Defunct education system… 

I have long believed that the  Education system within the UK is not fit for purpose. rom the structure of Schools to the structure of the curriculmn, league tables and standardised  tests. This TedXu talk is well worth the watch. Especially as I is more relevant now than ever just how we facilitatie our children to be adaptable for what the future holds whilst giving them skills and the ability to learn what they need to be successful in life.


Feral Families – quick thoughts!!

OK the beginning diatribe of Channel 4’s Feral Families show assumed that all families that take their children out of school adopt this radical approach with their children, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The assumption seems to be that those who de register are embracing and becoming “rule free households” – No!

Not that there is anything wrong with it. Tilda Swinton (sp) is off doing something similar with her children on an Island somewhere and no one bats and eyelid – why? Oh she’s rich and famous so different rules apply – right?!

(Still seething at some of the narrow minded tweets I’ve read this evening.)

Anyway let me get back to the show….

What gets me is the general Public at large don’t understand Home Education on the best of days, so when HE is mentioned alongside this radical unschooling approach and no rules lifestyle, the general public then think this is the only version of Home Education. It’s not!

Home Education is as varied as every family that chooses to take this approach to educating their children. There are commonalities, sure! But there are also so many differences. My readers ( all 19 of you ha ha) know that for me Maths and English are absolutely non negotiable. So even though I have been furiously replying to ill informed tweets on twitter, I couldn’t help but agree that it was neglectful not to facilitate your child to be able to read and write competently by age 13. Which was the case with the young boy in the show. (Taking into account ability.)

However children in schools in the UK have issues with not being able to read and write properly too. See here and I like this piece which distinguishes between illiteracy and functional illiteracy here. Google away lots of statistics to have a nose through.

As an ex secondary school teacher I regularly saw children that never surpassed level 3/4 literacy levels. I’ve seen what constitutes a G on an exam paper. However according to the government gaining a G means a child is not illiterate. No, they can answer their name and a few simple questions. For those with a learning disability this is a huge achievement (they’d make greater gains if teachers weren’t over burdoned and and schools underfunded) but for those without I see it as a failure by the school system.  The the vast majority of children leaving school with low literacy rates is no fault of their own, rather the result of being rushed through a one size fits all education system. A reason many choose HE over a system that is not fit for purpose. And that a whole other blog post.

Now the show I though was pretty narrow, and a little bit of sensationalist viewing, so god knows how many hours of filming hit the cutting room floor to skew the programme the way it went. But I have to admit that at certain points in the show I was cringing – OK I was shouting at the screen – for the love of god woman move the knife.. why? Why let them film that?

Its a bit like when you have a visitor for tea you’re on your best behaviour – or is that just me.

And in all honesty I don’t know why these families enter into these programmes because they are never in a good light when it comes to HE and alternative lifestyles. NEVER!! OK that is a bit of an exaggeration but they are skewed towards the negative unless your a lovely middle to upper middle class family, or famous then it is applauded. And I’m over here like hey I do that too – applaud me. Applaud me please, but alas to no avail. Anyway I’ve digressed – again.

All these children are relatively young in the programme, so what they also don’t see is how lots of these children go onto study at college level and beyond, gaining degree’s and Jobs. And even those that don’t go onto to further study but do get jobs, they may not be Doctor’s or Lawyers, but then a vast proportion of schooled children don’t enter those careers either.

And here I am again going to my default of defend. When I am bloody angry and will direct that at the lazy Journalism. So much more could have been said by the bloody annoying voice over about the approaches to education that each family had adopted and what those where so people could get a better understanding. I had to reply to a Tweet when a woman said something to the effect “OMG that baby with a drill” my reply “You’ll pay good money to Montessori nurseries for your child to play with a drill.” See here and here its called risky play, but do it in your own home, under the supervision of mum and dad, and as those on twitter commented we’ll need to call social services because obviously it’s abuse.

Did the show represent Home Education positively – No! For the simple fact I could watch the show and recognise apporaches and see the benefits of what the families were doing but to the average person who schools their child they might not see what I can and other Home Educators might see in direct correlation of their own experiences.

Will it give joe public and other’s ammunition to beat us over the head with alongside countless other misguided articles that have been surfacing of late – Yes!

Will there be division within the Home Education community itself  – Yes! I’ve already read the comments before the show even aired, and I must admit it worried me too. Not because of educational philosopshies that are different from mine.. Hell I lend from all approaches.  If it benefits my kids then hoorah!! But because HE is alread attacked from the outside (law/policy etc) we don’t need to be divided as a community from the inside.

And because of this its left me bloody angry and in need of a strong coffee and bed.

One positive thing I will say before I head off to the land of nod is that the families were lovely. The children happy, loved and cared for.

New Home Ed’ing Year..

Things have been quiet on here for a few months mainly due to the fact that GCSE season was upon us and The Boy was gearing up to sit Maths and English IGCSE. I won’t lie it was a little stressful – for me mainly.

Trying to Keep Lil’ Lady engaged and offer my support to The Boy was a challenge especially whilst Childminding. So balancing time didn’t leave me much to do anything else.

So now round one is over (and I’m still ecstatic at his results) the new term academic year has started and with it we’ve hit the ground running.

The Boy will be sitting 3 IGCSE’s this year. Biology in January, and Global Citizenship and Religious Studies in June. So my evening’s have been busy sourcing resources, putting into place some plans, as well as trying to ensure that he has other outlets and it is not just all work, work  and erm, more work.

So we are resuming climbing and running for him, as he loves these two sports.   He will also be dog his Bronze Arts Award and hopefully progress to silver and gold. The local art gallery are offering subsidised session for Home Educators so we are taking advantage of those.

Lil’ Lady will continue Climbing, swimming and has also taken up running.

She is still doing Maths and English daily. I’ve also signed her up to Explore Learning which is a tuition service which she attends for 2 hours per week. You’ve probably seen them in supermarkets, as I’ve walked past these places for years and never batted an eye. However we attended a free workshop at the library during the summer and I like the fact that it is a different way for her to learn, breaks up the week, and also she gains different input. She really loves it.

Her regular delivery of The Week Junior was a worth while investment. It brings up so many learning opportunities and we use it now as a gentle start to the day, reading in the morning over breakfast, which gets in some literacy and current world affairs.

We are still incorporating other subjects as organically as possible so she can make connections.. I tried teaching in themes but I find it only encourages learning to become disjointed.  So we are doing it our way – short, sharp burst of learning that combine multiple subject areas  – mixed with play.  Play is still an important feature, I often find she makes so many connections when we are at the park or she is just engaging herself. It gives her time to think and digest what she has done previously, and it often leads to more sparks of interest as she comments and ask’s questions, which I take note of  so I can find resources for the following week.

I am going to try to do a weekly digest post on here, it’s mainly for me so I can look back but for those who do read my blog you may find some idea’s or see another way of Home Educating, especially as there is no right way to do it. Each Home Educating journey is as individual as each family and each child.






Results day…

The results are in for this exam sitting …. and  I couldn’t be more proud of both of them … 

The Boy:

English Language: A

Maths Higher: B

Big Sissy:

English Language: A

I can’t afford tutors or study programmes so it’s been text books, lots of free resources, input from the home edication wiki and other parents on facebook groups and a lot of independant work on the minions part… I’m estatic because this past year I’ve doubted that I’d be able to get them through this.. but they’ve done it.
So for those doubting yourself – DON’T! 

You can and will do this… make connections…if you are in the UK utilise the information on this Facebook group thete are links from thete to their e snd wiki snd lots of patents who have done this with lots of valuable information. 

Kids Art Week – get signed up!!

We’ve taken part in Kids Art Week the past 2 years and love it. There are 5 essons to do over 5 days. We tend to do one lesson a week over the summer break , rather than one a day. The Artist Carla Sonheim does this each year for free, and it is a great way for children to explore different artists and techniques. This years theme is Animals and I cannot wait to see what lesson we have this year. You can sign up HERE 

One of our previous blog posts on what Lil Lady Produced HERE


You can find the previous years playlist HERE




Mystery of the Thunderstone…

Today we visited the Museum for an archaeology workshop which involved drama exploring a Roman story surrounding an artefact;

Simulated archaology digs;

… and exploring Roman artefacts;

And some Neolithic Stone Age items too …

It was fantastic to watch the group work and listen to the fabulous discussions as they grid referenced their finds and talked about the f8bdsduring the activities. .

The activity in the museum upstairs wasn’t too well thought out for the group we had but Lil’Lady enjoyed it non the less. .

But thank goodness for the other Home Ed parents who were able to keep the children engaged.