Monthly Archives: April 2009

A day in the life: Home education monday.

I keep getting asked “How do you do it?” by people we meet who find out we are a home educating family. In response I thought I might put up some ‘days in the life..’ blogs so that those who really want to know can.


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Research based practice-Government Review of Home Education

april09-020Back in my nursing days we had the “research based practice” mantra drummed into us.  We were expected to had read and understood and KNOW the research for the area of psychiatry we worked in. What ever happened to that professional approach?

THIS IN THE TES seems to show that a lot of Social Workers in Education whether Ed Socs or Education Welfare Officers have NOT A CLUE about the research on Home Education in the UK and homeschooling in the USA.

This shocking statement

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Looking for inspiration-and finding it unexpectedly.

There’s a new series about the Duggar family on Friday evenings now. I can’t remember what it’s called; 17 and counting or somthing like that. I think Discovery do a good job with the programme and don’t often come across as anti the large family. Still, things are changing aren’t they and I noticed last night that Michelle Duggar found herself having to defend her children’s carbon footprint. *sigh*.  She quietly pointed out that her children as individuals probably had a much lower impact on the environment that the average child in a family with one or two simply because they used so much less each. Interestingly though they were also able to counter the “you have too many children” arguments as a Korean film crew arrived to show them on Korean TV. Their demographics are so bad the country can’t cope ecomonically. (Much like the UK).

The Duggars make quite a thing out of the fact they live debt free so I was looking forward to last night’s programme to see all the tips for doing this. I had seen Jim Bob Duggar interviewed and he said things like “Don’t buy a new car.” I was not impressed.

I’m afraid last night’s programme wasn’t much help at all. Most people I know ALREADY do all the things they do.

They food shop at a discount store-we go to COSTCO.

They go to thrift stores- we get stuff given us and although I can’t get around charity shops (which can often be expensive any way) I have friends who are eyes for me and pick up stuff when we need it.

They make their own washing powder-okay we don’t but then I can’t even change the brand as it causes skin reactions for a couple of the family. Eczema is hell.

They have just started planting their own veg thanks to a family friend who helps. We are doing the same and the cost has been met by a lady from church.

Iona patted my leg as I got more frustrated. “Just face it mum,” she said wisely, “They live in a different world to us.”

Then I look at DEB and how well she manages-how strong she tries to be no matter what life throws at her and I think; now there’s inspiration. Hope you like the new banner on this blog which is one made and designed by Deb.

Doing Education.

As the weather is so good the children have been spending mopre time outside. We’ve had the chance to see blossom on trees and water the little plants that hopefully will give us some veg in the Summer.  There has been some lapbooking to do as Roni is making one about the trip to the Convent before Easter. Sr Kath asked for one they could have there for visitors to see, so that’s what we’re doing.

We added a bit more to the lapbook about the moon thanks to Josh giving us a huge map of the moon he had hidden away in his room. Roni has marked the place on his moon picture where the Apollo 11 landed and he has marked a place where there are a few craters named for Fr. Clavius SJ. There are over 35 areas of the moon named after Jesuit Astronomers, so we picked a couple of them to add to his lapbook.

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Home Education: Freedom of information

The website What do They Know has a fascinating amount of FOI requests on home education.

I have been interested to see that Birmingham City Council while seemingly admitting they filled in the 60 questionnaire, have not kept a copy! Was this deliberate to prevent anyone finding out what they wrote? We have seen their response to the 6 questions the rest of us were allowed to complete and it wasn’t pretty.

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Home Education Monday

It was the first day back (officially) today. No TV this morning for the smalls who were quite happy about that and went off to play until prayer time.

Avila had her hospital appointment this morning so off we went to the Children’s to see her pediatrician. I was able to say she is doing really well and when they weighed and measured her she is now 2stone and 101cms so she is well into ‘normal’ now. The doc was so impressed HE HAS DISCHARGED HER! Jump For JoyShe got a couple of stickers and off we went!

We spent the rest of the morning planting out the seedlings. It’s hard work and ye gods it HURTS. Still, we got the purple broccoli, carrots, onions and more curly Kale planted out. Hopefully we will have enough of a crop to share. I also want to be able to give some to the lady from church who gave us the money so we could do this. This is part of Ronan’s Spring study and a photo will go in his little book of seasons.

Spent half the afternoon washing up stuff as the dishwasher is bust. I had forgotten the amount of washing up we can make here.

Iona showed me the photos she took on the 3 day Scout boat trip last week.

It rained for a day and a half but they had wonderful sunshine for the other day and a half.

Iona took this, which I think is lovely.










She took this one too.

Each of them had a job and cleaning out the weed trap had to be done.

This boat is owned by the Council so that children can have a go at this kind of thing. I’m grateful they had this time and they really enjoyed themselves.

Scouts is great for the children. Although here I am again having forgotten to take Ronan to Beavers! *Sigh*.

I need a BIG sign somewhere  I can’t miss it.

Divine Mercy, kindness of others and how home educaters share.

divinemercyHappy Feast of Divine Mercy to you all.

I was struck by a few things in the readings today, not least the fact that as today we concentrate on the words “Jesus I Trust In You” we have the story of Thomas saying he wont believe Jesus has risen until he sees and touches the Lord for himself.

Everyone loves St. Thomas don’t they? He is so like the rest of us.  I guess I have known God too long now to ever stop believing in Him; but there are still times when I wish things were a little more concrete-where I would be happier to believe if I could put my hands on it or see it better.

The other readings were about how the early Church took good care of one another, sharing resources and then the next reading was essentially  saying if you love God you will love the children He gives you and so they will be taken care of.

Sharing in church and home ed.

I think people think families and communities-even Christian ones-don’t bother with all that any more; but yet again this Easter a kind person in church handed us a card with a lot of money enclosed. She isn’t wealthy. She has a large family-grown up- of her own and knows the challenges of bringing up children especially these days. Thanks to this lady we have enough money for the seeds, big basket things and compost we need to grow some veg.

The bloomin’ Review keeps leading to questions of what the Government and LAs should be doing to monitor us and as they want to interfere what financial support we want in return. Most home educaters say “NONE THANKS!” because Government money always comes with nasty strings attached.

But the temptation to take back our money from the Government is muted by the way home education and Church communities work.  WE SHARE. I know I go on about this sometimes, but I think it’s very important. The early Church knew the only way they would ensure widows, slaves and other poorer families survived financially was if those who had more than they needed sold some of it and helped the others out. A lot of it was because the Christians needed to get out of Jerusalem before Jesus’ prophecy came to pass, and of course by 70AD there was hardly a Chrisitan to be found- but there was a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ that ensured no one was left to struggle alone.

The help we have received from people at church; money, clothes, and offers of help when I was particularly ill have been wonderful. Why hand over your hard earned money to fake charities like the NSPCC when you could help a family in the pew behind?

On being a bad parent (and the Review)

I am sure that most parents spend time wondering if they are doing the right thing. Trying to bring children up in this culture is frankly quite difficult at times. The cult of expert has hardly helped us as parents as now we are left second guessing everything we do in case it doesn’t get ‘expert’ approval.

Making parents bow to the experts has hardly given us a country full of well rounded happy children (according to that recent report from the Children’s Society).Yet here we are with the Review on Home Education and the panal is stuffed with people who are ‘experts’-not in parenting, or Elective Home Education of course, but experts and that’s the important thing. Check out Carlotta’s Dare to Know on this.

I don’t know what experts would say about the choice we have made as a family that no more of our children will be put through a school education. I wonder what the experts on this panel actually THINK about Elective Home Education. Only two people have bothered to speak to EHE families-what about the rest? Do they buy into the ignorant judgements that we are bad parents because we are ‘over protective’ or our children are not ‘socialised’ or they are not given access to ‘science labs’? Do they believe the average parent isn’t capable of offering their children opportunities for a well rounded education and upbringing? Do they want to curb those of us who have Christianity as the foundation of our family life, or those who have Islam as the foundation of their family life? (I haven’t seen other religions targeted as yet).

For us home education is not primarily about our children achieving academically (or even achieving economic wellbeing!) it is about learning to grow as a person; to know right from wrong; to be comfortable with responsibility and even with sacrifice. 

I cannot envisage forcing on my children a curriculum based on everything being relative until an adult decides what is absolute in that situation. Some things simply ARE and I want my children to learn that.

I don’t want them put through sex ed in the way this horrible Govt wants it taught as nothing more than grooming. Why do they insist that smoking is horrible, bad and must not happen, but children having sex is ‘safe’ so long as they have a condom? (Okay I know why. Follow the money).

I think many on this panel will think that young people can only avoid being NEET (oh the horror!) if they have sat the recommended exams. It seems to be the only measure they have of achievement. The idea that a child can put together his own portfolio and get work based on his behaviour rather than any GCSEs is probably something they can’t envisage.

Then Gill posts that Mr Badman said he felt traveller children were missing their potential by not going to University. Perhaps Mr Badman hasn’t noticed the shocking cost of going to University or the number of grads without work.

Josh is off to Uni in Sept. He has an open day next week where he can check out the course more fully and meet the staff.  Hopefully this degree will give him what he needs to set up his own drama business and get to do some study over at FUS in a few years. But despite the massive cost and the debt he faces-there are no guarantees, especially in the UK. I am glad he didn’t go straight from school, but has spent time working this out, working a job and he has really tried to achieve his dream of going to study in America and get the business links he wanted over there.

Alex wants to avoid Uni if at all possible-and I hope he can.

The Review team are all about child protection, curriculum, computers, more child protection, early years development and a couple of SEN experts.

Trying to be a good parent is difficult. We are constantly second guessed by ‘experts’. In our house we have one TV (that doesn’t work very well) and although we have a couple of working computers (and a semi-dead one Josh uses) the children are limited with use. Yes we use it for curriculum stuff but I think there are plenty of other ways to learn rather than sat in front of the computer all day. Also we CHOOSE which websites we use. I will not be bending to a one size curriculum.

Home education is part of normal family life. It isn’t “school” followed by “home”. So we all pitch in to take care of one another and the house. Is this domestic servitude? Is it wrong that older children learn a little responsibility around their younger siblings? My children are expected to dress modestly and behave politely, treating others with respect. Of course this must be bad because it curbs their natural self expression surely.

Then as a bad parent I censure what the children see on TV, read, listen to-you name it. As my older children study media and how to make it, it certainly don’t need them exposed to the nasty anti family, sleazy and even miserable nihilistic stuff that is so easily available. A friend of ours stopped her daughter watching CBBC when she started picking up the nasty attitude of a child in a programme (one of those very popular children’s authors things-again anti parents). A lot of this stuff is forced on children in school.

The censorship here does lend itself to some eclectic music though. Josh plugged his MP3 player into the car t’other day as we went to Stratford and we were treated to Due South music, Weird Al, Rossini, LOTR soundtrack, Corrine Bailey Ray, some jazz, Verdi…LOL!

I am not saying that all home educated children are better socialised and better behaved, more polite, gentle etc than schooled children. I know a lot of school teens who are lovely and sadly I know a few home ed kids who are aggressive, rude and destructive. It happens. Some parents don’t bother trying to correct bad behaviour and the rest of us get the brunt of it. But this is NOT about education is it? It’s about parenting.

So what is the review going to come up with? It says it will ensure recommendations are “based on evidence” (research based practice we assume); and the evidence is that Home Educated children do better academically, socially and psychologically than their schooled peers.

What about Christianity? This Govt loathes Christians (and especially Catholics) who actually ARE Christians. The word ‘extremist’ gets thrown around a lot to try and make us look terrible. They want our children to tolerate certain people and despise others-but us pesky Christians have this view that every person from the moment of conception is made in the image and likeness of God with an inherent dignity worthy of respect and love! They want to push sex on our children but Christians say it’s holy and for marriage. Oh the horror! They want the superstition of enviromentalism forced down our necks, but Christians believe in Stewardship of the earth, not carbon footprints or hug-a-tree-kill-a-baby. They have no problem with lies, cheating and a bit of theft here and there-but those nasty judgemental Christians have the Ten Commandments!…the list goes on.

I am not saying that how we parent or even educate our children is a purely private matter. It isn’t. How children are taught to behave, and how they view life is important to communities. Far too many of us have had to field the horrible behaviour of other people’s children where parents either don’t seem able or willing to curb this behaviour. Many parents seem to be dis-empowered (‘scuse the jargon but it fits here).

Reviews like this one don’t look set to help any parent grab back their place in the family do they?

The right of a child to LIFE.




3pm -4pm


We pray just in front of the Church of St Anthony of Padua, where there is a car park.

PLEASE try and come along and witness for the unborn.

Please pray for Amanda and all those who take part in this. One day people will look back on these years in which we slaughtered babies and they will see us in the same light as those who killed Jews and disabled people as life unworthy of life.

Just family

I love it when the whole family can get together. Both Josh and Alex have managed some time off work and Al has this week off.  The boys served for Vigil Mass so didn’t come with the rest of us on Sunday morning. It was lovely to see the fresh altar cloth, flowers and all the candles blazing. The little garden set up on the front steps of the sanctuary under the altar had the stone rolled away.

We had family over to join us for Dinner and had a lovely day.

090413_174450Monday was Heleyna’s 2nd birthday. She had an adventurous morning  joining her dad for a trip to Wicks the DIY store. That’s just the thing for a birthday trip when you’re 2 apparently. Having given up on one trip because of the crowds and lack of parking we ended up in a little park where she had fun with a slide and swings.

It was summer for the day, so grabbing our moment we had a bbq that evening.

Yesterday we all met up with another home ed family to go to Stratford Butterfly Farm.090414_131227

There’s plenty to see with lots of different butterflies, birds, insects, arachnids-including a lovely salmon kneed birdeating spider, and the occasional lizard or skink. The men were rather taken with the enormous Japanese coi carp.

There’s a huge play area near by so as the lads went to look in a local model shop the rest of us went to the play area.

Today Josh is 20! He opened his cards and pressies this morning and has now gone off to work to spend his birthday afternoon with some COSHH training. (Care of Substances Hazardous to Health I think it stands for). He is even supposed to be working tonight! Hopefully he can rearrange that shift.

There was a great thunder storm this morning which the children enjoyed. Plenty of rain, thunder and lightening. What more can you ask for when you’re 2, 4 and 6? Unfortunately for the older two (15, 17) they are off on the canals for three days with Scouts tomorrow.

The Shroud of Turin and other discoveries

ALG230168Tomorrow night Discovery are showing a programme on The Shroud of Turin in which I am hoping they will properly analyse the new evidence.

You can read the latest science papers HERE. Then this article mentions in passing that the Vatican have unearthed a document showing the Knights Templer had been costodians of the Shroud from the attack on Contantinople 1204. The medieval document showing where the shroud had been for over a 100 yrs had been miscatalogued or something and turned up by accident. So the historical timeline is a lot clearer. Ian Wilson had already conjectured that the missing years had been with the Templers. He was right.

The silly Telegraph say the Templers ‘worshipped’ the Shroud. They didn’t. They treated it as holy and venerated it undoubtedly, but there is no evidence they worshipped it. (Honestly the MSM really are naff). The poor old Templers got into politcal trouble (much like the SJs later on) and it brought about their demise-but they had protected Christian pilgrims and locals for years from Muslims trying to kill or capture them for the slave trade.

The silly fight over the obviously wrong C14 date seems to be over. Dr Rogers was clear in 2005 that the piece of cloth cut from only one place on the Shroud and then dated was not from the main shroud but from a repair. It had cotton in it whereas there is only linen in the Shroud itself. There seems to be a consensus now that the C14 came back with such a late date because the bit of cloth tested was nonshroud.

It is agreed there was no paint on the cloth, that it does have blood and that the image is as yet unexplained. It is consistant with what we now know about the brutal way Roman’s liked to scourge and crucify people.

There is more work to be done, and I would like to think eventually the Church will allow another dating test whether C14 or something else. I can understand the reluctance after the last debacle-but hopefully scientists will have learned a lesson from that.

I am also personally interested in the reaction from people when new evidence comes forward that leans yet more weight to the hypothesis that this is the Shroud of Jesus. Why do they get so angry? If it turns out it is the cloth that covered Christ, so what? How does that effect them so badly? Weird.

Digging up the whole story of where the Shroud has been must be fascinating and it still goes on. The story Eusebius writing in his Ecclesiastical Histories around 325 AD tells of how King Abgar V of Edessa wanted Jesus to come and heal him of leprosy. Jesus could not go at the time but Eusebius tells that Thomas sends Jude to the King a few years later and the king is healed. Eusebius doesn’t mention a cloth but an oral legend does. In 544 the Cloth of Edessa is found hidden in a wall and the story continues.

I have seen a couple of people insist the Shroud is fake because Scripture tells us there were two cloths. Quite right there were, and are two cloths. The Sudarium has a long historical story behind it, like the Shroud and was always believed to have been the cloth that covered the face of Jesus. Recently it has been shown to contain the same pollen as the Shroud and that the blood stains, when wrapped around a 3D model of a head match the Shroud. Fascinating stuff.

Meanwhile The Anchoress has found some interesting things about a find in Armenian land in what is now Turkey. OOH more interesting archeology! I am not sure I buy the Garden of Eden suggestion though. The carvings on the stones remind me a bit of the Nazca lines – they have that kind of look (it seems to me). I can’t work out how it has been dated to 12/13oooBC but apparently it has and it is thought to be some kind of Temple (well they always think that don’t they?). There’s more to dig up so there is more to learn.


Shroud of Turin Education Project

Shroud info with timeline

Shroud Topics

And I wrote on this last year

Here and Here and on St Veronica’s veil

I wonder what happened to Malchus.

All four Gospels tell of how the High Priest’s servant got his ear cut off when Jesus was arrested. The synoptics don’t mention names and it is sensibly surmised that this is because Peter would have been in even more trouble if they had openly named him.

35893fJohn however names both Peter and the servant, Malchus. John was a relative of Caiaphas and Annas so he was probably in the know as to the names, but there is something about the deliberate way John says “The servant’s name was Malchus” that struck me yesterday when the Gospel was being read.

John understood the Jewish view of the power of names-of course. Malchus means counsellor or king. Oh the irony. While John is the only one of the writers to call Malchus by name (and name Peter as the sword swinger) so Luke the Greek physician is the only one to record that Jesus healed the sliced ear.

Outside of the Gospels though I don’t think we hear of Malchus again. There doesn’t appear to be a St Malchus and yet he seems like someone who would have become Christian in the end. He has heard both sides of the story. On the one side is the High Priest and the Temple who having waiting all this time for a Messiah don’t want the one on offer, and on the other side if the Gospel message Jesus brings. Malchus gets to choose his High Priest.

Jesus seems to make it remarkably easy for him.

The men arrive with Judas and Jesus asks them who they are looking for. “Jesus the Nazerene,” they say and He says “I AMHe.” At this John tells us they stepped back and fell to the ground. The implication is the power of the Word the “I AM” caused this. So Malchus ends up on the ground because of the Name of God.

After this Malchus gets his ear cut off and Jesus heals it back.

None of this makes any difference and Jesus is arrested and hauled off to the High Priest.

Caiaphas is in an interesting position. He is High Priest sitting on the seat of Moses and therefore God speaks through him in a way. I suspect-but I haven’t read anything on this, that just as the Pope is infallible (through Peter’s seat)-that is protected from teaching error in faith and morals, so was the High Priest. He has said “One man must die for the people”

Jesus is crucified and then there is the Sabbath when all is silent.

The apostles went back to the Upper room to hide out and feel sorry. NOT ONE of them went off with the women on Sunday morning to see if He had risen. They didn’t seem to believe He would.

Interestingly though Caiaphas had been listening and understood Jesus promise to rise all too well and wanted to make sure it didn’t happen. He sent guards to the tomb to make sure no one stole the body.

So what happens to Malchus? Who does he listen to once that ear is healed? We are not told and the silence on it bothers me. There are no legends from long ago, that I can find, that tell us Malchus was baptised.

Was he at the foot of the cross making sure the deed was done? Did he see the darkened sky, and feel the earthquake. Surely he saw the huge lintel above the Holy of Holys broken in two, ripping the great curtain from top to bottom.

But none of this appears to have moved him.

It seems that despite hearing what Jesus had to say, despite seeing up close and personal the spite and fear of Caiaphas; despite the miracles he witnessed and even received, Malchus never believed.

The Review: Getting my head around it; soundbites and of course the bloomin’ NSPCC

I’ve been following the huge discussion Carlotta gave hospitality too and I have to admit it has left me feeling that NOTHING home educators have to say matters very much. We were asked for ideas-and plenty were made, and nothing came of them. There were a lot of questions about WHY this review was happening at all.

Professor Heppell who is the only member of the review team who has engaged with home ed families apart from Mr Badman admitted that the abuse allegation was a “red herring”, but seems to have no difficulty at all with the review going ahead anyway and echoed Mr Badman’s words that “the status quo can’t remain the same”.

Renegadeparentpicks up a lot of the things I have been mulling over especially the follow-the-money aspect of all this. Even if they decide on the Tasmanian Model with a NotSchool-everyone MUST use the computer approach someone will be making a lot of money making sure we all use it and register and get monitored. If there is to be a child protection element where essentially all EHE children are considered at risk then I am sure the NSPCC will want their 30 pieces of silver to take part.

Having been given the ‘it’s a red herring’ remark from Prof Heppell we are told to forget it LOL!

The NSPCC have tried to link EHE with abuse through a couple of cases that were examples of astonishingly lax professional intervention, and NOT children electively home educated.

Then we hear there is a case coming up in Birmingham. No information was available as it is all sub-judiciary but chances are it will be hitting the press in June. Strangely the review which was to be published in May is put off until June. THEN the NSPCC comes up again. I read on Facebook of a case the NSPCC claim to have been involved with. The information does not fit previous erroneous cases so this seems new.

Unfortunately it also rings nasty bells with me. I know many people want to believe this is another fake case from the dishonest NSPCC, but I have a feeling this one is real and it may be the one to blow up in June. We need to be ready to make honest responses.

The one size fits all approach that has made schools incapable of teaching large numbers of children who don’t fit the one size is likely coming the way of EHE. Autonomous learners look like the most vulnerable group in this approach. Then there’s the National-Curriculum-MUST-be-taught brigade in the LAs no doubt darlings of the DSCF. I am quite sure those of us who avoid the NC like the plague will be told to step in line. It will be a One-website-fits-all education.

There are plenty of families who do not use computers at all. Some because they are using a Steiner approach which would be undermined if they were forced to a computer based curriculum.

One of the biggest strengths we have as families who home educate, IMO, is that we are supportive of one another. Home ed groups who don’t support parents and children are not going to survive long. People who have been doing it for a while help boost the confidence of those just starting out.  With a professional set-up this mutual support will be undermined and I think that will be very detrimental to families.

Renegade parents picks up on “trust”. I think the way this review has been set up has almost destroyed trust between LAs and home ed families. Some of the responses from LAs, even here in Birmingham where the EWO seems pro-home ed-have shown a shocking lack of understanding and respect for home education and the LAW!

We are still not told why no one with a genuine interest and knowledge of elective home education has not been asked to be part of the review team. Not ONE person on that team has experience with home education. But there is no one who would have a semi-link with home ed either.

No one with a background in Montessori, Steiner, PNEU or even Classical, which at least a lot of us USE!

Gill mentions that someone from the National Autistic Society has been asked to join the team. I wonder if parents of children with autism and aspbergers who home ed have been asked who they would like to represent their views…okay silly thought.

It doesn’t help that Prof Heppell seems to lumps all children not in school with EHE children-and I note that ‘children as carers’ thing came up from him. I have already faced being told I have no right to have children because I have a disability and then some ignorant twit told me I was home educating because being in a wheelchair I needed the help!!!! Let’s not go down the road of disabled parents are not allowed to home educate thanks.

I hope that all home educators will stand together against this.

Fr. Stanley Jaki -a great scientist. RIP

210px-father_jaki_june_20071I read on Inside Scoop today that Fr Stanley Jaki died yesterday of a heart attack.

I’ve read quite a few of his articles over the years and found him clear in explaining both science and theology. He also had a good grasp of scientific history.

The Biblical Basis of Western Science

Intercollegiate Studies Institute

He wrote about Chesterton and Newman as well as physics, the philosphy of science and metaphyscis.

Science and Religion; An Identity Crisis

Two Lourdes Miracles and a Nobel Laureate: What Really Happened?

I’ve enjoyed reading his stuff. May he be welcomed Home and RIP

Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson.

I have just finished reading Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World (although I have a hard copy). This was my Lent reading this year. It was written in 1907 and is a remarkable piece of prophetic writing seeing the massive rise in Communism and humanism and the collapse of morality in favour of utilitatian relativism. He sees a separation of East and West with the West caving under a one world government and the east under Islam that sides with Communism. In the middle is the Church-standing alone. He sees most other Christian communities as have disinigrated under the lure of relativism.

There is a kind of datedness to his vision of future technology, but  he sees clearly the massive push for Euthanasia where the weak, and the depressed are put down in an oh-so-civilised way.

Amid this strangely polite decline there appears a saviour, out of nowhere it seems. Felsenburgh has no political history and yet appears on the stage and is quickly seen as a messianic figure bringing peace to the world. (The strange paralells to Obama are well noted but no I don’t think Obama is the AntiChrist for a number of reasons). I think Benson had a good handle on the psychology of a people who have no hope and will put all their faith in someone who looks good and says the right things. In the politician Brand we see a man willing to convince himself that something evil is good because he needs to.

Towards the end of the story Benson notes the climate change that comes about as the world denies God and makes their own god of Felsenburgh.

His final pope is an Englishman and looks remarkably like Felsenburgh. I can’t say I am at all convinced that England (or Wales or Scotland) will ever produce another pope, but hey no one would have thought Poland could either.

It was not easy reading, but I am glad I have read it. There is something horribly disturbing about reading a book that is over 100yrs old and that tells our story so well. Surely it is a warning-telling us to avoid this story or to behave like these people at our own peril. The great Toleration hides a huge hatred of humanity and the Church. Everything becomes about death; peace by killing anyone who might think for themselves; by enforcing the murder, sorry euthanasia of the inconveniant and of course in the end the complete destruction of Catholics, the Vatican and finally at the Megiddo near Mount Carmel-the pope and his small number of surviving cardinals faces the consumation of the world.

Prophecy is given for a reason. Some people (like Benson) are obviously given a gift in this regard but we can all have discernment can’t we? Nothing is inevitable unless we blindly run down that grassy slope. WE KNOW it’s the wrong way. There are enough signs and prophecies along the way to tell us so.

Peter Kreeft told the story of how he was teaching a group of students about Huxley’s Brave New World and they thought Huxley had written it not as a warning but as a recommended vision for the future!!! This was Boston College in the 60s and those students actually wanted that Brave New World.


Dennis Cuddy

Fr James Schall SJ

Fr George Rutler

Joseph Pearce’s overview of Benson and his literary work. I have to agree with Pearce that Lord of the World stands with Huxley and Orwell’s works and adds that they are

clearly inferior as works of prophecy. The political dictatorships that gave Orwell’s novel-nightmare an ominous potency have had their day. Today, his cautionary fable serves merely as a timely reminder of what has been and what may be again if the warnings of history are not heeded. Benson’s novel-nightmare, on the other hand, is coming true before our very eyes.

The world depicted in Lord of the World is one where creeping secularism and Godless humanism have triumphed over religion and traditional morality. It is a world where philosophical relativism has triumphed over objectivity; a world where, in the name of tolerance, religious doctrine is not tolerated. It is a world where euthanasia is practiced widely and religion hardly practiced at all. The lord of this nightmare world is a benign-looking politician intent on power in the name of “peace,” and intent on the destruction of religion in the name of “truth.” In such a world, only a small and shrinking Church stands resolutely against the demonic “Lord of the World.”


There’s a thing about donkeys…

Why is it I wonder that He who made the tyrannosaurus rex has such a thing about donkeys?

They crop up rather a lot in Scripture and of course today we had the two Gospels, so that we got the whole story of the Passion from the moment Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem.


Isaac rode a donkey to the foot of the mountain. Then he left the donkey behind and followed his father, carrying the wood of sacrifice.

Jesus enters Jerusalem through the Kings Gate. He rides as a king on a donkey, meaning a king who comes in peace. If a king rode a horse he came to make war. (Zech 9:9)

The people of Jerusalem recognise the symbolic gesture for what it was hence the cry “Hosanna to the son of David!” 

But why a donkey? And what’s with the colt?

I have an idea. It’s my idea so take it with a pinch of salt. Here it is anyway.

God uses donkeys to tell us about us.

The donkey is marked with a cross and is therefore (in this symbol) holy. She is a mother, with a colt, and Jesus rides her as King of Peace. She is the Church, the Mother and the colt is us Children of God.

In Exodus 34:20 God instructs the people of Israel to redeem the donkey by sacrificing a lamb. If the donkey cannot be redeemed for some reason it’s (stiff) neck is to be broken. So the LAMB redeems DONKEYS unless they will not be redeemed.

Mel Gibson got this. In The Passion of the Christ, he has the scene where Judas hangs himself from a tree-and there beneath Judas is a dead donkey with a rope around it’s broken neck.

Then we have the rather odd tale of Balaam and his donkey.lastman_bileam (Num22)

Balaam is a man with ability. He is a ‘soothsayer’ or psychic with a strong ability to bring about blessings or curses. The enemies of Israel are terrified by the strength of Israel and decide Balaam can be paid a pretty some to curse Israel and bring about her destruction.

God however tells Balaam firmly he may not do so.

Like a good’un Balaam tells the enemies of Israel he wont be offering any curses and they should go home. They go, but return with even more entreaties and a nice big bag of money. (Thirty pieces of silver perhaps).

Seeing the money offered Balaam decides not to take God’s ‘NO’ for an answer and tries it on a bit. God says, “If you’re going, go.” (Much as Christ said to Judas at the Last Supper).

Balaam gets on his she-donkey and sets off hoping to get a curse or two out against Israel. But the angel of the Lord stands there and while Balaam is blind the donkey can see plainly.

Again I think the donkey looks a lot like the Church. There are a lot of people like Balaam, wanting to bend God’s will to their own and like Balaam will beat the Church/donkey when she wont move in the direction they desire.

In the end every time Balaam opens his mouth he blesses Israel. Try as he might he can’t get those curses out. LOL. I love God’s sense of humour!

God uses donkeys to symbolise His people in other places in Scripture giving laws that a donkey (Israel) shall not be yoked with and ox (gentile) (Deut 22:10) which is linked with St Paul’s call not to be unevenly yoked with unbelievers (2Cor6:14). While there is obvious animal husbandry aspects to this law, there does seem to be a symbolism too. It is one picked up in with the traditional Christmas scene in which the ox and the ass are present; Israel and the gentiles as Christ has come for the whole world. At least that is what St Francis appears to have been saying with the scene.

I’m going to try and make the most of this Holy Week-and not make too much of an ass of myself.

donkeThere are a number of little legends about how the donkey received her cross. You can read one HERE.

The Review: Lets get pro-active.

The Review continues. It is rumoured the results will not be published in May but June and are possibly to be timed to coincide with a trial of a Birmingham family who apparently may have de-registered a child and abused them. I haven’t seen much detail presumably due to it being sub-judiciary.

Gill posts in the aftermath of being accused of being a bully Professor Steven Heppell. As she points out it is US the home ed community who is being accused of abuse, told we must be monitored and have ‘professionals’ and ‘experts’ interfering with our family life. Who is the bully?

Other regular updates on the review can be found HERE. I think it particularly important that families read THIS Pdf doc on the 21st Century Schools Conference. Carlotta writes on it HERE picking up on Ed Balls incredible ignorance of home education. (Ed Balls and Barry Sherman remind of a poisonous version of Laural and Hardy-sorry they just do).

The NASWE conference is happening here in Birmingham 7th to 8th May and Graham Badman is attending.

Take a look at the NASWE site.

The Independent Review of Elective Home Education.
An opportunity to share your views with the chair of the review group
Graham Badman

The following day there is this:

    1. Applying the duty to consider an Education Supervision Order Val Pryor Area Attendance Leader and Clare Davis Legal Intervention Officer Essex County Council

Having social workers understand ESOs better might not be such a bad idea I suppose.

UPDATE: Shena in comments points out I’ve confused ESOs with SAOs-she’s right! I did!!

Then at the end of the conference there is this:

An interactive debate on Do the current systems of legal intervention support improvement in school attendance?”

I wonder if anyone will question whether the current systems of legal intervention would be needed if children and their families were getting an education that suited them in the first place.

Perhaps this is one area where NotSchool may be of real benefit. It is, I think, what it was set up to help with. There have got to be better ways of offering education to young people without prosecuting their parents when those young people find school so desperately bad they can’t face it even as mum is being threatened with prison.

Carlotta is running a HUGE THREAD HERE with lots of views put forward; but also a sense of pointlessness; that our views will count for nothing and that we face a real fight for the right to educate our children even though we are supposedly (at the moment) protected by law.

Gill points out:

“They can’t do this. It’s in contravention of article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

“…which states that:

No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.


Many home ed voices are coming forward now and saying “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” or words to that effect. We are going to do what is best for our children, for our families regardless of what the big stick turns out to be. I think we need to be ready.

There is also a view that maybe a forum would be a good idea. What do you think?

If anyone else has links or info they want adding here-let me know.

Home Education: Learning about Africa

Friday is history day. We set off to a friend’s house for the lesson.

We are using Story of the World and have reached the chapter on Africa. We began with the activity book recipes for an African feast. So all the children gathered around the dining table with ingredients and got to work. They made chicken legs with lemon and figs, with a rice and papaya with sweet pepper thing. Then there were date balls (made with figs ‘cuz we had no dates) and a date and banana cake.

I had made carrot and coriander soup so we ended up with a three course lunch. FEAST indeed!

Avila got the chance to go and gather freshly laid eggs from the chicken shed in the garden. She loves doing that.

There were a couple of stories about Anansi the spider and the children knew another story.

We were going to make some African (type) instruments too, but in the end we didn’t get around to that.

A great day was had.

Some one saw it coming…

“In addition to injustice it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all of society, in all classes of people, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective and to discord. The sources of wealth themselves would dry up, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence it is clear that the main tenant of socialism ‘community of goods’ must be utterly rejected since it only injures those whom it would seem to benefit. Its directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind and would introduce confusion and disorder into society. The first and most fundamental principle therefore if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses of people must be the inviolable inviolability of private property.”


Fr John Corapi read this out in his weekly wisdom. Written in 1891it says a lot about now. It is this politcal and unethical approach to dealing with people that is the root cause of the attack on families here in the UK.

Home Education Day out

We had a lovely morning spent at St Mary’s Convent Handsworth yesterday.

2009_0401marapril090037Ronan took my camera to have a go with.

the children heard the story of Ven Catherine McAuley, how she came to look after people who were in real poverty and how she came from Dublin to England and founded the convent in Handsworth. The children got to look around and see the room where Mthr McAuley lived set up as it would have been when she lived there.

2009_0401marapril090025There was plenty of time to play and for Ronan to find things he was interested in photographing like this stone with daffs.

The sisters made us really welcome and Sr Kath put a lot of effort into making a visual display for the story of Ven Catherine.

At the end of the session we all gathered in the little chapel and the children asked about the display for Easter and about the Tabernacle. Then a children from each of the families came and lit a candle which the sisters would keep burning for all of us and pray for us during their evening devotions.


We all left to go home and have lunch. A couple of us got together for a trip to the park in the afternoon.

It was a lovely day.