Monthly Archives: June 2009

Home education; It tends to happen regardless


P1000033My philosophy of education is based on the view that each of my children are as Charlotte would say “born persons”. I do not see them as potential consumers, or only existing for the economic well-being of the country. Obviously I want them to have a place in their community, but it is their person-hood that concerns me most as their parent. They are each made in the image of God and are gifts from Him and that is the driving motivation of our home education.

Lots of things happen and the children learn often regardless of distractions, stresses and huge unnecessary hugs from passing older brothers. I am not just ‘teaching’ Ronan because he is of the UKs school age but the girls are learning too. Avila is 4 and wants to read, so she does; she loves Math U See and is really pretty good at it. Heleyna is 2 and she loves the manipulatives and I have to admit she is rather fond of Mr Demme the tutor on the DVDs.

In a day there is reading, writing, singing, doing weird experiments with water, oil, lemon juice and baking soda. There is Latin, Greek myths, stories of famous people and events as well as history. They do art whether painting or models or making things from bits of card and raiding the recycling for things to make boats, rockets or treasure maps.

may 09 018We meet up with other home ed families three times a week. The children sing together or make huge project pieces together. We are learning about life around water at the moment so we go to the parks around here where there is a lot of different kinds of water to look at.

Some of the things the children learn about are in structured sessions and some are just things that happen, while others are things they find to do for themselves. It happens at all times of the day and any day of the week.

There is something quite sad I think about people who having never seen any other kind of education than that which goes on in school, cannot and even will not comprehend the sheer vastness of other learning that can happen if children are allowed to.

I do believe in Charlotte’s ‘discipline of habits’ where a family can work together to ensure everyone learns. I am sure I am learning as much Latin as Roni and with Iona I am enjoying “An Ideal Husband” as well as learning from her about how vitamin D works. Isn’t that what education should be like?


This photo shows an impromptu science session that the children set up for themselves after watching some science programme on TV-Nina and the Neurons. Ronan started just wanting to see if oil and water really did separate in the glass-but he went on to make under water volcanoes with baking soda and some lemon juice and adding honey to the oil and water -seeing it sink and make three layers in the glass.

They tried to see if acid such as lemon juice made a better fizz with the baking soda than an alkaline like milk. All of this was their own doing with just a few ideas thrown in by me.

I am bemused by those who insist education cannot happen anywhere outside of school. That only teachers can teach and that children loose out at home. All the home ed families we know have such a wide variety of education-often different from ours as their children have different interests- but then the children get together and share those interests with one another.

I know the photos I show don’t ever show other families (I prefer not to unless I should ask permission) but other than that-WHAT is it about how my children learn that is so difficult for others to accept?

Year of Priests under St John Vianney

sjv_2x25The year of priests begins under the patronage of St John Vianney who was an excellent and holy priest who became known as the Curé d’Ars. He spent hours in the Confessional just being there for his people. I hope they were grateful for his willingness to offer this beautiful Sacrament.

He was a simple priest who just did what a priest was meant to do. What a great patron for our priests in this year dedicated to them. It’s a year to pray more for our priests. Do you know what, I actually think it is harder to be a priest these days. We live in a pretty nasty culture and as I certainly believe it is much harder to parent these days than it was for our parents, so being a spiritual father is so much harder.

What is a priest?

The central role of a priest is to offer sacrifice. He offers back to God some of those things he and his family-his bride and children, value most to show not only gratitude to God for all that He has given; but to remind the family that things come from God and are not the most important aspects of life. It resets the focus of the family on what is important. The priest leads the family in offering sacrifice as he is a father and a bridegroom.

Adam was the first priest. His role as bridegroom (and eventually father) was to guard the holy place (Garden/temple) and his bride, and to offer the necessary sacrifice when required. Guarding the garden wasn’t that easy it seems and the Serpent entered, getting through the hedge and making his way to the centre of the garden where the two trees stood; the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve were near the tree and the serpent picked on the Bride.

Adam could have spoken up for her, but it would undoubtedly have cost him; he would have to sacrifice the only thing he really had to sacrifice-his life. And he didn’t. He held on to his life and allowed his Bride to fall and even fell with her.  Not a good start for the priesthood. It would take another priest to embrace the Tree of Life and offer the sacrifice of His own life on it for the Life of the Bride and her children.

Then came Cain and Abel and their priesthood-but that’s another story to be told soon….

Pro-Life Witness




We meet at St Anthony of Padua Church, Headley Way (car park available) and

witness just at the entrance to the JOHN RADCLIFFE Hospital, Headley Way. (In front of the Church)

The J.R is the only provider for abortion in Oxford area and they will do abortions up to 16 weeks and up to birth for all handicapped babies.

PLEASE join us to fight this battle!


Sadly we live in a world where a mother can be catigated for going ahead and having her baby with Down’s syndrome. It is apparently legitimate today to say not killing your baby is wrong. Then when children with disabilities or sicknesses come into our communities and schools they are lesser people and can be treated as such.

When it is alright to kill people who aren’t perfect enough, then it’s alright to mistreat those who are less perfect and see then as life unworthy of life.

Badman and Balls. We’re fighting back.

Lord Lucas is still open to views as he looks for a way to help us. He sees registration as inevitable and he also believes there needs to be some sort of umbrella organisation (he mentioned Education Otherwise) who can be part of helping ensure LA staff are properly trained to understand the aspects of home education.

A lot of people have said no to EO and I think I would concur. Other organisations have been suggested. I have to say as things stand I don’t like the idea of any of these organisations training LA staff and seeming to speak for all home educators. I think part of the reason so few of us are members of any of these groups is they don’t speak for us-and there would have to be a lot of groups to cover all types of home edders I think.

This does leave the difficult question asked by Lord Lucas of how we can work together when we have such disperet views. It would be great to say that although we all have different ways to home educate that we all believe in the right of every parent to choose the education for their children and that the role of government is not to deny rights but to protect them. Umm not sure though.

I wonder if there is a chance that home edders in local communities can offer awareness training for LA staff, social workers and others who may come in contact with us; health care professionals spring to mind. I don’t know if this is possible in the current climate. Let’s face it Badman has really scuppered any kind of trust between home edders and most professionals. It was an idiotic thing to do.

Many home education families want to fight this battle on the grounds the Government are undermining, and even removing, our rights. But there is some doubt that we can win by pushing the human rights issue-especially imho if we use the UN and EU charters on rights. Rights that are made up by people are just that: made up. And the very people who made them can either reinterpret them or unmake them whenever they like. Britain claims to be post-Christian (when in reality it is anti-Christian) but it seems to me we are post-pagan as well. The days of understanding natural law as many pagans did are gone. Can we go back to a natural law understanding of human rights? Can we appeal to the great pagan and Christian philosophers and the long standing human cultural understanding that parents were the primary carers and educators of their children?

Can we appeal to history and show how the one major culture to make the state parent was Sparta and they are all dead and gone. They didn’t survive once they started taking children away from their parents. Charlotte Mason points out that even they didn’t do it until the child was 7 (and it was only the boys).

Don’t forget to write to MPs over this. I am choosing to write to Conservatives because it seems more likely they will be in power next year. I am concerned that so far replies do not give full assurances that recommendations will not be implemented. I am also going mto write to a  bishop or two. 

Which brings me to-

The document submitted by the Church of England is available, which I was going to fisk, but won’t bother now as most people have picked up already on the fact that Badman grossly misrepresented their views with his very selective use of quotes. This dishonesty is a bit of a god send when it comes to letters. Nothing like a blatant concrete example of deliberate dishonesty by Mr Badman to help us out I should say.

On the other hand I am left thinking that someone apparently intelligent like Badman and Heppell et al who put this report together didn’t seem to put much effort into making it airtight on logic or even with some basic research. Badman says “I believe” in the report about 16 times without ever backing up his personal opinion with any research or stats. He even goes as far as saying the peer reviewed research on the merit of home education carried out in the USA and here in the UK is not worthy of his respect. He just dismisses it out of hand-giving no reasons!

That level of arrogance and deliberate ignorance must come with some assurances. No wonder none of us believe this report was even remotely “independent”.

Tory MPs are writing back and showing their support but I am increasingly concerned that no one is making a clear promise that none of this would be implemented under them. I find this silence on the matter more worrying that the behaviour of Badman and Balls. I think the damage they can do this next year may be small-but if the  Tories go along with it, then we are looking at a bleak future.

 The consultation documents are written in such a way as to imply Badman’s report has any merit; as though one unelected man can decide the future of parents and children all over the country.

Dawn Primarolo is apparently the new Children’s Minister. She has asked for views and you can give them here. However if her voting record is anything to go by I’m not holding out much hope she gives a monkeys about families or children. She seems to be supportive of Sure Start (battery farming kids) as well. Ah well. Send her your views if the website will let you-which it won’t for me at the moment.

It is good to see that as the report has come and to a large extent in the media, gone, that some people are still fighting our corner with us.

Peter Hitchens posts are somewhat broad and eclectic but he still manages to remember the attack of home education in his writings.

Feast of the Sacred Heart and Immanculate Heart


It was the Feast of the Sacred Heart yesterday and it’s the feast of the Immaculate Heart today.

With the children we made some hearts  to put on the wall next to a picture of the Sacred Heart and then they made heart shaped biscuits with Iona and decorated them with red icing and some choc drops.

Can’t show you a photo as we are in the land of bust cameras at the moment.

After making their hearts for Jesus the children had some ‘secret’ things to do to get ready for Father’s Day on Sunday too.

I read them Beauty and the Beast in a version they have never heard before. It is pretty dark in places and they were getting genuinely nervous.  The proper version is much deeper in meaning and myth than the Disney or other sloppyfied versions.

It was really quite fascinating and rather lovely to have the children listen and react to the story as they did. I stopped half way through (it’s a long story) and they did other work and discussed what might happen next. They know the whole story now and that will never happen again. Don’t forget to enjoy your firsts.


You can buy the icons HERE btw. I tend to prefer the less sugary Icons of our Eastern brethren to the sentimentality of the Italianesque paintings that are more traditional in the Latin Rite. Can’t say I find love all that sugary when you have to do it every day.

What to do with an empty insulin pen?

Did you make that perfect birthday cake and forget the candles? Did you have a power cut and need a light? Worry not! Josh is at hand with his empy Novo Rapid and Solo Star pens. Novo20FlexPenOnce they are empty he wonders what to do with them. (This is Josh remember-the man who built a boat thing about of empty Guiness cans and called it The Black Arthur before launching it into a huge puddle during a massive downpour).

Josh takes out the glass inner tube and fills them with various things; one had rum, but that didn’t work. He tried olive oil, but for some reason that didn’t work either and finally vodka.

And there is a lamp-candle thing ready for any celebration!

Home ed Noos cam June 09 006

He gets through a lot of these pens. If I buy a bottle of vodka and a roll of string (for the wicks) we could have light in all circumstances.


Going off on one…where Home education can take you.

Home ed Noos cam June 09 007I do actually have something that is semi-timetablish for the smaller ones this term. It’s really just a list of things to try and get through each day-but it’s pretty flexible.

As I have said before I am using a mixture of Ambleside and Matar Amambilis with a chunk of things we want to do ourselves. Ronan is very interested in space, the night sky, Hubble and all that kind of thing. 

We started the day with the NASA for KIDS site as Ronan asked to have another look at it. We printed off a sheet where he had to cut shapes and get as many as possible to fit inside the cargo of the Shuttle without overlapping.

After that we went on to other things such as a bit of reading; Faith and Life and the A A Milne poem “Four Friends” from an old copy of “When We Were Very Young”.

It so happens that we are on the chapter in Our Heavenly Father about how the magi came to visit Jesus. I asked if the children remembered what gifts the magi brought. “Gold!” said Roni but after that he and Avila were a bit stumped.

“Something that smells,” I hinted thinking they may remember we use Frankincense at Church for Christmas.

“SOCKS!” shouted Avila.

Well a small child is always in need of socks it is true.

Ronan wanted to return to his space studies and mentioned he was interested in meteorites and what could we find out about them. From there we learned all about the Tunguska incident of 1908 and how Jupiter ate the Shoemaker Levy comet and how Jupiter is the vacuum cleaner of the solar system.

We got out the model solar system and Ronan used some Plasticine to make models of comets and meteorites. We watched a NASA film on Youtube about how the next big rock to come to earth will be gently shoved out of the way and Ronan made a rocket thing like the NASA one and we enacted that too with the solar system model.

I don’t know how I would prove all that to anyone-but it seemed like a good lesson to us.

Badman and Balls responses.

There is a growing sense of organisation over how home educaters are going to respond to the review. Some ideas are pretty good it seems to me.

Resources are being made available HERE.Now I haven’t had chance to check this site out so I advise caution.

Already in some areas anti-Christian rants are happening so tread with care. In the end sad as I am to say this I think Christian home educaters may have to stick together and let others shift for themselves. I can’t see myself being part of a group that allows Christian’s to be attacked and our rights undermined while at the same time decrying what Badman is doing to their rights.

Lord Lucas is actively seeking the views of home edders on how the Badman review can be tackled. Do add your views.

There is a view that we should organise picnics probably at the beginning of September. There would be a “Home Education Week” of events all over the country. It doesn’t need to just involve home ed parents. As the review sets out to undermine the rights of all parents then many parents with schooled children may want to take part and certainly parents with under 5s might want to.

I will organise one in Birmingham. If anyone is interested in joining me just say so 🙂 Hopefully for the first week of Sept but I’ll let everyone know soon.

You could tell Balls what you think HERE if you like.

Don’t forget to write to MPs and MEPs . Write to others you think might be supportive-local papers; local people and I think we could write to our bishops who are fighting for free speech rights even now.

G K Chesterton on the road to sainthood

chesterton-3-smallDear old G K Chesterton died on this date in 1936. His prolific writings are a wonderful fountain of true education. He and his wife Frances were actively supportive of the PNEU (Parents National Education Union) schools that had been established by Charlotte Mason.  I don’t know whether they actually met or knew Miss Mason although their dates do overlap so there is a good chance they did.

Chesterton understood education very well and he also understood evil. He said “The devil made me Catholic,” for he believed that in his pre-Christian days his meeting evil made him realise there had to be some good to find.

I truly think the man who wrote “The Man Who Was Thursday” and the Father Brown stories would understand the horrible predicament home educating  parents find themselves in today. He wrote:

Education is tradition, and tradition (as its name implies) can be treason.

Surely many of feel we are seen as treasonous for our educational philosophies and methods today.

In The Superstition of School he wrote this:

He seems to me to collect with remarkable rapidity a number of superstitions, of which the most blind and benighted is what may be called the Superstition of School. He regards School, not as a normal social institution to be fitted in to other social institutions, like Home and Church and State; but as some sort of entirely supernormal and miraculous moral factory, in which perfect men and women are made by magic. To this idolatry of School he is ready to sacrifice Home and History and Humanity, with all its instincts and possibilities, at a moment’s notice. To this idol he will make any sacrifice, especially human sacrifice.

It is surely true that this Badman, Balls, Heppell and others are ready and willing to make our families the human sacrifice to their idolotry of school education. Chesterton writing in 1923 complains of how education had been turned in on itself

destroying that very sense of variety and proportion which it is the object of education to give.

And he goes on to deplore what he called the persecution of families who lived on barges. I am not sure what this persecution was but I am going to assume Chesterton was talking about the families who lived on the waterways working the boats along the canals. Like travellers today the children would not have gone to school. They learned on the boats with their families, growing up in a culture that still survives today. It was a hard life, but a close knit one. The boat families cared for one another much as home ed families do today.

He ends the essay with these words:

Education ought to be a searchlight given to a man to explore everything, but very specially the things most distant from himself. Education tends to be a spotlight; which is centered entirely on himself. Some improvement may be made by turning equally vivid and perhaps vulgar spotlights upon a large number of other people as well. But the only final cure is to turn off the limelight and let him realize the stars.


I hope Chesterton is made a saint one day, but I really hope he and Frances are canonised together. We need witnesses to marriage, perseverance and truth these days.gkchestertonlrg

Know the enemy -SAY NO to the DCSF

Duringa debate in Parliament over the final recommendations from the death of baby P it was admitted that social services are in a dire situation. It was further asserted that many social workers are desperately under trained in that they enter professional life from University having had NO experience with a qualified and experienced social worker in the field.

Mr Edward Timpson (Conservative) said:

In some local authorities, almost 50 per cent. of front-line child protection staff have less than two years’ experience in their job. I have seen that for myself in the work that I have done in the family courts representing local authorities, children and their parents. On far too regular a basis, a social worker, or even a team manager, working for the local authority has made the application to take a child into care but their experience is woefully short for the extreme complexity of the case that is facing them.

This was backed up by a Mr. Graham Stuart who I assume is also a Conservative:

there is a chronic shortage of training places and that, in a minority of cases, some social workers go through their entire training without ever being supervised by a trained social worker.

And we are supposed to be happy to let these people into our homes and interview our children and make judgements about us. Ed Balls didn’t seem to find these statements worthy of comment and went off about something else. In the middle of the debate that in context is about preventing abuse (remember that was why the review about Home Education happened in the first place) Balls says this:

We will revise that statutory guidance later in the year to make it absolutely clear that if at any point the parents refuse to allow the child to be seen alone, the local authority has powers under that Act to apply for an emergency protection order to require parents to comply with any request to produce the child. The Act authorises the removal of a child in those circumstances if necessary.

H/T  Travelling to Scotland for that lovely quote!


Looks like they fully intend to find ways to jackboot their way into our homes no matter what we say.

Badman’s attack on children: responses from around the net

I’m just going to put a load of links down.


Carlotta has more links which I wont repeat here.


“Where’s Your Plan?” says Mr Badman


From the Libertarian Alliance with a plan of action.

Then there is this rather astonishing response from someone I must assume did not read the document!

Other responses:

UKIP have come out in the defense of Home Ed and civil liberties.

The Libertarian Party speak out on our behaf

I contacted Mark Fields MP today and he kindly replied very quickly and included this link to his response.

The Christian Institute

I’m sure there’s more. If you find anything add it to comments. 🙂


Homeschool Nations.

We Are Not At School Today


Frabjous Days

At Home In My Father’s House

Peter Hitchens

Gill: Sometimes It’s Peaceful

Travelling to Scotland

MORE UPDATES (16.6.09)

Bishop Hill

Government Review of Home Education; major attack on rights of families.

The REVIEW DOC is here and shows a shocking disregard for the genuine welfare of children. It does however, seem to want to move us more inline with the (anti-family, anti home ed) European Union.

Badman likes to point out that the European Convention on Human Rights (a document I personally have had very grave doubts about from the beginning)  that “case law on the ECHR challenges any claim that home education is a fundamental right”.

Carlotta has the review recommendations which includes ANNUAL REGISTRATION and ENFORCED visits to see the children and the demand to see children alone without the parent! as well as the view that schools should be part of the process of ensuring home educated children receive a structured education. Do they mean the very schools that haven’t provided the education in the first place?

Gill has picked up on the attack on autonomous educators.

The CONSULTATION documents are up and the closing date is OCTOBER 19th Frankly it is plain that this Government are very keen to make sure families loose their basic rights. If you don’t want strangers forcing themselves into your home and interviewing your children with goodness knows what methods then get with the fight. This is not just to show Labour bullies like Ed Balls where we stand, but the Conservatives too. They are most likely to be in power in a year or so and we need them to put a stop to this. They wont if there isn’t a reason to.

I will read the whole thing and blog again.

NOTE: Lots of ways to attack us and monitor us-but NOTHING that offer genuine support I notice.


I have just ploughed through the whole awful document. It is almost beyond belief.

Then at the conclusion


International comparison suggests that of all countries with highly developed education

systems, England is the most liberal in its approach to elective home education. Legislation

from the 1930s banning elective home education still persists in Germany and most European

countries require registration, whereas New Zealand demands that the “

at least as regularly and as well as in registered school

have processes for registration and the systematic monitoring of elective home education and

require evidence of progress….

I have bolded the words that jumped out at me. I was just blown away by the sheer NERVE. That is HITLER’S anti-home eduction law. You know, the one that ensured all children recieved the National Socialist propaganda and were forcably enlisted in Hitler’s Youth. That law!

Who is the parent? (It’s not just about home education is it?)

As I write this entry the news is on telling me about a woman charged with sexual abuse of 2 to 5 yr olds in a nursery where she worked. Do I now think all nursery schools are bad? No, but the view that parents are automatically to be assumed to be abusive unless some ‘professional’ can prove otherwise is something being pushed by this Government.

In response to the Guardian article one of my fellow home educators has written this to the Editor:

Dear Sir,

Jacqui Newvell, states that “we need to embed a children’s rights agenda,
rather than a parents’ rights agenda”, calling effectively for the State to
be made primary educator and de facto primary guardian of all children.

From time immemorial it has been a principle of our law that parents are
children’s primary guardians and educators, whether or not they choose to
delegate part of their day to day responsibility to a school. There are two
good reasons for this; firstly the family and not the State is the primary
building block of all free societies; the State only has the authority to do
what it is permitted to do by its citizens. Secondly, parents are those best
designed by nature to be their children’s best guardians; noone knows a
child as well or cares as much about a child as his or her parent.This is
probably why in my years as a mainstream teacher, I frequently saw cases of
neglected children with serious family problems which generally went
unaddressed ; in my time working with home -educated children by way of
contrast, I have seen high levels of parental love and commitment and very
good outcomes for the children.

State officials, however well-meaning are only a substitute for truly
abusive parents, as a look at the plight of children in institutionalised
“care”, shows us.And there will probably always be those extreme cases where
overwhelming evidence presented during due process rebuts the sound legal
presumption that the parents are the child’s best guardian. The State
stepping in, in clear and corroborated cases of child abuse is quite
different from supplanting from the outset the authority of all parents (a
favourite approach of totalitarian regimes the world over). The current
problem in our society is not lack of legislation but an overstretched and
under-funded Social work system.

A pro-child agenda will automatically be a pro-parent agenda; undermine or
supplant parental authority and you work to the detriment of children. You
also fundamentally and drastically alter the balance of power between the
individual and the State, in a way that is totally at odds with our
democratic system.

I hope the Guardian publish this. But it is not a paper I have much faith in-even though it seems less anti home ed than I was expecting.

The reason the rights of parents are normally protected is that the family is the root of a successful society. Start undermining the family


further links:

(Home) school’s our forever; another Guardian piece.  In the comments section (which sadly shows the gross ignorance about home ed of  some people) I noticed a teacher’s comment which ended with these words:

 Some home educators do a good job and some a bad job – just like schools. But I have never met a set of home educating parents that didn’t care passionately about their children and their upbringing – which is more than can be said for many parents of state educated pupils.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Carlotta has this utterly shocking experience which shows just how far some LAs are prepared to go beyond anything reasonable to check up on home educators. Who needs the Law eh?

I also recommend her blog entry on the recent parliamentary debate.

It is good to know that Mark Field a Tory MP has decided to speak up on behalf of the rights of home educating families and that he sees the propaganda as just that.

Diane Johnson (Labour of course) has a rather odd view that home education is part of the system from the Government. That is wishful thinking methinks and it is a wish she would like to see fulfilled. She says this:

At present, in England, we have a system that takes great account of the rights of parents to choose an education for their child that

“is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions”.

However, every child has the fundamental right to receive an education, and we need to ensure that that important human right is delivered for every child in the land, even in those rare cases where their parents’ convictions conflict with their right to be educated.

The words “At present” show she would like to see things altered there and then the view that implies that parents who exercise their rights to educate their children “in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions” are somehow not providing their children with the fundamental right to an education. By that she means the ‘right’ to a government approved version of education I assume.

She then goes on to insist that children must have the “opportunity to express their views on the education they receive”. I must admit I laughed. I am sure she would LOVE to hear what many children have to say about their time in school. In most home ed families that I know children already get to express their views on their education and to choose the areas they most want to study in depth. They are partners with parents in the learning process.

You can read some great entries on Gill’s Blog about all this.

In the comments below Shana has pointed out that we may need some legal help to fight all this and I fully agree with her. Home ed families must not be so sure the LAs are too busy to come after us. They have WANTED this review and we saw the appalling replies of many of them -wanting to come into our homes.

“Crack down” on home education recommended as Review is about to be published.

The Government Review that was supposed to be independent but patently isn’t, is to be published in about a week apparently. On the tale of the story of how little Kyra Ishaq was removed from school and starved to death by her mother and the live in boyfriend the idea that home educators are naturally abusive is being put out there by the slick propaganda.

Some of the quotes in this Guardian article require fisking. I am going to assume for the sake of this that the quotes are accurate, although of course I realise the MSM are hardly reputable for accuracy these days.

 Graham Badman, is looking “favourably” at proposals that would require parents to register their children with their council when they are born or when they move to a different local authority.

Contactpoint isn’t going to work then? ALL parents will be required to register their children AT BIRTH! What on earth for? This can’t be right because the sheer bureaucratic cumbersomeness is astounding. But this is Gordo’s Govt with Ed Balls standing there trying to remove the rights of parents at all opportunities, so who can tell.  It is sad and rather shocking that those of us who saw this review as an attack on ALL PARENTS are proving correct.

Jacqui Newvell, a principal officer of the children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), which took part in the review, said: “We need to put children’s interests at the heart of this and embed a children’s rights agenda instead of a parents’ rights agenda. This is a very, very sensitive issue, We know a lot of home educators are doing a great job but our concern is the minority who slip thought the net.”

I am somewhat confused on how on earth the rights of children get protected while undermining the rights and responsibilities of parents. Where do people like this get the idea they can trample one set of people’s rights with a view to another set of people? How does that EVER work?

I am increasingly worried about the view coming from these semi-professional Government funded pseudo charities who want to impose the responsibility for staying save and getting a good education on little kids. (At the same time older children are often denied the rights to choose their education-go figure).

Then there is this comedian:

Andy Winton, the chair of the National Association of Social Workers in Education, said: “School is a good safety net to protect children. They have access to adults who can detect behaviour and are with children who make them realise what is normal social behaviour. If parents are home-educating, that safety net is not there. We don’t think home education is a route to abuse – the majority of it is brilliant – but we think there is an additional risk.”

I can only assume this guy has never been near a school, nor spoken to children who have. As my children and many other (now home educated) children will tell you, school had no safety net at all. Casual violence, bullying, general nastiness was daily and some of it came from staff. At home my dyslexic daughter has never been humiliated in public for her spelling-unlike at school where the teacher thought it a good idea to make her write words on the board in front of everyone. I could list a few things, but most of you wont need me too-you know. Then we have the ‘normal social behaviour’ comment. Families are remarkably able in socialising children as they have done since the beginning. I have no idea what this man thinks is normal behaviour-personally I would prefer my kids to be good rather than normal.

Meanwhile we are told Gordan Brown’s Govt is in such disarray that it looks we hardly HAVE a government at the moment. Can they really implement any of this? Some of it seems downright silly (in a sinister way). I don’t quite believe that it will all go away. I am more than aware that the Tories were silent on the whole although in the House of Lords THIS DEBATE Lord Hanson warned about the Government’s behaviour against home education and although he was vague about how bad that was, he at least pointed out that home educators get no support from local councils in the form of access to GCSEs and other courses.

There is supposed to be some standard setting on the way. This Gov are pretty good at setting standards. Schools are full of them. Not that they get met of course, but they must be fun to set I suppose.

So we await the report. Oh joy.

Home Education-new daily plan

  Books I have set about a kind of day-plan for the home ed this term. I have not exactly time tabled as this is too rigid and when I tried it before it was awful.

This time I have taken what I think Ronan needs to get through each day and simply written it as a set of lessons for the day with some thought as to what it will be easy for Avila to join in with. I want the set up to be as flexible as possible because interruptions and other plans have a tendency to interfere.

here’s how Tues and Wed went:track

Continue reading

Beginning Narration as Charlotte Mason would like it.

Charlotte Mason did not believe that true narration for the retention of knowledge should begin before a child is 6.

DamoclesAs we begin the Summer term which will be six weeks for Ronan and then the seventh week for Iona alone, I have decided to begin the Ambleside/Mater Amambilis/my own curriculum for yr 1/1b/2 a little earlier. I spent a few days in half term going through the curriculum’s and planning them out with my own views of what Ronan needs to be doing and have timetabled it in for three weeks.

One area I think is important for him now he is nearly 6 and half is to learn the fine art of narration.

We started with the story of the SWORD of DAMOCLES by James Baldwin. I read the story only once as Miss Mason would advise and then asked Ronan to tell me a bit about the story. For a first proper attempt he didn’t do too badly. I had to prompt with a few questions but he got most of the story told with the once only telling. He then set about drawing a picture of Damocles with the sword over his head. We discussed the meaning/moral of the story about the use and misuse of wealth and power and he got that part of the story well.

The rest of the day was busy.

Continue reading