Saturday, 18 April 2015

Ten years ago today

Ten year ago today.  Ten years ago. Today.

We began home educating.

We thought we had to use school books.  But we didn't have to. Unless our children found them interesting.

We thought we would get into trouble for stepping into the unknown.  But we didn't.  We found we could breathe.  Really breathe.  And be fascinated.  By everything.

We thought we 'should' study certain things.  But we didn't.  Unless my young ladies wanted to.

We thought that we were alone.  But we weren't.  They were there.  All over.  All educating.

We thought home educators would be different.  They were.  They were lit up with joy.  They moved how and when they wished. They were interested in so many areas.  They taught us that children are born learning and love to learn, when they are not forced to.

We thought perhaps that you just learned from workbooks.  You can.  But you can learn from everything, everywhere.

We thought it would be brilliant to be different.  It was. But only when we stopped thinking like one of the schooling families that we once were.

We knew we would never, ever regret home educating.  We haven't.  Not once.  Never.  And we NEVER will.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Been on facebook

Where have I spent my time since the last blog entry?

Facebook. Quite a lot.

Google. Trawling for research materials.

Home or on Skype. Talking to the young people.

Living quietly.

I really like it when people come onto the lists on facebook and say that they are thinking of home educating (or, often, 'homeschooling') and then I tell our stories or I tell them how good it is or I tell them they might consider reading John Taylor Gatto - anything of John Taylor Gatto's writings.

And then they leap into space and find great joy and that their wings are filled with thermals.

We really haven't recovered from the three blows to mortality, two in the last year, and the final one in January.  Some things take their time, and these qualify as some things.

But, my youngest girl is doing lots and lots of research into lots and lots of areas, and my eldest is thriving at university, but really really really tired because she expends so much energy and is learning and growing so much.

I'm savouring the spring, watching the birds, listening to nature gearing up for its festivals of renewal.


I'm trying a new train track for my mind, and I'm being more mindful and more grateful.  And I'm attempting the rather unusual path of enjoyment.  Enjoying things?  How can I?

And I find that I can.

We're still learning.  We all still learn at any age. Every age. Everywhere. Everytime.

Oh, the joy. The joy!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Would I home educate if I were an abuser?

Would I home educate if I were an abuser?

Certainly not.

Home education brings too many people out of their ordinary minding-own-business status.

They can't leave you alone.

I must admit, a lot of folks have admired my courage, some have told me that they wished to GOD they had home educated their children or, in a few cases, their grandchildren.

But now, as soon as look at you, social workers and, even, police are at the door.

It can be ignorance.  "I didn't know it was legal to home school."

Yes, it is legal to home educate.

"I thought your child was at risk."

At risk of what? Getting an education?

Schools that enable bullying call the police in. Pity they weren't bothered when your child was hit in school by another child.

It's a waste of police resources.

Neighbours who have never shown any interest in children before find their caring side and ring social services who are, seemingly, judge, jury and executioner.

Back off.

Leave an honest, loving set of parents alone and let them live and learn.

It's all wrong.

Or maybe home educators are just easy targets.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Trying to tip the 'can't do' into 'can do'

Life is going on.

For some of us.

My family has had two major losses this year.

Death is instructive. There's the dealing of it in terms of practical tasks, and there's the missing someone and wondering if you can still put one foot in front of the other, and why there is no river of tears and a drowned pillow every morning.

You have to cope with your own feelings and still help others with their feelings.

And feelings are shape-shifters. One time they are this and another, that.

But you are learning how to deal with the shape of your life after.

Day by day

Does anyone know how to do it?

I can't do it. But I must, I will and I can.

And, what helps, is concentrating on the idea that I'm going to write a book about home education.
Lots of lovely research.

Lots of thinking.

And a nice feeling.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Great Gatto

I'm breathless after reading John Taylor Gatto who is one of the columnists on the link below.



Friday, 22 August 2014

The latest

As we approach the beginning of another school year for most young people, I thought it would be fitting to present the latest available statistics on bullying.

They are here:

  • 45% of young people experience bullying before the age of 18.
  • 26% of those bullied have experienced bullying on a daily basis.
  • 40% of respondents reported being bullied for personal appearance 36% reported being bullied for body shape, size and weight.
  • 39% have never told anybody that they are being bullied.
  • 51% were not satisfied with the bullying support that they got from teachers.
  • 34% reported being bullied for prejudice based reasons (homophobia/ racism/religious discrimination/disability discrimination/cultural discrimination/transphobia).
  • 63% of respondents with a physical disability were bullied, and were more extremely socially excluded.
  • 61% of respondents have been physically attacked.
  • 30% have gone on to self-harm as a result of bullying.
  • 10% have attempted to commit suicide as a result of bullying.
  • 10% of respondents reported been sexually assaulted.
  • 83% said bullying had a negative impact on their self-esteem.
  • 56% said bullying affected their studies.
  • 41% of those who had never been bullied achieved A or A*grades in English. 30% of those who had been bullied in the past achieved an A or A* in English. 26% of those being bullied achieved an A or A* in English. The trends were similar across Science and Maths."

The figures are from The Annual Bullying Survey in the UK (2014)

3,600 13-18 year olds from 36 schools participated in the survey.

My mother maintained that she was never bullied. I know that I was. Sometimes I don't want to understand people who bully another person or people. I just wish they would stop. I wish they would use their time in positive ways and stop making other folks' lives a complete misery.

I wonder that, since I was bullied at school many years ago, the sad old song is still being sung.

It's time to see alternatives.

It's time to stop the song.

It's time to teach youngsters that they can, must, treat everyone with respect, even if they don't like them.

I don't know how teachers can do that.

But I know that, within the family, there can be respect from one person to another.

I know that home education grows you as a sentient being, a being who can feel someone else's pain. And, when you feel someone else's pain, you don't bully. It hurts too much.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

How much is enough?

I've just been captured, for the millionth time, by facebook and by general browsing, and I've come to the conclusion that a lot of folks who home educate have the same question.

"Is my child doing enough?"

Or, put another way, "Is my child being lazy and not completing what he or she should be?"

Or, "How much is enough work? How much should Bub be doing?"

We're all conscious of time and the 'achievements' not only of our own children, but the neighbours' and our children's friends and, well, anyone really.

Odd, isn't it?

When you do accept that children are the most amazing beings who are learning during their waking periods and, probably, during sleep times too, then that question isn't worth asking.

Your child, my child, anyone's child has an internal set-up of his or her own. You can't hurry love, as the song would have it, but you can't hurry learning either. It happens naturally, when the individual is ready or when the time is right. As a facilitator of learning, you can have all the pieces of the jigsaw present, but you
cannot force the person to put it together. The learner is the best arbiter of his or her learning.

Education is free in that way. We all learn something when the time is right. We all learn what we need to when we should.

Any force or coercion in teaching or learning is not only trying to control the learner, but it's counterproductive.Everyone has that secret hate: the dumb Physical Education lessons, the extra hard Maths that you failed because you didn't 'get' the previous step.

So how much is enough? It's a meaningless question.

Whatever you do is enough. If it's right for the learner, the learning will always be enough.