Monthly Archives: March 2009

Home Education curriculum thoughts.

As we come up to the Easter Holidays it’s time for me to look over what the children have been doing and plan the Spring and to some extent the Summer term learning with them.


Ronan has been doing quite a bit of science stuff; light, shadows and mirrors. We have had fun in dark corners of the house with a torch and various objects and after Easter we will be using mirrors and bits of foil to reflect and bend light.

We’ve done quite a bit about earthquakes, tectonics and volcanoes and I think we will leave that alone for a bit and go back to it the following academic year for more depth.

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Learning their heritage LOL

My children have learned the alphabet song and can sing and Sign it. They have been learning the Greek Alphabet and now it’s time to learn a little about their mother’s heritage.

And so here is the Black Country Alphabet; Bostin’ eh it?

H/T to me ol’mukker Jools.

In the middle of this song is a tee-shirt with ‘OwAmYa’ written on it. My beloved Aunt Rose who said she was ‘never edumatcated’ used to start all her letters to us with Ow am yam?

Children are persons

The philosophical foundation of a Charlotte Mason education is that “children are persons”.  She seems to have understood this personhood of the child in the sense of them being one substance, fully human and neither good nor bad from the beginning. By the time Miss Mason was writing her six volumes there had already been philosophical attacks on the nature of the person from philosophers such as Descartes (d.1650) and Locke (d.1704) who defined (and thereby restricted) personhood to those behaving in a rational way and autonomously. These views along with Neitzsche who had died in 1900 left the personhood of all vulnerable people up for grabs.

Charlotte was holistic in her approach. Children are fully human, fully persons in their own right, made in the image of God with an inherent dignity. This flies in the face of the elitist moderns who were busy seperating out human from person so that Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes could try and decide who should live and who should be sterilised and treated worse than farm animals.

But that was then and surely having seen two world wars and the utter devestation left by socialistic governments we have learned our lessons?

Apparently not.

What exactly IS the philosphical foundation of the school system we have today? It doesn’t appear to be that children are persons.  There does seem to be a view that children are blank slates ready to be filled with whatever propagan…information the Government sees fit. They are to be shaped and adjusted so that they can attain targets and be ready for the workplace.

And that seems to be it.

The word “individual” gets banded around a lot but children are individual what? Persons? Cogs for the machine?

Crosby (see end links) writes that personhood and freedom are inseparable and he recognises that those who are out to restrict freedoms tend not to refer to people as persons.

If we as parents want to hold on to our rights and freedoms and protect our children from the ever growing tentacles of Government interference in our family lives and how our children learn; then take back the language.

We are persons with freedom and dignity not individuals to be moulded and shaped to fit the economic machine. Tick box education does nothing to recognise the dignity of the person whether a child or the teacher.

I am afraid I think too many parents fall into the view that their children are only to be judged as ‘good’ if they fulfil the shaping of school. How many parents do you meet who are proud of their children for ANY OTHER REASON than what they have achieved at school?

“John is so good. He got 4 A levels you know.”

“This is Beccy she is doing 12 GCSEs this year. Isn’t she great?”

I hate this. How can children grow up recognising their own inherent dignity when they are seen only through the eyes of academic achievement? No wonder so many kids cheat! Honesty is valued in a person; not a machine cog.

I don’t value my children by what exams they might or have sat. I value them as persons.


Diane Irving on the scientific and philosphical arguments of personhood.

Human Personhood Begins At Conception. Peter Kreeft

Human Freedon. John F Crosby

Taking back our parenting.

The review keeps on going.

Carlotta has posted Calderdale LAs somewhat confused response HERE. Again and again it becomes clear that personnel working for the LAs around the country do not seem to know the law regarding families who choose to home educate their children.

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Charlotte Mason and some sidebar updates

inmemoriamAntiona was asking about books to read on Charlotte Mason.

To be honest I haven’t read that many. I have bought Karen Andreola’s Charlotte Mason Companion which is a good dippy into book with lovely illustrations that although a bit twee and cutesy Edwardian I rather like.

I also invested in the six book Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason herself. These books are not easy reading but they are well worth the effort. Charlotte was Anglican but she had a great love of St Teresa of Avila and that really shines through in Vol 4 Ourselves. If you have ever read St Teresa’s The Interior Castle you’ll see the influence in Charlotte’s writing.

You can read the series free online via the AMBLESIDE website.

Ambleside Online is a huge treasure trove of Charlotte Mason goodies. There are articles from the original PNEU magazines and there is a well thought out curriculum. It is American and so follows their school years so watch out for a bit of confusion.

One of the joys of a Charlotte Mason approach is that no curriculum is rigid. I look at the Ambulside one for ideas but we don’t follow it completely. It’s a dip and take what is best for your child thing.

Simply Charlotte Mason is another good site for resources especially for those just staring out.

Charlotte may seem an odd sort of person to have as a model for home education. She was single, had no children of her own and was a teacher. But she truly loved children and understood families very well; it shines through in her writing.

There is  Charlotte Mason Education: a how to manual by Catherine Levison which I have to admit I have never read.

The foundation of Charlotte’s philosophy of education is that CHILDREN ARE PERSONs. This is something sadly lacking in todays educational philosophies.

Parents begin not with the three Rs or anything that looks educational but rather with habits; the discipline of habits. A child isn’t going to learn much if he doesn’t know how to learn; how to listen, how to see and he needs the freedom to explore his world.

She firmly believed that children should be with their parents-mothers in particular until they were at least 7. She was horrified by the growing trend to put children into schools at an earlier and earlier age. She pointed out that even that Lu..what’s-his-name of the Spartans didn’t take children until they were 7.

It might be worth noting here that the Spartan system of taking children at the age of 7 and forcing them into education and training aimed at making them fit for purpose for the nation failed. Spartans may be remembered but they no longer exist.

 Flowers & Butterfly 

Some sidebar additions have been made:

Engineering Interact. It says it is aimed at KS2 9-11yr olds but Ronan and Avila like it and have not found it too difficult.

Signed Stories     I think I might have mentioned this site before. Do have a look at it. There are stories for children to listen to and read and learn a little BSL as they go.

Northumberland Resources is a great place to find things.

The Artists Toolkit looks good but we haven’t had a good look at it yet.

The Virtual Orchestra is marvellous. The children have had a good look at each instrument and get to listen to what it sounds like.

Tales of Europe looks good as does Myths and Legends which I found via Carlotta’s Dare to Know blog.


Feast of the Anunciation


It’s the feast of The Annunciation and I thought I would post this beautiful painting by Fra Angelico. I love this painting. It has so much to say and is a true example of teaching the Gospel without words. Here is Mary full of Grace saying YES (FIAT) to God where Eve who had been full of Grace lost it by saying no.  Where Adam is sent from the Garden he was supposed to guard when he did not turn to the Tree of Life, Mary’s Son will embrace the Tree and bring life to the world.

As soon as the angel had left the Holy Spirit comes to Mary and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity becomes a zygote. “The Word is made flesh”.


Fr Dwight put this painting by Collier up. I love it.

Mother’s Day and being a mum days

I should have got around to saying what a lovely Sunday I had. The children plied me with cards and jelly babies and some lovely hair clips from Iona. I had coffee in bed and then Al made me breakfast.

At Mass Father wore rose vestments and Lent was lifted from the purple for a day. At the Offertory Iona Ronan and Avila took three baskets full of little bunches of flowers up and at the end of Mass Father blessed them before all the mums received some flowers.Many others took flowers to take to mother’s or to put on graves that day.

Iona cooked dinner and then I had a quiet and chilled afternoon.

Alex gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers which included yellow roses and lillies. Beautiful.

Then on Monday morning it was back to the home education. One of the things I thought about on Sunday is that I am a mum not a teacher. Certainly part of any mother’s role is to teach her children and to train them in what Charlotte Mason called ‘habits’. But how I teach my children habits in listening, good manners and so on is not the same as a teacher.

I think one of the things about home education that is little understood from those who don’t know it or do it is that most mums who educate our children don’t teach like a teacher. Some do-I’ve seen it; but most of us a mums helping our children to learn and learning alongside them.

I think this is why we don’t do a lot of worksheets here. I do get Roni to do some of them to help emphasise something he has learned but for most things there are either online activities that do this or we can make a lapbook which is a freer way to gather the information.

A lot of what the children have learned comes out when we are sitting around the dinner table and the children tell dad what they have done that day. The things they were particularly interested in they talk about the most.

Last night Iona shocked her dad (hehehe) when she told him she had been writing up her child care notes and had read up on Attachment Theory (Dad’s special knowledge area) and how she was applying it in her writing and her hands on work with a baby and her toddler sister. She went on to talk about some of her history research including information about a couple of men who chose sausages as their weapon of choice for a duel.

Her plan is to write a booklet; A Gentlemen’s Guide to Duelling as her finished piece of work for this history project.

I never really thought of us as Autonamous Educaters but having read Carlotta’s blog recently I’ve realised that although with Roni I am more structured-though not rigidly; Iona is more or less doing her own thing-and then telling me about it. When it comes to her portfolio there are things that I think need to be there so I have offered some guidance there, but most of it is of her own making.

There is even freedom in the way Ronan learns. He was looking at the engines of cars yesterday and today he asked about earthquakes so we spent some time with the little science books and pottering around websites looking at information. There were a few short videos to watch, after which Ronan informed me that he didn’t think watching videos was a good way to learn.

Now this surprised me because I thought there was lots to learn in those videos and I learned stuff-but he seems to take in the information better if he can be more interactive with it. Less watching, more doing for the boy then.

He stuck some photos into his Nature Diary and wrote a few sentences about Spring to go with them. Avila thinks this is great and wants to make one too. Well, why not?

We had another home ed family over this afternoon and began looking at the story of Rome. They got to hear the story of Romulus and Remus and look at a map of Italy and the Roman Empire. Then there was lots of lego and sword fighting to do.

We used THIS SITE for some Roman stuff.

I must do a website update soon. There’s a few we’ve found.

Graham Badman at Blackwell Court says some disturbing things.

Carlotta has done an excellent post on the happening at Blackwell Court on Thursday. I wish I’d been able to get there.

The first thing that hit me was this:

he says he hasn’t made up his mind about anything as yet, but that the status quo is not acceptable, and things will have to change.

I am not sure he said what had to change or why. Carlotta and others picked up on the threat of monitoring and explained why this would not work. Apparently one of the mothers there said she had a good relationship with her EWO. I wonder if that mother lives in Birmingham rather than Worcestershire. I don’t know what the Worcester EWOs are like but as I have mentioned before our EWO here is a good’un. Or at least it’s the impression I have of him.

One or two people have noted that LAs try and insist that parents who are home educating are obliged to follow the National Curriculum. This is simply not true. While I am sure some parents may wish to, most of us do not and avoid it! For LA websites and letters to insist on NC being followed is simply wrong.

But then when our EWO comes over he has a little form to tick boxes. It basically follows the NC and so we are then left looking at what we do and finding some way in which it fits the boxes. To be honest its ridiculous, but our EWO shrugs and says “That’ll count as this” and ticks a box. Then he makes a note that we are doing a vast amount of other stuff that doesn’t fit the boxes.

tasmaniandevilThe Tasmanian Model that apparently Mr Badman thinks might work for all home educating families looks pretty intimidating. Is it actually designed to put parents off the whole business of home educating in the first place?

Apart from providing dated work examples and jumping through various hoops I can’t see for the life of me what the Tasmanian Model actually offers home ed families. Registering is faffy and then there is this semi-threat that it wont be excepted; followed by the instruction to provide exidence and I get the feeling (though I could be wrong) that photos of the children doing stuff would not count and anyway there would be the oddity of sending photos of your children to a complete stranger.

What do families get in return for all this? What sort of support is on offer that the homeschool community don’t already provide for one another?

I can’t make out whether youngsters would be expected/forced to do exams.

What about Mr Heppell’s NOTSCHOOL approach? Well, okay it might be a great way to work with the groups of youngsters it is aimed at. But it is shockingly narrow; for ages 14-16 and appears to offer AQA exams and that’s about it. Nothing there useful for most home ed families I know. It is also monitored and requies registration.

Then there’s the lets-teach-govt-propaganda website that for some reason Mr Badman thought was worth looking at.

It has been suggested by a few people and I think they have a point that this whole process is designed to wear us down and make us play dead in the end. They began with the NSPCC by making accusions to seperate us from the rest of the community and raise suspicion in our neighbour’s minds. They probably hoped this would lead to more curtain twitchers phoning the LAs with tales of school aged children wondering around parks and gardens with a parent, rather than being properly educated.

It is rather strange that now the process is under way ‘abuse’ doesn’t seem to be the root of the agenda, but rather “suitable education”.

I would like some serious clarification on what the remit of this review actually is. Are they out to make sure the LAs have access to our children to stop abuse? To ensure the 5ECM outcomes? to force a Govt view of suitable education? What is this really all about?

I’m getting confused and tired…and suspicious enough to wonder if that too is part of the plan.

Apologies if this a a garbled mess but I have typed it up alongside the homeschool day!

Ed Balls, the NSPCC-and the attack on home education

Before I look more closely into the strange and rather disturbing words of Mr Badman when he went off to visit the home edders at Blackwell Court let me add a few links here:

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Spring home education


Ronan is starting to get to grips with my little camera. He wants to take photos for a Spring diary he is going to keep. In fact we have decided to keep a whole year diary and he is going to take photos throughout the year to see how trees and flowers change through the seasons.

This is his photo of snowdrops growing in a neighbours garden.

With the lovely bright weather we have been doing more outside stuff; planting and looing after the seedlings as well as things in the local park.

After a math u see session with Avila and M we set off with all the children to the park. Everyone was out spotting circles and triangles.  The children’s play area has a table and stools set as well as a lovely Once Upon A Time chair. After playing on the equipment Avila and M came to the table to complete their maths sheets and Avila read to me. Then it was off to the pond to feed the ducks and for Ronan to take more photos. There was a short opportunity for a couple of us mums to get some mother’s day cards done!

There were handfuls of slightly squished daisies for the mums before it was time to go home.

Charlotte Mason wrote:

There is no kind of knowledge to be had in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in….We are all meant to be naturalists, each to his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.

Charlotte having the huge beauty of Ambulside and the Lake District on her doorstep believed nature study was very important to children’s education. She saw that children automatically showed great interest in trees, flowers and animal life around them. She makes it clear that parents and teachers don’t have to force children to see, hear, smell, touch or even taste what is around them; they just do it. (sometimes a parent may have to discourage tasting!!)

But what about Iona you might ask? Surely a 15 year old spending time in the park with a bunch of babies, toddlers and children is missing out on her education??

Well she doesn’t think so. She is helping grow the veg; she is learning more about what grows around here and to appreciate its beauty.

Her time with the children is teaching her a great deal about child development and how children learn. She isn’t doing so much of this from books and online articles-although she uses that too; she is doing it through hands on experience.

Watching so much of this kind of learning going on with the children from Heleyna’s age to Iona’s reinforces in me the view that learning has very little to do with what happens in a classroom, or even what happens on a computer website. So much learning actually goes on in everyday life. There is so much that every day life teaches so that a person grows and matures, not just in what he or she knows, but in who they are.

The Review; What ‘support’ do home educating families want?

52427_0_lGraham Badman who is leading the review on home education is off to visit the good people of Worcester today at Blackwell Court. I am afraid I don’t know anyone able to go from my neck of the woods who can go today but I hope the grape vine will kick into action and we’ll hear what happens.

I would quite like to meet Mr Badman and ask him some questions myself. I wonder if he would like to join the Ladies Who Lunch one Friday. I will ask.

Gill is still looking into the various threads of this review including the dodgy behaviour of the NSPCC.

Carlotta has been looking more closely at what the review team might consider ‘support’ for home eduction, including the NotSchool e-learning system.

The attacks on families are quite scary really. The Goldston family went through-are still going through THIS. Reading their blog it is patently obvious her children are getting a vastly superior education than any school could hope to offer; but that didn’t stop the attack.

Other families have talked of having SS investigate them because they EHE. None of this raises trust in home ed families and I think this is a bad thing.

I have always worked with the EWO who visits us. I never really saw a reason not to. He wanted to make sure we were okay and to ask what we needed. Most of what we wanted he couldn’t supply; mainly exam centres and free access to exams. But he did help sort out Alex’s work placement insurance thing. He also wrote a reference and front sheet for Alex’s portfolio stating it was of GCSE standard or above. He has offered to do the same for Iona.

Graham Badman has asked what we want as support for home education.

The response has been “Nothing.Leave us alone.” This seems to have surprised Mr. Badman. I have to say my response WOULD have been different but for the way this whole process was handled from the start. It was made clear that this has nothing to do with what might be best for home educating families or the education of children-it is about LAs wanting more power than the Law allows.

It should be obvious that accusing the home education community of abusing our kids was not going to build trust with the ‘authorities’. I do have some sympathy with Badman and his band of merry men and women having to do the review when so much poison has been laid down ahead of them.

We know that ‘support’ will come with strings attached and so we don’t want any.  This Government has made it clear it doesn’t like families. It doesn’t want mothers to be at home with their children. We have seen the appalling bigotry of Ed Balls and the even more bigoted Barry Sherman against faith schools and Catholic schools especially. There is little doubt that a Christian education will be discouraged and the fact that many of us don’t want the sex ed propaganda forced on our children wont go down well either.

Gill and others believe -and I must agree- that non registered families and autonomous educators are on the front line of the fire.

As far as registration is concerned I can’t see how Badman can use this as carrot; ‘register and we will offer the following…’. After all we all know about Contactpointnow so ALL CHILDREN ARE REGISTERED. We can also see in the document ‘Children Missing Education’ that unregistered children not in school will be assumed to be ‘missing education’. So it seems to me at some point we will all be forced to prove we are providing what a the Govt and LAs decide is ‘suitable education’ -and I am quite concerned about what that might be.

Some of the things flagged up:

ONLINE LEARNING: I think because both Badman and one of the team Stephen Heppell have some background in online learning there is a lot of talk about a place where children can log on to learn. Apparently however I remember reading that in the NotSchool system children were secretly monitored through their web use.

I think online learning is very useful, but we use a lot of different sites for a lot of different reasons. I wouldn’t sign up to a one site learning place. It would surely be national curriculum with all its flaws and false information that we are avoiding in our online use.

FREE EXAMS; the complaint that too few home ed children are getting GCSEs comes with the fact that although money follows children into school and college to pay for exams we don’t get any help in this at all and have to pay a hefty fee for each exam taken, plus travel costs and for some families overnight expenseses on top. A lot of families use IGCSEs because they are of a much higher standard that GCSEs and the core subjects are exam based. I can’t see why libraries can’t be exam centres.

DROP IN CENTRES: along with the free exams it has been suggested that there should be education centres that anyone can use at any time. I believe some ideas of this nature have already been discussed by members of Badman’s team. Unfortunately I believe these would be very narrow in approach-national curriculum based and probably require registration. If they could be open, free, well resourced and genuinely aimed at everyone wanting an education I think it would be taxes well spent; but I am far too cynical to believe this could happen if it was tax funded.

But do we NEED any of the above?

I know some families can’t afford a computer but libraries have them and they can be freely used. Revamped and second hand computers are cheap and cheerful- and I don’t see why a couple of families couldn’t club together to share one.

Most of can’t afford exams for our children or the high cost of tutors to get them through the hoops. But when portfolio work can be so good and when there are so many other ways of proving competence and ability I wonder why we bother with exams anyway. We know that both industry and Universities think GCSEs are barely worth anything and there is less respect or A’levels. There are so many other ways to go about building a portfolio of work including making DVDs, running a website, work experience and the bog standard folder of work and presentations.

In the USA more of more universities are accepting homeschooled youngsters with no formal qualifications who prove their worth in other ways. I am sure this will prove the case here as time goes on (if it is ever allowed).

There are many places we can visit. Admittedly our family find a lot of it difficult because of the cost-most places charge a LOT for a family visit; but also the added difficulty of me using a wheelchair (and my scooter is bust). Trips can cost slightly less if a group of home edders invade together. Nevertheless we save for trips and there are places that are free to access and wheelchair friendly if we look around. Would a drop in place really offer anything extra?

So it seems that although the Review team might really want to offer something-there seems little we need and what we might like would come with so much red tape and strings attached that it seems hardly worth it.In the end I agree with those who say we would rather keep our freedom thanks.

The Holy Father spoke on Aids and of course the media go nuts.

It has been agreed it seems that the Holy Father was misquoted on his comments about condoms and Aids. Nevertheless whatever the exact words, he was saying as per the research that pushing the condom answer has not helped the epidemic decrease in any way.

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Daddy day, planting and other home education


 Al took his last annual leave for the work year on Monday.

In the morning we did the usual kind of home ed stuff; reading, bit of Latin, math u see and some Astronomy.

Then there was an educational trip to the dump with daddy. Avila has been to nursery in the morning dressed as Snow White-and she went to the dump dressed this way. Well why not?

In case you are wondering how any child can learn something from taking stuff to the dump; this is environmental studies. They get to see what gets recycled and how it is dealt with. 

dscf1461After lunch it was time to plant out the chard and kale. There was some rhubarb to plant as well. Iona and the little ones helped-and Heleyna was able to water a few things without destroying anything. lol.

Once all the planting was done Roni helped his dad sand their bedroom door ready for it to be rehung.

On Tuesday we did the usual in the morning and then a home ed family came over in the afternoon for a joint session on China and then Avila and her friend did a bit of Math u see.

We’re sharing the math u see with this family as it looks like it suits their 5 yr old son.

Then J who is a media teacher and moderater had a look at a short film Iona is making and gave her some advice for the finished piece. It’s a short film of Iona reading  Dr Suess’ story “The Zax”-just to get the hang of editing and using the medium.

She’s planning a longer story later and we want to go back to the cooking shows this year.

Iona achieves economic wellbeing-fending for herself!!

dscf14331Iona enjoys cooking and does quite a bit of it making all sorts of things. One of our friends commissioned her to make two cakes last week. One was a Spiderman head cake and the other was a double chocolate layer cake (Iona’s speciality).

Here she is getting to grips with my air brush. I used to use it a lot for cake painting and it’s great to see it getting used again!


Here’s the finished cake. The young man celebrating his 5th birthday loved the cake so much he refused to cut it. It took a couple of days to persuade him.

Meanwhile Iona was also asked to babysit for a day and did a great job. She had plenty to write up in her Child Care notes afterwards.

She has earned some money for all her efforts and feels she has fended well for herself and achieved some economic well being for herself.

Although this is not what Iona wants to do for a living, I am pleased to see she can be flexible and use what talents she has.

Meanwhile she is working on a small media project (among other things) and J a home ed mum who knows about these things, is giving her advice. It’s going well.

feeling grotty

feeling grotty. Plenty to blog about -back soon.

God bless

Homeschool Wednesday

 Books The three little ones have had a mercifully mild bought of D&V. So yesterday was a non-day especially as Ronan was feeling pretty rough. We cancelled all the home ed families and the family coming today had already cancelled as their children are going through a really bad bought of D&V.

Whatever that virus is-it keeps going round!

As we are all a bit jaded I decided on a relaxed approach to home ed today. There was a Math U See sheet or two to do, followed by some time on STARFALL. They made the calendar and then Avila did the ‘ug’ exercise and read ‘Gus the Duck’. Ronan then read about a treehouse on the ‘I’m Reading’ section.

They then had some time making models out of playdoh (or the fake equivalent). I’m quite pleased with how Ronan is learning about 3D shape formation. He made a pretty good looking fat little dinosaur.

After lunch we went back to the book “Why is Night Dark?” to look at the pages on stars. The Hubble Site does a great little video for the March night sky.

We then watched a couple of Youtube videos on the life of a star and what a supernova looks like.

The children are helping to keep an eye on the seedlings as they start to grow. The Bright Light Chard is doing well already and we have seen some signs of Kale life as well as onion life. There is just the tiniest hint of carrot growth.

Did question 24 of the Catechism which the children enjoyed. They ask very sensible questions-sometimes quite hard ones! I was going to go on to Qu 25 but it’s on the Holy Trinity and my brain isn’t up to that today. Tomorrow maybe.

Another home ed mum popped over with bags of clothes and shoes. Heleyna is now in possession of  2 PAIRS of shoes; no more poverty for her at least LOL.

Home Education review links and info.

Carlotta is running a poll on how teen feel about visits from the LA. Go and see and if you have a teen home edder get them to post.

The Lincolnshire LA response is here.

Gill has more on the ECM 5 outcomes and the NSPCC.

Bishop Hill shows the NSPCC up again and THERE’S MORE ON the  Fake NSPCC. And more HERE, from Carlotta, pciked up HERE by Bishop Hill where UKIP comes to our defense.

The Lincolnshire response throws up a couple of interesting points:

‘We feel there should be a requirement of parents that they meet with an LA Officer with the child, so that the child can be asked how they feel about being home educated. At this point EHE is entirely a parent’s decision and we do not have any way of making sure this is also the child’s preference

I bolded the most interesting point. I like the idea that children actually have a real choice in their form of education. Parents do decide of course, as is our right-but I have met only a few parents who state they would not allow a child to go to school if they really wanted to. Occasionally children do ask and do get to go to school-and almost invariably ask to be home educated again.

But if home edder children should have a choice-and I agree they should; then so should schooled children and all those who say they do not want a school education should be offered home education or some other alternative. With the massively high figures for truanting and the number of children stating they are miserable at school if this LA gets it’s way there should be a huge explosion in home educated children.

Homeschool:Lots to see and do


I managed to reach the grand age of 44 without going grey yet; and then Josh went a bought himself a motorbike! Well it’s a pretty old chap-1992 model so it’s even older than our car (named Shed by the kids). He’s had it a few days and it doesn’t work properly. Tomorrow he is taking it back to the shop for repair. But before that he decided to recharge the battery in case that was the root problem. This morning Ronan (and Heleyna!) helped put the battery back in the bike. I think that is a pretty good ‘home ed moment’.

Roni read this morning and then did a page of Math U See before a quick Latin lesson and getting into the car to go to the Chiropractor. As we have reached the first memory slot of Latin we were singing a chant in the car “Sum es est, sumus, estis, sunt”. Avila joined in. Well, why not?

When we got there he wrote them out on a sheet while Av read to me and then we went to see Lisa. She is Avila’s ‘Pryo-crackter’. There’s plenty to see there-not least her full sized model of an adult spine.

Back home and we got down to a bit more of Ronan’s lapbook on the Moon.

dscf1430dscf1428At the moment he is learning the phases of the moon. We’ve done quite a bit about the Apollo missions and we are about to look more closely at the astronomers who studied the moon such as Fr Copernicus and the 35 Jesuits who have craters named after them. We have picked a couple of the Jesuit astronomers to look at more closely.dscf1426

Now they are upstairs building a train track.

Play seems to be an important way for the children to help the learning process. If course, research has been saying this for years-but it is fascinating to earwig play time and hear how they construct their learning and social skills with the toys.

Taking the boy to Beavers tonight. Now what shall I get for tea….?

Dr Ray Guarendi’s radio programme; Transcript on homeschooling.

I don’t know where this number comes from, it says “Homeschooling goes BOOM! In America 74% increase in families teaching their own children since…oh since 1999. “Homeschooling movement is sweeping the nation” this is from World Net Daily; “supposed estimate one and half million children learning at home”. That’s about if I am recalling correctly, – the children who are in school-school age kids is around fifty five sixty million; so one and a half million is what 2 to 3%. “Dept of Education has reported that homeschooling has risen by 36% in just the last five years. National centre for educational statistics statistician Gail Mulligan told USA Today ‘There is no reason to believe it would not keep going up”.

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Homeschool website updates.

Here are some websites we are using:

The Children’s University of Manchester has some great science resources but also a good Egypt section.

This e-chalk site looks good, though I haven’t looked at it properly yet.

The Signed Stories Website is new, but already has plenty of beautifully produced books with subtitles to help literacy as well as BSL interpretation.

This beautiful story by Regina Doman Angel In The Waters

The Family Catechism; it is still awaiting the children’s videos- but the pictures and straight forward approach of the written text is going down okay with my two smaller children. If you want a more indepth approach the ever wonderful Cardinal Arinze is there to watch and love.

Also going to go back to looking at this catechetical stuff.

The British Humanist Society come out against home education (of course).

Carlotta has responded to the BHA’s support of the Government.

The BHA has responded to a Government consultation on the future of home education in Britain which was launched ahead of plans for new regulation. [my emphasis]

Andrew Copson, Director of Education and Public Affairs for the British Humanist Association said, ‘We recognise that some parents have good reasons to educate their children at home. However, it is important that this freedom is retained in a way that meets the best interests of children. Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is clear that the education of children should prepare the child “for responsible life in a free society”. We agree, and sincerely hope that the Government will frame its new policy around the convention rights.

I have not forgotten the BHA attack on Jackie Parkes some time ago. These are not people who value the freedoms of others.

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Something Home Edders do automatically.

I know this is old news, but I didn’t get around to posting on it. The Telegraph  has reported that Babies in classroom cut aggessive behaviour in pupils.

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Are we too ‘poor’ to home educate?

The review moves on and we await the judgement, Meanwhile Gill has been picking apart the Government plans for the separation of parents and children and the dismantling of the family. One of the areas they are going to attack the rights of particularly mothers and children is through their plans to eradicate what they see as poverty.

So, are we too poor to home educate? Should both of us be out at work all day as the Government want?



There’s a number of these criteria we would ‘fail to achieve’ as a family. Some of the criteria seem very arbitary. What does two pairs of shoes mean? Will one pair of shoes and a pair of wellies do?

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Snapshot on home ed.


I bought seeds and they arrived on Saturday.  Ronan helped plant them into plastic trays (saved food packages).

We planted some little purple salad onions, carrots, curly kale and chard.

I have some broccoli to plant amd we’re waiting for more stuff to arrive.  I’m hoping this works out. We have a small garden so everything will grow in bags and trugs.

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A week of Home Education

When I am not busy fighting for the right to home educate my children and do it the way that best suits them, I am busy actually home educating them.

Iona has just finished a biology module and is starting a physics one; lots of Maths there, so I hope she hasn’t forgotten it all 🙂

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