Category Archives: politics

Finding our rhythm

We are settling back into home ed (we never left but it did feel like we were in limbo for a while as R thought about going to school). It now feels like we are back, fully submerged in the wonderful world of Home education.

We are seeing other families at Sign language, environmental management, drama and a few other things too. Wednesday this week was lovely, R had her new home ed drama group which was lovely, and I sat and chatted with other home ed mums, then environmental management where I again sat and chatted with other mums, play in the park & more chatting. My wobbles have lessened considerably and how lovely it is to be at the stage of being able to chat. It doesn’t seem that long ago that conversations were hard to have as one or two little people would need me a lot.

R and I have settled into a more comfortable pace of doing a few things together and then spending time doing our own things. She’s good company and likes doing her own thing with me around in the background doing mine. She’s creating a drawing of a whole community at the moment, so she stops occasionally to fill me in on how things work in her invented world. Love it. So much imagination and it also leads to political and philosophical chat too!

Share this page...

Radio 5 Live Home Education Discussion

As the BBC have recently researched and found that home education is dramatically on the increase I was asked just before Christmas to take part in a discussion live on air:

Radio 5 Live link

From  2:39:25 for just under 20 minutes, with Graham Stuart MP, who is a great supporter of the home ed community, also with a home educated teenager, myself, my 12 yr old daughter who is now at school, a man from Campaign for Real Education, and a headteacher who was very anti home education, whilst seemingly knowing very little about it!!

The link is only available for a limited time, so I’ll give a rough summary of how I think it went!

There was this on the same day: Rising numbers of children home educated

I think the home ed side came over very well, Graham Stuart picked up on the headteacher’s ignorance of how home education works, I thought the teenager came over very well indeed as well rounded, confident and well educated. We ran out of time it felt, my daughter was ready to say more, and so was I, but we found it hard to butt in over the teacher!

I am still amazed how ignorant some people are about the different ways of learning and how much more effective some methods can be than traditional school ‘lessons’. Yet there are ‘experts’ like this who would like to come and assess what home educators are doing! We do not look like school in any way. A lot of how we learn is invisible, it isn’t timetabled (I know some people are more structured), but the results of the learning keep on coming. I’m regularly surprised by something my daughter knows! I haven’t ‘taught’ it.

Socialisation always comes up too, yet most home educated kids have chance to mix with a wide range of people, of all different ages and backgrounds… at school L has found it easier going into such a big environment with so many people, than many of her peers who had been in the same small primary school for years.

I do love home education and the different opportunities that it has offered me and my family.

A few years ago I would never have agreed to a live radio broadcast, I think all the library campaigning has helped both me and my daughters to feel able to speak up about things we believe in. What a valuable lesson for all of us!!!

 

Share this page...

To Wonderland and back again

Half term was a blur, the girls did a two day drama workshop with a performance at the end which was great. We caught up with friends, went to a birthday day in the forest, which was a good mix of old home ed friends, some who now have kids at school, others who are still home ed, and us with one of each!

Went to an Alice in Wonderland event which was fab,

The Red Queen and Alice
The Red Queen and Alice

Caught up with more friends, went out for a walk at Holly Hill.

Out trick or treating with my sister and her boys, what a treasure trove!!

The last day was spent in pj’s having a lazy day which we all needed I think!!

This week we started on Monday with an art session at the library, we made stain glass window pictures, which came out very well indeed. Using gold card and cutting out holes and sticky coloured see-through coloured sheets on the back.

Unicorn
Unicorn

We’ve done some reading. Having had a break R’s reading has yet again improved a lot. She has also had a go at some typing and her spelling is getting better… the attempts at words are much closer now.

More algebra, we both enjoy that using MathsWatchVLE videos. Today we covered Factorisation of some fairly tricky equations.

A local author has asked R to critique some of her new poems, which with the promise of a small recompense R is very excited about doing!! We had a look through, and commented on the first five poems today.

R also had a go at some 11+ Non verbal reasoning quizzes on Education Quizzes which is a great site with lots of different subjects and levels. Worth e-mailing them as they offer free access for teachers and also Home educators. You have to sign up for each subject separately, but well worth it.

I’ve been busy as ever with the local library … which looks like it may well end up closed by the end of March 2016, along with others in the city. We have now written to the Secretary of State asking for an inquiry, especially as all 5 libraries and the mobile library come out in the most deprived quartile of the poverty index. R challenged one of the Cllrs at the Alice in Wonderland event we went to at our local library. He actually blushed when she asked why certain options hadn’t been properly looked at!!

Share this page...

Getting back in the Swing

We don’t specifically have terms as such in home ed, but things do change a bit with clubs and groups stopping for school holidays, and we also catch up with school friends more then too. Now L is at school it makes the difference between term time and school holidays even more obvious…. Although L has been back at school now for almost 2 weeks, we have been slow getting our brains in gear at home. Partly because we went camping last weekend which extended the summer further for us, a chilled out weekend with friends.

We also had a trip to the magnificent Highclere Castle the weekend before.

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle

This week has been more library stuff, with the decision going back to Cabinet again, basically to be rubber stamped through …. 5 libraries facing closure unless the community steps in and runs them. Also the mobile library has been axed.

Rant alert

Very disappointing as we had genuinely researched alternative ways of keeping our library open (and others) and we have faced a council set on one way of dealing with things, even though in our area there simply aren’t a plethora of available volunteers to take on running (and funding / paying bills / rent / training volunteers etc) the library. We have been totally ignored and it has been extremely frustrating. The council now wants to talk with us about options…. ie.. us taking it on… we aren’t able to!!! Half our group are 70’s / 80’s and the rest of us already do as much as we can. R is keen to come to the meeting with Councillors to have her say. She is disgusted. We will lose where our home ed group meets regularly too.

Amazing tour of our local theatre today. We are seeing Horrible Histories Groovy Greeks soon and have had some educational workshops with that at the theatre, today’s was a tour, including the fly floor…. where they lower scenery and set from above the stage!! That was great. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures.

We also saw Jason Donovan rehearsing on stage as we walked through, for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Very exciting.

Still chasing L’s school where they said she would be moving up sets in everything this year… she still hasn’t been, apparently she was overlooked (the no SATS results problem again… bizarrely as she now has exam results!!) but they seem unable to rectify the situation and will apparently re-jig in a few weeks… have phoned again, awaiting a phone call back!

R has been keen to have some ‘work’ to do each morning when she gets up, so I’ve been leaving maths and art and writing out each day, which she does early morning. It is working well at the moment.

 

Share this page...

Holiday recovery and campaign build up

Having had a wet and windy camp on the Isle of Wight, along with a lot of fun too, we have come back pretty tired, so we’ve had some friends round, but mostly stayed in… catching up on washing for a fair part of the last few days!

The girls spent a day with Granny and Grandpa and Auntie J, badminton and lego in the garden and lots of chattering about the holiday.

Then lots of play at home and with friends round.

I had a library meeting today, as we are heading towards the Council’s decision about the future of our local library and others in the city. The further I delve into politics, unfortunately the more cynical I become… and I am not a cynical person by nature. The decision has been put back to August… so lots of people will be away, also, it seems the council can make the decision in a Cabinet meeting, without bringing it to full council, which just seems wrong to me… for such an important decision. Especially as the consultation had the biggest response ever I think. It doesn’t bode well as it feels like they are trying to slip it under the radar.

A whole afternoon followed of the kids luckily having friends round to play happily… as I spent the whole afternoon writing up the meeting and then writing to Cllrs about the library decision. We have learned so much about the workings of politics as a family, through this campaign… R is so indignant and will be a force to be reckoned with if the decision goes against us… I wouldn’t like to be in the Council when R finds out!!! 🙂

R did some YouTube videos today, with her friend F appearing as a guest: Minecraft Tutorials with Guest

Aiming for a quiet day tomorrow to rest up (bloomin’ M.E. as usual) then we are catching up with other friends on Monday and Tuesday… hopefully to go out somewhere nice. I’ll aim for a quiet end of the week to recover!

The summer is going far too fast already. Really enjoying having L around full-time, and L and R seem to have settled back in to getting on much better again. They are more niggly when L is at school, so it is nice they have bonded back together again.

Share this page...

Gentle days

We are enjoying having some gentle time at home more often recently. R and I have been making the most of sitting in the garden reading together, having water fights, doing art together and chatting. We’ve also carried on with more algebra related maths. It is a chilled out time and the days fly by. R has also been challenging herself to improve and gradually be able to do full chin-ups… she still can’t quite manage it yet, but she has improved with trying every day.

We had a student round this week. I met her at the library, she is here for a year from Taiwan to do a Masters degree and wanted to meet some non-students…. normal British people (I can’t help with the normal… but we are outside University life.) She came round for the afternoon and we chatted lots about all sorts of things, differences and similarities in culture, travel, families, education etc. R came and chatted with us for quite a while too. K has offered to cook some Taiwanese food for us another day, so we’ve got to decide on some English food to introduce her to as well.

Woodcraft was a walk around the old city walls, which the girls really enjoyed.

R had drama, which has one more rehearsal before the show next week and a play with friends here, they built another den in the front room.

L had a trip to Paulton’s Park with the school. She loved being able to go with her friends and not have to be with an adult.

Today has been a Granny and Grandpa day for R, which involved an hour of badminton and then a catch up with some Great Aunts.

I had some time to catch up on a few things and also do some painting in the garden which was lovely to lose myself in.

A twelfth birthday tea after school this evening with our “baby” group… we’ve met up pretty much every week since our oldest kids were babies and they’re all turning 12! Amazing. All so grown up and so lovely. 🙂

Share this page...

Library, Tie-Dye and Parties.

At the weekend I had an event at our library which I supported… A repair cafe we’re trialling as a possible thing to run regularly to possibly help bring in some money (from us running the cafe part of it) to support our library which is under threat of closure. We’re waiting for a council decision in August after an impressive response to the consultation. The Repair cafe went very well, with a good attendance and lovely volunteers. We’re hopeful we can repeat it again soon.

R was still at a sleepover and L was tired, so wanted to just chill out at home. I love how her chilling often consists of baking something, or playing the ukulele or chatting with me.

L wanted to have a go at tie-dye, as R had in the week and Auntie M had left stuff for L to use too. I did some with her and we were pleased with the results.

tie dye
tie dye

R was gone most of the day as she then went to the swim party of her friend too… so two tired girls by the end of the day.

We then had a barbeque at Auntie A’s for G’s 18th birthday with all the family. It was lovely. Can’t believe our ‘little’ nephew is now 18! Shows how quickly the time will go with our girls growing up too. I keep being surprised quite how grown up L is looking, real glimpses of her as an adult peeking through. Our nieces and nephews are all in late teens and early twenties and a really lovely lot of young adults, so lovely to have them around chatting with us and our kids.

Share this page...

LiberTea and cake

After a gentle day for me and a seaside trip with fish and chips for R with Granny and Grandpa we then had a LiberTea party to go to at a friends house, mostly Woodcraft folk and a few home edders too.

We took a print out of the Magna Carta and also a quiz, but the friends had also done a really good quiz, with info all round the garden. There was a good turn out of adults and kids and cake and sunshine, so it turned into a really lovely afternoon. People gave donations for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture too.

Lots of good discussions and chat and laughter, followed by a pub meal on the way home.

We did have the offer of another LiberTea the following day but we needed a day at home. Which involved some serious den building.

Indoor den buiding
Indoor den buiding

Poor S worked all weekend.

We had a great home ed session at the library today, made up as we went along, all about the Magna Carta, we did drawings of soldiers, animals, forests, houses and gave them out to the kids playing Barons.

R was King John, who then took various resources away from different Barons, the Barons then had to discuss what they would do to stop the King, and what they would demand from him.

So we wrote our own Magna Carta for the King to agree to, otherwise we would fight him.

The kids got engrossed we had a 14yr old (only there for some of it) A 10 yr old, a 9 yr old an 8yr old, a a 6 yr old and 2yr old.

They all joined in, and all took turns to be King John, with him eventually dying of infectious diarrhea, (we had to look up what he had died from!) He wasn’t really going to stick to the Magna Carta and had signed it to keep the Barons quiet. He had no idea how far reaching an effect the Magna Carta would have, carrying on right through to today’s human rights and also the forming of Parliament.

Then spent ages drawing weapons and discussing what they would and wouldn’t have had in 1215. A really good session.

See also

Magna Carta

Share this page...

Magna Carta

A fantastic trip to Salisbury to see the Magna Carta.

It was a glorious day and we went on the train, which was a lovely trip. Salisbury is such a lovely place anyway and we went via the park and river in the sunshine, with plenty of wildlife about

2015-06-11 12.05.11

 

 

2015-06-11 12.06.49

 

We wandered around the cathedral first, looking at the points of interest on the leaflet, there is a lot there and it is a beautiful building.

view from the cloisters
view from the cloisters

2015-06-11 13.49.43

 

The World's oldest working mechanical clock (1386)
The World’s oldest working mechanical clock (1386)

This mechanical clock has ticked more than 4.4 billion times since it was built.

We also saw lots of statues and tombs which were really interesting. We saw the tomb of William Longspee (1226) who was the first person to be buried in the Cathedral, he was the half-brother of King John, and his advisor at the 1215 Magna Carta negotiations.

After a good look round the Cathedral we then had a go at writing with a quill and ink and making a seal (with soft modelling clay)

Writing with a quill
Writing with a quill
An Original King John Seal
An Original King John Seal

We then got to see the Magna Carta display, which included a draw containing this above. We couldn’t believe how neat and small the writing was.

It was then time for the big event, which was seeing the Magna Carta itself, which is surprising small and took over 50 hours to write out.

The Magna Carta
The Magna Carta

There was a full transcript on the wall with some very interesting bits. There was also more information about how the Magna Carta was used and renewed at various points in history and how it was used in the English Civil War against King Charles I.

Also how it was used by the Suffragettes.

We finished will an ice-cream and a paddle in the stream which was fab.

See also: LiberTea and cake

Some very good resources here about it all:

British Library Magna Carta Resources

See here for more history

Oodles of History

 

Share this page...

Weekend Spying and Equality

I went to the first WEP meeting locally (Women’s Equality Party) at our library. There was a good turn out, 30 something people (mostly women), interested in what it is all about. A lovely and very interesting group of people, many of whom I would like to get to know. I will be going back… especially if the cake is that good every time!! I recognised a few people, but lots I didn’t.

It led to some excellent chats with R especially about equality and what that means, and what is still not equal in our society. She is very astute and has her own ideas about it all already, she was very interested and she brought up the generational differences and we talked about that. Also talked about being involved at the start of setting up a political party and how exciting that could be, and what would be good things to suggest. Love how in-depth our conversations get… she is a deep thinker (I was going to say … for a 10 year old…. but actually I think she is just a deep thinker, regardless of age.)

Lots of reading, chatting, computer, and then we all watched ‘Paddington’ I don’t think we would have picked it if other people hadn’t raved about it…. we all really enjoyed it. Funny and sad. Lots of famous faces too.

Clean fish and guinea pig today. Then I sat in the sunshine reading the paper while the girls played spy games with walkie talkies, changing what they were both wearing several times, with different props as they were in disguise.

S, R and L also did the next in the YouTube Minecraft series ..

Minecraft Tutorial YouTube videos made by R

S cooked a lovely roast tonight and paella yesterday. We all needed a quiet weekend as all cough and coldy, so it was just about the right level for us all. Happy days.

Share this page...