Monday, 28 February 2011


Illness is just nature's way of telling you that you aren't well.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Reasons to home educate

There are lots of reasons to be cheerful.

Likely to be individual and personal to each individual, each person, each family.

One reason we home educate because of the parlous state of state education. Have you visited a school lately? Noisy, rude, ugly, decrepit, fully detestable, and that's only the buildings

And the fact that the denizens of two schools could not stop my eldest being bullied. Emotional abuse is emotional abuse, even if it's not in the domestic sphere.

And my youngest daughter's face when she emerged from school in the last few weeks before she left. The happy child I had known in primary school had been replaced by a miserable young person I hardly recognised.

In my opinion, the internet, books, museums, conversation and other people's knowledge could easily replace teachers' 'deposits' of information.

I'm not religious but I can see that other folks would wish to extend their deeply-held beliefs to their dearly beloved children.

Thinking back I know that, if I had followed my most submerged impulses, my children would never have marched into school. They would have educated themselves, with my enthusiastic encouragement, at home where opportunities for true education abound and out in the community where they would have become valued, integral parts of their society.

I didn't like other people's versions of anything and everything being fed to my children as if they were truth incarnate.

I wanted my daughters to be able to control their own bodies, at least enough to visit the toilet when necessary; not to be controlled by those very sad people who have a need to control others. It is a form of torture to deprive a human being of the right to perform bodily functions.

Our children are not necessarily possible recruits for the army. They do not have to be taught to drill like soldiers.

I hadn't encountered wise words of the likes of John Taylor Gatto before the children were 'sprung' from school. Some years after the deregistration, those words soothed, encouraged, incensed, and informed me. I shouted 'yes, yes!' to John Taylor Gatto. I leapt up from my seat as I realised the reality of his real experiences. His knowledge. Every student teacher, every politician, every policy maker should have a well-thumbed copy of Gatto next to his or her elbow.

I digress. Why should you home educate your children? To follow an individual and personal pattern. To give your child the very best of yourself, other people and the world. To filter your lifelong experiences to enrich the milk of their day to day knowledge. To boldly go wherever your child needs you to go, and wherever he or she needs to go.

Each child knows him or herself best. Each child has a destiny, a plan. Home education is the map which fully fits the child's journey.

And that's why we home educate.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Freedom from plans

I shouldn't be writing this. I didn't plan it.

I'm too tired.

Don't know why but I could sleep as I'm typing.

I was thinking about how much I hate people interfering with other people's lives.

I was thinking how much discomfort I suffered at the thought of home educators having to put up with strangers judging and assessing them, and proposing plans for their children's education.

That was the plan, wasn't it? From Mr. Badman and Ed. Balls in 2009-2010.

It's the children's freedom to self-educate or be taught or do workbooks or do their own research or sleep in or go to a special educational place that I like in home education. It is the sheer flexibility of home education that delights and enthralls me. It is the unexpected steps or leaps that children suddenly make and without anyone planning them. Planning things - some things - is like trying to plan when a flower will open from a bud. Sometimes some things should just happen and not be regulated.

Home education and plans. No, I don't think so. Not unless the children have the freedom to adopt a plan. Not unless the children have a choice.

Local Education Authority plans? No, I don't think so.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


"All revolutions, all revolutionaries, are amazing. The ultimate purpose of the revolution is to work to create a better world to live in. To try to move above and beyond the hierarchies and power structures that inevitably cause the vulnerable in any society to suffer."


Thanks to Just Jo of facebook for pointing this out.

There's a bloodless and whispering revolution going on. All across every land. And, as with all revolutions, it has its detractors and its enemies.

It's the fight for children's souls. It's home education.

They'll say all kinds of nasty things against it. They'll tell lies. They'll make you feel guilty for being interested in it.

Sometimes they'll drive you back to pushing your child into school.

More times they won't.

Because you're a free radical. A secret and hearty revolutionary.

Because it's time.

Because it's time to change.

Because you love your children.

Because, deep down, the guilt at treating your child like a number, like a series of marks, will gnaw at you.

Guilt is a good thing. It tells us that something is wrong. It tells us that we can do better. It tells us that our children need to be free. Free radicals. Radical in owning their lives. Radical in thinking for themselves. Radical in being curious. Radical in being real.

There's a whisper of revolution. Then it'll be a murmur. Then it'll talk. Then it'll shout.

Home education. Home education. Home education. Home education. Home education.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Every Child Matters - what does it mean?

Every Child Matters (ECM).

A bit confusing, isn't it?

Our ex-government wished us to believe that we parents should be told what we want for our children. We want what most parents want. We want healthy children who achieve what they are capable of and we want them to become independent of us as and when they can.

The ECM five desirable outcomes are:

Be healthy
Staying safe
Enjoying and achieving
Making a positive contribution
Achieving economic well-being

Of course, the ECM agenda only related to England.

"However, at a deeper level Every Child Matters is a language game or discourse - a favoured way of thinking that is imbued with the full weight, authority and power of the English state."

There you have it. The ECM, like so many other productions of government, is a language game. As a language game, it includes those who play the game and excludes those who don't. It excludes those people who believe that the government should butt out of their children's lives and get on with their own business.

"As a power based construction of reality, this favoured way of thinking not only expresses an entitlement for England’s children and young people, but also inherent within it is a potential to exclude some groups of children, young people, their parent(s)/ carer(s). The Every Child Matters way of thinking has the potential to enmesh formal and informal educators in an unquestioning participation in the cognitive and semiotic traps of the ‘brand’, and in the assumptions, taken-for-granted beliefs, language games and the premises and practices inherent in that ‘brand’, which,

'While they create a way of seeing and suggest a way of acting, they also tend to create ways of not seeing, and eliminate the possibility of actions associated with alternative views of the world. (Morgan, 1986, p 202)'"

Since home education is an alternative view of regular or school or state education, then we immediately have a problem, Houston.

So the emphasis is on a bunch of symptoms, like childhood obesity, and the real wound, the real culprit dividing folks and engendering problems in society is the lack in some families and the overabundance in other families.

"In taking a shallow focus on such ‘symptoms’, attention at both national and local level is diverted away from deep and widening health inequalities between advantaged and disadvantaged communities in England (Department of Health, 2008)."

Once again, the shell game distracts us from the reality that underlies the lies in Every Child Matters:

" Wilkinson (1996) argues, it is from deeper inequalities in socially divided societies that negative physical and psycho-social health emerges for children and young people and also for their parents/carers. Linked to this are questions about the ‘invisibility’ of major aspects of children and young people’s lives within the five outcomes. For example, the whole question of spirituality is not mentioned anywhere in the outcomes framework."

"Inherent in Every Child Matters is a seductive and powerful potential to enmesh formal and informal educators in an obedience and passivity that may run contrary to our vocation and calling: to participate in a favoured way of thinking that glosses over, or institutionalises the invisibility of deep structural inequalities in contemporary English society. In engaging with the information and critique offered in this article, my hope is for formal and informal educators to be reminded of their active choice in how we operate in our roles and in our practice:

Whether as autonomous self actualising practitioners who have, “...a disinterested love of her fellows and an understanding of the aims she is pursuing and the methods of so doing - in other words, a mature person with knowledge, judgement, objectivity, and a sense of values in social affairs” (Younghusband 1947, cited in Jeffs, 2006).

Or, as an unquestioning technician of a favoured way of thinking promulgated and sanctioned by government – inherent in which is a specific and particular moral order."

I think most home educators saw through the role of technician during the threatened Badman and Balls invasion of our country of home education.

We are not technicians; we are autonomous self-actualising practitioners raising the next generation to the art of autonomy and self-actualising.

Quotes from

To home education! An alternative and a reality. May you be spreading your light forever.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Love that Lao-Tzu part 2

'He who overcomes others has force; he who overcomes himself is strong.' Lao-Tzu - Chinese philosopher.

As I said before. Or rather Lao-Tzu said.

Yes, a lot of truth in that. I am always fighting the deep and utter destructive force of self-dislike. I'm not sure where it came from. Perhaps a father who dealt out unrestricted criticism. Perhaps a mother who never really cared for her own personality.

Who knows?

Only now. After ........... years of living am I starting to say, "Just a minute, pet, y'er as good as anyone else." Sometimes pet feels as good as anyone else. Sometimes pet doesn't.

But the fight to go up a few levels to self-love without reaching the vaunting heights of overweening pride - which isn't likely in my place - is enduring.

Funny, though. Sometimes, I believe in myself. Other times, I definitely do not.

Could it be hormones? Intuition? Memories of various errors?

I still don't know.

I do know that this year I'm on the path of self-confidence. I'm spending time with myself doing things with myself that I know will generate good feelings and confidence. I'm taking time to enjoy being me. I will ensure that I know more about myself and celebrate the uniqueness that is Danae.

There'll never be another person exactly the same as me. There'll never be another human exactly like you, dear reader, either (unless you're a twin or a triplet or....). It's a great thought. It's a terrible thought.

Make the best of yourself. Do be the best you that you can.

Take care of yourself. Because you're you. Because you should. Because you're here now. Because your best can be pretty amazing, if you let it.

Love that Lao-Tzu

'He who overcomes others has force; he who overcomes himself is strong.' Lao-Tzu - Chinese philosopher.

Ain't that the truth?