Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Socialising / PE
DJ spent the afternoon with his friend BS
3 1/2hrs of playing outside: lots of running around and fun!

Scary Stuff
The Meatrix 2.5
Smart Card
On the News - couple jailed for daughter's truancy

Monday, October 30, 2006


ICT - DJ has been updating his website and creating an 'expansion' (check site expansion page) - he's been designing a new site: check it out and leave a message on the guestbook!

Reading - DJ has also finished reading Paulo Coelho's The Fifth Mountain.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Satish Kumar

For us, education is not just about receiving information. It is about participating in the process of life. Conventional education assumes that children start with a certain ignorance, not knowing anything, and that we must use books filled with knowledge to put information into the child. My view is that a child is like an acorn. Just as an acorn is capable of becoming an oak tree, a child is capable of becoming a fully developed human being. We don't have to teach an acorn how to become an oak tree. It knows how. In the same way, a child knows how to be a human being. The job of a teacher and parent is like that of a forester or gardener, to support, encourage, protect, inspire and provide. from The Small School

Each and every person is born with particular qualities and those specific qualities need to be nurtured; whereas, modern education in large factory-like institutions, almost ignores the children and their specific qualities. What modern education is determined to achieve is to fill the minds of children with external information. Thus, teaching becomes much more important than learning. from Life Is All About Learning

Friday, October 27, 2006

Hi Music

Reading/History: The Frightful First World War (up to p.36)
Music: the different instruments in an orchestra & instrument match game at Sphinx Kids! - improvisation on the piano
Our World India's Hidden War - civil war in the Indian jungle; government-funded militias battle Maoist guerrillas

Today's quote
"The public school curriculum - which embodies, at least theoretically, what is to be learned and when - is in fact nothing more than a hodgepodge of materials and assumptions resulting from the historical interplay of educational theories, political expedience, education fads and fashions, pretensions to culture, demagoguery, and demography. It is by no means, as the professional educators would have it, a coherent ’course of study’ or, as the more pretentious among them would have it, a 'distillation of our common culture.’"
David and Micki Colfax (quoted here)

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Socialising - we met John from Time2Share
Maths: Fibonnaci Sequence 10/10 BrainPop
PSHE: Go Get It! Get sussed: key skills; your skills (artistic and investigative); emotional intelligence; learning types
History: The Fall of Rome: Rome was plundered by Alaric's Goth army in AD410 following Emperor Honorius' betrayal - having promised them a new homeland after escaping from Hun savages.

Playing: Civilization IV
Music: Salsa - Buena Vista Social Club

Today's quote: Bruce Goldberg
An education that would benefit an individual child, any individual child, would begin with an understanding of the interests, drives and aptitudes of that child. The grand plan of educators begins at the wrong place - with their goals for all. Those goals are supported by nothing but pseudoscience and rhetoric about elevating the spirit. Children then fail by not meeting the expectations of the "experts" and their designs. But it is not the children who are failing -- it is the experts who are failing to meet the children where they are. We will have better schools when we fit education to the child rather than the other way around.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


ICT: DJ managed to get the internet to work on his PC
On Learn Premium
Maths: Algebra; simple number sequences; patterns
Business Studies: aims and objectives of a business; how an organisation is structured; how this internal organisational structure assists with the decision making process and in that way helps the business reach its goals. Next - revision notes & glossary


Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Still offline, at the local library...

This morning we went for a parent and child horse ride at Wellow Trekking Centre.
ICT/Sc - Human V2.0 artificial intelligence and the singularity prophecy, that computers will grow as intelligent as humans
Our World - Baghdad
Reading - Dark Knights & Dingy Castles by Terry Deary

Citizenship - Debating Muslims & Free Speech
History - Eden's conspiracy to attack the Suez canal
PSHE - Abusive relationships; domestic violence; battered men
Reading - Gruesome Ghosts by Ian Locke

Saturday, October 21, 2006

No Internet!

Our internet connection is not working
I'm writing this in the local library!

Today Sat 21st
Wellow Trekking Centre - horse riding

Yesterday Fri 20th
History Henry VIII & Catherine Parr; Medieval Food: a castle banquet from 800 years ago
Geography Water: A thirsty world - water use in two very different places - Southern Nevada and Bangladesh and compares the issues facing each country. From water shortages in the arid Mojave desert, to the provision of clean water through tube wells in urban Dhaka, we saw how both countries are seeking sustainable solutions to their water supply.
lobbying, writting letters, volunteering
money matters: morgage debts
Maths Algebra - Maths workbook p. 46 & 47
ICT more problem solving attempts
Our World West Papua & Indonesia
Communication read handout on reflecting
Art Caravaggio's David with the Head of Goliath (Rome 1603); how he broke the rules by painting earthy and realistic images using models taken from streets, taverns, markets and brothels

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Reading & History - Last night DJ read most of England by Terry Deary

Music - demonstrating the use of repetition through a specially commissioned piece of music In The Fields.

Maths - Units of Measurement - Area and Perimeter

PSHE - children's experiences of being the `new kid' in school.

Geography - the supply of clean water in Bangladesh; hygiene in the capital city Dhaka.

ICT - problem solving

History - Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire - Constantine: the story of Emperor Constantine, who in AD312 reunited the four fractured parts of the Roman Empire through military might and under the banner of Christianity - establishing the new religion in the Western world.

PSHE - Listening and communication skills, theory and practice. We covered listening and responding, paraphrasing, reflecting, summarising, open and closed questions. We took turns applying and practicing these skills.

Reading - Once in bed DJ read most of Horrible Histories USA

Today's Links
Darwin online

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


DJ is now officially a teenager: he's 13 today! - where did time go? We had visitors and lots of phone calls. Busy, busy...

History - What the ancients did for us: the Mesopotamians - Tigris and Euphrates rivers; irrigation; farming; Assyrian and Sumerian civilisations; invention of writing (oldest book, the epic of 'Gilgamesh', written around 4,500 years ago); 1st written laws; invented beer & bricks; built 1st cities; 'Ziggurat' temples; 1st professional army; invented the tank or siege engine, the wheel and the chariot; created the Zodiac (astrology and astronomy), the reed boat and the sail.

On the news: Home-ed 14 y.o. turns down animation job with Aardman Animations, the Oscar-winning creators of Wallace and Gromit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hi Gg Sc ICT

History Ancient Greece - Citizenship, Spartans and Sports

Geography Life in the Mountains at high altitudes and in remote places

Hearing and Sound
Using Electricity: Life with and without electricity.
The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow Autistic prof. Dr Temple Grandin: "I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream."

ICT & Aspies' Upheaval
We went to PC World to buy a new PC for DJ's birthday tomorrow. What a commotion! We both got overwhelmed with it all and by the time we got home DJ had had enough. Taking the old PC out of his room, getting all the different components out out of the boxes, and trying to make sense of it all was just too much! Result? Meltdown! So now we're both feeling exhausted but at least we're doing what we both like doing, which calms us right down. I'm sitting here blogging away and DJ is busy with his new PC, setting it up, installing software, etc getting it ready for tomorrow.

Meditation - DJ sat by me and followed a couple of guided meditations

Last night DJ finished reading A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer

Monday, October 16, 2006


DJ is now reading A Man Called Dave. This time he was able to stop before reaching the end!

PSHE / Citizenship: claims that Muslim women wearing the niqab make a `visible statement of separation and difference'; attitudes towards the veil and freedom of choice.

History / Cold War - Suez
the Egyptian uprising against the British during the Suez crisis

Today's quote
"Children naturally want to learn but far too much of our curriculum stops them learning (...) The nature of thought is to connect - and we don't enable our children to connect." By Mary Bousted, leader of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Read it here

Useful 4 HEders
Home Visits& Why We Might Refuse Them
What's Wrong With Home Visits
Maths Problems & Games

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I wonder on what basis NT's insist on saying that aspies lack imagination... I woke up to find this wonderful army of oranges waiting for me on the kitchen worktop. Imagination and humour!
DJ: "Today I learned that you need to spend money to make money."
I have no idea where that came from...

Saturday, October 14, 2006


DJ read this book from cover to cover in the early hours of the day. I woke up and found him awake after 4am. Of course he slept til late and skipped his riding lesson, which I wasn't happy about. I'm into time keeping and sticking to what I say (although I can't say I'm infallible as I've let people down at times - usually when I get more than I can chew). I feel this really strong urge to do something about it, to fix things, to make things match my idea of what they should be... So I've got a choice here: I either act on this urge or stop, observe and think a little about the implications of of these options.

PSHE - we had a discussion on whether anger is ever justified considering whether the attcker has self-control, whether anger is adventitious or inherent; whether the harm is direct or indirect; etc based on Tsongkhapa's approach.

Today's quote - "One may conquer in a battle a thousand times a thousand men, yet he is the best of conquerors who conquers himself." Buddha

Against School

"(...) we have a public school system which has as its primary goal the socialization of our children. A willingness to comply, to go along, to submit to the authority of the system and the teacher is more important than intelligence or curiosity or creativity."
Thom Hartmann
Read his article here.

"School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they'll never be bored.(...) Challenge your kids with plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, and they seek constant companionship through (...) shallow friendships quickly acquired and quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, and they can."
How public education cripples our kids, and why By John Taylor Gatto
Read more here.

Friday, October 13, 2006

School's Out

"Schools are socially and ecologicaly unsustainable institutions, a virtual monopoly beholden to a controlling elite and increasingly teaching the irrelevant to the uninterested, under the guise that certification means competence and relevance. They represent a massive haemmorhaging of human and ecological resources.

School's primary purpose appears to be a crude allocation of supposedly scarce educational resources among competing students, the tokens marking success largely dictating access to social and economic position. This was always a part of their role and was tolerated when what went on in schools touched upon the reality outside. (...) So out of touch and successfully resistant to change are schools that there is no meaningful way in which the necessary learning for a sustainable society can be successfully developed under the dead hand of schooling.

Even in more conventional terms schools are in tremendous difficulty. Here is a quick look across the spectrum. They do not appear to meet the needs of learners: consider the rise in exclusions and truancy, the numbers who leave functionally illiterate, and the widespread unhappiness at what are seen as large depersonalising regimes, particularly at secondary level."
Caroline Walker & Ken Webster
Read more here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Roger Schank

One of the most interesting issues to me today is education. I want to know how to rebuild the school system. One thing is to look at how people learn, right now, and how the schools work, right now, and see if there's any confluence. In schools today, students are made to read a lot of stuff, and they're lectured on it. Or maybe they see a movie. Then they do endless problems, then they get a multiple-choice test of a hundred questions. The schools are saying, "Memorize all this. We're going to teach you how to memorize. Practice it, we'll drill you on it, and then we're going to test you."

Imagine that this is how I'm going to teach you about food and wine. We're going to read about food and wine, and then I'll show you films about food and wine, and then I'll let you solve problems about the nature of food and wine, like how to decant a bottle of wine, what the optimal color is for a Bordeaux, and so forth. And then I'll give you a test.

Would you learn to appreciate food and wine this way? Would you learn anything about food and wine? The answer is no. Because what you have to do to learn about food and wine is eat and drink. Memorizing all the rules, or discussing the principles of cooking, isn't going to do any good if you don't eat and drink. In fact, it works the other way around. If you eat and drink a lot, I can get you interested in those subjects. Otherwise I can't.

Everything they teach in school is oriented so that they can test it to show that you know it, instead of taking note of the obvious, which is that people learn by doing what people want to do. The more they do, the more curious they get about how to do it better — if they're interested in doing it in the first place. You wouldn't teach a kid to drive by giving him the New York State test manual. If you want to learn how to drive, you have to drive a lot. Most schools do everything but allow kids to experience life. If kids want to learn about what goes on in the real world, they have to go out into the real world, play some role in it, and have that motivate learning. Errors in learning by doing bring out questions, and questions bring out answers.

What kids learn in high school or college is antilearning. By reading Dickens in ninth grade, I learned to hate Dickens. Ten years later, I picked up Dickens and it was interesting, because I was ready to read it. What I learned in high school was something useless — that Dickens is awful. A ninth-grade kid isn't ready for this. Why do they teach it? Because in the nineteenth century that was the literature of the time, and that's when they designed the curriculum still used in practically all schools today.

I don't think there should be a curriculum. What kids should do is follow the interests they have, with an educated advisor available to answer their questions and guide them to topics that follow from the original interest. Wherever you start, you can go somewhere else naturally. The problem is that schools want everyone to be in lockstep: everyone has to learn this on this day and that on that day. School is a wonderful baby-sitter. It lets the parents go to work and keeps the kids from killing each other.

Learning takes place outside of school, not in school, and kids who want to know something have to find out for themselves by asking questions, by finding sources of material, and by discounting anything they learned in school as being irrelevant.

You can read the whole article here


Maths Using a calculator & measuring length

PSHE New Kid in Class - the difficulties of making and leaving friends and navigating their way around new schools and curricula; the difference just one friendly person at a new school can make; experience of frequently moving schools; what school life is like for children.

Gg: Flooding - how people in Bangladesh have adapted their lives to live with flooding and are working to improve access to safe water and hygiene awareness.

History Ancient Rome, The Rise and Fall of an Empire - the Jewish Revolt of AD66, which threatened to tear apart the whole Empire. Rome turned to General Vespasian who quashed the insurrection.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reading RE

DJ: "I read this whole book. It wasn't bad... or good... A 5/10."

RE: meditation on the disadvantages of anger and advantages of patience; listened to a talk on forgiveness by Robina Courtin; talked about values, happiness, inspiring people; overcoming negative emotions and attitudes; Buddha and God...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hi Gg Sc

History: Ancient Greeks - Key Words: entertainment; storytelling & theatre; myths; comedy & tragedy; orchestra, chorus & props.

Geography: Mountain ranges - Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia, highest point in England & wales; Mountain Ranges e.g. the Rockies, the Andes, the himalayas; forces that shape and form the mountains; weathering and erosion; glaciers and U-shaped valleys

Science: Most of Our Universe Is Missing Key words: atoms; Newton's law of gravity; neutralino; Prof. Milgrom's variable gravity; Prof. Carlos Frenk standard model (4% atoms, 21% dark matter, 75% dark energy)

Science Clips - Forces and Movement: how forces affect the way objects move. Light and Dark. Science Investigations: Teeth and Eating; different types of teeth, and how to care for them.

Chimps Are People Too Investigating the theory chimps should be classed as people, since they are able to talk, cook and reason.

Today's Poem

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

... I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
-I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

from The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bits & Bobs

History - WW2 Hitler's Children
Freedom of Speech - South Park Cartoon Wars
Art - Jackson Pollock
DH helped with housework

Today's Blog - 17 y.o. aspie speaks out: School Bullying - nothing has changed - it's time for action!

Today's Quote - Peace Pilgrim: “We are all cells in the body of humanity - all of us, all over the world. Each one has a contribution to make, and will know from within what this contribution is, but no one can find inner peace except by working, not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.”

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Riding Orbs

Drama - The Monty Python Story and the effect it had on British comedy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

En Hi Gg

En - Coping With The 21st Century by Peter Corey
Hi - Henry VIII wives: Anne of Cleeves
Gg - water cycle revision
Re/OW - Windhorse 1998

Today's Quotes
The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking. Heidegger

With the advancement of education in the Western civilisation we are producing very well informed and smart non-thinking people because our existing education does not teach people thinking. We learn to absorb information and we learn to shuffle information but real thinking is not shuffling information. So my number 1 commitment is to create a culture of authentic thinking. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura

On the net
Tibet Cry Of The Snow Lion

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Gg Hi Sc

Science - reading Evolve or Die by Phil Gates

Gg - Coast - Giant's Causeway - Northern Ireland's shores

History - Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire: Revolution - how soldier Tiberius Gracchus grew disheartened with the way that Rome's aristocracy treated the poor and became an unlikely revolutionary. His actions in opposition of the corrupt Senate, in the pursuit of decency and justice for all, led to the shattering of the Republic and the installing of the first Emperor

On the News - Games: a powerful learning tool

Today's quote - from Education: Free and Compulsory by Murray N. Rothbard

It is obvious that a person acquires his education in all activities of his childhood; all his waking hours are spent in learning in one form or another. He is learning all the time. In a fundamental sense, as a matter of fact, everyone is "self-educated."

Since each person is a unique individual, it is clear that the best type of formal instruction is that type which is suited to his own particular individuality. (...) It is clear that the formal school, characterized by classes in which one teacher instructs many children, is an immensely inferior system.

What then shall we say of laws imposing compulsory schooling on every child? These laws are endemic in the Western world. (...) Obviously, the worst injustice is the prevention of parental teaching of their own children.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hi Sc Gg

History / D&T - What the Ancients Did for Us - The Romans - Roman technology - program support notes

Science - The Moon- Documentary investigating the history of humanity's attempts to reach the Moon. Neil Armstrong's landing in 1969; subsequent cessation of lunar expeditions in 1972.Io and Europa.

Gg - Looking at Colins Ultimate Atlas of Almost Everything together. Daniel told me where Macedonia was and we looked at lithospheric plates, earthquakes and volcanos, mountain ranges, climate, pollution, wildlife, and countries of the world.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hi Gg Sc oW

Have been busy with this (reviewing HE so far).

Our World - Burma's Secret War
WW2 History - Nuremberg Nazis on Trial

History - Ancient Greeks: Architecture, Philosophy and Medicine - the Parthenon, greek column types (doric, ionic and corinthian); Greek plays e.g. Icarus; Socrates, Archimedes and Hippocrates.
Gg - arctic and antarctic circles; Sami culture; Las Vegas
Sc - Pushes and Pulls; Grouping and Changing Materials: separating different items for recycling
Our World - This World: The Tea Boy of Gaza - Documentary looking at life under the Hamas government in Palestine, told through the story of 12-year-old Mahmood.
Skint - poverty in the UK
PSHE / Safety - Horizon: The Survivor's Guide to Plane Crashes
Learning how to survive a plane crash.

On the net: A Lecture Musical