Sunday, 17 November 2013


It's probably something you've all realised, but home education is a natural extension of the family and day to day life.

It takes effort to pack one or more children off to the care (sometimes dubious) of schoolkeepers.

It's natural to flow through a day as if there is no curriculum, and, actually, in our house, there hasn't been one at all.

To me, curricula are forms of control. Someone somewhere has decided what all children will be taught and will (not necessarily) learn.

How do we choose what we want to learn, how do we choose how we want to learn?

Natural questions that rise up as we breast the waves of the day.

I would rather trust my children's instincts as to where they will spend their time (and it is their time) and their energy (and that energy can be stolen by society rules) than think that strangers - strangers, moreover, who have probably moved on from the education system - will be telling my children what to do every day.

And what to think.

I find it infuriating when outsiders try to say that children are indoctrinated by their home educating parents. It's rather two-faced to have a curriculum that denies choice to every schoolchild then complain that non-schoolers are being taught what parents want to teach.

The pot and kettle are both vying for the title of 'deepest shade of black'.

As a young person, when you leave school your day might well revert to your control so why do parents not allow children to control and manage their days as soon as they can?


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I can genuinely say....

I can genuinely say, looking back on the past few years - is it seven or eight? - that we've been home educating that I have changed and been changed so much by the whole process.

Long ago, I accepted what newspapers told me, what the neighbourhood gossip conveyed to me, what the internet induced me to read. Anything and everybody had a naive listener in me.

What has changed?

Me, for one thing. Having the time and the ability to question, to advance my understanding, to dig a little more, to apply logic and theory, to consult those home educators who strode across the largely untrodden terrain of home educationland before me. The giants who have gone ahead.

I've delved into subjects I never even heard of at school. I've read about really difficult concepts and re-read the words until I thoroughly understood what was being said.

I have become sentient and aware. I have become ever more thoughtful and empathic.

I think I have started to see the fully actualised person, Danae, emerging from her shell of self-induced hypocritical beliefs and society-induced coma.

My eyes are open, and can use the sparkling new spectacles that I never knew existed.

My children have led the dance, and I've cavorted alongside them, and also alone along merry alleys and paused in colourful colonnaded courtyards.

I'm me, yet I'm different. Improved, I hope. Always ready for the next bout of incomprehension on my way to the aha! moment of comprehension.

I've learned that freedom isn't just a word, it's life's breath.

I've learned that nurturing yourself isn't selfish, it's society's saviour.

I've learned that home educating isn't just a thing to be done, it's everything and it's in everything.

And - ah, bliss - there's still more to come.

Monday, 14 October 2013

How teachers treat their students

Hello again,

I thought I'd try to let you in on some thoughts I've been - er - thinking.

I belong to a few groups, and regularly people join to say that they and their child or children are HAVING TROUBLE WITH SCHOOL. It's rarely about school stuff like little Piers can't 'get' Geography. It's often about how their children are treated.

In case you are in any doubt - and if you've been kind enough to read my blog in the past you probably won't be in any doubt - I don't think that schools, in their present form, should have anything to do with children.

As I've mentioned, the Geography, History, Languages, etc. aren't often the cause of concern. The teachers and how they react to one, a few, a bunch or all of the pupils in their classes are.

Now, it's many many years since I was at school (as a young person) and only a few since I was in an Adult Learning GCSE class to support my daughter by taking the course with her. During the science course, I was shouted at, by the teacher. Normally, I can establish a reasonably good rapport with people who are imparting their knowledge to me. I had done so with this teacher. But she shouted at me for putting two sheets in one of those plastic files the wrong way. 

Yes, I got it wrong. But I was already pulling them out to flip them over and start again.

I looked at her and I thought, 'I no longer allow anyone to so disrespect me for committing the heinous crime of making a simple and undeadly mistake, especially one I'm already about to correct'.

I nearly challenged her.

Something stopped me. The wild, stressed look in her eyes. The exasperation on her face. The response to the too-much-all-the-time that teachers are faced with.

So I kept quiet. I forbore to let rip at her during the class. I made a choice not to correct her.

Later, I did have a gentle word, and she apologised as one adult to another because we respected each other and were, largely, equal.

What happens, though, to young people who are 'slagged off' in a class full of their friends, schoolmates, enemies and who are not equal and not able to have a reproving word after class.

What happens when the balance of power is totally unequal? As in school. All day long. Every day.

Teachers should never abuse their power, not to seduce, nor to reduce those under their care because they will never know what type of damage and what sort of anguish the children in their power may endure.

When you get a parent who is responsible for providing an education to his or her child or children, the sheer knowledge that parent has about his or her offspring can inspire and improve every day they learn. I'm not saying it's always easy, but I am saying it's very likely to be respectful.

Respect for the learner is surely a building block of learning success.

That's what I've been thinking about during these rainy days of autumn.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A little bit about Harry Potter and the home educated Weasleys

I like the Harry Potter series. It's interesting, and also is a hugely successful series spanning the globe with its impact. I also like that the children of the Weasley family, a major part of the whole Potter phenomenon, were home educated before they went to the wizarding school, Hogwarts.

Harry Potter is very lucky to know the Weasley family. He is mothered by the constantly caring and loving Mrs. Molly Weasley who is one of the few to give him presents on his birthday. She knits him sweaters, treating him like the other boys in her family of six lads and one daughter.

But Mrs. Weasley is not just a traditional motherly and comforting character: she has immense skill with her wand and vanquishes one of Lord Voldemort's most evil lieutenants - the vicious killer Bellatrix Lestrange.

Arthur and Molly Weasley have raised seven wonderful children at The Burrow, their cosy smallholding where chickens and gnomes roam. The boys are all individual and are all successful in their own chosen fields. Bill is a curse-breaker for Gringotts Bank, Charlie is a dragon-tamer, and Percy works for the Ministry of Magic. The twins, Fred and George, start a wildly successful wizarding joke shop and Ginny Weasley is the youngest daughter, competent witch, and last child of the family. Eventually, she marries the heroic Harry Potter

So, they did well, these Weasleys.

And why not?

They were loved. Their parents loved them enough to carefully and assiduously create a home and a life wherein the children felt safe and supported enough to learn.

And that, in home educating families, isn't fiction.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Days of identity crisis

Identity and crises are two words that seem to travel together a lot these days. Maybe they always did.

I struggle to think back to which identity I adopted or displayed when I was in my mid to late teens, and shrink a little from the knowledge of the people pleaser that I was then.

That set me wondering whether or not I went straight from school (which I hated) to university (which I mostly loved) because I wanted to go or because it was a first in my family and my father particularly was pleased that I was going.

No, it's too difficult. I can't catapult myself back far enough. I have to trust that university life was what I had to experience.

University, for me, was what school should have been. Within reason, here was this smorgasbord of lovely yummy subjects spread out in front of me, ready to be tasted and savoured. What bliss.

Of course, some subjects like Organic Chemistry, I just wasn't ready for. And the further you went up the course ladder the less likely you were to change your direction which was always a problem for me because I desired it all. Desperately. I loved all the subjects, hard and soft, big and small. I would have lived at University forever and been happy, but you're not supposed to do that unless you become one of the permanent denizens like lecturers or professors.

I hope young people will find university full of rich experience like a tasty fruit cake, but fear that life has moved on to colonise the dreaming spires with the performance management type of thinking that dominates almost everything these days. The hysteria about marks and competencies. The hours of form-filling. The rules. Oh, the rules.

Rules rule Brittania.

I wish we could wave the rules and have each of us just be great in our individual and personal way.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Phew! University

What a stressful three weeks we've had. A result that was supposed to come out on August 22nd didn't. AQA sent out the wrong results and took a week to correct their mistake.

Since then, all kinds of hassle. The result was that E has gone to a university 300 miles away, and she is now skyping and texting instead of talking face-to-face in the flesh and it's so difficult. I hope it gets easier, but I suspect that things will chug along until she makes the two-train and one-bus journey home for a weekend or for the Christmas break.

It has taught me a lot.

Turns out she has been (and still is) one of my best friends and a deeply sensitive and sensible counsellor.

She has been there for me as much as I ever have been for her. 

She has made me so proud.

When I look back over my shoulder at her journey I am amazed at her courage, fortitude, determination and diligence.

Around the area, I see other women that I know have watched their youngsters fly/drive/take the bus/hop onto a train away from their homes to start their real adult lives. Just as I salute the young people, I put my psychic arms around the grieving mothers. You are all astounding human beings. Every last one of you.

May your journeys be full of love, laughter and light.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Two adults. One is researching on the internet. The other is hanging wallpaper.

Two young people. One is writing, replying to emails. The other is hanging wallpaper with the adult who is hanging wallpaper.


It's much nicer for us, as home educators, not to ask a school headteacher for permission to take our children out of school, subject to the headteacher's approval, of course. Nicer, and somehow fitting, because they are OUR children. They belong not to schools but to families.

Home educating families get the best deals on cheap holidays because they can go anytime.

Another one of the million reasons to home educate.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


We've done something different the last few weeks.

We've gone outside our boxes.

We've expanded our horizons. You might say we've landed on new planets to discover new things.

How have we done this?

As a family, we co-operated and hosted some students who were learning English as a foreign language.

They chose us as the family they wanted to spend some time with.

I hope that they learned some English from us. (I know that they did). No doubt they discovered also that our family values learning. That my young people are well-mannered and helpful, and that we all care about each other, and we all care about knowledge.

And we made friends with three people we probably would've never met if we hadn't opened those boxes and tried something new.

Not bad for a few weeks in summer, was it?

Monday, 15 July 2013

George Stephenson

"George Stephenson, known as ‘The Father of the Railways’, was born in Wylam, on the banks of the River Tyne, in 1761.

He had no formal education and only learnt to read at the age of nineteen. He was a gifted young man, and it was he who invented the first successful steam engine, ‘The Rocket.’

The highlight of his brilliant career was when the nearby Darlington to Stockton Railway was opened in 1825, a train of eleven wagons, Stephenson driving the locomotive himself.

In 1824, George and his son Robert formed a successful business in Newcastle constructing locomotives and other engineering works. Apart from working with his father on locomotives, Robert was renowned for his work in civil engineering and was responsible for the construction of many famous bridges. He died in 1859."

George Stephenson was a gifted young man who didn't learn to read until he was 19 years old.

Imagine that going unnoticed in a home educating family these days.

And yet the guy was brilliant. He invented the first successful steam engine. Then he and his son formed and ran a successful engineering business in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Good old George (and Robert, of course).

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Mad keen

You hear the occasional comment.

"Those home educators are mad..."

Yes, I am, I admit it.

I'm mad keen.

I am mad keen on educational freedom, I'm mad keen on my young people learning in safe surroundings, I'm mad keen on my family learning whatever they wish to and whenever they want to.

I'm mad keen on home education.

Mad? No, just mad keen.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Truanting and NUTS

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy other people's blogs. And here is one to enjoy with gusto.

The extremely lovely Grit and her three home educating smashers are here at grit's day:

One of Grit's sidebars features this quotation from the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (or, perhaps fittingly, NUT) saying: "If children are not in school they are obviously not being taught and this is of course a problem."

A lot of home educating families wouldn't see it as much of a problem, Christine Blower (nice name). They don't teach because teaching is less efficient than home education. In these days of incredible efficient technology, why do we need the fusty old knowledge of people who graduated - well - in the past. The now, the new and the knowledge (about almost anything) is ready and available at your fingertips.

"The effect of regular absenteeism from school on a pupil’s confidence and ability to understand what is being taught in the classroom is greatly affected."

Sorry, Christine, I don't happen to see your evidence-base for that assertion. In fact, I suspect that a child's confidence will rise when he or she isn't smacked repeatedly about the head with 'what will happen' if he or she does not perform like a trained (or untrained) monkey to produce results. Especially when the results tell you exactly nothing about the child. Ever.

“However, the hard truth is there is no one quick solution to solving this problem. Government needs to recognise that simply churning out yet more rhetoric about parents and schools needing to be more effective in tackling the problem will not work."

I am not particularly concerned about truanting. There are many reasons for it. Boredom on the child's behalf, the youngster being too advanced for the work, the child needing to do other things, the young person getting bullied... Lots of reasons. Has anyone ever asked those who truant why they do it?

Christine, I agree with you. Government tells teachers and parents to sort it out. That isn't going to happen so it's a waste of breath, but government representatives are good at wasting breath.

“There needs to be cross local authority service response and support in place for any real progress to be made in tackling the issue of truancy. At a time when local authority budgets are being cut the assistance that they could previously offer schools is being greatly scaled back. This is yet another example of the short-sightedness of the Government’s cuts agenda."

I am not sure what Christine expects here? What does local authority service response and support mean? More breath-wasting exercises, I fear.

Unbelievably, Christine, I agree with you on another point: Government cuts are not just short-sighted, but downright inhumane and destructive. However, I don't think that lack of money to 'tackle' truancy, like its some sort of player in a football game, is the problem, if problem there is. Kids - lots of kids - don't like school. They find school an uncomfortable fit. Or they can't hack it at all. It doesn't do it for them. It doesn't work. Or it's downright dangerous to their learning capacities or, in some cases, their very lives.

 “A relevant and flexible curriculum, free from repetitive tests and targets, would go a long way to ensuring all our pupils remain engaged in the education process and that schools are places of creative, vibrant learning.”

Ah, now, you're speaking my language. Flexible - or no curriculum - relevant learning. Get rid of the boring tests and targets. Encourage creative and vibrant learning.

By George, Christine Blower, congratulations! you are almost describing home education!

Dated 19 October 2011 but I doubt there has been much change since that date....

Friday, 7 June 2013

Belief in yourself

I'm calling this post 'Belief in yourself' or why you can do what you want without a college degree or university degree or whatever hoops and hogties that the system demands you progress through these days.

You know, I know, we all know that we have days when we can 'knock doors out of windows' (that's a favourite phrase of my mother's which I've never examined for logic, but have just accept much the way you accept the ancient flowered wall-paper in your first bedroom). Today though...

What I think it means is that you can change your circumstances. You can change one thing into another that isn't particularly like the first thing. You can transform a door - an exit or an entrance - into something you can see through, or open for a breath of air. You can do something that is generally seen as impossible.

Did you know that 20% of American millionaires never darkened the door of a college? 

I didn't know it either.

In How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,
Jack Canfield tells us:

"Here's another statistic showing that belief in yourself is more important than knowledge, training or schooling: 20% of America's millionaires never set foot in college, and 21 of the 222 Americans never got their college diplomas; 2 never even finished high school! So although education and commitment to lifelong learning are essential to success, a formal degree isn't a requirement."

As someone who has felt more or less at home in an academic environment, I don't advocate it for everyone. We are all different. Some like the freedom of developing their own talents, maybe with a little aid along the way. Others like the step-by-step pathway that gives a definite reward.

But we swallow whole tons of guff about learning. No one really knows what motivates one person to put up with the disagreeable difficulties that they face down to achieve something that they find worth the effort.

"20% of America's millionaires never set foot in college, and 21 of the 222 Americans never got their college diplomas; 2 never even finished high school!"

Jack Canfield might have added that you can have a degree or a college diploma in one subject and make your mark in another area. Learning is flexible and individual. Learning is mysterious and necessary. It has a secretive heart and an infinite mind. Never let it reduce you to the minimum, but allow learning to stretch you and change your narrow world into something large and bountiful.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Richard Feynman

Although I'd heard various bits and pieces about this scientist for years I really fell in love with him during the examination of The Challenger disaster. The Challenger was a space shuttle which blew up in 1986. I recall watching the news and seeing the actual event. Those poor people.

Richard Feynman, a theoretical physicist, uncovered the source of trouble aboard the space craft. If you haven't seen a dramatisation or anything about the shocking tragedy, then I won't spoil the fascinating unravelling of the mystery for you. I was riveted.

That began my love affair with Richard. He never knew me. I never wrote, emailed or facebooked. I never exchanged badinage. I never asked him any questions of a quantum nature, but wish I had because I bet he would've answered and made his answer make sense to me.

Here, now, are a few quotes from this man.

“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” 

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.”

“Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all.”


Quotations taken from

More about Richard:

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


From the pen of Erich Fromm came this book: The Art of Loving.

From this book comes this quotation:

"Another meaning of having faith in a person refers to the faith we have in the potentialities of others. The most rudimentary form in which this faith exists is the faith which the mother has towards her newborn baby: that it will live, grow, walk and talk. However, the development of the child in this respect occurs with such regularity that the expectation of it does not seem to require faith. It is different with those potentialities which can fail to develop: to love, to be happy, to use his reason, and more specific potentialities like artistic gifts. They are the seeds which grow and become manifest if the proper conditions for their manifestation are given, and they can be stifled if these are absent."

Fromm is saying something important here. Some conditions do not favour the development of that which should grow. I believe that to love, to be happy, to use reason and potentialities that are unique to a person requires that the person land in fertile and well-irrigated soil. It would seem to me that the family or the home educating family in particular is so well suited to providing the enriched soil that I cannot see the reason in removing children from it and taking them into those concrete manifestations of the machine or institutional world called schools.

Home educators have remarked that you have a child in potential and you just add love to allow that child to reach his height and glorious colour in the world.

Fromm continues, "One of the most important of these conditions is that the significant person in a child's life have faith in these potentialities. The presence of this faith makes the difference between education and manipulation. Education is identical with helping the child realise his potentialities. The opposite of education is manipulation, which is based on the absence of faith in the growth of potentialities, and on the conviction that a child will be right only if the adults put into him what is desirable and suppress what is seen to be undesirable. There is no need of faith in the robot, since there is no life in it either."

Thank you, Erich.

I have infinite faith in my children's potentialities, and I have infinite faith that they will achieve their potentialities. I learned to have infinite faith in the arts of home education.

Have faith that your children will become all that they should be.
Just stand back and trust them as they grow.

"Education is identical with helping the child realise his potentialities."

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Kettlebells and me

"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." Robert Collier. Quoted in 'Instant Confidence' by Paul McKenna.

When you have time to repeat small efforts, and when your time is free to accommodate small efforts then you are bound to progress in whatever you choose to progress in.

Often, home education seems to me to be a series of small efforts day in and day out: you can pace yourself with the efforts. You can make a big effort once a week or a small effort more regularly. Or any combination of small efforts at different times.

I've just started to use kettlebells. Last year, I did for a few weeks, and then I let them slip (not literally, of course). I was going to try, but I relapsed to being my naturally indolent self. But now I've begun again, and I'm determined this time. And this time I am determined to do little and often.

Since I now see it's possible to be successful in increasing my muscle strength by practicing my exercises with the kettlebells.

If I don't focus on the success, I might trot along doing my every day or three or four times a week exercises.

I anticipate that I will keep going. I don't like carrying shopping bags and finding them heavy so I have some motivation to stop feeling like the equivalent of the guy who gets sand kicked in his face.

And d'you know? I'm enjoying it. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

The power in me

"Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behaviour, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organisation or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity, be it 'fate' or 'society' or the government or the corporation or our boss..... In attempting to avoid the pain of responsibility, millions and even billions daily attempt to escape from freedom."

From The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

Every day we allow a teacher to savage the self-hood of our child, we give away responsibility. Every day we blame 'the system' for things that we allow to happen to us, we give away our responsibility. Then we hurt because someone or something has done damage to us. Yet we are the ones who let them. We are the ones who choose.

Home educators take responsibility for their children, their children's welfare, their children's education, their children's safety, their children's mental health and their children's lives. They do that until their children are mature enough to take responsibility for their own.

With responsibility comes pain, the blame game and being the one in charge, but, I believe, more hurt comes from being let down by the schools, the local councils, the officials, the teachers, the politicians. In short, everyone to whom you delegate your responsibilities.

Home education - painful, effective, helpful, hurtful, exhilarating, joyous, disappointing, wondrous, interesting... and so much more.

Freedom. And all under your control.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

Albert Einstein

Read more at 

If it is against your conscience to educate your child at school then follow the dictates of your conscience by home educating your child.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The state

"This first experience with 'official' sports was conclusive. Wherever public authorities undertook to meddle with any sports organization they introduced the fatal germs of impotence and mediocrity. The body formed by the good will of all the members of an autonomous sport group becomes swollen to gigantic and uncertain proportions upon contact with this dangerous thing called the State."

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Founder of the Modern Olympics, Paris, July, 1900. From Scriptwriting: A Practical Manual', 2nd edition, by Dwight V. and Joye R. Swain.

That is just what I feel about 'the State', Pierre.

That is what we have to look forward to if  'the State' ever gets its muddy paws all over home education.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Blind eyes

"It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people you don't know."

From the Star Trek film, Insurrection.

It often strikes me as funny - not the ha ha kind but the strange - that people are far too prone to interfering for no reason, yet, when there is a reason, they ignore suffering.

I find the ineffable and incalculable damage that schools and LAs can do particularly puzzling. They've shown that their type of education is, in a large amount of cases, unfit for purpose; they cannot control the difficulties that arise from so many young people being shoe-horned into a restrictive institutional setting (e.g. bullying). Yet they insist - some of the LAs but not all - on 'monitoring' home educators. Many years ago now, when the LA was pleased to make an appointment with my family to discuss our educational provision (that of my husband and myself), the two Education Welfare Officers were thirty minutes late.

My children were pacing the floor, anticipating they didn't know what. They had enough information to know that EWO workers could, if they deemed it necessary, send them back to the torture chamber that school had become for them. They knew they were under scrutiny (something they didn't like; they're not the 'fame' types of people) and they would be judged.

They were frightened because they were alert to possibilities.

The EWOs were, as I said, late.

As it turned out, the visit was mainly with H. and I. My children said "Hello" to the EWOs as the council workers stepped inside, and my youngsters walked out to go to their grandmother's house to get her new recalcitrant microwave oven working.

The LA visit was tedious but relatively painless because H. believes in giving and giving and giving even more and so he went through every strand of every possible subject in glowing colour and in depth. Great depth. The greatest depth.

They wriggled. They hid yawns. They were unflatteringly keen to shoot out of the door.

But the stress, although over for the time being, had been severe. The anticipation of what they might/would/could/should say had us - H and I - in little pieces, even though we knew we were 'all right' and we 'had it covered' you just cannot ever control the random elements when you introduce 'schooly' people to the people of the home based education.

Those particular EWOs have long since moved on to other jobs. But the memory of that day still has the ability to lash, and sting. It still hurts that we, with all our care and love, not they, are the ones to be judged and 'monitored'.

As I quoted before, "It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people you don't know."

Of course, I could mention the many cases in this country of where that saying can be applied as well. The ill people, disabled folk, ordinary beings who have fallen on hard times and get no real help, no proper support, from the state, from society. We are fond of coating everything in words, and believing that words are enough. We ignore and turn our backs on real suffering of real people, deserving or undeserving. We shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes when we should act.

"It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people you don't know."

It is much harder to understand and forgive. It is easier to put aside people's suffering, to not understand it, to think ourselves above it. When we will become the community, the society, we have the ability to be? When will we rise to the levels we should attain?


Monday, 21 January 2013

Sick of being lazy

Hmmm, today I'm sick and tired.

I'm tired because I found a super-excellent-fantastic bloggy/websitey thingummy, and I've been sitting imbibing its wisdom for three nights whilst forgetting that my bed awaits in my cold bedroom upstairs.

I'm sick because I'm not well. I'm well enough to stare lovingly at super-excellent... blogspotty things until you-are-totally-out-of-your-mind-at-your-age o'clock.

I'm sick because where I did a large part of my growing up (in Canada) the local people said they were sick not that they were ill, unwell or off-colour.

But I feel unwell. Sometimes it veers into a slight case of illness.

I'm allowed to be. I'm home educated.

I could've faked it because I'm, without a faint doubt, on a list. I'm on the ill home educator list and I'll get a warning letter something like this:

"Dear Ms. Danae Trentsniffer,

I refer to your absents from the computer or any other of the educational places in which you could occur and which are appended in Appendix 2 of this letter.

Your absentence has been noted and should you exceed the total of seven point one six five days allottted for this term you will be referred to the Homeschool Attendunce Officer (heretofore referred to as HAO) who will arrange a visit to determine if yours is a true illness or a temporary illness that we can support you in.

The HAO is Mr. Donald Terrier who will visit you in three point six six repeating hours. Mr. Terier may, of course, be earlier or later than the stated time due to traffic conditions or his holiday in the Bahamas, and he may be Mrs. Rubella Noseclunker or her assistant, Ms. Harpy Artswiper.

Hoping you are well.

Yours truly,

Mr. Loreen Cudsworthy, 
Manager, Local Illness and Swinging the Lead Inspectorate.

When last appealed to Mrs. (or Mr.) Loreen Cudsworthy approved the plan of writing and producing her letters to me complete with grammatical boo-boos. I applied to her early because I thought the young fold might enjoy sporting the erros.

I alwo decidid to doe likewirse in mi bog.

But, you cry, how did their cume to be a HAHA officer?

Why, when you just got free of the schooled mess, should you reenterr the hell of officshul litters?

Wgekkm you could be having a larff. Or taking the fiss.

Don't forgit to prey for sum skulled kids who doe get this tripe of leter. Itz no jock to them.

Just one of the ways that home education vaults the hell over schooling in my humbel opinyon.


Super-excellent relationshippy blogthingummmy:

Saturday, 5 January 2013


Of course, some people think that home educating in the ol' autonomous style means that you're basically a good for nothing idle kind of educator. Lazy, in a word. 

They don't say that about the young folk.

They mean me.

I should be schooling. Or educating. Or reading about the latest theories in education. Or finding out how to get the buggers to learn (that's a tip of the hat to a whole series of how to get the buggers to...) and that series is a pretty example of what I think is wrong with forced education. Or 'making' them do something they don't want to do because, hey, everyone else 'has' to do it.

To force someone to learn something seems just intrinsically wrong.

Doesn't it to you?

I mean surely we evolved to learn things about our environment that save us from a) harm and b) stress and c) destroying the environment.

So what do we do now?

Well, we destroy not only our own environment but the environment that maintains other creatures who share our earth.

That's worked out well, then.

Surely, it seems just sensible to assume, that that which you know is something which has relevance and meaning to you. That which you know because you 'had' to learn it in English or Maths or History will vanish like a snowflake in mid-August boiling hot weather. Or it'll stick in your mind like one of the discarded pieces of pot that the Romans dropped in the kitchen years ago, about as useful as the average clod of earth except when you're watching the Eggheads t.v. quiz programme.

I prefer the word facilitator because when my two young people decide they wish to learn something I find a way to help them do it. I don't force them, and, if they don't like it, I don't insist that they do it. 

Force isn't the way.

But I won't make you agree with me, and you won't be tested on the  conclusions you reach later.

If you really want to know more about Sue Cowley's books starting with 'Getting the Buggers to Learn', please google or use some other search engine to find out about them.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Auto Ed

Autonomous education

You get so sick of it. Autonomy. Here is something about autonomy from

  1. independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions: theautonomy of the individual.
  2. the condition of being autonomousself-government, or theright of self-government; independence: The rebels demandedautonomy from Spain.
  3. a self-governing community

I mean sometimes I really don't want to be autonomous. I don't want to control my day. Like today. I've got a bad cold; head full of horrible eurgh, pains everywhere, feel like, well, slime at the bottom of a well? Tufts of dog hair on the carpet?

Something that the cat dragged in and had a go at.

I want someone to tell me what to do.

That autonomy. It's... it's difficult... It's a hard taskmaster because you enjoy doing whatever you enjoy doing so much that you can't stop doing it. Then you get better at doing it so, to increase your sense of enjoyment, you do it even more.

They never stop doing stuff. The young folks. One year it's learning about art then it's listening to Chinese music and asking for a Chinese violin for Christmas, and that's the young person who listened to, but never showed any interest in making, music.

Sick of it really.

And how those darned interests persist.

The tours of the internet for information. Just stay uninformed, I say. Give your head a rest, I caution. 

Oh, and bother that Time Team. We're into Archaeology now because of 
those enthusiastic scientists and fascinated amateurs who get involved in water-logged fields. I can see things I've never seen before. I know about leaks (water courses) in muddy grass.

Dear, oh dear, there's no end to it. The autonomous learners. And how they pounce on things they know not of. And learn about them.

The whole autonomous education journey is so tiring.

And exciting, interesting, fascinating, unknown; you'll never quite be sure where you'll end up... if you ever end....

The way an education should be I reckon. Yours and under your control. Able to be picked up and put down as you desire because the brain bucket is busy calculating what is best for you, not working out what's best for everyone sharing a small, annoying room.

The human, eh? Born to learn. Everything. Not just approved stuff. Everything. Who can fathom it?

Auto Ed.  I guess people who direct their own experiences are just plain dangerous. 

Self-education. It might just catch on.