Monthly Archives: May 2010

Silence enables bad people to get on with it.

Danae has posted a moving piece about her feelings over our fight with Ed Balls and Graham Badman to protect our children from the CSF Bill.

The thing that stays with me from those days is just how many people were silent while Ed Balls tried to stamp all over us. I wasn’t the only one to notice how few extended families, friends and parishes were willing to so much as sign a petition or write a short letter.  Shockingly many of the silent ones were actually home educators who privately were horrified at what was happening but were more than happy to let others do the fighting for them.

A couple of days ago I came across this video. Take a couple of minutes to watch THIS FROM ABC entitled “What Would You Do?” They put an actor with Downs Syndrome in a store as a worker and get other actors to come and verbally abuse him to see what other customers might do.

As is to be expected there were customers who would not speak up. But there were marvellous people who did. One woman had a baby in a pram and said all too clearly what she thought. Other’s too spoke up to defend the young man working so hard behind the counter.

Most of those who spoke up had personal experience with disability of some kind.

I don’t blame those who were too afraid to speak up there-especially when they brought in the big bloke to abuse the young man; but those who agreed!! I hope they have had a rethink.

But those who were silent during our fight have more to answer for.  Signing a petition, writing a letter, showing any support at all would have done them no personal harm whatsoever. So why where they silent?

The reason so many people with visible disabilities get treated so badly is because we let it happen.

I am proud to know people like my friend Amanda who will actively stand up for the right to life of all of us no matter how small or disabled.

If we all do something- even just a small thing, we are doing something and the silent enablement of those who wish evil on others is chipped away.

UPDATE On the same subject you can sign THIS PETITION to get Channel 4 to remove the Marie Stopes (remember her? A eugenicist like Margaret Sanger) International advert pretending to help pregnant women when what they really do is offer to kill the baby. Can’t wait to see the adverts from British Victims of Abortion or the Silent No More people. But of course that wont happen will it?

Nordisk has pulled out of Greece. Hope it doesn’t do that to the UK!

Say a prayer for the diabetics of Greece facing what must be a pretty frightening prospect that Nordisk is pulling out of their health system.

If our own broke country follows Greece and our NHS finds it can’t be bothered to sack people with clipboards and stop so much unnecessary stuff (like abortions) then we might face the same problem. I would be very very scared if Josh couldn’t access his insulin. (He would be scared too.)

I pray that when the cuts come to our NHS it will be where cuts are needed and not to life saving drugs like insulin.

UPDATE Josh tells me Nordisk made a 21% profit last year globally. He learned this off his diabetes forum. Now if they are that financially healthly it seems to me they could try something better than they are offering Greek diabetics right now. Perhaps they could say children and those who are still unstable could keep Novo Rapid and Glargene while the others change over to the older cheaper insulins and the freebie they are offering.

I can see they are trying to offer something to Greece and truly the Greek government and their fiscal irresponsibility are to blame; same as here in the UK; bit the Govt wont suffer over this-people with diabetes will.

Lovely day in a secret garden

It is just beginning to feel like Summer might be on the way. We packed a picnic, collected another family and set off to meet another family at Winterborne House and Gardens. It’s a bit of a secret garden as no one seems to know of it. There was a great deal of garden for the children to explore including a little bridge over a stream filled with lily pads in a rather Monet-esque manner.

There was a cactus house and an orchid house as well as chickens and bees.

The house had toys and lots of information about the families who had lived there. This included the information that one of the mother’s of the household had become President of the Parents National Education Union in 1912. The PNEU was established by Charlotte Mason so I was really interested in that.

We got in free on the proviso that we go back on Tuesday afternoon for a photo shoot with the children playing.

This is the second time the children will be in promotional material for a visitors guide thing. I think we should start calling them ‘models’ :)

On the way out after a day of running around, playing, talking and exploring a couple of us wondered what the learning objectives for such a visit should be. This was our first time there so really it was just an exploration of the gardens to see what the children could get out of it. But I do believe that even if there are no set lesson outcomes for these trips that there is plenty of on the spot learning going on. Apart from the shared knowledge of trees, birds and plants we could offer them there is the very important aspect of the children learning to be together, share ideas and time and share each other. Running around and exploring safely by themselves was probably better for them in many ways than the “this is called…” bits of the day.

Reading and Listening Week: Tues and Wed

More books and stories we have read and listened to:

Horton Hatches the Egg

Grandfather’s Journey

The Squire and the Scroll

From Our Island Story the Coming of Arthur (Ch 12)

From Famous Men of the Middle Ages we listened to Alaric the Visogoth

And a couple of Poems from A Moral Alphabet by Hillaire Belloc. We loved D for Dreadful.

Aesop’s Fables (with CD)

A Scary Adventure

The Clown of God de Paola

And just in case you are thinking Iona doesn’t join in with reading week-she is reading

The House on the Strand and has requested Notes From the Underground which came up in her Open Uni course. So I’ll get that for her.

We made the reading tree as you can see :)

Tomorrow we’re out all day and Friday is the usual kind of Friday with the HE families, so I don’t think there’s many more stories t0 add to the tree now.

Reading and Listening Week. Mon

Just before half term I am having a reading week. We try and get one of these in once a term or so. Instead of the usual lessons we get out all the books that might otherwise not get enough attention and listen to stories online as well. There’s lots of good stuff. Here’s a selection from today:

Books and stories we are reading and listening to this week:

Famous Men of the Middle Ages chapters 4 and 5 Attila the Hun and Genseric the Vandal. This is to build on the rather rushed and shortened chapters we have reached in Story of the World Vol 1.

From the Cat in the Hat Learning Library: Oh Say Can You Seed and Inside Your Outsides.

Usborne Books: The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Usborne little Greek Myths book.

Tomie de Poala: Old Befana -even though it’s for Christmas the children requested it. Charlie Needs a Cloak - great for the younger ones. The Cloud Book.

Ronan is reading from the 26 Fairmount Ave series On My Way.

Owl Babies which you can read and watch in British Sign Language too.

My friend K has done reading weeks with her children too. She suggested we make a tree with each leaf having the title of a book or story they have read or listened too. Seems less boring than my little list so we’ll set about that tomorrow :)

It’s past time to de-comoditise our children.

One of the things that seems to stand out when studying civilisations that have come and gone is that at the point of going they so often seem to fall to child sacrifice. There were many gods over many lands that apparently were happy to receive the lives of children in return for wealth.  Molech is perhaps the best known but the gods of the Aztecs and the Nazca people also, according to written texts and sad little graves, liked children. Saturn was blood thirsty for a while and his story even had him devouring his own children. Closer to home we have the Irish demon Crom Cruach. But even the otherwise human sacrifice free Romans sometimes resorted to child sacrifice as more recent archaeological discoveries have found.

How can this happen? Simple. Start viewing children not as persons in their own right but as commodities to be bartered, bought and sold and soon you can dispose of them in Molech’s fires or some South American stone table.  Of course our modern clean way is the abortion mills churning out dead babies with a false promise of problem solved.

During the fight to protect home education and home educating families the argument kept coming back to who children belonged to; who OWNS the children? It was a disturbing argument for on the one side were parents who claimed that children BELONGED to them and on the other those who saw children as commodities of the state. To belong is nothing like being owned and this was were the clash of language and understanding came.

Too many people have misused language to make false ideas. How often do we hear people insist they have a right to a child? Where does such a right come from? Certainly it is not rooted in natural law where the rights are with the child who has a right to life and to a mother and father who loves and cares for him. The right to own a child is little different from the right so many of the past have assumed to own a slave (often a child slave).

Ownership of children means some parents (too many) believe they can do as they like with the child they have spent money on. The poor kid is bought and paid for and so is the commodity of the family. Hence we see children paraded on some stage wearing bikinis and doing sexed up dances, or having their bodies harvested for organs to “save” a sibling. We see a schools system that insists that children are all cogs in the machine of commercialism. We see fake horror at pederasty scandals in the Catholic Church while children (not young adult men) are force fed sex ed and soft porn and dressed in clothes that actually have words stating that the child is available!! It took a campaign by concerned parents to have Primark remove the padded bra bikini sets for little girls from it’s shelves. Who on earth was the person who a) designed and made such a foul product and  b) thought it would sell and was a good product?

Why was my 7yr old son faced with a kill zombies game on a children’s website yesterday? (Keep the computer where you can see it).

Why is it ok for the local sweet shop to have porn on the shelves and why are so many advert posters just porn?

The abuse of children is supposed to be on the increase. While I don’t trust the NSPCC figures at all on this I think it would be a surprise in this culture if the “commodity” wasn’t being abused.

On Tuesday our little HE group was exposed to the parenting approach a few other mums and a dad. The dad was disinterested in his child and the mothers were frankly vicious. Foul language and foul behaviour with children no older than mine. Why? Well if the child is yours by right you can do what you like can’t you? If on the other hand the child is a blessing and a responsibility and a PERSON then you can’t scream abuse at them or allow them to bully and stamp on others.

It is not just that children have become commodities in our culture it’s the kind of commodity they have become. They are like dress up dolls with all the gadgets. They must have stuff, lots of it and it must be the most state of the art possible. Going by research and of course common sense, the more stuff these poor materially spoilt children are inflicted with, the more miserable and unsettled they are.

Give them less, love them more.

I hope more mums and dads will come forward as time goes on and demand the decomodisation of their children. The Government doesn’t own them, and we don’t own them. They belong to us because they have been given to us and we love them and we recognise that from the moment they were conceived they were and are persons in their own right with all the inherent dignity and right to respect that goes with that. The culture can only rebuild from the roots up and that means from the family. We have to repair the family and that includes changing the way we view children. It’s rooted in the old old notion of hospitality.

Nature Centre

It has been such a lovely day, and so not to waste it, we headed to the nature centre. It’s a great little resource and pretty cheap for us all to get in as they offered concessions to me for using a wheelchair and Iona in case she was shoving it (which at times she was).

There was plenty to see and do. Three families met up and the children had a great adventure.

It was a good follow on from our nature study on Tuesday. The children had the chance to look at leaves and a feather under Alex’s old Horrible Science microscope yesterday and then today there were trees and animals to see.

They have Tamerins there now and something odd that has replaced the red panda. I can’t remember what it was called. It looked like a kind of ring tailed ant eater.

I think Iona got a piccy of it. I’ll have to post it and see if any of you know what it is :)

My resources are up

That Resource Blog have put up my “A Little Bit of Greek” sheets. Check it out and have a look at the other stuff they offer.

I hope I can offer a few things to them as we have done well as a family out of the free resources so many people are prepared to offer.

Their main website is HERE

A little bit of hippie tree hugging home education.

I have to admit that despite following the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education I don’t follow her advice on nature walks every day.  The children get out and about quite a bit, but I’ve been a bit stuck either because I’m just not well enough for long treks or because the bloomin’ crip scooter isn’t working. It’s pretty old now and is protesting at being used. Thank goodness Al knows enough to keep fixing it one way or the other.

Yesterday was a lovely day so off we all went to the park to do a bit of nature study. There’s plenty of nature to see there including Canada geese and ducks.  Armed with a little booklet for identifying trees we set the children on a tree hugging quest.

They managed to hug copper beech, oak, silver birch and horse chestnut. They climbed about in a rhododendron and spotted willow and hazel. I think Charlotte would have approved :)

I’ve laminated some of the leaves we collected and a couple of buttercups and daisies and it’s turned out well. I do remember when I worked in a school that the laminater cooked the flowers we collected but my little lam doesn’t seem to get quite so hot so the results are good.

Hopefully today we’ll get chance to look at a couple of leaves and a feather under Alex’s microscope.

LA man visited today.

The man from the LA came over today. He’s the new guy and I felt sorry for him taking over after the Ishaq trial. He is pro-home ed as far as I could tell. He asked what I needed and I told him I needed some copper sulphate if he could get me some. He said he would look into it.

Something like that would be a useful service from the LA to those of us who are registered. In return for the box ticking we could get some basic inexpensive science supplies.

He mentioned that he thought the Tories wanted HE families to form their own schools and be paid for the HE. I pointed out that would undoubtedly come with strings attached and after what Ed Balls had done it would take a while for HE families to trust even a different Government.

He seemed fine about what we were doing. That should be it for a year.

I’m not bothered by it-but I’ll wait and see if I get any copper sulphate ;)

I had just posted this and was pottering around when I saw THIS ASTONISHING ARTICLE. It seems to me that Clegg and Cameron could save money by sacking everyone involved in NICE. They aren’t nice at all.

Good grief it was this very attitude home educators talked about only a few months ago. No more nanny state! PLEASE!

New blog on the block.

Please note I have added a link to Life the Universe and Would You Pass the Custard Creams?

Three young gals who like a spot of tea and dunkable biscuits have got together to write this.  So pop over and have a cuppa with Gwen and Elinor and the other one whose name escapes me.  (whoops).

I might need to hold on to deny-ability over their identities. :)

Goodbye DCSF Yippee!

Carlotta has linked to a Graun story that Michael Gove has set to work already and has changed the Dept for Children Schools and Families to The Department for Education. I would like to hope that his is a sign that my fervent wish that this government will leave families out of their interfering shenanigans might come about.

The Graun says:

Some fear the new name could mean that children and families will now become a lower priority for ministers.

Well we can hope so! The view that the DCSF was in way way encouraging inter-disciplinary work or improving the lives of families is a bit of a sick joke really. If there is one thing we learn from recent child murders right under the nose of social services and other departments is that they DIDN’T work together. No, the people in these agencies simply thought someone else could deal with it.

Maire who linked to THIS asks if it too much to hope that some of those involved with the appalling treatment of families under Bully Boy Balls will see their P45s? I think if this new Government wants to really CHANGE as their horrible obamaesque posters proclaimed then this does have to happen. I’m not holding my breath.

Nevertheless it is a good step in the right direction.

There is also the mild fiscally dependant promise of parent led schools. I still think home education is a better and cheaper option; but there are some things about little parent schools that might be better than HE. I have a few fluttery thoughts on this which I hope I can elucidate  later; but I’m not promising.

Feast of the Ascension and Our Lady of Fatima

Double whammy day today being the (actual) Feast of the Ascension and the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Forty (yes that number again) days after the Resurrection Christ returns to Heaven.

Some time before Al became Catholic I had to sit through a really daft sermon at his church where the minister was obviously really struggling with the concept of Christ rising up to heaven on a cloud.

He kept going on about not needing to leave our brains at the door; in other words it couldn’t possibly have happened the way the Gospel said it did, because…well, because some sugary artists drew Jesus on a fluffy white cloud.

Old fashioned classical medieval artists on the other hand actually knew Scripture well and painted their understanding of it. Christ did not ascend to heaven on a pink fluffy cloud, He ascended wrapped in the Shekinah, the Glory Cloud of the Holy Spirit; the same cloud that the Israelites followed with Moses.

It’s one of the Holy Trinity moments; The Father and the Holy Spirit receiving back the Son once His work was completed.

It’s also the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. She appeared to the three children in Portugal for the first time on May 13th 1917. She offered hope that the war was to end but warned that unless mankind seriously got his act together another war would follow. When the lights are seen in the sky, she told Lucia, Jacinta and Fransico. Of course people loved the spectacle and the miracle of the Sun but not enough to really DO anything and so on a night in 1936 scientists and others were astonished at the sight of the northern lights being so bright and active they could be seen in southern Britain. And then came the war.

Our Lady also warned that Russia would spread her errors. Sadly that too came about. Lenin, Stalin and their follow on tyrants slaughtered well over 40 million of their own people. Horror stories abound from those days -although they are rarely seen in the mainstream.

The wall went up, not to keep the enemy out, but to build a huge Eastern Block Prison.

John Paul the Great loved Our Lady of Fatima and credited her with saving his life when the Muslim terrorist shot him. The bullet that failed to kill him is in the crown of her statue I believe.

Jacinta and Francisco died young (flu) but Lucia lived and became a Carmelite. She and John Paul met on more than one occasion.

Many believe that John Paull II is the man who fulfils the prophecy given to St Faustina that

“From Poland will come the spark that will ignite the whole world and prepare it for My Final Coming.”

It was largely thanks to John Paul that the Berlin wall came down and the heart of Communism was crushed. Of course it isn’t over yet, but we live in Hope.

Michael Gove gets Education

There was some worry that a LibDem with nasty ideas might get Education, but no, we are fortunate to get Michael Gove.

While I do have some concerns I think overall he handled the CSF Bill fiasco pretty well. I know he mentioned wanting forced registration for HE but we have had a promise this wont happen and anyway I am sure he and the rest of the team will take one look at how bankrupt the country is and not want to bother spending money on bureaucracy to hurt us lot.

There is still a concern about forced sex ed ( grooming) in schools, but we’ll see what happens.

After all I think it would have been difficult to find anyone worse than Ed Balls. I am still amazed that some people actually voted for him!

Home Education Heresies

Back in the days when I was studying for the MA in Religious Ed and Catechesis we learned about heresies and how they came about. All very fascinating. The way Father described them was interesting. He said it was like a pendulum-when it hangs straight down that’s orthodoxy, but it swung one way-say Jesus has one nature, human it would swing back the other Jesus has one nature Divine.

Well I reckon that pendulum swings in other areas of life and belief, such as home education.

I would like to suggest the orthodox view of HE is that it is a system of family life where parents and children learn together using methods and following philosophies that suit that family. It’s a pretty flexible view that takes into consideration that families are different. It also recognises that some families are dysfunctional enough that HE would not work for them (not that this automatically means that school would).

The heresies that occur are (it seems to me) the view that all HE families are doing a marvellous job with their marvellous well rounded children. That there is no need for discipline because children are automatically ever so good.

The opposite one is that only one sort of HE could possibly work; “mine”. All other HE families are either utterly lax or utterly tyrannical. On the structured side it would be all HE children are set to fail in life because they haven’t done gcse’s or something equal. On the other side (AE) there can be the view that any child with a structured education is being “forced” or “coerced” and this is bad.

Then the ‘others’ pipe up with the myriad of HE myths. I think sometimes though the myths grow out of the heresies.

I think one of the things the Badman-Balls attack did for us HEers was to show that freedom for families to do what is best for their children means freedom for all. The words “forced” and “coerced” disappeared and despite some pretty awful media stories showing Autonomous Education as idle parents with pretty foul children, we all saw more and more AE families where the parents and children worked and learned together.

I don’t doubt the myths will remain; that HE children are weird, uneducated because they lack the school qualifications or hot housed because they are doing uni level work before the age of 18. There are loads of other great sweeping myths out there-but they are all essentially the same; HE is too hard and easy and the children are too well educated not socialised and not educated. The myths are meaningless twaddle.

The other area linked with family life and Home Education where heresy and myth abound is in those precious freedoms. Freedom is by it’s very nature bound. It is in its binding us that it ensures we are all free.

We are free to do good, to be bound by the golden rule of do as you would be done by. We are free to be bound by our properly formed consciences.

Freedom does not allow us to kill or otherwise harm ourselves or others. It does not give someone the right of power; sorry Badman and Balls et al, it just doesn’t. People who use “freedom” to mean licence to bully, lie and manipulate will always lose one way or another. Sadly they often don’t get justice until a lot of damage has been done to the innocent.

To be honest I don’t see how you can have true freedom or rights without God as author. I know some people have attempted to write a Godless morality but the fact is once you decide that man can decide what rights are you are pretty quickly facing the fact that certain powerful men (and women)  will soon be avoiding natural law and arbitrarily deciding who gets what rights and when. Just look at Communism, National Socialism and the mean secularism of our own country.

It is no surprise then that with the keys of No 10 still cold in his hands, Cameron has already reneged on his promise to support marriage.

The problem with natural law is it’s a lot like the laws of nature. Take gravity for example, you can’t break the law of gravity, if you try the law of gravity will break you (as Scott Hahn reminds us).

It’s time for a bit of quiet distributism.

New Catholic resource sites

Just got a heads up on these two sites. I haven’t investigated fully but they look good.

That Resource Site

The blog for the site.

Resources are free.

Do we really need a ‘school’ so we can educate our children?

I grabbed a cuppa this morning and had a quite look at the MSM to see if we had a Government yet. Nope.

But I noticed THIS ARTICLE in The Times from just a day before the election. The mother’s have won a major battle to build the school of their choice for their children. They have defeated the whole one-huge-school of faceless, nameless children in favour of something local, small and with a smiling subsidiarity to it.

While the article is written in such a way as to leave the reader absolutely convinced they could NEVER do anything like that (the Times does like the bif Govt-experts-rule approach doesn’t it?) there are a couple of quotes that stand out for me. After living in  busy village Joanne Vickers moved to another place…

she moved to one with no school, “where people expected others to do everything for them. No one talked to each other.

Ah yes. I think a lot of us are familiar with that scenario. But this mother wanted something better for her family and (having moved again) found parents who understand they are the primary educators of their children.

They didn’t want a school where children could be ignored. They had seen the stories in the papers of children missed by schools and social services who suffered neglect and even murder. They want something better for their children.

hat night they got caught up in a wave of idealism and excitement. They didn’t want an exclusive school.

They wanted “a school where all children matter. A community school. And we have never, ever, deviated from that.”

Brilliant stuff. Hope Call Me Dave remembers his promise when he’s finished dodging and dealing with Clegg.

But I have to wonder, reading this, whether those parents really need a ‘school’? Perhaps where they are, they do. Perhaps they need a building-and it would have to be called a ‘school’.

Home education is hard work. But it isn’t as hard as what those mums seem to have gone through. We don’t have to be great public speakers and although it pays to know the law on home education, we don’t need to find huge funds for lawyers or loose good educational family time attending council meetings.

In fact thanks to the failure of the appalling CSF Bill we wont (for now) have to bother with LAs at all. Good.

Most days I think my house (The Hub) is like a mini school anyway. We meet here for lots of lessons and activities. Other days we meet at places like museums, Think Tank and such like. We all just get on with it. No faff or fuss.

We even have different approaches to education; Charlotte Mason, Classical, Steiner. I might add that being right there for the children we don’t need SATS to tell us anything, so our children get educated all year round, rather than taught to the test. Lots of good teachers envy us that and wish they had the same freedom for the children in their care. Perhaps with more parent power will come more good teacher power? We’ll have to wait and see.

Open Uni instead of GCSEs and A Level

Iona has finished her Open Uni course and has done well. So that’s 10 points at level 1 under her belt. The course was Start Writing Fiction which is English (obviously).

Her plans are to do some work with her older brother for the next term and then look at doing an OU science course for the next academic year.

She is building a good portfolio which should give her access to college or another Uni if that’s what she wants. With more Open Uni courses available she shouldn’t ever need to sit another gcse or igcse, nor have to do A’levels.

Josh is looking at doing the paramedic training in Sept/Oct. He has no science A level so he is doing and Open University science course-on their paramedics list.

I think the more distance learning Unis make available the more the carrot of “free GCSEs” for HE will look like the red herring it always was.

Life Goes On

While all the buzz about hung parliaments and who hadn’t won what and why was going on yesterday, we carried on with the business of getting on with life and home education.

The children learned about Babylonian bas-relief. The book (Artistic Pursuits) suggested the activity should be making clay versions, but I am out of clay. I had thought of making bas relief with card and sticking toilet roll and tissue paper down to make the relief. But just as I was planning that I saw a book about Christmas decs on the table and it had the foil making thing. So I decided we would make foil bas-relief instead. The children glued and folded a piece of foil and then with a pencil drew out a picture. When they turn them over the picture is in relief on the other side. Simple. Also it was something even the little ones could do without needing a lot of adult help.

It was K’s birthday so we had cake with candles to celebrate. We have a plan, which I pray comes to fruition, that we will have a big party when we both make it to 50.

It was also our wedding anniversary yesterday; 22 years!  I told Al I thought things were ok so far ;)

So, as you can see, there were much better things to do yesterday, rather than watch who was next in line to finish off the country.

But this morning I find we still have no Government. I am wondering if it matters?

Meanwhile Carlotta tells us that Graham Stuart who is still MP -so one of the good guys won, promises there will be no monitoring or “registration” under a Tory Government. I assume this is a firm promise at this point because even if Gordo is prized out of No. 10 and Dave gets to move in, it will be a difficult place to be. There is no money to come after ordinary people like home educators so I guess we can put away the ammo for now ;)

So, while the toddlers (no one could call them giants) fight it out in the playground,  perhaps we can all just get on with life, until the Eye turns again.

Vulgus vult decipi

Today we vote. While I feel a moral obligation to vote I still struggle with the fact that there are no truly moral candidates to vote for.

And while I have this little cartoon in this post I don’t believe a word of it. We vote, they get power, and they ignore what is needed for what they want. Where’s the voice in that?

Nevertheless a decision must be made and I suppose I have made one.

Against my inclination and with my memory of the 80′s and early 90′s still vivid, I will vote Tory.

Why? Simply because around here I have seen Vote Labour signs going up in house windows. I have to vote Tory to ensure the Labour candidate who was in the money grabbing scandal up to his neck and has written some pretty dumb leaflets for our delectation, doesn’t get in. Also, I have to admit the local Tory guy is a good man, with some genuine achievements for our locality under his belt.

I find it hard though. I remember what the Tories did to very vulnerable people. Apart from the appalling National Curriculum that Thatcher foisted on schools and Labour ran away with, there was Community Care. Remember that? It was a scheme to ensure long term mentally ill or disabled people were “cared for in the community”. Only there was no infrastructure set up to achieve this and so many of our patients ended up on the streets or in prison. Even today the prison population is made up of far too many mentally ill people.

Then there was the taking of benefits off the long term sick so they couldn’t even keep their homes. We had patients who had less in benefit that the rent for their horrible little flat. As nurses on our abysmal pay we often ended up buying our patients toiletries and other needs out of our money because they had less than nothing. One man who thanks to his schizophrenia needed a change of accommodation to a grand floor flat  nearer his mother couldn’t get the change because he was running up rent arrears-simply because he got less benefit per week than his rent. His mother on a state pension was just about getting by. She ended up trying to pay off her son’s debt so he could live safely near to her.

This and similar stories played out over hospitals and hostels all over the place.

Many other horrible things were done to the poor and vulnerable.  Have the Tories changed? Somehow I don’t think so.

As for home education. Michael Gove made it clear that there would be something done if they got the power.  Others on that side of the fence has muttered about “monitoring” HE too. No one paying attention thinks the Tories wont come after us; the question is WHEN will they? And will they be just a tiny bit more pro-family and pro-family freedom than the tyrannical  Balls?

Looking at Cameron??? Grief! I don’t know.  He likes Obama!

Well we’ll see and as the title says; the people like to be deceived. That’s the problem isn’t it?

Sunrise, Sunset: Josh was in Fiddler on the Roof.

Went to see Josh in Fiddler on the Roof last week. I do love that musical. I don’t think there’s a single dud song in it. Josh played a villager, a soldier and a naughty soldier called Sacha. He had great fun as always and commented today about what a lovely team the BMTC are. He knows he is highly unlikely to ever get a main part because he can’t sing for toffee. But he loves the production and has learned a lot about what it takes to put a really good show on in a theatre. The older children went the following night with some friends. We have the film, with Topol as Tevye and I was thinking as we watched the show that it might be a good tool to springboard some history for the children later on. The huge question on the place of “tradition” is not really answered in the show-a mere musical couldn’t-but it is a good question. The traditions that seem to have to bend are the ones that are cultural, whereas the religious Traditions remain. I always loved Tevye’s relationship with God. It’s a bit like mine (ahem).

There are Study Guides online and this one so I am not the only one who thinks this could make a good springboard for a history lesson or two.

I love the tradition of marrying under a canopy. I believe in the Eastern Rite this tradition inherited from Judaism still stands.

My favourite song is the Sabbath Prayer, but there are other good songs

St Joseph and May Day

Yesterday was the feast of St Joseph the Worker. It is also traditionally the day when we pray for all those who have or need work.

Being the 1st May we have also entered the Month of the Rosary and Father spoke very well about the need to say the rosary and why people find it so difficult. Perhaps he was talking to me lol!

We went to Mass last night as it was said for the repose of Donna’s soul. We miss her a great deal but I do believe God has shown her His Mercy.

Joseph is a special saint for us, one of the saints of our parish and more personally of our family. As Alistair is into carpentry when he gets the chance St Joe has been part of our family litany of saints for some time.

St Joseph doesn’t get a huge number of Scripture pages. He is the husband of Mary, we are told, and he was a good man who followed the Law. An angel reassured him that he could still marry Mary even when he learned she was pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

There are two views on this; one that he was shocked that Mary may have been unfaithful to her promise to marry him and so would divorce her for that reason (end the betrothal) and the second one that makes more sense that as a mere mortal man he was terrified and felt utterly unworthy to take the Mother of the Lord as his bride. The angel’s words to him are therefore to give permission for him to marry, not explain what has happened. Surely Mary was sensible enough to have done that already.

From the Proto-Evangelium of James we have the tradition that Joseph was a much older man than Mary. He had, this book tells us, been married before and the brothers of the Lord were his sons from this marriage. Now some scholars believe the brothers were cousins; as both step-brothers and cousins would be (and in Hebrew still are) referred to as “brothers” then you can take your pick.  The Proto Eva dates to the early second century so seems to have a strong likelihood to know something; but it is difficult to know for sure.

The Proto also tells us that Mary was a consecrated Virgin to the Temple. There was a strong history of this and it makes clear her response to Gabriel when she asks how she can have a baby when “she knows not man” as that would mean she wondered if the Angel would ask her to brake her vow. He assures her this is not the case and her Fiat follows.

Joseph marries her as a chaperone to a consecrated virgin.

Once Jesus reaches the age of priesthood (30) and begins His mission we do not hear of St Joseph. We learn from tradition and some private revelation that Joseph had died many years earlier in the presence of his wife and foster son.

Even having step brothers did not mean Jesus broke the Law when he handed his Mother to the care of John while he was on the cross. Only full blood brothers would have had a claim there apparently.

The brave Home Educator

A couple of people recently have suggested that I am brave to home educate. I know other home educators face this; “Brave” label and it irritates them. It doesn’t irritate me. People think I am ‘brave’ because I use a wheelchair (I am not sure what is brave about that but I don’t object if people want to think that way- people will think as they please anyway).  I have been approached by complete strangers while out with the children who are both astonished and one woman was horrified that a wheelchair bound user had children.

Anyway I am brave, it seems, because I have chosen to home educate the children. Well, maybe I am brave :) I allow my 3 yr old to get covered in flour while she …er…helps…her brother with his experiment about how craters are formed on Mercury.  I let the children make more decisions about their life and things they are interested in than I used to which might be brave-though I doubt it.

There are days when I really wish I had sent them all to school and nursery and I had the house quietly to myself. But most days I quite like the business of educating the children. There’s something great about watching a 7yr old throw a lump of dinosaur poo (thank you Shana for the poo) at a pan of flour to see if it will make a good crater. We had finished the chapter on Mercury in his Astronomy book and them there were other things to do.

It is lovely that on a nice day the children will set up their lessons outside or in the pop up tent.

But yes, there are times when I wish it wasn’t so time consuming I could have a load of “me” time like some other mothers I know. But I don’t envy them having to go out and earn their money. (Been there, done the 46-60 hr week too. Never again!).

The mothers and grandmother who said I was brave are not being patronising, although I realise why some HE mums get a bit uptight about it- but they don’t really understand why anyone would really want to home educate.  I am pleased though that despite the appalling media coverage and Government anti-home ed campaign that we have just emerged from, that these mothers and grandmother don’t see HE has a bad idea. They recognise it’s place and the grandmother in particular is fascinated by what we do and how we do it.

Firebird notes that the rent seekers are still waiting in the shadows to produce more trouble for home educators. She asks us if we can DO1Thing4HE then what might that be?

My Thing4HE is that I write this blog. I hope it gives an insight into what my corner of HE looks like and I hope the sidebar of the blog is useful as well as the blog through the bookcase :)

I also try to answer anyone’s questions on what we do and why.

I know I might never get some people to understand what happens and why. I know there are those out there who don’t want to know-they just hope there is some kind of financial gain at our expense for them.

I am sure there is more to come for Home Education whoever ends up in Government by the end of May 6th (and no, I still don’t know who I will vote for).

I thought I would finish with this picture of not domestic servitude, but domestic bliss as the oldest and youngest children in our HE group get to know each other.

When there’s a few families working together on this, it seems a lot less brave and a lot more fun.