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.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


I am mindful that I haven't posted for some time.

We have suffered loss.

Our lives have changed irrevocably.

We are saddened. We are shocked.

We are studying mindfulness.

"After three years of study, the novice monk arrives at the dwelling of his teacher. He enters the
room, bursting with ideas about knotty issues of Buddhist metaphysics, and well-prepared for
the deep questions that await him in his examination.

'I have but one question,' his teacher intones.

'I am ready, master,' he replies.

'In the doorway, were the flowers to the left or to the right of the umbrella?'

The novice retires, abashed, for three more years of study."

Mindfulness is attention to the present moment.

If you don't pay attention to the 'now',  what will you learn?

Quotation from the amazing book Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Fifth Discipline

It's a book. The Fifth Discipline.

Published in 1990, and it's about business. And life.

A lot that goes on in business also goes on in life.

Here's a quote from The Fifth Discipline:

"Learning any new language is difficult at first. But as you start to master the basics, it gets easier.
Research with young children has shown that many learn systems thinking remarkably quickly. It appears
that we have latent skills as systems thinkers that are undeveloped, even repressed by formal education
in linear thinking."

What is systems thinking?

Again, from that book:

"The essence of the discipline of systems thinking lies in a shift of mind:

*seeing interrelationships rather than linear cause-effect chains, and
*seeing processes of change rather than snapshots

Things aren't always straight-forward. Learning isn't. Life isn't.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Local authorities who want to monitor home educators

More than 360,000 children are injured in school each year
450,000 children are bullied in school EACH WEEK
16 children commit suicide each year because of school bullying
An estimated 1 million children truant each year
1 in 6 children leave school unable to read, write or add up

And local authorities want to monitor home educators?

I don't think so.

Figures from 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

On Knowledge

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

Miles Kington (1941-2008), journalist. Quoted in Woman's Weekly, 11 February 2014.

That seems to encapsulate for me the difference between schooling and home education.

Home educators have the time and the space to develop wisdom.

Friday, 24 January 2014

I bet you thought I'd gone

I haven't.

Here's a thought from Augustine of Hippo that I came across while wandering around on a forum discussing money.

"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

Not a bad maxim to live by..