Monthly Archives: September 2010

Home Education “I wish I could do that.”

Back in the dark days of starting out home educating my children the main reaction I got was “Are you a teacher?” and “You wont be able to teach them science,” and of course the good old canard “They wont be socialised.”

I think things have changed over the last 6 years or so. When I meet parents now and admit that I am home educating I often get a really wistful expression of “Oh yes, I wish I could do that.” I realise of course that some people wouldn’t dream of taking on their own children’s education in any way at all; notwithstanding the duty they have to ensure their children actually receive a suitable education. But I am sure many of those mothers who say “I wish I could do that,” really do wish it. They have looked into it and thought about it, but for whatever reason – and it’s usually she has to work- they decide they can’t do it.

But among those wistful mums, I bet the fact they have now met a mother who is doing what they would like to do, might just add a little fuel to the fire of that deep longing and just maybe one or two will make the leap and begin to home educate. Something as countercultural as home education takes a great deal of courage and I think it can only happen when you meet and get to know at least one person who is already doing it.

I am not sure what on earth I would have done if I hadn’t been blessed enough to have met and talked with a couple of home educating families before I pulled my son out of school. My initial experience in the whole thing was a bit of a baptism of fire in some ways, but I met other families and more children and gradually it all came together.

There are still changes and shifting tides in how we do things but I am glad I had that chance to talk of home educators who were willing to answer my questions on what to do and how to do it back in those early days. A lot of the really good advice came from internet friends  many of whom had been in the homeschooling lark over in America or Canada for many years.

The internet has meant that many home educators scattered around the country and around the world can talk and share ideas and support one another.

Last year the British media had lots of articles and news items about home education. There were newspapers, radio interviews and comment boxes full of information. It didn’t matter how silly, inaccurate or negative the news piece might be, the way the internet works now, home educators could put their side of it and answer (over and over) those questions, which were more often statements about how we couldn’t be doing it right; not socialising our children+and even abusing our children.

Those answers were often apparently ignored by those who were bitterly opposed to us, but other people read them and I think more and more people are getting to know they do have a choice and that school isn’t the only option for their children.

There is a growing awareness among people who can think for themselves that the mainstream media isn’t reliable. I laughed out loud when I read Jeremy Paxman’s concern that the upcoming BBC strikes to co-inside with the Conservative Party Conference might compromise the BBC balance and make it seem there’s a bias! Perhaps he is unaware there are whole blogs and blog entries all over the place dedicated to correcting the misinformation put out by the BBC. If they go on strike will anyone notice?

The lack of balance in reporting on home education and the deliberate attempt to portray it as something rather odd, posh people do looks to have backfired as more and more people are looking at their children’s education and realising it isn ‘t right.

The mother who so wistfully said “I wish I could do that” so recently had bought study books for her daughter to do after school. You see after spending 6 hours a day in school she still wasn’t learning enough.

Of course the other great obstacle to many mothers taking on home education is the money. While poorer families can make it work and do, it takes a lot of sacrifices and giving up on much that today’s culture seems to think you “need”. I think it’s the same for those who want to have their children privately educated. They might have more money up front, but I have met a couple of dads who work a lot of extra hours and have given up quite a high standard of living to find the thousands of pounds each year to put two children through private school.

In some ways I think we are back to the Neanderthal parent thing. At what point do adult “wants” give way to what children need? And how, in a culture that says we need all sorts of stuff and more stuff that frankly we don’t need at all, do we discern what is the right thing to do?

Many home educating mothers and a few fathers I bet, are tired of answering the same old questions, of fielding the disapproval and banal remarks. But I think we have to face through all that, because among the defensive ones who really don’t like the fact we have done it, is surely a sense that they should too. If we are gentle and polite in answering questions then maybe we can look back later and see we gave the “permission” that parent needed to break out of the tick box and embark on home education.

I’m trying to be that neanderthal parent.

Carlotta posted THIS LINK about the three studies done by Professor Darcia Narvaez of Notre Dame Uni into how young children develop a sense of morality and compassion for others.  The Studies show that children who are breastfed on demand, cuddled and played with, who have plenty of adult attention and spend time with children of different ages, develop better morally and happily.

Three new studies led by Narvaez show a relationship between child rearing practices common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies (how we humans have spent about 99 percent of our history) and better mental health, greater empathy and conscience development, and higher intelligence in children.

Fascinating in a kind of ‘well duh’ kind of way. It is something that I have been discussing with a friend for some months now. She is training with the NCT and has three very young children. It’s tough going. She has a lot of very good family support from her MIL and others, but even so, she still spends an inordinate amount of time alone with the kids. When she is at my house, I am sure that is a more natural environment for children to flourish there’s a lot of children of all ages, two adult mothers and another adult young lady around. We share the tasks and food and all the rest of it while our men are out hunting (or being Youth workers and Nurse Therapists as the case may be).  it s much nearer the mutuak extended family and community suppert seen in hunter gatherer societies. My friend is a confident woman and excellent mother, but even she has had wobbly days when stuck in the house all day with three sick kids. (ages 3, 2 and 4 months so you get the picture). I am convinced that isn’t a natural way to have to parent.

It’s something that has been playing on my mind for years. I remember watching Ray Mears among the bush people of Africa and seeing the way they lived. It struck me how gentle and generous they came across as a people, not just one or two in the tribe, but the whole lot of them. Children were everywhere and obviously loved and respected. These people obviously had something that is far too often missing in our “modern” life.

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Gwen’s universal good sense with a custard cream to dunk.

 Sipping Tea Dearest Gwen takes a moment away from her studies of nutrition and what she has told me has “more than a necessary amount of chemistry in it” to advise us all against unbecoming behaviour with a tea cup. DO PERUSE HER ADVICE.

Start Autumn Learning with a smile

That Resource Team mum has produced some lovely colourful learning materials for Autumn.

Dives and Lazarus

We had the story of Dives (Latin for ‘Rich Man’) and Lazerus as the Gospel today after the warning from Amos that Israel was about to be sent into exile because her people were rich and self important and took no care of the “state of Joseph”. Amos was of course correct and soon Israel was scattered among the Syrians.

I once heard a minister preach on the parable of Dives and Lazarus and say that shows that Jesus came for the poor, that the Gospel is only for the poor and not the rich. I was taken aback, especially as we were sitting in a church packed with fairly well off, confortable people. Should they all have left there an then? Obviously what this very young lady preached (not a Catholic church before anyone pops a blood vessel) was a load of old guff. Jesus calls all, rich and poor and the rich aren’t all doomed like Dives any more the poor are all graced like Lazerus. Anyway, as it happens Jesus’ close friend Lazerus was apparently a fairly rich man. It is not being rich that was Dives’ problem, it was how he lived with his wealth.

Dives was rich and there was no evidence that he was particularly nasty about it or that he had gained his wealth dubiously. But his very comfortable lifestyle had blinded him to the beggar at his very gate. He was too removed from the world Lazerus lived in to even notice his need. He may even have been a generous man with those who could do him favours in return.

Lazerus dies and makes it to the bosom of Abraham – heaven, where his suffering is ended. Dives dies and finds himself in the flames of the underworld. It doesn’t appear to be hell, nor purgatory; more like Sheol. Remember Jesus is making a point with the story. If he was in hell Dives wouldn’t get to speak to Abraham at all and wouldn’t care what happened to his kin and if he was in purgatory there wouldn’t be the chasm between them. Dives does care about the future for his five brothers (I’m sure that five is significant but I can’t remember how). Jesus reminds him that we all have Moses (the Law) and the Prophets to teach us how to live and if people are too proud and foolish to listen to them then they will not listen even if someone should rise from the dead. Well, aint that the truth?

This parable is not to encourage the politics of envy. Lazarus may have hoped Dives might give him some food and clothing, but he never tried to steal them, nor get others to steal on his behalf.  If Dives had taken note of Moses and the Prophets he would have been open to God’s providential push, and Lazarus would not have suffered so much and Dives would have had the joy of giving and the reward of heaven.

We are all asked to give something to someone. We all have something, even if we are completely skint. Sometimes it might be the listening ear, or the time to send an email. It might be handing on clothes, books and resources to others who need them, or if you actually do have money, it might very well be to ensure those who don’t have enough to pay their bills. Ask God, He’ll let you know soon enough.

The Triumph of Gareth Malone.

It did occur to me after posting the last review about Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary school for boys that if the final episode showed that he had not achieved much, if anything, then Home Education might look a bit dodgy too. After all that waxing lyrical about how Gareth’s approach was so much like so many of us home educating parents, well then, I was hugely relieved it worked.

Whether there is a truly empirical base for how home education works is one of those debatable points. The lack of full empirical data is a lovely excuse in driving the fact-twisters like the comedy duo Badman and Balls to come up with their “stats” on home educated young people.  There is one oft spoken of problem with the school approach to education that those of us who educate our own children mutter about over cups of tea – the appallingly naff and girly National Curriculum, and the institutionalised approach to education which barely allows children to learn and be interested in anything for themselves. In fact many of us would say it is a definite handicap to learning.

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Around the net for home education

Here are some of the websites we have been using this term.

We are back to Starfall for the girls and using their little songs as reminders of basic rules, such as “the silent e at the end of the word, makes the short sound. long.” It’s been a help with Yummy Spelling and other spelling times.

I’ve just started using Progessive Phonics with the girls. I am pretty impressed so far especially as, like Starfall, the whole thing is free.

We are working our way through Kids Greek and with the Getting Started With Latin Book we have the online pronounciation for Linney’s Latin.

We’ve just started using the Classic Science course of Mr Q which suits both Roni and Avila really well so far. The first book of units is all free so you can get a very good sense of whether this will suit your children. We like it so far and I am tempted, once we can afford it, to buy the next unit downloads.

We have watched a few Youtube videos such as skipcounting, lunar eclipse etc. Youtube can be quite useful as back-up info for all sorts of things.

For stories there’a Baldwin Classics which are pretty good on the whole, but need reading ahead sometimes, unless you know the author. Just becuase these are old books doesn’t automatically mean they are good. Remember Miss Mason was writing about avoiding twaddle back in the 1900’s soit did exist even then. Twaddle is not a post 1960 invention. Old twaddle just had better grammar.

Update I’ve removed Sparklebox from this post and my sidebar. A friend gave me a heads up about the site owner that is very concerning. I am very surprised that Probation Services have allowed this in the circumstances. Obviously this man needs to make a living while out of prison, but something completely removed from his crime would have been more sensible.

Fibromyalgia and hypertension – walking the wire.

I am back on the amitiptyline at my request.  Although my BP had dropped while I was off it and on the benzofluo-whatsitname it didn’t drop by much and I was finding that the pain levels were going up so much that the BP was going up with them, particularly by late afternoon.

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Great day with the Pope yesterday

At the unearthly time of 4:15 am Al and the three biggies got up and went to church to catch a coach to Cofton Park where the Holy Father was going to say Mass and beatify the local lad John Henry Cardinal Newman.

I stayed home with the three smalls and friends came over to watch the whole event of telly. We watched EWTN rather than suffer the BBC coverage. I hear  the commentary via the BBC was pretty awful with the commentator even talking about silence through the time of silence LOL. Mr Arroyo has more style methinks.

It was pretty cold and wet when they first arrived but the rain stopped and the sun came out as soon as Papa Beni arrived. The four intrepid Mass goers had a wonderful time among the other 80,000 or so congregation.

Sadly they didn’t get much in the way of photos, but it was Mass, so I guess that’s fair enough. Everyone was really joyful to see him and have the father here who spoke so clearly about what we need.

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Malone’s school for boys and Frank Field’s school for parents. Makes you wonder…

I watched the second part of Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary School for Boys t’other night. It was very interesting, and I found it quite disturbing in places.  Then I saw Danae’s post on Frank Fields and I am wondering what to make of it all.  More comments have been added to the bbc blog on Gareth’s endevour some raising points I was going to talk about here. One dad in particular picked up on something I noticed. He is a dad of one of the boys in the programme and didn’t turn up the the “meeting” because it was held at 3:30pm on a week day. As he pointed out, how many dads could possibly be around at that time of day? Even Gareth muttered something about the time of it in the programme.

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Latin worksheets for Linney Latin

My early Latin worksheets to go with Linney Latin are HERE For your delectation. I hope to do some more soon.

Sibling birthday forgiveness :)

Gwen wanted her brother to know he was forgiven. On his birthday she sent him a little reminder of what she had to forgiveRoll 

Making Marmalade and Chicken soup the Fibro way. :)

Making marmalade the fibro way goes like this:

Walk into the kitchen and see the oranges you bought for making marmalade and realise you really need to find the energy to do this before they turn into penicillin.

So. First, take no drugs – you will be using the hob. Brain fog makes that risky enough without adding drugs to the situation.

Weigh out 3lbs of oranges and a grapefruit.

Put them into a cauldron or large preserving pan and pour in 5pts of water. Light the hob and check you really did light it and that you really did light the right ring.

Leave the oranges to simmer.

Forget all about them until your daughter or other person who happens to walk into the kitchen asks if you really want them to boil dry. Realise that you were making marmalade and return to kitchen. Add five more pints and remember to cover the pot with foil so it doesn’t boil dry. Simmer. Have all the children constantly remind you that you have the hob on.

Turn hob off and leave to cool.

Take drugs.

Following day.

The oranges and grapefruit should be nice and soft. Don’t peel them- that would hurt like…Anyway cut them into quaters and feed through a processor blade to slice thinly. You will find that this isn’t completely “professional” looking so take some of the really big bits of skin and slice with a knife. This is easy and not too painful.

Add all the stuff back into the water and pour in just less than 3lbs of pectin sugar.

Don’t take drugs. Put the hob on and let this boil. You really must not walk away, because you just KNOW you will forget and hot sugar is jolly dangerous. So stay there.  Stir it a few times.  After about 10 minutes possibly a little longer test the skin for wrinkles or do the cool saucer test where you put a teaspoon of the marmalade on a plate and see if it wrinkles and sticks when gently pushed. Boil longer if needed and test again. To manage pain at this point pace. Research shows that pacing does actually help.

When ready leave to cool. Take drugs.

Next day get jars for sterilisation. Light oven to sterilise jars for 8minutes at gas mark 8. Check oven some time later and wonder where the jars are. Realise you never actually put them in the oven. REMAIN CALM.  Place jars in oven. Do other stuff around the place where you have written in large letters “JARS IN OVEN” and then remove them.

Spoon marmalade into jars that you have placed next to pan with plenty of kitchen roll around to take the mess you make thanks to the fact your hands don’t co-ordinate in normal marmalade making fashion.

Lid jars and go sit down with a cuppa.


Day before: prepare chicken with a bit of lemon juice and a brush of butter. Ask son to place it in the oven before he goes off to do his work. Set gas mark 7 and take drugs. Go off to do other things. Have a child say, “What’s for tea?” at a very providential moment and suddenly remember you left the chicken in the oven.

Take it out and find that thankfully it isn’t burned or even overcooked! Thank God for 7 year old boys.

Get daughter to help you prepare tea because Tramadol has left you so stoned and hardly touched the pain, that you can’t do it properly.

Place stripped chicken carcass in pot.

Next day.  Add water to carcass and leave simmering on hob. This is difficult to get wrong as it smells of chicken soup so as you move around the house it reminds you it’s on. It also makes a high pitched sound which I am sure only fibro’s hear. Very annoying but very useful in brain fog.

Turn off the hob. Leave to cool.

Take drugs. You will be standing up for a while and will need it.

Use slotted spoon and remove all the carcass from the pot leaving behind the stock. Strip off the meat and throw out the bones. Using a sharp knife just chop a bit at the meat so that it’s smaller. Leave to one side.

Take either two small or one large red onion and peel and chop it. (Aren’t you glad you took those drugs now?)

In a pan heat some oil and a sprinkle of fennel seeds. Add the onion and a teaspoon of ready chopped garlic. (Pressing a garlic clove under a flat knife isn’t for us any longer is it my fellow fibros?) Add some water to sweat the onions and season. Add about four handfuls of red lentils and then more water. Simmer for a while and stir. Add it all into the stock pot. Simmer and stir until the lentils are softened.

Now, if you happen to be having a good day you can peel and chop a couple of big spuds and boil them and add them to thicken the soup. But if, you aren’t – you just can’t. It’s thinner soup but I don’t care.

Get hand held whizzer thing- what are they called? Can’t remember. Anyway, it blitzes the soup to s lovely smoothness. Add some milk or cream if you like. I added a bit of almond milk. Very nice.

Now add the chopped meat and stir. It’s done.

I put a loaf on this morning in the bread machine so there’s bread and soup.

Oh dear, just remembered it’s Friday and I’m supposed to be Catholic.

Ah well. Enjoy.

St Ninian’s Papal Tartan oooh.

Sr Kath emailed me today. I’m afraid I haven’t seen very much at all of the Papal visit to Scotland, but she tells me it was brilliant and she hopes he gets as good a welcome here in England. I hope so too. Hospitality is such an important virtue.

Anyway she also told me there is a new tartan made specially for the event, a St Ninian Papal tartan. The Holy Father wore it as a scarf around his shoulders yesterday. She hopes she can get some.

I hope we can get some too.

Al and the three oldest are off to Cofton Park at some unearthly hour on Sunday morning. The boys are going to be at church even earlier to help with the car parking as people come to catch the coaches.

Friends are coming over to spend the day with me and the smalls as we watch the event on telly. My guess is that EWTN’s coverage will be the best so we’ll probably go with that.

I am looking forward to hearing our Holy Father speak, and I want to read it afterwards. The real words, not the mangled MSM versions. I think he will have something to teach us.

Kelly’s book A Matter of Conscience is here.

Kelly very kindly sent me a free copy of her book A Matter of Conscience. She has sent freebies to all the people she has quoted in the book. I think that’s very generous of her. She worked hard with us last year to fight the encroachment into family life and freedom that Ed Balls and his sidekicks Badman, Deech, Soley and others wanted to force on us.

Click on the picture of Heleyna holding the book and order your copy. Check out Kelly’s post on her book.

It seems that yesterday, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows was also FREEDOM IN EDUCATION DAY. Parents can take back their responsibility and role as primary educators of our children. Surely our conscience tells us to.

Fibromyalgia and pain and other stuff.

My GP said to me that these days modern medicine was very good at finding “serious illness”. I didn’t laugh. What he meant was, there are serious illnesses that modern machines can spot, and if the patient is lucky enough to actually get the tests and the right doctor actually looks at the results, things can be spotted- although not always dealt with particularly well. Well, perhaps he didn’t mean that, perhaps he really thinks modern medicine is that good. He obviously hasn’t tried being a patient.

I don’t rate machines much. I think modern medicine would be hundreds times better and more efficient if medics looked at patients and listened to them, rather than looking at shiny machines and listening to them hum and whine. But that’s me. I think I’m turning into a Luddite.

So, it with some irony that I mention some research about fibro that I have come across that shows how we fibro-folk feel pain. MRIs have been done that show that brain function especially in pain receptors are abnormal for fibros.  While this is interesting and will hopefully lead to further research I was really irritated by the “so fibro people are telling the truth after all!” shock in the story line. Doctors need to get a grip frankly.

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Are the BBC unwittingly supporting Home Education (snigger)?

On BBC 2 on Thurs nights at 9pm a new ‘reality’ show goes out called  “Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary School for Boys.” you can catch on iplayer if you are quick. The premise is that Gareth Malone goes into a primary school and takes the boys from Years 5 and 6 (that would be grades 4 and 5) the 9-11 yr olds and instead of teaching them to sing, he is going to raise their literacy levels by 6 mths. He has been given two months to achieve this. Putting aside for one moment the fact that the headteacher has asked a non-teacher to do in two months what her own teaching staff couldn’t do in 5 or 6 years, Mr Malone is up for the challenge.

I am well aware that the research shows that boys do worse than girls in literacy, and that overall boys do worse than girls in exam situations. This stuff was around and a real problem back when I did my Advanced Diploma in Special Educational Needs, way back in the ’90s. The system of education we have, thanks to the National Curriculum and just the bizarre factory-system means that nothing much has changed and boys still suffer. As it happens the research shows that white working class Boys (social classes 4 and 5 if I remember rightly and I probably don’t) did the worst of all.

So here we are twenty years later and all they can come up with is a gimmick for the BBC. Oh well. As it happens I rate Mr Malone quite highly. He comes across as  genuinely interested in making a difference to these boys. It is reiterated that he is not a teacher (dum dum deeeer- non-professional, non-expert let loose on children!!) and then he has to negotiate strenuously past the ‘elf’n’safety to get what boys what they need.

Any home ed parent watching this will not know whether to laugh or cry. Poor old Gareth fights to allow the boys to work outside, chop at trees and clear a den where they can sit and talk and climb and be boys. He has to call it an “outdoor classroom” to make it acceptable.  He explains some games and activities he wants to do with the boys and the headteacher asks how that will help raise the boys literacy!! She is the qualified teacher here and she can’t see how getting boys to actually talk, that is use verbal language, and be interested in something will raise their standards of literacy!

We are then treated to a truly tragic event. The boys ( remember we are talking about ages 9-11 here) are asked to play football and some are asked to be commentators. They know the game and enjoy it. Some of them can’t string together a coherant sentance. Most can’t make a basic comment on the game their friends are playing. I found it heart rending.

Then there was a brief reading assessment. Some of the boys were reading books my 7 year old is reading and they found it really hard. So hard, it was putting them off reading all together. At that point I really was upset, especially as I remembered Alex’s real hatred of books thanks to the lack of support he got in his first primary school. Thank God for the excellent SEN he had in his second primary school and a pox on the Secondary School who wasted all her work.

The class teachers for years 5 and 6 don’t come off well in episide one. Their own language ability comes across as poor and they look less than professional in dress as well. There’s a telling moment in the staff room where Gareth is sitting alone to eat his lunch.  I thought the staff came across pretty badly over all. Perhaps things will improve as the series continues.

But the parents don’t come out of this looking good either. One set of parents were so proud of their son having his xbox and massive TV while no book was in sight and the dad laughingly said that when a new game was on offer why have a boring book?  Frankly he came across as a complete…well I’ll try and remain charitable.

There’s a fascinating blog conversation here. It’s BBC so getting comments on is a nightmare and I haven’t tried. But I really think Mr. Malone should come and see Home Education in action. I think he might like it. I have to say I think far too many of the teachers who comment are showing us more reasons to home educate.

Confessions of a working mum

In the previous posts about the ‘cult of expert’ and away from the cult of expert we got talking about mother’s leaving their children in child care because they either have to or choose to go out to work. I don’t judge women who have to work- been there done that. It can become a bizarre trap.

I was still a student nurse when I got married and through a rather careless approach to being healthy (I was only barely Catholic at the time) I quickly became pregnant. Josh was born and six months later I had to return to work because I had to finish my training and there was no way we could pay basic bills on just Al’s newly qualified nurse pay. So I found a child minder and left my baby behind. It was horrible.

 The hospital were fairly accomoding and I was allowed for most of my third year of training to work 8 to 4 on a rehab ward. I learned a lot and think it was one of the best ways I had of picking up a lot of skills. But the child care situation was a nightmare. The childminder was one I had found from a social services approved list, but she was barely coping looking after her own kids and certainly could not cope with mine and another mother’s babies on top of that. I soon found I had to quickly find different care for him. I did so with another child minder, who had come recommended.

She was lovely. But to get Josh there I would get up every morning at 5:30 and get ready for work. Get him up and ready at just after 6 am and then walk to the child minders and drop him off at 6:30 and then rush to the train to get to work for 8am. I wouldn’t see him again until 5pm that night- presuming nothing bad happened and I could get off work on time.

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Doc appt and it looks ok

  I saw the GP this morning for blood results and more BP checking. The bloods were clear, so that along with the clear ECG means my heart is still ticking along and the murmer hasn’t done anything it shouldn’t.

My BP is down a bit too. He decided I should go to a Hypertension Unit rather than see the cardio so I am now awaiting that.  They can check out BP and kidney probs.

The rest of it seems more likely to be a major fibro flare. He’s changed my meds to deal with the nausea but I am still stuck about pain relief as he has no answers now I can’t take Amitrip. Our money situation meant I had cancelled the last Chiro appt but to be honest I think I really need to go, so we are just going to bite the bullet and I’m going. I’ll ring them early next week.

So I potter on. If anyone has pain reduction tips I’m all ears.

At this point I would renew my self promise to avoid doctors like the plague, but as I have this Hypertension whatsit coming up, I can’t. Harumph!Kicking Dirt

A swing away from the Cult of Expert.

Many people of a certain age will speak darkly of the 1960s and the culture of “finding self,” “Doing what feels good to Me,” and just the general Me-Myself -I unholy trinity approach. It was the time of Rogerian therapy with his mantra of “How does it feel for you?” along with Maslow’s “self actualisation.” Many adults who had to grow up in that climate found that while their parents were doing what felt good to them and seeking their self actualisation, that the children’s needs were neglected and they were left to grow up without love, support or guidance. On the worst end of it was rejection and abuse.

Is that why attachment parenting is now the new approach? Is it a reaction to the lack of care so many received in the 60’s and 70’s even into the ’80s? Could it, in some forms be an over-reaction? I don’t know, I’m no expert. But I am curious.

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It’s never too late to be blessed.

It’s the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady today.

The sotry of how she came to be born is found in the Proto-evangelium of James. That is a book with an interesting history, because it has always been so well respected as a good honest place to find information. It might not be inspired Scripture (though if memory serves it was one of the books to be considered before the the Council of Rome settled the Canon).

The story of how saints Anna and Joachim really wanted a baby, but like so many women before her, Anna found that she was getting too old. But God took pity and heard her prayers. She had a lovely daughter, Mary and in thanks for her blessing dedicated Mary to the Temple.

I think it is also the PEJ that tells us how Mary took her vow of perpetual virginity becoming a consecrated virgin in the service of God. This is why she asked how she was going to have a baby when the angel Gabriel told her. After all, in normal circumstances she would marry Joseph and have children in the usual way- but her btrothal to Joseph was a special one. He was (according to small t tradition) an older man who would marry a consecrated virgin to be her guardian rather than husband. That is what he did. Mary was not asked to renage on her vow to have Jesus.

Many women have become mothers after calling on the aid of St Anna’s prayers.

Happy Birthday Mother. :)

Home Education bit by bit.

We have got a better start to week two than we had last week. Although I haven’t re-vamped the plans for this term as such I am ignoring some of it.

In the mornings the three of them spend some workbook or worksheet time. I find this tough going but it is better in the morning before I am just too shattered to do it at all. Then we go and sit on the sofa together and I read to them. Even this is a bit of a challenge because I can’t breathe that well. But if I am careful and pace it, we get through quite a bit. I’m reading them “Benedict of the Hills”, which we started last term and I’m just finishing off, then I read a couple of pages of “Wise Guy” about Socrates and then a chapter of “Pagoo” the Hollings book. I tried reading Pagoo to them last year, but somehow they just didn’t take to it. This year they are really enjoying it.  They can watch Paddle to the Sea on Youtube and then maybe next year I might get Seabird for them.

Iona is well into her OU course now and Josh has just started his new one too. Meanwhile Alex has a work training cum interview tonight. Hope it works out because he needs a job and this one is only 8hrs a week to begin with, which would suit him fine- giving him plenty of time to work on his art.

Finding things pretty hard going but thanks to the Maxolon tabs the nausea is so much better. Seeing the GP Fri and still waiting for Cardio appt. Can’t go for chiro at the mo either. Ne’er mind. Just keep at it.

One day at a time…

Home Education Success. Get a little help when you need it.

Please check out HOME ED SUCCESS from a well seasoned home educator Paula who is now offering her experience to help other home ed families either get started or get over a rough patch.

Many people find the start up time for home education a complete mine field and it can be a lonely time too, when you are the only person you know who has made this, to other people, barmy decision.

Paula is a sensible woman who has been through the whole process and come out the other end with her daughters. She also knows what a crisis can be like.

Did the cult of expert wreck families?

I was pottering around blogs t’other day and I came across THIS SHORT PIECE on child rearing 1928, which I just found heart breaking. I wonder how many mothers were taken in by this appalling advice. I find the piece interesting because it seems to me to be in direct contrast to the work of Charlotte Mason whose last books were written around 1923 just before she died and were especially popular around 1925. Her view of childhood and the love of the mother for the children is just so different to the writing of this Watson bloke. I also believe that G.K. Chesterton and his wife Frances who knew Miss Mason and supported the PNEU schools, had a different view of child care. They were never blessed with children which was a huge sorrow to them. Perhaps it was this heartache that meant the Chestertons had a better understanding of the true value and dignity of a child; tha,t as Miss Mason stated “Children are born persons.”

Perhaps the reason Miss Mason needed to make such a statement was because of the Watsons and their advice on treatment of children that undermined their dignity and personhood, as well as that of the mother. I know that Chesterton’s writing were often in reaction to the things he saw around him in the illogical and unreasonable climate that was growing in the mid war years.

We often get the impression from writing of the between war years that children, especially in middle class families, were shunted off to “nanny” and didn’t get much mum and dad time at all.  I read a long time ago that had Queen Victoria breast fed her children instead of doing the fashionable thing and passing their care to the ‘nanny’ she would never have had to suffer the health problems she did, from pregnancies so close together. 

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Now look here…

Dear reader, please do take a look at the advice for general betterment that dearest Gwen has on offer. HERE and HERE and how to roast a spud. If you like what you read, and feel generally bettermented because of it, do leave her a little comment. [Perhaps it is true that I spent far too much time teaching my older HEd children Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen.  :) ]

Check out my September worksheets and the lovely page the Resource Team have made me on their site.  Their blog updates frequently with new stuff, and then everything is neatly findable HERE

Caveat; Please be aware that everything offered on That Resource Site and their blog is free and made by one family with a few additions from me. This is not a business enterprise but merely a way of offering other families freebies that may be useful. Sometimes there may be typos or design flaws; please don’t mind these.