppose. There will always be things that your children would want to better their education.[Yes the costs are high despite some stuff I've read about home ed on a shoe string. Frankly there are costs and some are pretty big ones.]

I noticed that most replies were very very cautious indeed. Fiona was well aware that it was a moot point as the money simply would not be there. Then Simon Webb said:

I live in Essex, so I have an interest in this. I had to pay £120 for every GCSE that my daughter took. It cost me nearly £1,000. I tried to get the money from Essex, but there was absolutely nothing doing. I pay council tax, but I cannot get the services from the education department.

I may be wrong, but although Mr Carswell (who had obviously done his homework about Home education which is way more that David Chaytor had bothered to do) thought there was a possibility of a registered family receiving the money a child would get for school to use as was best for that child, the underlying view was that money should be available for HE children to sit exams.

In the light of this, Here is my question.

Do Home Educated children need to sit GCSEs, IGCSEs or A’Levels?

I am seriously seeking your views on this. I would be equally interested in American, Australian and any other country homeschoolers saying what you think. Do you intend or have you put your children through High School Diplomas or other exams? What for? Do they need them for work applications, University access or other reasons? If you haven’t or don’t intend to-what are your children doing instead?

I am asking because my 15 year old daughter is about getting ready to start Open University courses in Feb next year. She turns 16 in the Jan and the OU have lowered their entrance age to 16. We thought that her chances of doing any degree or getting any kind of work would actually be enhanced by starting a degree at 16 but I have had someone raise concerns that she is not getting GCSEs first. Someone else has wondered whys she wants to stay home educated and not do gcses in college.

My view is that I have very very little money and I want to spend it with care. Iona wants to do the Open Uni courses which over the next couple of years could give her 120 foundation (level 1) points-a third of a degree. Each OU course is about £155 per 10 points. As you can see this is not cheap but I was thinking this was a better reason for debt that GCSEs.

From what I can gather employer organisations and Universities don’t think much of the quality of GCSEs these days anyway.

What do y’all think?

How do you DO Home Education then?

Despite the high profile home educators have had recently thanks to the smear campaign begun by Baroness Delyth Morgan and perpetuated by the NSPCC with Government backing, there is still very little in the mainstream media that actually illustrates what most home education is like and how it might be done. Partly, this could be because there is such a wide range of approaches from family to family and even within families from child to child; but partly I think it is because many people already think they know what home education is and even how it is done.

The reason the word “hidden” can be so easily banded about by the ignorant is because they assume that a child learning at home sits all day at a kitchen table completing worksheets-just like in school, but alone, at home.

In our family, as in most EHE families I know, the learning takes place all over the house, the neighbourhood and beyond. Sometimes the children do want to sit alone; sometimes work together on a shared lesson or work in the same area but on different things. Sometimes it’s just us but more often it’s us and other families.

David Chaytor MP (Lab) tried to make out that a child’s primary place of belonging was what he called “the community”. He said this only when Jane Lowe quite correctly had to say “The child is not the possession of the state, for the state to impose it’s rules on.” No the child belongs primarily to it’s family. Parents have the right and duty to educate their children and can do this within which ever community they happen to be part of.

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Select Committee on home education: Registration? pt 2

I continue from the post below:

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Select Committe Home Education; Should Home Educators face Annual Registration?

One of the first things to impose on home educators is an annual registration. We will have to prove we are not guilty of abuse, neglect or poor educational ideas before the LA will hand us our licence to parent our children as we see fit. Let’s take a look at the rational:

from my transcript with my added comments in purple:

Zena: It’s a pointless situation really. It is just about data collection. At the end of the day I don’t think…I think it is very difficult for children, or anybody for that matter to be hidden from the system as such. We are registered in many ways. Therefore the child is registered. You are registered at GPs and for child benefits and all those kinds of areas. [not to mention the astonishing amount of CCTV we have in this country]

Barry Sheerman (Chair): As a member of Parliament I know of children disappearing all the time in my constituency.[He knows about them because they are known about] It’s a very real concern; not only runaway children [my knowledge of runaways is that they are known about. When they run away someone reports it-often a parent and services go out and look for the child. I might add here that while I don't have a hand on stats right now I am under the impression that a significant number of runaway children have run from Local Authority provision. These are not hidden children. They are children well known who go missing. It is also a fact that Missing People are missed] but children who disappear overseas, and trying to track them is impossible because we don’t know, we don’t have the data. So I am sorry to have to correct you on that as a working constituent. [again this doesn't stand up. Children abducted and taken abroad ARE known about. The parent who has had the child abducted reports it. This is why MPs know about them.  There are issues about children at risk having Passports and about tracing children who have been abducted in this way. But registering Home Educators has NOTHING to do with any of this. Most abducted children I have ever heard of were in school! I even know of one case where the non-custodial parent took the child from the school gate and vanished and the school were not bothered at all!!] Jane..

Jane: I would say over the question of disappearing children that the idea of a registration scheme is not going to do anything at all. If any parent is suitably even or deranged that they want to abduct and abuse a child, they are not going to take any notice of the minor offence of not registering themselves with the local authority[who allow so many children to go missing from their Children's Homes] as a home educator, if they are that bent on committing a major crime. I think it’s going to disappoint.

[No one picked up on the sense of Jane's answer. So Helen Southworth MP (Lab) said this]

Helen: This is similar, but slightly from a different angle. One of the difficulties in identifying children gone missing while at risk is finding them among the children we don’t know about, who are perfectly safe, perfectly happy, but we don’t know about them. [Does this make sense to anyone? If a child at risk goes missing, or a child goes missing and is therefore at risk then we spend time looking for that child. At least we did when I worked in CAMHS. Door to door enquires are made, searches of the local area, sheds, toilets, trees-you name it; it gets searched. Usually someone knows who or where the child is most likely to have gone to ground and that works well. I don't get this idea that a child could go missing with someone unregistered in some way.  Would being registered prove I hadn't hidden the child in my house-or would it mean I was more likely to because I am an EHE? Weird.]Do you think that the benefit of being able to find those children, very small number probably, who are at risk is sufficient that we should press upon the information so that we can identify them out of the wider group? [I still don't understand her, but I get the impression that we are back to EHE families hiding their children away so they go missing even though there is not one scrap of evidence to support this nasty hypothesis. And anyway Zena had already answered that question. But then maybe this MP didn't mean that at all. I just don't know]

Chair: Fiona.

Fiona: I think since we are actually talking about registration, we need to establish what the purpose of registration might be. [INDEED WE DO!!] You seem to be saying that the purpose of it would be about decent people would eliminate themselves from the enquiry if you like…

Helen: No, no, not at all. I was asking if it had the other effect-that it would enable this to be continued; would that be beneficial? [Eh?]

Fiona: If registration would allow…sorry…you? [I think I would have said that too!]

Helen: If in fact you could identify; you would know who the children are who are being home educated and that could help identify some children who are just missing.

Fiona: [I got the impression here that Fiona was trying to grasp any straw of meaning that might possibly be part of what had been said. Very charitable of her]But we have guidance on Children Missing Education. We have statutory guidance on children missing education.

Helen: I sense I’ve asked too complicated a question. [WOW! Cheek of that comment!]

Chair: Let’s move on. Annette, why don’t you go ahead with your question.

Annette Brooke MP (Lib Dem):

It didn’t get any better here so I think I will leave this for a while and come back to it. I do hope the fact that these meetings are in the public view means people will start taking note of what games are afoot and how ordinary families in this country can no longer say we are ‘free’.

Select Committee: Comments around the net

The transcripts without corrections for both MONDAY and WEDNESDAY are now available.

You can get your consultation response in HERE before the 19th October. The questions are so silly it shouldn’t take you long.

Around the Net

Gill has set to work on some of the quotes; especially the words of Badman himself which really are worth fisking.

Carlotta on the infringement of the Rights of the Child

Renegade Parent has commentary and links

Maire on her Staffordshire blog has some good commentary, links and ideas. There’s a lot of good info here so do scroll down and see other posts.#

Bishop Hill has had a conversation with Lynn Featherstone MP (LibDem). I too wonder what the “conundrum” over the protection of basic human rights; innocent until proven guilty and no entry without a warrant. Seems simple enough to me.

Douglas Carswell MP (Con) does understand that it is important to protect the rights of innocent families however.

BTW I have noticed in looking for info on what MPs who sat on these committees have to say about families, children and education that most do not appear to be open enough to have a blog. So while I don’t get Ms Featherstone’s conundrum at least she had the good sense to speak out so others could help out here.

There must be more. Let me know if you want your blog added.

UPDATE

Tech has this blog which you have to see.

Charlotte Mason Home Education Week 6 (with sick time)

It’s been an odd week.

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Be afraid you ‘religious’ home educaters, be very, very afraid.

Peter Traves from the Association of Directors of Chilren’s Services was insistant that his pretty bottom was on the line if anything happened to any home educated child. He never once wondered why he should be responsible for all these children that have no need of his services, but hey, what a power trip.

Meanwhile he managed this amazing statement when challenged on the terrible state of LA services and schools, that lead so many of us to withdraw our children:

There are also parents who withdraw their children, I have to say, for particular religious view and wanted that religious view incultcating that child. It isn’t  just about the rights of parents, it’s also about the rights of children…”

So my family no longer has a right to religious freedom in his eyes. My children can’t use their Catholic Heritage Curricula or Faith and Life books. 

Already we have heard that disabled people should not be home educating and religious home ed has been attacked time and time again. I do wish these people would learn a little history.

Select Committe part 2 ii. Some more questions to be answered.

The lack of research on home education in the UK has raised eyebrows. The research that has been done seems to have been dismissed because those prepared to be involved are going to be the home ed families doing very well thank you. Maybe that’s a fair criticism-but I am not convinced as research has managed to get families involved in all sorts of situations.

American research was dismissed as well. However some states publish test results from their all registered homeschoolers. Some of my friends across the pond have to put their children through state tests. This is not unusual. But there are many variations in how much interference homeschoolers face in America and the interesting thing that comes out of this is that the research all over the states shows that those will more state interference do just as well as those without state interference and all do better than school kids. From this we could say the status quo here will not be improved through unnecessary and expensive state interference.

It was made very clear in this second meeting that parents who home educate are to be considered guilty of abuse and not providing a suitable education until an official can get into their homes and see the children alone and decide whether the parents are fit to home educate.

The fact that children are supposed to meet the 5 outcomes was assumed and never questioned. “safeguarding is preventative”  so now it moves that ALL parents must be considered as potential abusers until they can prove otherwise.

The lack of properly trained staff in the LAs was admitted. Elly of the Children Missing Education brief said her team had done better because the home ed community had taught them a thing or too. But it still seemed to me that poorly trained staff stomping all over ordinary law abiding families is in no way going to build all that trust and fluffy relationships the group seemed to dream of.

Seeing the child alone: Barry Sheerman said that in recent cases the fact that the social worker had not seen the child alone was heavily criticised. (Actually he might find that the social workers didn’t see the children at all more often than not) Now then, these are cases where the children were well known to social services and where other people (in Khyra Ishaq’s case it was actually teachers!) has raised the alarm and although the social workers had a legal right and obligation to see the child they didn’t do so. This is no way near the same thing as officials forcing themselves into the homes of innocent people for no reason at all!

Yet again the issue of skill and training for those forcing themselves on these families was raised. I have to say that this constant going on that LA staff are not trained or skilled enough worries me. If even those who think these people should suddenly be able to trample our basic rights will not be able to do so without damaging our families then why should we be so keen to be registered and monitored? Just askin?

Meanwhile I discover David Chaytor MP (Lab) who thinks if we have nothing to hide it’s fine to send poorly trained LA staff stomping around the homes of innocent people is hardly an innocent person himself and having stolen £13k will not be standing at the next election and is being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. So folks, these are the kind of people telling us what is best for our children. Nice.

There’s more to write on this. As I am not well at the mo I am taking a bit of quiet time and using it to do this. Sad innit.

Select Committe part 2. Barry Sheerman was sitting on a prickly cushion or something.

I watched the select committee meeting part 2 this morning. It was much more hostile and poor old Barry was very prickly today compared to his relaxed and smiling approach on Monday. Just as the whole thing ended and I put down my pen Josh pointed out THIS bit of news about school education. The same story is in the Guadinista and the similar Indi. This one in the Mail gives some interesting figures about low literacy and numeracy problems and how employers are having to teach these matters. Got to say, I wouldn’t want my children to get their education via Tesco’s. They don’t have a reputation for honesty, good practice and fairness after all do they? Nevertheless, the fact that they ARE having to teach literacy and numeracy is a remarkable indictment of schools.

Bishop Hill has written an excellent letter. H/T to Carlotta. Bishop Hill is responding to the strange response from a LibDem MP who was scratching her head over the real fears of home educating families. As the last time I heard a response from a Lib Dem it was the very illiberal and grossly undemocratic view that if the Lib Dems ever got into power (no chance thankfully) that “There would be no need for home education.”

To the meeting.

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Badman at the Select Committee.

The Select Committee Meeting yesterday was almost farcical. I took notes  and if no one gets there first I will try and get time to transcribe chunks of it at least.badmang_180px

There are some corking reactions around the net that I truly recommend you good people read.

CARLOTTA has done her usual excellent job HERE and HERE.

I noticed that the Guardian came in for special praise during the little pre-meeting on appointing the new Children’s Minister. They have apparently written something nice about children. The media as a whole got blamed for the way home educating parents have been tarnished with the broad brush accusation that we are all a bunch of child abusers. The childcatcherGuardinista came back to kiss the Gov with THIS astonishingly false piece that even though it was in the Guardian I am a bit shocked. The comments however from normal people soon put it in to rights. To think a couple of days ago I read THIS daft piece which also soon got put to rights by the good people leaving comments.  It has come to my attention that if I want to know the truth about almost anything these days, I go to a blog written by anyone other than a journo! Frankly even I, housewife, home educating mother and very, very tired person-couldn’t write anything as trivial, inaccurate and downright twaddlesome as this little lot! They should be deeply ashamed that while they are paid to write unmitigated crassness that many people who write blogs or comment on other people’s have more integrity and actual knowledge which they offer for free.

But back to the Committee.  The only case used to beat us with was that of Kyra Ishaq who was starved to death here in Birmingham. She was, of course, in school and was already well known as a child at risk by the “not fit for purpose” Social Service’s dept. When her mother de-registered her from school no one seemed to be all that bothered and then ten weeks later the poor little child had been starved to death. She as one of over 15 cases in five years where children have died under the nose of Birmingham Children’s Social Services. As is sadly all to common in these cases the “step father” was involved. So is the Government going to have all step fathers and ‘mothers boyfriends’ registered and vetted? Er no. Are they going after all muslim families as this was a muslim(ish) family? Er no. They are instead coming after all home educators because for a very few weeks before she died Khyra Ishaq had been removed from school for “home education” , now ALL home educating families are to be treated as guilty until proven innocent.

While Barry Sheerman could talk about “horror stories” associated with home education, he seemed unable to list any. Then between his whining about the anger his review had merited in home ed circles Badman could only spin bizarre stats that even I could see were utterly untrustworthy. Then after insisting that “no decisions had been made” a number of things were said that appear to contradict this.

On the one hand they muttered that there would be no forced curriculum and then we are told there should be “a curriculum structure…” which seemed to be one the LA would have to approve.

There was a lot of unanswered questions including why a child should be seen alone and then after all the guff about the Rights of the Child Badman and his pals insisted that any child who tried to excercise his right to to be interviewed by a strange (and hostile)m adult might have that right removed if the LA decide he didn’t really mean it!

Anyway-I’ll post this as it is now. More to follow I dare say.

 

BLOGDIAL on children as property and a reminder that the Nazi law banning home education is actively policed in modern Germany. There is also the stark warning that the USA is next as Obama wants children spending more time in school (of course he does).

Into relative silence! (Home ed with no voice)

heron_frog_workshopI lost my voice over the weekend. This morning I have something that sounds like a croaky-squeak thing but it isn’t a proper voice.  The children read to me this morning :). Then I turned to good old Librivox for the chapter of Our Island Story they were to listen to for narration. We didn’t do a lot of narration but Ronan understood the basis of what the story was about.

Instead of me reading to them at storytime they listened to The Tale of Peter rabbit from Light Up Your Brain.

Thankfully both Latin and Spanish are spoken on Mr Linney’s excellent websites.

Mr Demme did all the talking – well most of it- with Math U See.

Finally, they watched a couple of Signed Stories just for fun. I didn’t go through the Sign Language with them.

While I have had to croak-squeak a bit through the day there’s plenty of online stuff that allows a mother to be silent(ish) for a while.

But be warned; I am armed with Lemsip, lozzies and inhalers. I will be BACK!

Charlotte Mason Home Education Autumn Wk 5

Iona has been busy with her projects on Toxicology, the Franklin Expedition and the Incorruptible Saints. Meanwhile she started some work on Cyrano de Bergerac-a play I am rather fond of. I have bought her the film version which is in French with English subtitles, starring Gerard Depardieu. She has an English translation of the play. Meanwhile in more French themed work she is reading The Man In The Iron Mask by Dumas.

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ANOTHER review; This time What is “suitable” home education?

From the way most of the MSM is reporting Britain is already geared and running toward the next general election which even if Brown hangs on and on, must happen by June next year. There is no sign of a real upturn in the economy and most families I know are truly struggling to make ends meet. The national debt is climbing and the Tories don’t seem to feel the need to fight too hard as they are apparently facing an almost guaranteed win next year. You would think, would you not, that any rational person would be trying to look good for the next election; trying to show some genuine care for the state of the economy and even for the very real mess education is in right now.

But not this lot.

The BBC are running the story that far from backing off from the ridiculous and expensive review of home education there is to be even more. So far I can only find that the BBC is running the story. The Government (having money to burn) are now to decide what it thinks is “Suitable” education. A long time ago I said I was very concerned that this major attack on our rights as parents and the welfare of our children would lead to us being faced with a forced curriculum.  Those of us who have a Christocentric approach and who are not teaching Government approved sex ed and some of the more dubious superstitions around “science” are about to be facing a huge problem.

I know a lot of families are already looking to moving to Scotland and others are looking at getting out of the UK altogether. It becoming increasingly clear that for those who can, they are wise to do so.

Will the Tories undo the damage? I have to say I don’t think they will come after us in the same way; but I certainly don’t think they will undo much damage either.

Home Education ‘Consultation’-Government stitch up.

I had a bad feeling about this so called consultation from the get-go. The fact that someone with the narrow view of Baz Sheerman was in charge, and he is such a buddy of dear ol’Ed Balls hardly filled me with trust and hope.

Still, even I am a bit shocked (not very, just a bit) to see the line up that so blatantly bellows “STITCH UP!” at those of us who home educate.

Carlotta has posted her draft consultation response. As I posted some time ago I have signed one representing those of us who are Catholic Home Educators.

Carlotta also draws our attention to the lists as posted on these blogs. THE SELECT COMMITTEE WITNESSES and HERE some commentary on it too. 

Now, I have to admit that I am not that bothered that only Education Otherwise are represented. I don’t think that much of EO but then I don’t think the other groups speak for me either. I do think, in all fairness at least two groups should have had members there.

I am also not that bothered that the two home ed parents chosen are both men. I think it’s odd but not that bothersome. What DOES bother me hugely is that one of them Simon Webb has written some pretty awful and frankly twisted things about people who have chosen to home educate in a way he did not. I am also concerned by his bizarre statement about those of us who are home educating children with what are called ‘special needs’. He seems to know nothing about those needs and shows a crass disregard for the way schools have let our children down. More than that though, the man isn’t even home educating any more!!

Out of the thousands of home educating parents all over the country could they not have found a handful of parents who ARE actually doing the job of home educating?

AND WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN? No child has been invited to speak. I am sure there are some teens or even adults who were home educated who could speak. None are on the list.

Finally we are left with the utterly ludicrous situation that a member of the NSPCC is to be there. How any of those people dare show themselves in public is beyond me. BTW I hope all you good people who read this blog never give anything to this “charity”.

Meanwhile I will continue to educate my children, who do not belong to Balls and his cronies no matter what he thinks, as I, and they see fit.

The Thermometer Experiment repeat.

A couple of weeks ago the children made thermometers out of jars and straws and they didn’t work at all. Rita very kindly sent some information on how to make a smaller one with better equipment. So this afternoon Ronan set about re-doing the thermometer experiment.

P1000788The glass tubes were a bit short so we had to half fill the test tube with coloured water but it did rise up the little inner tube a bit.

Ronan chose green food colouring for this time around.

Then I boiled some water.

P1000792Ronan held the thermometer in the boiled water for quite some time-and then we stirred my cup of tea with it too. LOL. Anyway, there wasn’t much of a result, but I think I saw a small shift in the water in the tube.

My guess is, it would work better with a longer tube, less water and perhaps if I had lit the little burner under it too. But with Miss Heleyna the Scary One around I didn’t dare.

Anyway, thank you Rita. It was fun and I am glad I invested in a little science kit.

Birmingham Children’s Social Service-not fit for purpose.

The news covered the story a couple of days ago that Birmingham Children’s Services has been found “not fit for purpose”. The tragic story of the murder of Kyra Ishaq fronts this piece of news. She was one of 15 children killed under the nose of Social Services in Birmingham over five years. The news story does not mention that her case was misused as a stick with which to beat families who have chosen to home educate.

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It’s My Birthday!

    Play Wink

It’s my birthday Birthday Candlesand Iona made me a lovely cake. Friends have been round with hugs and pressies and more are due later. The children have made me cards and I have the traditional box of jelly babies. What more can a girl ask for?

Year of the Priest: History of the priesthood

So to recap quickly. Adam was the first priest and he was supposed to offer the priestly sacrifice for his bride-himself and he didn’t. God promised there would be a Saviour who would. The priesthood got seriously messed up by Cain but was continued in the way it was meant to through father to son from Seth through to Noah and Melchizedek. So to Abraham until Moses where the Golden Calf Incident ended the priesthood of father and first born son. With the authority given him by God Moses took the priesthood and gave it only to the fathers and sons of the tribe of Levi and that is how it was as Israel entered the Promised Land.

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I couldn’t Home Educate without the Internet.

 Techy I am very grateful for a number of things (baby wipes, washing machine and dishwasher to name a few) but one thing I am grateful for and really would struggle without is my internet connection. I use the internet all the time for all sorts of home education activities, not just with the children, but my own pre-reading or fact checking endeavours. It is the place where curriculums can be compared and it is choc full of free books many of which are of remarkable standards. I recently received a comment on my Home Education page pointing out that parents today have so much more in educational choices for our children thanks to the Internet and he helpfully provided a couple of example links including the BBC bitesize pages which we have used on occasion.

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Charlotte Mason Home Education: Autumn Wk 4

On Monday a lovely big box arrived stuffed full of the whole series of Vision Books. It was an expensive buy, but well worth it as the books wored out at about £4 each; far cheaper than buying them one at a time. The children chose St John Bosco and we have been reading it a chapter a day. I don’t think Ronan will be ready to read them independently for another year or so.

Meanwhile one of the mums has brought over a bog set of the Oxford Reading Tree real life stories from stages 8 to 11 and includes, much to Ronan’s delight The Story of Neil Armstrong. Although Ronan is still working through stage 9 he wants to have a go at this stage 11 book and I think it will be a good guide to where he is with vocab and reading.

You don’t have to use a reading scheme, and I know a lot of parents don’t; but for us it is working well and giving me a good idea of just where the children are in skill, vocab and word recognition. It helps to know where to stretch them a little and where to slow down.

Avila is reading through stage 3 and using Starfall to back up her phonic skills.

On Wednesday morning there was a rather impromptu singing and action session where all three children were using the MoreStarfall songs; head, shoulders, knees and toes; Looby Loo etc.

Latin: Not sure how anyone else who uses Linney Latin does this, but Ronan has reached the declension stages with grids of words to learn by chant. So, he chants them; Sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt  and so on with specto. Then of course he has to remember what each one means. To make things a bit easier I am using the whiteboard and writing them up there. Every so often he will pass by and stop for a quick chant and then we have jumping around and chanting. Meanwhile Avila has her key words for the day up there too. This can look a bit ‘schooly’ but it seems to be working. Anyone else do something like this?

On Tuesday afternoon I improvised a bit on the lesson on clouds from Weather and Climate. We used the lovely Tomie de Poala book The Cloud Book. The children all went into the garden after the lesson to cloud spot and we were lucky enough to see three different types of cloud mooching around at that moment. Then they were provided with a bucket of chalks and spent some time (including the toddlers) drawing clouds on the patio slabs. It is not what was suggested in the book but it was simple and fun.

On Thursday normal lessons were put aside for a Home Ed trip to Cadbury World. One of the dads later commented that this has been a very worthwhile trip as the children were able to tell him so much about their day and what they had seen and done. We’re going to do some followup work on Chocolate next week which will include looking at my lovely Green & Black’s recipe book that Iona bought me some time ago and the Usborne Story of Chocolate.

On Friday we did the usual from Artistic Pursuits and Story of the World. Heleyna had fun joining in when the children designed a Grecian vase each.

I taught colours in Sign Language and we signed and sang I Can See A Rainbow.

K had come over with a great big bag on Damsons all freshly picked so we made Damson jelly with the children. As Ks children had not done this before it was good for them to get to grips with pectin, strainers and jam thermometers. I’m going to finish off our jam making this coming week and lend her the kit so she can make some more with her kids at home.

An awful lot of Lego construction has been going on this week. I think Lego is the best toy for kids!

LAST WEEK