Thursday, December 27, 2007

School’s Use of Shock Therapy

"While at school, students must wear backpacks containing a device that allows a staff member to deliver a shock to electrodes attached to the limbs, or in some cases palms, feet or torso, when the students engage in a prohibited behavior."

Read more...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sex ring teachers convicted

"Two school teachers have been sentenced to death in China for forcing more than 20 young girls - including some of their own pupils - into prostitution."

Read more...

Electric shocks for pupils

"A secondary school teacher in India has been arrested for disciplining unruly pupils with electric shocks."

Read more...

Teachers 'tied up pupil on floor': "Two teachers have been suspended from a school in Kent over claims they tied up a student's arms and legs."

Read more...

NAS Films

From the Think Differently About Autism Campaign.
Click here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the news

School teacher awarded 5 years for rape

India's first school shooting has left 550 students and 38 teachers shaken at this five-year-old private school which claims, on its website, to "accentuate on the safety of every child."

Children caught kissing face jail
GERMANY is poised to bring in a draconian law tomorrow that will effectively outlaw kissing and cuddling between children under 17 in public places.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

6 shot after exiting school bus

"Six young people were shot Tuesday after they got off a school bus that left a high school, and two were critically hurt, police said."

Read more...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Aprender en Casa

"Cada vez hay más padres que toman la determinación de que sus hijos se eduquen en casa y no vayan al colegio. Aunque no es una decisión fácil porque son ellos mismos los que asumen la responsabilidad de educarles. Sobre todo son las madres las que renuncian a su trabajo y se quedan en casa para acometer una doble tarea: estar las veinticuatro horas del día con los niños y enseñarles.Teresa Gray e Isabel Malpica han compartido varias jornadas con algunas de las familias que han elegido esa opción. Algunos lo han hecho por motivos religiosos, otros porque su hijo ha sufrido acoso escolar. El principal problema al que se enfrentan los defensores de "aprender en casa" es el vacío legal que existe en nuestro país. Una ausencia de normas que a veces genera problemas con la fiscalía de menores. Y la única vía que tienen los padres para afrontar esas dificultades es la de asociarse."


part 2 - part 3 - part 4

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sign this petition

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abandon plans to create the Information Sharing Index, a national database of all children aged between birth and eighteen.

How many parents are aware that the DfES is planning a huge national database of every child in the UK. AS well as their names and addresses, it will also hold parent's contact details and the name and contact details of every education, health and social care practitioner that children come into contact with. At this stage we don't know exactly who will be able to access that information, but the plan is that practitioners will be able to contact each other to share information without parental consent. Parents will no longer have the right to act as gatekeeper and your child's privacy and the right to withhold information about their education, health and social welfare will be lost completely. Remember, this will effect every child, not just children deemed to be 'at risk'. Could this be a national identity scheme by the back door? Once a child has been given a unique ID in a database such as this, how easy will it be for the Government to keep that ID after the age of 18. This is the single most important issue facing the electorate at this time.

Deadline to sign up by: 20 December

Sign it here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Ed On The News

MUM'S LESSONS IN REAL LIFE AT HER DIY SCHOOL
"Parents have been reminded they have the right to educate their children at home, as a Somerset based support group prepares to hold an open day for interested mums and dads." Read more...

Schooled at Home Children

"Home schooling is gaining popularity. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide there were more than a million students being home-schooled in 2003, up from 850,000 in 1999. In addition, students with non-traditional backgrounds are becoming accepted at colleges and universities."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

EHE Consultation Results

Home Education Consultation Results

"On 8 May 2007 we launched a consultation on elective home education guidelines for local authorities. We actively sought the opinions of many key groups including local authorities, home educators and home educating organisations. This report has been based on the 919 responses which we received to the consultation document."

Read more...

EHE Guidelines

Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities

Ministerial Foreword: "Education is a fundamental right for every child and we recognise that parents have the right to choose to educate their child at home rather than at school. These guidelines have been prepared to help local authorities manage their relationships with home educating parents. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children receive a suitable education. Where parents have chosen to home educate, we want the home educated child to have a positive experience. We believe this is best achieved where parents and local authorities recognise each others rights and responsibilities, and work together. These guidelines aim to clarify the balance between the right of the parent to educate their child at home and the responsibilities of the local authority."

Jim Knight and Andrew Adonis

On the news

Special school head is suspended
The head teacher of a school for boys with emotional and behavioural problems has been suspended.

'Weekend detention' plan for pupils
Teenagers who refuse to stay on in education when the leaving age rises to 18 will be forced to attend weekend detention centres under new plans.

Teachers in 'exam bribes'
26 teachers and education officers are being tried accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars from more than 1,700 students in return for improving their results. The problems are said to be partly due to the "achievement syndrome" trend, where district officials stand to lose their jobs if exam results are poor.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On the news


Dutch quell school hours protest
Twenty-eight school students will face public order charges in Amsterdam, following street protests. Police clashed with about 1,000 teenagers on Monday, using water cannon to disperse the crowd. Police spokesman said 28 were briefly detained and would face charges for public order offences. Students oppose a new statutory annual minimum of 1,040 hours of classes.

Fury as long-haired son suspended
15-year-old suspended from school for refusing to cut his long hair. The student was suspended for three days last week. Upon his return, he was excluded from class for still not getting a hair cut. His father said: "They put him in a room and threw work at him, no contact with anyone. This is Northern Ireland in 2007. Solitary confinement, I think it's called."

Concern at pupil data microchips
A secondary school in Doncaster has been trying out a scheme where pupils' records are accessible via a microchip embedded in their school uniform. The school says the microchip is not a tracking device.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some Quotes

Education is like a double-edged sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled. - Wu Ting-Fang

And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

My education was dismal. I went to a series of schools for mentally disturbed teachers. - Woody Allen

No two men are just alike. Every new life is a new thing under the sun; there has never been anything just like it before, never will be again. A young man ought to get that idea about himself; he should look for the single spark of individuality that makes him different from other folks, and develop that for all he is worth. Society and schools may try to iron it out of him; their tendency is to put it all in the same mould, but I say don't let that spark be lost; it is your only real claim to importance.
Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college. - Lillian Smith

I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive. - John W. Gardner (1912-2002)

Grammar Games & Quizzes

Grammar Blast: Capitalization and Punctuation
'Apostrophes' games
Adverbs Quiz
State of Debate

Friday, November 23, 2007

Propaganda lessons

Lorna, 14, said: "I was shocked to go into the playground one day and see a helicopter and 20 army guys trying to recruit us. This was without my or my parents' permission, and I had no choice but to listen..."


Photo from here.

Sign the Army Out Of Schools Petition:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to end military recruitment in all schools and colleges in the UK."

News links:

Britain's child army
Army's school visits 'should end'

Army 'targeting poorer schools'
Army recruitment in Scots schools

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Schools and propaganda



"Ensuring that children attend school is only one component of the right to education. What children are taught about themselves and others, how they are educated, can amount to indoctrination, advocacy of racism or sexism, propaganda of war, or stultifying regurgitation of useless bits of information."

Katarina Tomasevski, the first ever Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Schools or hi-tech prisons?



"Schools have become hi-tech prisons. Children are being conditioned to accept that they are not free and that they must submit to draconian laws and measures for their own safety. Soon enough children will not even know what it is like to act as a private individual within society."

Read more... [and scroll down for news links]

Make sure you check this.

On the news

Father angry at attack
A father whose son needed a brain scan after being attacked by another pupil has criticised teachers.

Sex offender offered girls a lift
MacLeman was sentenced to 200 hours of community service after he admitted indecently assaulting a girl while she waited for her school bus.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On the news...

Germany 'foils school massacre'
"German police say they have thwarted a plot by two students to carry out a massacre at their school. One suspect, aged 17, committed suicide after being questioned about the plot and his alleged accomplice, 18, is under arrest. Last year, a former pupil injured several students in Germany's western town of Emsdetten before turning the gun on himself. [...] In 2002, a former pupil killed 18 people in his school in the eastern city of Erfurt. The gunman then killed himself. In the Columbine massacre in the US, two teenagers shot dead 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves."

Mother of truant daughter jailed
"A woman has been jailed for two weeks after failing to make her 14-year-old daughter attend school. A city council spokesman said it was Joyce's second conviction for failing to get her daughter to attend school."

UK's families put on fraud alert

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Abuse at schools

Oprah's school abuse claims got me googling for the latest news on the topic: these are from the last 2 weeks or so.

Oprah Winfrey School
Matron faces charges of physical and sexual abuse of students. The school's strict rules were comparable to a prison regime. One girl was grabbed by the throat and thrown against a wall, while others were beaten and hit on numerous occasions. Ms Mokgobo is accused of soliciting under age girls to perform indecent acts. Pupils were ordered to “put on happy faces”.

Welsh school staff convicted of abuse
92 cases of abuse by school staff in Wales referred to independent investigators have led to criminal convictions. These include allegations of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

School Bus Driver Drugged And Abused Kids
A SCHOOL bus driver forced children to swallow tranquillisers and down Buckfast during six years of sexual abuse.

Inquiry into school abuse planned

The school was closed; around 40 care workers abused youngsters in their care, and could still be working with children. Staff knew about the treatment but did not intervene. Maltreatment by workers at the school included physical assault, the excessive use of restraint, and sex abuse.

Decade of abuse at special school
More than a decade of systematic and brutal abuse of vulnerable children can today be revealed after a 3 year media blackout was lifted. Three members of staff at the Norfolk special school at the centre of the biggest child cruelty investigation in the county's history have been convicted of a string of offences of ill-treating and assaulting young boys.

Our children are raping each other
Twelve-year-old was sodomised over and over and over in a series of brutal sex attacks. The sadistic assaults he was forced to endure were perpetrated by pupils — at his very own primary school.

$1.1 million settlement in sexual abuse case

Abused by a former principal in Seattle Catholic Archdiocese school.

Clergyman path to abuse
Rising star within the Diocese of Scranton charged with numerous sexual assault offences. The accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

Abuse allegations lead to suspension

The choral director at St. Louis Community College has been suspended as administrators look into claims he had sex with one of his high school students.

Teacher Sexual Abuse Case Now Spans Three Counties

The teenager says the teacher sexually abused her during the bus ride home.

Diocese Issues Statement In Sexual Abuse Case
The Catholic Diocese of Covington is responding to a lawsuit filed by the family of a sexual abuse victim. Jeni Dinkel is serving a 60 day sentence for her sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy.

A teen, a tutor, a tale of child sexual abuse

Former teacher's aide had an illicit 7 month sexual relationship with a high school student she tutored.

Few fired for physical abuse
Teachers reprimanded for slapping, kicking or choking students are more likely to return to the classroom than those who kiss, caress or talk dirty to them.

Officials investigate report of sex abuse
Authorities are investigating allegations that a boy sexually abused a 5-year-old girl on a school bus and that another boy held the little girl down.

School bus driver indicted in sexual abuse of girl

The bus driver has been indicted on three charges in connection with his arrest last month for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl.

Teacher charged with sexual abuse of students
A school teacher facing 75 counts of sexual abuse.

Nun Pleads No Contest in Sex Abuse
The nun faces up to 20 years in prison. Although dozens of nuns have been accused of sexual abuse, Sister Giannini is one of the first to face criminal charges.

Teen accuses teacher of assault
The latest allegations of sexual abuse have been made by a 16-year-old girl against a male teacher. The previous week, a school teacher was charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl.

Judge Finds Tampering in Verdict on Teacher
The teacher was initially charged with 35 counts of sexual abuse and endangerment.

And some links:

Educator Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Abuse in Schools
Many of our schools like schools in other countries experience, to varying degrees, violent and criminal behaviour that includes bullying, substance abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, racism, gangsterism, guns and weapons, vandalism and a host of other antisocial behaviour. All of these make these schools an unsafe place to be for some of our children, suffocating many of their dreams and reducing the school experience for these children to a battle for survival rather than academic achievement.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bowling for Columbine

In Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore explores the causes for the Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns. In his discussions he seeks to explain why the Columbine massacre occurred. To watch it click on the title.

Mark Ames: "They searched all over the world for a motive, except for one place: the scene of the crime."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Human Rights In Education

"Compulsory education is in practice a duty as well as a right of the child. In practice, domestic law often reflects the view that compulsory education is no more than an opportunity for the state to exercise its power to impose, regulate, compel and control the first stage of education, and the right to education is often overlooked. To safeguard against the state’s abuse of this power, human rights measures are necessary. These are orientated towards balancing the right of the state to compel children to be educated and the right of their parents to opt out of compulsory education.

Respect for parental freedom to have their children educated in conformity with their religious, moral or philosophical convictions has been affirmed in all human rights treaties. Despite this global consensus, the obligation to make primary education all-encompassing is frequently, albeit erroneously, associated with state-provided schooling."

Katarina Tomasevski, the first ever Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Detention for hugging friends

A 13 year-old girl was given detention - for hugging her friends. The teen was punished for violating a school policy banning 'public displays of affection' when she hugged two friends. 'I was just giving them a hug goodbye for the weekend,' she said. It's not an isolated case. A 12-year-old was given detention after hugging a friend who had just returned to school after losing a parent.

Read more...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Junk Definition

From: Definition of discard; Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Scrap and junk imply throwing away or breaking up as worthless in existent form:

"scrap all the old ways", "would junk our educational system".

Human Rights in Education


"Education is widely – albeit wrongly – perceived as inherently good. Getting all children to school is then equated with their right to education. Questions about what and how children are taught are asked rarely, usually when abuses of and in education are detected. Children can be exposed to advocacy of racism or incitement to genocide. Remedying the harm done by such abuse is difficult, often impossible.

The main purpose of human rights is to provide safeguards against abuse of power, and children should have a right to be protected from physical or sexual abuse, from brainwashing or indoctrination. Because we learn too little and too late about abuses of and in education, there are few human rights safeguards in place. Their development is recent and fragmentary, hampered by the widespread and erroneous image of education being inherently good." - K. Tomasevsky

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Extraordinary child

I watch the secret smiles dance
as you soar away from this stark space
to the furthest stars and the deepest oceans

He sits, pen in hand
will never understand
as he waits to tick his boxes

But you won't play.
Somewhere far away,
My extraordinary child

And he can not see you
And he cannot hear you
Nor glimpse the beauty of your soul
My extraordinary child.

[seen at the HE-Special-UK Netpals]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Excluded for wearing bracelet

Sarika Singh, 14, has been suspended from school for wearing a bracelet. During the 9 weeks leading to the exclusion the girl had been taught “in isolation”. Her mother said: “Sarika told us,

‘I don’t go to school any more, I go to prison’.”

Read more...

Hirst's School


Damien Hirst, who was paid $10m (£4.7m) for School, said:

"The sheep represent uniformity. Through uniform education, people end up as dead sheep; alive, but not much alive."

From the Guardian: "The glass-walled lobby is lined not with bookshelves but with medicine cabinets bearing pill boxes and bottles, each one topped with a clock that runs backwards at a different speed. The cow-flanked dove stands at the front of the room, representing the teacher, and in front of it there are three neat rows of "pupils" - 29 pickled sheep, their heads severed from their skinless bodies."

Mass Education


From: Rudiments of Wisdom by Tim Hunkin

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Education and Human Rights

"Parents educate their children, governments their citizens. Government human rights obligations include ensuring that education is available as well as respecting parental freedom to choose the education of their children.

Compulsory education represents the power of the state to impose, regulate, compel and control education. As for all other powers of the state, human rights safeguards are necessary. Parental freedom of choice concerning education of their children has been the counterweight to the imposition of uniform public education from the very emergence of international human rights law."

Katarina Tomasevski
Special Rapporteur on the right to education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home Education on the news

Parents unhappy with traditional system turn to home school
"THOUSANDS of Australian parents are pulling their children out of schools to educate them at home."

German Homeschoolers facing $6,300 fine
"Government levies penalty to stamp out different views."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Home Education Legal Until 18

From Freedom for Children to Grow: "Education Otherwise yesterday welcomed a personal assurance from the Secretary of State, Ed Balls, that home education would continue to be a legal option for young people between the ages of 16 and 18."

Find out more in EO's press release

Monday, November 05, 2007

Coercion and Criminalisation of Young People

"TEENAGERS who refuse to work, attend training or go to school are to be issued with on the spot fines under government proposals. Any who still fail to comply would then be taken to court where they could face further penalties.

The measures are designed to enforce a new law which will say that all teenagers must remain in education, training or employment until they are 18. The new law will effectively outlaw “Neets”, about 10% of 16 to 18-year-olds who are “not in education, employment or training”."

Read more.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Letter From a Prisoner

"We live in a netherworld where there are few fundamental principles adhered to any longer. All is now subject to political correctness and situational ethics. There is an aura of normality projected publicity but,oh, my God, the mental state of most of these people. The more "educated" they are the more they are like mental slaves or pre-programmed robots or zombies under a witch doctor's voodoo spell.

What is important is the mindset. All these people are graduates of Law Schools. What kinds of law and what kinds of attitudes are being taught to these people! They don't need historians, they need instead a campaign of deprogramming on a national scale. The prison censors make spotchecks... but they don't make the laws or the rules. They have to merely enforce them!"

Savage Chickens


Cartoons on sticky notes by Doug Savage - click here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Control of Conduct

Dr. Cattell, on the purpose of government schooling:

"The scientific control of conduct is what schools are about. The scientific control of conduct is of greater economic importance than the use of electricity or steel." [1923]

John Gatto's thoughts on this:

"Once you think that the control of conduct is what schools are about, the word "reform" takes on a very particular meaning. It means making adjustments to the machine so that young subjects will not twist and turn while their minds and bodies are being scientifically controlled. Helping kids to use their minds better is beside the point."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Tale of Two Children

The Trip to School: An animation about the difference between public and home education.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Aristotle on Education

"No one will doubt that the legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of the youth... The citizen should be moulded to suit the form of government under which he lives." (384 BC – 322 BC)

Did you know?

Did you know that the author of Eragon and Eldest was home educated? These two books alone have sold 12.5 million copies worldwide. Christopher Paolini, now 24, is about to have his third book published and working on his fourth.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trend in Home Education

"THOUSANDS of students are being pulled out of Australia's state and private schools to be educated at home by their parents."

Read more...

Think Differently about Autism

Think Differently about Autism is the latest NAS campaign.
To take action now and sign the petition click here.

Learning from Home

Internet schools - The school on a sofa:

At this time of year, thousands of parents are waiting anxiously to learn if their child has been offered a place at a decent secondary. But thousands of others are now opting for a radical alternative...

Picture a school with no walls. At this school there are no smelly changing-rooms, no lumpy gravy, no bullies, or detentions and you can turn up to lessons in your pyjamas and Snoopy slippers if you feel like it.

Ofsted reports inform us that more than half of England's secondary schools are not good enough. Frankly, it's hardly surprising that roughly 55,000 of British children are now being home schooled.

Angela and Ian Price admit they hardly fit the stereotype of the typical home educators. Ian was adamantly opposed to the idea when Angela suggested it and dismissed it as something for people who "lived in a tepee, off brown bread and lentils and made their own clothes" – but technology is rapidly changing the face of home education, making it an increasingly viable alternative for parents whose children don't fit within the structure of a mainstream school.

The Prices decided to look into home schooling when Emily, who has mild learning difficulties, had problems adapting to the demands of her 3,000-strong local comprehensive. "It was like watching her walk into a lion's den every day," Angela recalls. "Because of the class sizes, the teachers didn't have the time to commit to her. After the first term she was so distraught that she couldn't face going in anymore. Things were looking very, very bleak for her." But working from home allows Emily to do things at her own pace. "She can stop and start when she needs to, and as a result her learning has improved dramatically," says Ian.

According to a 2006 study by the Department for Education and Skills, the growing popularity of home schooling is due to factors including varying ability, dissatisfaction with the quality of education and bullying. As a result, education supplements are awash with cutting-edge home-schooling methods, from "flexi schooling" to home-schooling "co-ops" and "family schools" – all endeavouring to provide the perfect answer.

According to Dr Peter Twining, head of the Open University's Department of Education, "a chasm has emerged between what is being taught in schools and what pupils are experiencing in their daily lives. He believes using virtual environments could, "create a system that meets the changing needs of 21st-century society".

Emily Price presents a compelling argument for the benefits of virtual schooling. "It's better to try something new, than be unhappy," she says. To paraphrase: perhaps it's better to open our minds to the possibilities offered by technology, than to stagnate within a system we may have outgrown.

The stay-home options?

*Internet schools such as InterHigh offer flexibility with the reassurance of having the resources of a teacher and a curriculum

*Flexi-schooling is a private arrangement whereby the child stays on the school register, but spends an allocated amount of time being educated at home

*Tutors are mostly used by home educators in core subjects, such as English and maths, or in subjects in which the child has a particular talent

*Co-ops are formed by home educators who want to share the experience with others. They meet regularly for shared subjects such as art or PE

*Autonomous schooling is one of the fastest-growing trends in home education. Each child is responsible for the direction of their own learning

By Sarah Harris

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gaming Study

Daily computer game boosts maths
A study says that playing computer games enhances learning.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Safe at Home

"Parents are increasingly taking their children out of school to have them educated at home, with bullying and dissatisfaction with the state system the main reasons for doing so. Shock figures reveal that 634 pupils in Norfolk were taken out of primary and secondary schools this year, with the main reason listed as bullying.

National survey results show bullying was among the most common reasons for parents to take their children out of school with 3,189 pupils across the country being taught at home for this reason. The survey revealed 7 out of 10 children have been bullied at school."

Read more here.

Sweet Success

Louis Barnett, a 15-year-old boy who left school aged 11 after being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia began making chocolates at home and has now started his own chocolate factory after winning contracts to supply supermarkets.

Read more here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Schools or Prisons?

"Children are being tracked by micro-chips embedded in their uniforms in a trial at a secondary school. The devices are used to monitor pupils’ movements and register their arrival in class on the teacher’s computer.

The scheme has drawn criticism from human rights campaigners. “Tagging is what we do to criminals we let out of prison early,” said David Cleater, from Leave Them Kids Alone, which campaigns against the finger-printing of pupils. “It is appalling.”

Graham Wakeling, the head teacher, denied that the school was adopting a “Big Brother” mentality."

[read more here]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Self-Directed Learning

Another model of autonomous and democratic learning at North Star.



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Quote by A. S. Neill

"No one is wise enough or good enough to mould the character of any child. What is wrong with our sick, neurotic world is that we have been moulded, and an adult generation that has seen two great wars and seems about to launch a third should not be trusted to mould the character of a rat."

Taking Off Our School Coloured Glasses

by Manish Jain

"John Holt (1976) has described that when most people use the word ‘education’, they are in fact referring to some kind of Treatment – which typically involves transmitting, thought-controlling, indoctrinating, social-engineering, coercing, and manipulating other human beings who are perceived either to have some sickness to be cured or some deficit to be filled.

The most common form of this Treatment takes place through Schooling. So before people go to school, they and their communities are diagnosed by some outside ‘expert’ and branded with dehumanizing labels like ‘uneducated’, ‘illiterate’, ‘uncivilized’, ‘irrational’, ‘backward’, ‘underdeveloped’, ‘unreached’, etc. In other words, one is not fully human, nor can one ever hope to be, without the Treatment. Without a certificate to prove that you have been professionally ‘treated’, you are not only considered a lower form of life but also a menace to society. Which is why it has now become commonplace in our social greetings to make sure to identify, within the first 30 seconds of conversation, the level of Treatment received by those in our company by asking questions like: “What are your qualifications?”

The biggest fallacy that comes with the Treatment is that some of us believe that WE not only have the right but also the moral responsibility to Treat other people for their own good."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Home ED News

Parents deceived about home schooling
[Times Educational Supplement - Scotland]

Rather than support parents, many local authorities prefer to employ a catalogue of dirty tricks to prevent them from exercising a valid educational choice. While no parent requires permission to home educate per se, consent is required to withdraw a child who is already in a state school, and this legislative anomaly effectively gives councils licence to bully parents.

Too many parents remain unaware of their rights and responsibilities in education, and most councils prefer to keep it that way. When parents discover there is a viable alternative to schooling, usually through independent research, they are, unsurprisingly, angry at having been deceived.

Read more

Full of Life

"Most amazing educational film which brings tears to the eyes. The story of a sensitive Japanese teacher who explores death, humiliation and other feelings with 10 year old children. Must watch film."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Compulsory Mis-Education


Compulsory Mis-Education by Paul Goodman, first published in 1962.

"I am confronting a mass superstition. The mass superstition in question is that education can only be achieved by the use of institutions like the school."

Paul Goodman argues that on the contrary subjecting young people to institutionalized learning stunts and distorts their natural intellectual development, makes them hostile to the very idea of education and finally turns out regimented competitive citizens likely only to aggravate our current social ills.

"It is in the schools and from the mass media, rather than at home or from their friends, that the mass of our citizens in all classes learn that life is inevitably routine, depersonalized, venally graded; that it is best to toe the mark and shut up. Trained in the schools, they go on to the same quality of jobs, culture, and politics. This education is, miseducation, socializing to the national norms and regimenting to the national 'needs'."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jesus Camp

According to this documentary, 75% of homeschooled kids in the United States are Evangelical Christians.

This is part 1 of 9. The second half of part 2 features a homeschooling family. You can watch the rest on You Tube.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sustainable Education

"Vigyan Ashram was founded by Dr. Kalbag near Pune, India in 1980. Village children learn through real life problems, earning while learning and solving problems of rural poor. This work based model of education has been found very effective."

At 15mns an animation about the history of education.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Summerhill: Democratic Education

"The story of the most famous free, libertarian school in the world founded by the great educationalist A. S. Neill. The existence and continuation of such a school for over 80 years bodes well for humankind!"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Democratic Education

A short wonderful film by Jan Gabbert. The film has great animations in it! But be prepared to wait 6mns for the start.

Home Ed News

Opting out - By Nazia Parveen

Shocking figures revealed this week show that a staggering number of parents in Lancashire are now opting to educate their children at home.

Some 567 children in the county are being taught at home, an 800 per cent rise in five years, rising from 61 in 2003.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

John Holt's Favorite 'School'

"Very amazing film on a off beat School near Copenhagen. John Holt the great pedagogue called it his dream school. You will love seeing the passion of the teachers and the children." Make sure you wait until it starts [at about 4mns into the film].

Home Education in Spain

La Serrada is an alternative 'school' located in Cocentaina, Spain.


Liberales contra escolarización de sus hijos

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Crackdown on Protest

While in Burma protesting monks are shot, here in the UK protesting teenage pupils are given temporary exclusions.

Hitler's Children - Education

In Hitler´s Third Reich children joined the "Jungvolk" movement at the age of 10, they joined the Hitler Youth at 14, and at 18 they joined the party, the "Wehrmacht", the SA, or the SS. This documentary demonstrates how Hitler succeeded in gaining power over "his children" through years of manipulation.



Quote

David Botsford: "The purpose of compulsory state schooling was and is to shape the individual’s attitudes, perceptions, conditioned reflexes and entire psychology in such a way as to make him or her a useful tool of the political authorities, a tool whom those authorities can manipulate and control by means of propaganda in adult life."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Autumn - Photos


Home Ed on BBC Radio 4

HOME EDUCATION: Listen here
"The number of UK parents choosing to by-pass the education system completely and educate their children at home appears to be rising. But who checks and inspects the nature and quality of the resulting teaching these children are provided with?

Libby Purves hears how certain local authorities believe they’ve been landed with the responsibility but not the power when it comes to home-educated children. Joining Libby in the studio will be Lyn and three of her five children, Rosie, who’s 16, Rory, who’s 15 and George who’s 8. Lyn’s been home educating her children for several years now. And reporter Kathleen Griffin visits a recent Home Education Fair in London and speaks to other parents who’ve recently taken the decision to home educate their children.

Also joining Libby live will be Fiona Nicholson, a home educating parent and Chair of the Education Otherwise’s Government Policy Group and Myra Robinson, who oversees home-educating families for a north of England education authority.

On Tuesday 9th October at 9pm, Teachers TV broadcasts We Don’t Go To School, exploring why so many parents choose to educate their children at home and the impact this can have on the children."

And finally, news from the Washington Times:
Home education success proving critics wrong

Krishnamurti

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Watch Online

Here's some videos about the reality of children's lives in the 21st century. To watch them just click on the title.

School Bullies - Japan
"A lot of children crack up under the pressure and there are a lot of negative things that happen like bullying. The Hiranos' son committed suicide after he was bullied at a new school. The school authorities made no comment. Satoru Ikeda, teacher, thinks that many students have lost their identity because of a harsh education system in Japan which does not tolerate individuality."

Brat Camp - China
"The Chinese have come up with a unique way of reforming naughty children or bad students. They're sent to 'walking school' and forced to march up to 800 km across the country."

Children of Blessing - China
"Flower, Rascal and their friends come from a remote village in the Chinese mountains and speak only Lahu. Now, they must leave their beautiful home for boarding school in the city. We follow them through their first year at primary school as they're modelled into good socialist workers."

George Carlin: education and the owners of America
Clip from George Carlin's 'This life is worth losing'

And I'll leave you today with some news from the USA:

School Guard Thugs Break Child's Arm And Arrest Her For Dropping Cake
'School security guards in Palmdale, CA have been caught on camera assaulting a 16-year-old girl and breaking her arm after she spilled some cake during lunch and left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning it up. The incident occurred last week at Knight High School in Palmdale and was caught on a cell phone camera by another pupil who was then also assaulted by the security guards. Watch video of the incident here and here.'

Friday, September 28, 2007

UK home-school cases soar

Watch the report from Channel 4 News here.

An article on the Yorkshire Post mentions Home Education briefly; here's what Lucy Lyon had to say: "As the mother of two young children, with another one on the way, to say education is at the top of my priorities is an understatement to say the least. Here in Hull we have a long and troubled education history but we are by no means the only ones who will be looking to Brown to start delivering on his words and put an end to some of the more farcical aspects of trying to secure a decent education for our children.

Like many people, I have friends currently professing an allegiance to a religion with which they have previously had barely a passing acquaintance in order to get their children into a faith school. I also know of couples putting their stress levels through the roof by braving a cross-city drive during rush hour because their local school is so dire they prefer the risk of high blood pressure than sending their children there.

I even know of families who have – against their wishes – resorted to home education because they felt their children would fail to flourish in the only school available to them."

The case for home-education: autism

[from Channel 4 News by: Mark Greaves, 26 Sep 2007]

Married mother-of-two Carole Rutherford, 50, withdrew her autistic children from school amid fears the state system could not offer them support.

"The decision to home educate was taken for us when our eldest son James - then aged 11 - had a breakdown after being hit by a car while on his way to school. James was finally diagnosed with autism two years after the accident. He never returned to school. Spending eight years in the school system unsupported and without having his needs met was just too much for him.

We had been raising concerns about James for all of those years and were ignored. James received his diagnosis six weeks after our youngest son Hew was diagnosed with autism aged three. We felt sure that because Hew had been diagnosed so young that he would receive the support and resources that James had never been able to access in school.

I was actually chair of governors at Hew's school when he received his diagnosis and so I was not unfamiliar with the system and how it worked. Hew managed nursery without too many problems but when he went into reception the cracks were already beginning to show. Hew was becoming very distressed mainly because of his literal interpretation of the school rules and his ongoing problems in comprehending much of what was being asked of him.

We asked about a statement of special educational needs but were told that it was much too soon to be thinking about a statement, and anyway he was far too intelligent to need a statement. A high IQ does not diminish the level of autism. When Hew went into year one he developed something called cyclical vomiting syndrome which can often be as a result of extreme stress. Within weeks of going into year one Hew was off school more than he was there.

Because of my involvement in internet based groups for autism I was aware that parents often had to fight the system for years before managing to get a statement for their children, if in fact they ever won the fight. All of the time you fight your child is the meat in the sandwich. Having seen one son crash and burn we did not want this happening to another, so we made the decision to home educate Hew along with James.

Home education has allowed us to teach our son about themselves which we believe is very important. How can you ever hope to make sense of other people and the world around you if you can not make sense of yourself? We are sometimes accused of isolating our sons when in fact this could not be further from the truth. Both of our sons are active members of our local community with the youngest being a member of St John's Ambulance Brigade and a local football group.

We are giving our sons an education fit for life and the mainstream world in which we live. At the moment only 12 per cent of adults with autism are in some kind of employment. Maybe part of the reason is because these adults were never given the effective communication and socialisation skills required to hold down a job.

Since we took our leap into the wonderful world of home education nine years ago many families who have autistic children have also taken that leap. Numbers of parents' home educating children with autism is rising steadily."

Home Ed Week



Sun: Monkton Wyld Tour & Harvesting, Clay and Tie Dye
Mon: Walk to Lyme Regis, Glass Outlines, Dances Universal Peace
Tue: Felt Making, Anne Rix, Wood & Glass Painting, Circle Dance
Wed: Funding, Pottery Painting, Drumming, Calico Collages, Bonfire
Thu: Making Pizzas

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Crewkerne Museum

We stopped at Crewkerne this afternoon.

DJ was craving a hot chocolate deluxe!

After that we decided to check the local museum.

Here's Thomas Masterman Hardy. Born in Dorset in 1769, he went to the local school, which he left at 11 to join the Navy as a Captain's Servant.

Eventually he commanded HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar
[War of 1812; Napoleonic Wars]

A woman from the museum asked me if we were on holidays and which school did DJ attend. I proudly told her about home education. Looking at the Victorian Education misinformation, I started to talk about the links between the Education Act of 1880, which made education, not schooling, compulsory, the artificial extension of childhood, and the invention of adolescence. Had Thomas Masterman Hardy been born 11 years ago, his life would have been much less adventurous!


Here's William Blake,
the Justice of the Peace (magistrate), not the poet!

William Dampier (1651 – 1715), the English buccaneer, sea captain, author and scientific observer, was sent to a school in Crewkerne. He was the first Englishman to explore Australia and New Guinea, and the first person to circumnavigate the world twice - he then went on to complete a third circumnavigation!

Don't you just love that kitchen? Apparently it's from the 1950s.

And that's enough museum stuff, I think...
Time to get some fruit and veg from the local shop!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Home Education News

"Channel 4 News Online reveals that the number of children being schooled at home has risen by more than 60% in the past 5 years.

More than 80% of education authorities reported hikes in the number of children being educated at home, according to the Freedom of Information (FoI) probe.

In one area the increase was as big as 800%; with campaigners blaming bullying, special needs provision and too many school tests as reasons for the national hike."

Check it out here and here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

School memories of an aspie

My Future
by Joshua Muggleton

My future, my present, my past, are all controlled
The horror, the memories of my past, stop me from resting
What happened is seared on my mind
Never to forget the pain of school

The memories haunts me, in my dreams
The memories torments me in my thoughts
The memories kills me in my hopes
The memories chokes me in my life

Part of my sanity, lies in the school yard
Screaming in agony in what it has to endure.
What is left of my sanity, weeps for the rest
In drowning sorrow, and merciless hate

The memories follow me, a shadow of my being
When I run, it runs with me, when I hide, it hides with me
When I travel, it travels with me, when I speak, it speaks with me
The Hyde to my Jeckyll, the devil to my angel, the darkness to my light

The strength of the memories, the pain, is unimaginable
Harnessed, it fuels my fire for change,
For speaking out for those who can’t
Living my life to make a difference

The strength of my memories, the pain, is unimaginable
Let loose, it controls me, and I relive the horror
I feel nothing but indescribable hate for so many people and places
It removes any joy in my life, because the places still stand, and the people still laugh

In my mind, a never ending war is faught
The Angel, against the devil
The armies fight, day and night, and no winner will ever be determined
But I feel every blow, every wound, every death, as if it were my own.

Some nights, I cry myself to sleep, at the memories of what happened
Some days, I can do naught but feel a burning hate for what happened
Some nights, I go to sleep with a smile, for the change it made me make
Some days, I can do naught but feel elated, for the lives I have changed

These memories, are as valuable as diamonds
Yet as valuable as a rotting fish
These memories are as desired as fame, fortune, glory
Yet as desired as manure

I am taught to forgive, to move on
Yet how can I move on from this?
I may have left the school
But the school has not left me

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things have been


quite inspiring lately... So much seems be to happening at the moment! There's a new Raising Aspies group, which I'm trying to get off the ground; a new study group [Eastern Philosophy], and an Action For The Planet group on the horizon...

We're off to Monkton Wyld Court tomorrow, for another Home Educators Week! Isn't life exciting and wonderful? Aren't all these grass roots movements so inspiring?

According to Bill Ellis, movements like these are "not only addressing the why, how, when and what all citizens learn, but also rebuilding the foundation for the society in which we all live. How we learn determines the kind of society we build. Authoritarian, hierarchal, undemocratic schools prepare future citizens for an authoritarian, hierarchal, undemocratic society. A life-long learning system based in family, community, society and nature could be the foundation for new democracies of freedom, equity and justice."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Original Music

Get this widget | Track details |eSnips Social DNA

Jamming with a friend, seven years ago...

Out Walking



Wide World of Intellectual Iliteracy

Slavery Institutionalized Slavery

You didn’t take me away from a place
You extricated me from a sacred space
Me

You developed and trained my mind
To blend in with your kind
To put you in the fore front
And leave myself behind

My mind was open to assimilation
And closed to self-realization
Education was the agent of control
Substituting society for my soul
An act of self-suicide for the good of the whole

Was it not the great minds of our times that sanctioned
Self hatred
Made the truth oblique
Made education a conditioning process
To obliterate being unique

Seek a role model, seek a hero
Don’t seek being yourself, you are a zero
If education is the answer
It has a function similar to cancer

Americanization another appellation for education

Mind control, behavioral modification
Violence is a form of militaristic communication
I’m a clone, a mere cheap imitation

If I kill it’s because I’m trained
If I hate it’s because I’m trained
If I steal it’s because I’m trained

I don’t know who I am but because I am trained
I Am A Professional

Poem by Josephine Dixon Banks

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Home Ed on Roker Radio

Rokker Radio, the only radio programme for the travelling community in the UK, featured home education last night, focusing on the Lighthouse Project in Epsom. The Romani journalist enabled Gypsy and Traveller children to present their experiences in their own words. Education Otherwise contributed to this feature. To listen click here [approx. 50 mns into the programme - fast forward to 45 mns - home ed starts at 47mns].

The Schoolboy

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Work That Reconnects



Same but with a different soundtrack and without any quotes...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Home Education News

From BBC News, Going to School at Home: "Increasing numbers of parents in the North West are educating their children at home rather than at school." Watch the 5mn video interview here.

In the USA, more choose to educate children at home,
and in Belgium more parents home school.

Off to Monkton!

We're off to Monkton Wyld Court once again, this time for a long weekend with Alex Wildwood, Chris Johnstone and Jenni Horsfall. It will be another introduction to the Work That Reconnects, an empowerment approach developed by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, for those concerned about the condition of our world and who would like to strengthen their ability to respond. It will be about deepening feelings of connection with life, and opening up spiritual and psychological resources needed to face and respond to global issues. It will be an experiential exploration of how to use the energy of our emotional responses, reconnect with our passion and creativity. And most of all, it will be about catching up with Monkton friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Student's Prayer

Morning walk


This morning the cows were out in the field...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Schooling Nature

This is getting addictive.
Here's another one I made earlier!

My First Photo Story


Photos from the Home Educators Development Week in Monkton Wyld Court. It included a day trip to Lyme Regis and a workshop with representatives from Education Otherwise and Human Scale Education. There's a slightly longer version here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

News links

Happiness classes ‘depress pupils’
Children wear body armour school uniform
Report: School Shootings Prepare Students For the Real World
The university degrees that may add nothing to lifetime’s salary

Fun with Apples

We got some apples...

Cooked them in water with a little dark sugar, raisins, cinnamon and Port Wine...

Tried them like this...

And like this...

We've also had some dopiaza [a curry with tomato, onion and roasted cumin] with gluten free garlic and coriander naan bread.


Other than that, we've been up and down the REC early this morning and DJ is totally concentrated in his new media project.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Out and About Walking

Home Sweet Home






Salads: lettuce, tomatoes and onions & yellow pepper and celery
Vegetable Soup: potatoes, carrots, squash, onions, celery, garlic, olive oil and grated cheese. And for DJ, freshly squeezed orange juice and buckwheat pasta with green pesto, turkey and lettuce.

AS Support Group

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Home Education News

In Australia, school’s in at home as more parents opt out.

In the USA, home education has soared in recent years.
Check out the latest news from Seattle, Rochester, Chicago.

And finally, there's also news from South Africa.

Breakfast


Oats, water, a little organic vanilla flavoured soya milk, hemp seed oil, honey, and cinnamon.

LUNCH

Mixed salad: lettuce, carrot, celery, yellow pepper, sweet corn, avocado, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, seasoned with olive oil and white wine vinager.

Carrot, butternut squash and parsley soup.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Home Education News

Schools snubbed as more children learn at home
By Claire Marshall

HOME educating is a controversial life choice, but the number of parents deciding not to send their children to school has soared in recent years. Government research reveals that around 16,000 children in England were being educated at home last year, which showed a 39 per cent increase on the previous year. A group of mothers who meet in Cam twice a month explained why they made the decision to teach their children at home.

Paula Hopkins, of Cam, who set up the group for parents who home educate, has been teaching her two sons, now aged eight and 15, at home for the last three years. "We started looking for alternative education because my youngest son did not like school at all - he hated it and didn't want to go," said Paula. "We found out he was being bullied, which was very upsetting for the whole family. So I took them both out of school. I just wanted to give them a nice childhood where they are happy with the environment they learn in. Home education is a different way of life, it is a lifestyle choice. Some mothers say they can't wait for the summer holidays to end, but I love spending time with my family. We gave birth to them, we taught them how to walk and how to play. All of a sudden to stop that and put them into a different system is not natural."

Abbey Green, of Tetbury, decided to home educate her son when she found out he had Asperger's syndrome, a disorder which means children affected are usually very intelligent but can find social interaction and communication difficult. She looked around for alternative education, but couldn't find anything suitable. "School is about fitting the child to the system instead of finding a system that fits the child," said Abbey.

Critics of home education say that children who do not go to school and mix with other children have fewer social skills.

But Abbey responded: "I would not want my son to get the kind of social skills they learn in school. Home educated children do not get the same social skills as school children but they can interact with adults. Home education means you are socialised for life."

Diane, who did not want to give her full name, was a maths teacher in North Somerset before she pulled her son out of school and started home educating. "My child hated school, he was bored. Everyone makes you feel like you have to fit in at school," she said. Children are like sponges - you don't really need to teach them, just guide them."

Paula added: "What people should know is that there are thousands of children out there who do not like school and that is ok. We need to understand that we are all different. Home education doesn't suit everyone, but it does suit some of us."

If you would like to join the group or want more information contact Paula Hopkins on 01453 519287 or email simonpaula@hotmail.com.

New education guidelines called for [ATL The Teachers Union]