Monthly Archives: April 2010

Alex gets to grips with Zbrush for his final major project.

One of the things that irritated me during the CSF Bill fight was the number of anti-HE people who sneered at art as a subject.  With their attitudes it is hardly any wonder how little art gets taught in schools these days.

Alex is in college now and is embarking on his final major project for his Btec in Art and Design. Over the past couple of years he has taught himself how to use 3D modelling software like Blender and now for his final project he is branching out into industry standard software like Maya and Zbrush. One of his friends has lent him some tuition DVDs and he has been busy melting his brain cells getting to grips with it all.

This is a screen shot from one day’s work on Zbrush. He is building a figure of Belopheron the first person to ride Pegasus.

A lot of work goes into this kind of thing. He hopes to work in the game industry at some point and is busy building his portfolio.

I have to say I don’t believe Alex would be able to work the way he does, or even to have the drawing talent he has if he hadn’t been home educated.

This picture is a screen grab of his work in Maya. It’s a long process.

The not so Catholic Education Service really show whose side they’re on.

Fr Ray Blake reports on how the CES have taken on Greg Pope as a deputy to Oona Stannard. He is an ex-Labour MP who thinks it’s fine to vote to ensure people who look like the one in the picture here can be legally murdered.

How that makes him even remotely suitable to work for an organisation that tries to claim to be Catholic is beyond me.

If he thinks he can turn his back on basic Christian teaching about the right of life to every human person regardless of age, ability or gender, then how is he trustworthy to decide what is good education for the ones that escape the knife?

I really want to know.

So Catholic home ed parents are left wondering if it means our fight must start up again. Meanwhile I wonder how many Catholic parents whose children are schooled will join us.

By what authority can I home educate my children?

One of the things that became very clear during the battle over our right and duty to educate our children was that there are very different views on what constitutes legitimate authority.

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I have Fibromyalgia

I had a rheumatologist  appt on Wed. It was my first one after asking the GP for a referral after our last little talk about WHY am I like this?

After some poking around on some very tender parts of my anatomy I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

So finally, after seven long years, I now know why I am like this.

I am much relieved to have a diagnosis and will continue to get on with my life. I am already dealing with the pain and have found that the amitrip is working well.

Talking about the symptoms was interesting because the doc took a very different history than other docs have taken. She asked about lung problems and I said asthma-which other docs have either never asked about or not bothered with. She then asked me about the stuff that goes with it; such as my repetitive chest infections and even the fact that I had so many boughts of bronchitis and chest infections as a child. I hadn’t realised that this is a common part of Fibro.

I am very fortunate in that I don’t get the severe depression side of things; I get fed up of constant pain of course but I don’t nose dive into depression. I think I’m pretty lucky there.

I know that good patches don’t mean it’ll all be fine but I also know that bad patches or flares as those in the know call’em are the end of the world. The doc did say some people completely recover so I can live in hope. On the other hand, as things stand it is incurable.

The doc had a lot of blood taken just to make sure it was not something else and to check general health. But that was routine.

Now that I know, I’m going to inform myself a lot but not spend too much time fretting about it. Nothing has changed. I just know what is going on. And that’s good.

Two days in the life; Foxton Locks and a Home Education Friday

Yesterday we went to Foxton Locks where the children got to learn a bit about locks, canals, an inclined plane and some of the old trade that went through the locks over the years.

In the little museum was a small living end of a boat which the children absolutely loved. It was interesting to see how they automatically took on ‘traditional’ roles. Ronan was in charge of the tiller and he chose the goods the boat would carry. From the museum samples of wool, wood, stone, coal and pottery, he chose coal. Avila meanwhile was the redoubtable boatwife taking care of home and family. She even put Heleyna to bed and kissed her goodnight. AAAh.

There was a little puzzle for the children to work out how to make an inclined plane.

It was a simple way of explaining how it could work.

There was plenty of wildlife to see and Ronan had his little tree id set thing which was useful.

There was plenty of history about how the locks and inclined plane worked and the children could see traditional canal art which we need to follow up on I think.

Then today was the usual Friday when we do Art (Minoan today) and then history (Story of the World Vol 1) followed by the Musical Troy Story.

We make sure the children have plenty of time to play and the mums get to discuss where we are and what we are doing in our HE lives.

On Wednesday Ronan and Avila had gone to the Midlands Art Centre (MAC) for a special pre-re-opening session in which the children got an up close look at the Staffordshire gold. Apparently they were in a couple of the papers.

While there a conversation was overheard between a couple of women.

“I don’t object to home education,” one woman said, “If that’s what they want to do. But I would rather send my children to school  to make sure they get a proper education wouldn’t you?”

“oh yeah.” replied the other.

The person who overheard them is a qualified teacher. She felt like going over and educating these two ignorant ladies. She’s had a lot to do with us HE people and like a lot of teachers who get up close with the HE children in their area have found that they are receiving an education far superior to that offered in school.

The boys have made up their own moves to go in the musical and I have to say they are very funny.

We’re hoping to have it ready for a Summer showing and filming day.

Let’s see what happens!

Making Volcanoes and other such home education things

Yesterday we had a lot of fun in our geography session. I had printed up a map of the active volcanoes of Iceland and had to draw in the one causing all the trouble at the moment as it is considered a nice quiet one.

The children found Iceland on the atlas map and then we looked at the line of volcanoes on the map of Iceland I’d printed.

They remembered a whole lot of stuff from way before Easter about the core, mantle and crust of the earth and tectonic plates and fault lines. I was impressed. So, they DO learn and remember!

Then it was time to make our own volcanoes. It’s easy to do.

You need some smallish jars and lots of clay or play doh. The children stick the clay/play doh to the jars to make a volcano like shape.

Then you need some hotish water and a few drops of food colouring; we used red as that’s a good lava colour-but I don’t see why you couldn’t just make it up.

In went a couple of generous teaspoons of bicarb and a splash of vinegar and up bubbled our line of volcanoes. More bicarb and vinegar and a bit of lemon juice kept it going for quite a while.

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On 153 fish and the nakedness of Peter

I love the story of the bbq on the beach where after His resurrection Jesus goes out to meet some of the apostles as they are fishing. They have returned to the old life, it seems, taken up their nets again. But as dawn comes they haven’t had much luck. Jesus tells them to try again and they do making a huge catch.

The things we are always told to not about this bit is the number of fish; 153 and the fact that the net didn’t break.

I think most of us have heard how 153 fish was to represent the nations of the world and the net, that doesn’t break is the Church. Father, this morning, gently reminded us that no matter how difficult it might seem sometimes, hauling in those smelly fish, that the net hasn’t broken and it never will.

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