Monthly Archives: February 2010

The snowballing media and the attack on Home educating families.

There is something deeply disgusting about the way Ed Balls, Graham Badman, the BBC and even some others are mis-using the tragic murder of Khyra Ishaq to attack the lives and well being of home educated children all over the country.  In all fairness most of the MSM has simply reported the facts of the trial and the Judge’s view that Birmingham Children’s Social Services had seriously failed this child and her siblings because they refused to carry out the Initial Assessment.

It wasn’t that long ago that this social service dept was found unfit for purpose. Having had a couple of friends deal with them I have to concur.

The case notes are heart wrenching and leave me with a lot of questions. The schools acted pretty well it seems although I do wonder why they waited until the children were removed before asking social services to intervene. They had already needed to provide the children with extra food because of their loss of weight and hunger. Perhaps they didn’t think they had enough to go on.

I am impressed that a teacher was so concerned she made a home visit. It’s good to know teachers like that are out there.

The fact that the social worker comes across as, how shall I put this- remarkably unprofessional and lacking intellectual rigour, should surely tell us something about how Birmingham Children’s Social Services came to be assessed as unfit for purpose.

The social worker called Miss G seems to have done all she could to avoid doing her job. Perhaps she was already overloaded with cases-the judge doesn’t say. Instead of carrying out an Initial Assessment she got the teacher of the school to contact the police and forcefully demand a Safe And Well Check. The police went out to the house to do this check and then quite remarkably didn’t do it!

Balls and Badman have from the get go tried to conflate safeguarding and suitable education. But the dangers of doing this are stark in this case. Para 244 says the Social worker ditched the Initial Assessment that was so desperately needed because Mr H was now involved.

Now I know Mr I.H: Irving Horne has been bashed by the Daily Mail but I would like to say I liked him. He was supportive of our family and of EHE in general.

He told the court he had a case load of 350 families to deal with alone without so much as a secretary to help get letters out. Frankly that’s dreadful. Of those 350 families quite a few would not have been EHE. He talked to me some time ago about the kind of work he did. He had all the registered EHE families and then families where the children were “between schools”; that is parents couldn’t get the child into the school of choice so they were at home awaiting placements. These parents had not chosen to Home educate at all. Then there were the families where the children were out of school because of trouble with the school or law and were awaiting suitable placements or home tuition.

Mr I H was a retired head master. As far as I know he had no social work training, and why should he, that wasn’t his job.  I am sorry that his name is plastered all over the press when journalists seem incapable of checking basic facts for one article let alone dealing with 350 in one go!

I know social workers often have a tough time too. But I tend to have less sympathy because I have had to work with so  many over the years and found most of them to be useless. Miss G did what so many other social workers I have come across do-pass the buck. Rather than do the Initial Assessment she tried to get the police to do it. They didn’t do the Safe and Well Check and then she tried to pass the buck for the welfare of these children to Mr Horne who had neither the training nor experience to deal with such a thing on top of his ridiculous workload.

While the BBC and Daily Mail snipe at home education neither have explained how Badman’s silly review would have in any way helped the Ishaq children.

Check out Firebird’s MEDIA WATCH (nb the Daily Mail have altered the page since she gave them a Pass- and now they Fail).

And then came FERN

The BBC have continued their attack on Home Education by wheeling out Fern Britton, who is apparently fairly famous. She tried to tell us all that Ryvita really doesn’t taste of cardboard left in the shed for a few days. I was warned by someone called Ronan who posted on my previous post that this would make me a little cross. I didn’t get to listen to it; a girl has to watch her blood pressure you know. But I have come across some quite startling quotes from Ms Britton that I can only assume are true:

Apparently she began by asking why home educators shouldn’t be made to follow the “same rules as the rest of us.” Erm, what rules would they be that we naughty EHE families are not following? I don’t think she went on to explain.

She did go on to ask, “Do home educators have to show the LA their school room?”  Like many people she obviously thinks home education is doing school at home. For most of us it isn’t. It is learning at home and at other people’s homes and other places in the community.

She then had the nerve to say; “Parents aren’t qualified to teach.” ROFL! Speak for yourself Fern. As it happens most of us don’t do a lot of teaching as such, we facilitate and often learn alongside the children. Often the children will teach us stuff they have learned. It works well.

The silly socialisation question -or in Fern’s case, negative statement, came up again. YAWN! How many times do we have to answer the same things over and over?

I know I should get cross about all this; but with Ed Balls quite deliberately misusing the murder of little Khrya Ishaq for his own bullying of the home ed community and to politically manouvre his Bill through-well Fern is small fry isn’t she?

open letter to Fern Britton from merry.

Blessings and the Kindness of friends.

I wrote a post a few days back going through some of my plans for proper pain management. The Amitrip has begun to work and although I need to adjust the dose somewhat I have hope that I am going to get to grips with this pain malarky.

I mentioned some of the things that I would like to do once I have saved up enough and one of those things was a dustpan and brush with longer handles so I can stand up.

Well yesterday the doorbell rang and there was a delivery man clutching a long parcel addressed to A. Friend. It was a veleda broom and the delivery note tells me that the second half of my gift will arrive soon. I am guessing the long handled dustpan is that part.  While I think the sender was trying to be anonymous as the note said “To A Friend from A. Nother Friend” I noted something which means I just want to say a very big

THANK YOU DEB!

That was so thoughtful and it will make a difference.

UPDATE

I’ve been told my FIL is willing to let us have the money we need to buy the wardrobe and food mixer! Hopefully we can sort that out soon and my heavy box lifting days should be over. The food mixer will be a great help and more so as I have a friend who could do with help there too and I wanted to prep her veg for her-but just can’t at the moment; as I can barely do ours!

THANK YOU!


Shall I vote Tory after all????

I have been trying to work out what I would do at the election. I am one of those fickle voters who have put a cross in a many a box in the hope that it is a strategic way of doing damage reduction.

The next General election is on the way and should be properly announced by the end of March. While dates for the actual election day are muted as early as April and as late as June the most likely date appears to be May 6th (I think). So I need to make a decision.

I hardly watched any of the Third Reading of the Bill. But I managed to catch a few moments where Vernon Coaker was sneering (and practically dancing in glee) at the prospect of the Bill going through and the Tories being quite unwilling or unable to ditch it when (he seemed sure about the when I noted) they got into power.  It was the near enough a straight out admission that this whole charade is to hand a poisoned chalice on education to the next Government.

Carlotta, ever on the ball has spotted some wonderful news in The Times. It seems that the Tories are willing to ditch at least some of the poison and Michael Grove has been good enough to come out and say so. Clause 26/27 of the Bill will never become law under a Conservative Government.

Noami a home ed mum asked him about the Bill HERE and he said:

I think home educators do a wonderful job – they give up time and sacrifice so much for their children – Government should support them and we won’t allow the current Government’s plans to stigmatise home educators to get through

That didn’t quite answer the question as it looks like they might not be able to prevent the Bill getting through. We haven’t forgotten the ridiculous comments posted by Barroness and Deech and Lord Soley have we? So Naomi pushed for a straighter answer and she got one!

Comment From Naomi

Thank you ,but can you promise us that clause 26/27 of csf bill will never be law?

Michael Gove:

Dear Naomi

yes

That is marvellous. I hope he means it. Now if they would be willing to drop the forced sex ed as well I would be dancing with joy.

If I take Mr Gove’s word then I will have to vote Tory for the sake of my children’s education. But I do wonder what a Conservative Government does plan to do about home education.

Home Education: The Bill is back

The CSF Bill should be back in Parliament today for more shenanagans. I can’t quite see this as debate as none of the excellent points of people like Graham Stuart and others have been acknowledged at all. Repeating the words “light touch, light touch” like a Diana Johnson mantra is hardly debate.

So far no amendments have been made either to the forced sex ed sections or the home ed sections of the Bill. It certainly has not helped that Oona Stannard and the CES have backed the Government while trying to make out they have managed to get some concessions for the rights of Catholic children. They plainly have not managed anything of the sort.

I have to regretfully say that my bishop; Archbishop Longley,  has refused to meet the home educating families of his Archdiocese on the grounds that he defers to the CES on these matters.

There’s a reasonable article in the Guardian.H/T Carlotta It goes off a bit at the end. Not sure I buy all that stuff about sth America but I could be wrong. The comments are the usual mix of those who know what EHE is and those who made statements when they patently have no idea what it is. And of course the ones who ‘fear’ what some of us might get up to.

Also from Carlotta she links to Jeremy Wright MP for Rugby and Kenilworth. The more MPs who think like this:

There may well be a case for establishing an inspections scheme to ensure that home education is of a sufficient quality, but that case has not yet been made. The Government have justified these measures on the basis of child protection issues.

Parents who make the decision to educate their children do not choose an easy path and they make considerable sacrifices in order to follow it. Suggesting that their children may not be safe in their care is not the right way to assure ourselves that these children are being educated well.

the better we will be.

Anyway let’s see what happens today…

Lent. health and home

Offer it up.

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Home Education to be a wife and mother

One of the reasons I think the Govt and their arm the LAs are not too good a judging what is and what is not “suitable” education is because they don’t have the same outcomes in mind for the children they are ‘monitoring’ as the parents and children themselves. The whole aim of state education is to make people who will jump through hoops and earn a wage without showing too much independent thought. Everything in schools from the age of 4 is about what career do you want? I will never forget a little girl (aged 4) in the class I was working in at the time saying she wanted to be a mummy. She did not get a warm reception for the idea. In fact her ambition was treated with less respect than the lad who wanted to be Spiderman.

A theme that keeps cropping up in the ‘debate’, if that’s the right term, is the sheer horror expressed over the idea that some families-mainly Muslims and the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities-might be teaching their girls to be merely wives and mothers.

In order to be a wife and mother a girl needs a “suitable” education. She needs to learn to take good care of herself and budget properly. She needs to be aware of the needs of others; of safety, good nutrition and how to prepare food properly. She needs the language requirements and development of her children. She will need basic first aid skills. She needs to be able to read well so she can read to her children. She will need to be a good manager and able to prioritise tasks. She needs to have learned honesty, integrity and the willingness to see something very difficult through. She needs to be chaste and willing to make a strong commitment to her family. She will need a very large dose of common sense.

There’s a lot more a girl will need to be educated in to be a wife and mother. It’s a very broad and highly skilled vocation. But this Govt doesn’t recognise it has having any worth at all.

I wonder what these girls are supposedly not learning. Or is it that they are learning traditional skills that don’t fit well with the 1970s psuedo-feminist politics of (sadly) most of those in power?

I’ll never forget that ….man Tony McNulty MP and presently under the Expenses Scandal cloud, saying it was “misogynist” to suggest a woman might want to be a full time wife and mother!

That’s not to say I am not preparing my children for the world of work. But I will never be pushing them into a view of themselves as having worth based on their career and wage packet. and how much stuff they can accrue.

Personally I think it is important that children learn about marriage and children and how to do it properly. That means boys learning how to be husbands and fathers too. Perhaps they will be single or ordained or religious-but the skills to run a family are transferable to all callings.

In the end this clash is surely because home educators still hold on to the old notion that education is to build on a persons innate talents and interests, to help them discover and to reason so they can discover what is true. We want our children to grow into good people, not merely machines of the state.

While unions mutter about not needing home education in the 21st century -we EHE folk are still stuck in the medieval idea of the person with innate dignity and ability to reason. There is a chasm between us.

Ash Wednesday and I might be giving up pain for Lent!

Lent has begun. We went off to Mass this morning-well, Al and I went withe the smalls, the bigs are going this evening. Ashes were duly daubed on all of us and we were instructed to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Good idea.

I now have to sort out what I’ll read and pray for Lent. Yeah, I know I should have done this ages ago, but better late than never. So. I am reading G K Chesterton’s The Innocence of Fr Brown from the collected works. Now don’t laugh, this is legit Lent reading I think-honestly. The stories always have that Chesterton insistance on reason and truth which I think is worth contemplating. I think I can learn a lot from the short little priest and his tatty umbrella.

I will also try and read the excellent Commentary on the Gospel of John by Steve Ray. It’s an excellent commentary which I read a few years ago. Time to return to it I think.

I am also going to try and do the Seven Sorrows rosary at least once a week during Lent. Now this might not seem like much, but I want to be realistic. I’ll continue with Universalis morning and night prayer which I am just about managing (not always night prayer) so once a week on the rosary is about it for me I’m afraid. Who knows by Easter I may be better at it.

picture credit

I went off to the doctors last night because of another chest infection. While I was there I decided to go for the overhaul and talked about my pretty useless pain management at the moment. He was really good. He listened to me; prescribed the antibiotic for the infection; agreed not to give me steroids at this time (I don’t like taking them unless I have to) and then when I told him about my daily pain and asked for amitriptyline to help me out. I’ve been taking a combination of Diclophenic, paracetamol and on bad days Tramadol for years and frankly it isn’t really working. Mainly because I wont take the Tramadol unless things get desperate because it makes me feel off (stoned to be blunt) and I don’t like being unsafe while home edding and taking care of the children.

I did ask for amitrip some time ago but as I was still breast feeding the doc refused. I have to say I could not see the drugs I was supposed to take were much safer but hey.

So the doc has agreed to start me on a low dose (pain doses vary from10mg to 50mg). I am to start on 10mg at night and then I can double it if it doesn’t work. I have to go back in a month for review and he even said he could get me referred to a pain clinic. Whoo hoo!! So we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be giving up pain for Lent. I certainly hope so :)

I notice the Wiki article says the drug is unapproved for pain relief, but I know plenty of people who have it prescribed for that and the GP even commended me on my request!

The Bill could be heading for the Washup

H/T Carlotta. The CSF Bill could be heading for the washup. So we need another (hopefully last) push to get the thing ditched. Don’t forget there are other aspects of this Bill that will undermine the rights of children and families, not least the bit about forced sex education.

I’ve written to my new Bishop asking for an appointment-and I’ll let people know the response. A few of us are hoping to meet with him and the CofE bishop if possible and get them to make a statement supporting us.

I’ve also written to the Catholic Herald in response to the Oona Stannard “no worries” letter from a couple of weeks ago. I’ll keep you posted.

Stuff worth reading:

Graham Stuart MP

Just about Everything Kelly writes

And Every Child Matters response to the Baroness

End of term. Rant and tired. (sorry)

We finished off a week of home ed with some bean and pea growing in bags. They are sitting along the kids’ window ledge at the moment and thanks to the fact that they have something that resembles heat now and then, they are actually growing.

I don’t know what the Jackbooted ones would think but the children also spent a bit of time watching a Silly Symphony and Shirley Temple singing On the Good Ship Lollipop. Now just before you think I’ve completely lost it (if I ever had it) there was a reason. Ronan is reading 26 Fairmount Avenue and Tomie is telling of his childhood and the things he enjoyed including watching Silly Symphonies at the Cinema and how famous Shirley Temple and May West were. So we had a quick look on Youtube and of course there were examples.

On Friday we were all too exhausted to really get the lessons on the go, so Confuscious will have to wait, though I have the worksheets and chapter if we want to do it this week….shall we? …erm. No.

We did however practice the songs for the Troy Story musical they want to get done by Summer. The boys were LOUD. The rap bits are hard though and will take quite a lot of practice.

While the comments are still being posted on Barreness Deech’s blog I notice there has been no response from her. I think there is a chasm between her and us. She doesn’t understand us and I surely don’t understand her attitude one bit.

I think I am becoming more and more removed from parents who send their children to school as well. I know many have to. Life situations do not always allow for home education. But I no longer understand why school is the default setting for families.

Josh is at Uni now and surrounded by “children” 18 and over who have literally moved from one institution to another without ever thinking about doing something outside of institutional schoolish walls. They are supposed to be adults, but they’ve never had a job, paid a bill or some cases cooked a meal. There is a horrible toxic culture of selfishness, spitefulness, drink and sex.

Meanwhile in the comments column of the thoughtless Barroness one parent shows the absolutely vile attitude and language of girls even younger than Iona.

I am tired of hearing about how important A levels are; and science A levels are supposed to be the ‘measure’ of a young person’s worth now apparently. What is so marvellous about a degree from Oxford or Cambridge if you are miserable and/or nasty at the end of it?

One mother wrote of the wonder her children experienced while out on a nature walk and someone asked her if her children could classify the lichen they saw on this walk. Ye gods! Talk about missing the point. Children are worth only what they can put on a test sheet.

When was the last time you heard anyone (outside of the HE Community) talking about their children in terms of who they are and how they are, rather than what exams they are taking, passing and what Uni they might or are going to?

Well. I am watching some of it up close and it looks like a train wreck from my angle. Parents need to wake up. Children are not machines for testers thanks.

Rant over. (for now)

McGuffey’s Readers

Found this little TREASURY of OLD READERS on internet archive. Just in case anyone is interested.

Lords and Lab Rats

Having written their first entries on Home Education showing complete ignorance of the subject both Lord Soley and Baroness Deech returned with another attempt. I can only assume they didn’t read a single comment from their previous attempt or if they did they ignored it all. Questions asked have remained unanswered and statements made are still not backed up with any evidence.

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Home Education Curriculum; books and websites

Okay, so having talked about all the computer and curriculum choices out there and how we use computers here’s what we have been up to. It will be half term on Friday so we are half way through this academic year.

My children are half way though UK rec (pre-K) ; yr 2 (grade 1) and yr 11 (gr 10)

Here it all is so far:

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St Scholastica

Feast of St Scholastica today.

She is one of the saints taking care of our home ed endevours.

She is St Benedict’s twin sister.

Her Bio here. And I really recommend this lovely book.

Home Education; budgeting, computers and curriculum

I am coming across a few home ed families who have started out by hearing of a good curriculum and then buying the lot, only to find it doesn’t quite work for them.

I know some home ed families prefer not to use computers but for us having computers has meant access to an astonishing amount of free or very cheap material that has been good for our families education.

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Who is really disadvantaged in education?

Bareness Deech felt quite comfortable writing this load of twaddle on her blog.  She is following this equally ignorant piece by Lord Soloy. Both of these people have the power to vote for or against the Bill when it reaches the house of Lords and yet both show no knowledge or understanding or either home education, the law as it stands or what the Bill means. I am sure they are not the only Lords who are willing to spout as “fact” that is which nothing of the sort.

Meanwhile I wonder just who is truly disadvantaged by their parents choice of education?

As I mentioned in an earlier post we had a load of young people here on Saturday night. One of the reasons to meet up was to try and organise a weekend on a canal boat as a Scout event. Most boat hire companies set short breaks from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. It would mean picking the boat up about half two to three o’clock on the Friday and then being back by Sunday night. This would mean those who are school educated (all of them but Iona) would need to leave school an hour or so early on the Firday. One of the girls was panicking and horrified at the idea of loosing an hour or so of school. She insisted it would never be allowed. Others also thought there would be ructions.

The education thought box is locked tight. No education can take place outside of the institution. A group of youngsters working together, cooking, managing the budget, taking care of the boat, seeing the wildlife and history of the canals; non of it counts as education because it wouldn’t be in school!!!

I’ve lost count of the times my kids schooled friends have missed out on activities and trips because they have to sit home and do homework.

I wonder who was missing from the trip to the Birmingham Wheel last night because of homework? Or because they were just too tired after long journeys to and from school and all day wondering aroud the institution.

Just who is missing out here?

The Children, Schools and Family Bill gets through another reading.

Graham Stuart MP is a sharp thinker and speaker. He has truly done the background work needed to decide whether Schedule 1 Clause 26 should go through or not. Reading what he has to say makes me believe he actually does support Home Education and this isn’t just a political game to him. For that I am truly, truly grateful.

Caroline Flint otoh was quite capable of pointing out some bad practice by an LA officer-who I dare say went on to continue that level of crassness with other families; but then still voted with the Govt to increase the powers of these incompetent people. What incredible hyprocracy!

There is a great deal in the debate from the Hansard transcipt that needs looking at but I think this quote from Mr Stuart will start things off here:

A 1999 study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner, vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which is the testing company that runs the GMAT test in the United States—the primary test used there—observed:
“Home schooling’s one-on-one tutorial method seemed to equalize the influence of parents’ educational background on their children’s academic performance. Home educated students’ test scores remained between the 80th and 90th percentiles, whether their mothers had a college degree or did not finish high school.”

I would have hoped that hon. Members throughout the House would be excited at that prospect. Home education could have a transformational effect on the chance of children from the poorest homes getting a good education—if the parents had the commitment and the desire to do it—even if their parents did not have a good education themselves. He continued:

“Students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families of comparable educational backgrounds.”

In other words, although that cannot be guaranteed for all by any means, not least because of the economic realities, parents who are not well educated and who live in a deprived community and are prepared to show such commitment will none the less make a huge difference to the outcomes for their children, who are of course most likely to fail at school.

We should support home education rather than using measures that suggest that the only way we are going to improve it is by forcing children back to school.
This is the kind of research Badman would simply dismiss. There must be no hint that families who are not of the upper middle class white variety could possibly be capable of properly educating their children. During the anti-family campaign remember Tony Mooney? The man from the LA who thought working class and poorer families were in dire need of help (and SAOs)? This research flies in the face of such a view.
This debate was almost opened with the question from Ann Cryer (Lab) on what would happen if an inspector found a family who were home educating but didn’t speak English.
As it happens I did once meet a family like this. At home they spoke German because they were Austrian and while out and about they spoke English.
Many hearing children of Deaf parents only use BSL at home and English with other hearing people.
Could there be problems for families where they didn’t get access to English? Well probably, but just as I am able to offer Latin, Chinese, Italian and Spanish to my children, despite not speaking those languages myself I am sure parents can offer English in the same way. I have met Deaf parents who have done so for their hearing children. In fact in this country English is a language far easier to access than Latin or Italian.
Children learn to be bi/trilingual far quicker than adults but even adults soon learn English when immersed in it, (obviously Deaf adults cannot always do so) just as I became fluent in BSL far more quickly by being immersed in the Deaf Community that I would have from mere lessons.
I suspect Ms Cryer (despite ALL THE EVIDENCE) is still of the notion that home education means never leaving the home. That a child who only uses punjabi or some other language at home would never leave the house to learn English anywhere else.
The ‘we don’t like these foreigners’ approach continued with the statement that traveller families fail to educate girls past KS2. I wonder how true this is. Apart from the fact that travellors come in a variety of forms; Irish ‘tinker’, some Romany people still travel and there are groups of no particular ethnic set up. I went to school with travellor kids- boys and girls at what nowadays would be  KS3 so I wonder how widespread this perceived problem is. The other question I would ask is what kind of education? 
I realise these might seem like small side issues that don’t effect the vast majority of EHE families-but it does underline the shoddy thinking of the whole approach to EHE.
Mr David Laws  (LibDem) was somewhat confused over some aspects of safeguarding it seemed to me but he did go on to say:
In paragraphs 19 onwards, we see clearly—it is especially clear in paragraph 28—that what is at the moment an entitlement by the citizen in a free society to make a decision to home educate, has become an application in the Bill. In the future, instead of having the presumption that we are allowed to home educate, we must apply to the state for that right. That is an extraordinary change that I find deeply objectionable in a free society. We must not underestimate how serious that change in presumption is. It is clear that the application is not simply a process of notification, which is what we are trying to make it through some of the amendments that I will discuss in a moment. It is a fully-fledged process that involves having to supply huge amounts of personal information.
I do wonder therefore why any LibDem MP would want to support anything in this part of the Bill. It is after all the crux of the problem; these are not as I think Ms Cryer calls the “our children” they are my children or yours. The State does NOT own my children …yet.

Thyroid tests

It was Thyroid Awreness Month last month.

Iona is in the process of having tests for her thyroid function. She has had a couple of blood tests for TSH and on Thursday we went to the hospital for her to have an ultrasound scan of her thyroid. The Children’s is a good hospital (although I do get a bit fed up of the amount of time I seem to spend there!) They were very thourough. At the end of the scan instead of the usual blank faced “The doctor will let you know,” approach we have all come to know and hate, they were up front about what the scan had shown. She has some blood flow problems around the thyroid and some lumps and bumps on it. The radiographer asked another radiographer to double check because he said he was used to smaller children’s thyoids and wondered if he was accurate in what he’d seen.

Anyway, they will send the results to the paediatrician and he will look at them alongside the blood results and hopefully we’ll get some info on what happens next soon.

My guess is Iona will be referred to an adult services endochronologist- at least I hope so as she should have further follow up.

Thyroid problems are more common in families with autoimmune disease and type 1 diabetes is closely associated with thyroid diseases.

We’ll see how ti goes.

Bitten bottoms

My sister likes to say “It all comes round and bites them on the bum.” This is her version of “karma” I guess. Well David Chaytor who showed himself both ignorant and hostile to home education has been charged with fraud over the ‘expenses scandal’.  A wise man once said that a person who can’t be trusted with little things, (like money perhaps) can’t be trusted with big ones at all (like the freedom to receive an education as best suits the child for example).

‘Young people’ night at our house.

I am having quiet time. Shh! Can you hear that? No. Neither can I! The smalls are at the park with their dad and I am sitting by the fire with a book and a blog. OOH it’s lovely. I am glad to have this bit of time more or less to myself. The constant feeling of being exhausted can wear a girl down-so an hour or two of quiet can make all the difference.

Tonight we will be invaded by a number of young people. The plan had been, apparently, that they would have a Saturday night out somewhere. But after discussion it has been decided that they are all off to 5pm Mass (one of them is reading) and then back here to book a canal trip for the Scout group, followed by a wild night of eating scones (Iona has been baking) and drinking tea and chocolate Horlicks -one of the girls is bringing the Horlicks. They may get really wild and toast marshmallows over the fire as well.

As they will be here I have no doubt that reading stories to small people may have to happen as well.

Ah the youth of today.

I know I should be blogging about more serious things-and I will. But for now, back to The Restless Flame.

Home Education; love it, hate it or too tired for either!

Some time ago I read Danielle Bean’s article on how and why she both loves and hates homeschooling. I couldn’t put it much better.

I am so tired at the moment that it would be easy to just hate the whole darn process; but there are moments in the day that make me smile and think, “Well I would never see that at school.” I watched Avila using her Math U See manipulatives to work out a sum and made each of them a character telling each other how the sum should go.

This morning at the chiropractor Ronan read stories to the girls while I was duly crunched, stretched and needled. They all got a brief lesson in dry acupuncture as opposed to needles that take blood. There’s a pelvis and spine there too that the children have looked at and the chiropractor has told them about the spinal nerves and how they work.

Of course some of the stuff that happens here that would never happen (or perhaps rarely) in school is having to empty the potty in the middle of a Latin translation.

Today we made ‘acid rain’ on a bit of chalk to watch erosion and then used universal indicator to test how acid or alkaline our local (back garden) rain water is; it came out neutral.

Then there’s toddler story time.

We read “Oh Say Can You Seed?” and planned the seeds and beans we want to grow and the terrariums we are going to plant up.

Sometimes all I want to do is curl up in a corner and sleep. I have to fit in housework, cooking, trips to Beavers and doctors and God knows what else-and there are times I truly wish I didn’t have to.

But all of it is so so much better for them than the national curriculum, tick boxes and lining up. Why does Badman want to end this all?

QUESTION: Does anyone know a supplier for universal indicator paper? We use it quite a bit and I would like to get in more supplies.