Monday, 27 August 2012

Testing times

I hear that the Welsh government wants to monitor home educators.

Because they want to make home education as good as school education. (huh!)

Wherein lots of people get bullied, hurt, strips torn off them for not being good at P.E. and sneered at because they like classical music because we're all supposed to be 'the same'.

Because we've all got to pass tests because people need to know where we're at even though we're good at something and you only have to give us that something to do to be able to know that we're good at it. And other people who have passed lots and lots of tests may not be good at the somethings that they've passed the tests in.

I passed an exam in Geography years ago. Darned if I can ever find Puerto Rico or Syria or Dornoch on a globe or a map though.

Tests are for companies to make lots of money out of.

Tests are for computers because computers score very highly in tests.

I used to take lots and lots of tests at school. Couldn't tell you what I learned while studying. Maybe I learned the stuff I might have needed to know on the test, but then it all got flushed because I didn't need it for any more tests.

You do something because you're good at it and everyone thinks it's pretty or useful or clever or looks nice, and then you make money out of it. 

Test-makers make money out of tests. Test-makers make money out of people taking tests.

You can tell I don't like tests/exams/monitoring/people trying to assess other people because

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” 

And heaven forfend that we love people, eh?

Quote from Mother Teresa:

(Uh, darn, now I have a mad desire to go to Dornoch)

Monday, 20 August 2012


I've been thinking about school and society again. As you do.

You'll know if you read this blog that I don't like the idea of schools.

It's just because school doesn't cater for individuals. Society used to not only tolerate different people but also encourage them because we don't get inspiration from people who strive to be and do everything that everyone else does.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "All great truths begin as blasphemies."

And home educators begin as blasphemers having the time and ability to search and question and learn and grow and change and think. To think. What damage has been done to people throughout the ages by folks who jump into 'doing' before 'thinking'.?

My dad was very fond of the traditional 'thinking cap'. He would say to me, "Don't go diving in just put your thinking cap on first'.  When I was very young I thought it must hang in his cupboard somewhere. I even had a sneaky look once or twice.

Just think how society would change if everyone thought a bit. Even a little.

"Education would be more successful, and more enjoyable, if less time was spent teaching to the test and more time was spent teaching students to think for themselves. I'm not alone in believing this. In a recent Cambridge Assessment Research Survey, 87% of lecturers said that too much teaching to the test is a major factor contributing to students being under-prepared for degree-level study."

It's not only that students are under-prepared for degree-level study, they are unprepared for life. We're often thoughtless, selfish, impatient, impulsive beings. We dive in when we should think. That's what the old saw "Look before you leap" means.

"As an antidote to teaching to the test, I recommend a philosophical approach. This means teaching students to be critical, reflective enquirers. It is all about putting in their hands the tools they need to find answers for themselves, and stimulating them to begin thinking more deeply and critically about ideas and arguments."

We live in a teen-age society. I don't mean that all teens are bad, far from it. I mean that we are still not quite adults. We give away our power to schools, to banks, to politicians, to doctors, to dentists, to 'experts'. We are not agents in our own lives. Teen age society. Not quite ready to accept responsibility. Young society judges people by numbers in tests. Mature society knows that everyone has something of value to say and that tests don't always measure anything important.

"...Teaching students to think for themselves isn't an alternative to preparing them for tests. It's actually a good way of equipping them to face the demands of their examinations. In most exams, marks are available for the student who can impress an examiner with an answer which shows real depth of understanding. The best way of preparing students to produce answers like this is to teach them to think well."

Obvious, isn't it? Teach 'em to think. Or rather don't teach 'em. Let the ability develop naturally. We think therefore we can manage everything better. We think therefore we are kinder, more sensible, more tolerant.

That's just my thoughts on thinking anyway.

The quotes are from:

And I found the words from GBS in

Thanks to E for drawing my attention to the Guardian piece.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Our Deepest Fear

                                                    Our Deepest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

 Marianne Williamson - from "A Return To Love" 

Quoted in this blog:

What is your deepest fear? Is it that your child will fail or that your child will succeed? We do not trust our children in this land of the United Kingdom. We force our young to stay for their early days in boxes learning what someone else tells them to learn. We do not trust them to learn what they need to learn. We do not see them as agents in their own lives, and we do not allow them to be agents in their own lives.

When will we learn to trust our children's birthright of self-determination and mastery?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Genuinely, I feel totally exhilarated when I find something new. It could be a website, a saying, a book, a television programme. 

And I get excited because I can. No one is watching me as I punch the air and screech a bit. Or shout with sheer Olympian glee (just thought I'd throw in the reference. Aren't the athletes doing well?) or giggle at a well-found witty saying.

Maybe that's the overriding factor in home education. We home educators can be real. We don't need to don our masks, we don't have to pretend to like things or dislike things. We don't have to hide genuine feelings.

What is more exciting than knowledge? Maybe, for you, lots of events, happenings and occurrences.Not for me, though. I'm like one of those dear gold rush miners panning for precious nuggets in amongst the pebbles in the bottom of the stream of information.

A hugely enjoyable time for me comes towards the end of the day when my girls are discussing dinner, and the nature of food, and anything else that their conversation stumbles upon. Better than the best movie or television programme. For me. It's real, it's a measure of how far they've come in the last home educating years, and I joy in their mature debates.

In other words, I am feeling thrilled and exhilarated! And so glad to have the freedom to enjoy life.

(Thanks to Deb of for liking my blog and saying so on her blog. Deb, I will try to write more often!)