Saturday, March 31, 2007

DJ's Website

DJ has been changing and updating his website again. A lot has been deleted and now there's a new Videos-Page and another page dedicated solely to Medieval II Total War Kingdoms Expansion Pack! There's also a couple of new entries on his blog.

Schools & EHE

Thanks to Fiona for the following, from a side column on TES (p.20 Fri 30th Mar 2007) entitled "The Truth about Learning with Mother"

" q.5 Do schools encourage home-education ?

There are anecdotal reports that some schools and councils have suggested this to parents of problem children in order to reduce exclusion and truancy figures. As a short cut, some schools have been known to hand out home-education agreement slips that parents can fill in and return to the school "

Well, I know of a mother of a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome who, a few months ago, was told about Education Otherwise and informed about Home Education by the LA's Educational Welfare Officer. The boy had been having difficulties at school - as a lot of aspies do! He had been at home for some time but was still registered with the school...

News Links
Home Educators Are NOT Abusers

Have your say about 35,000 lost to schooling, or read some of the responses here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A poem

I Took His Hand And Followed

My dishes went unwashed today
I didn't make my bed
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.

Oh yes, we went adventuring
My little child and I
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the sun and sky.

We watched a robin feed her young
We climbed a sunlit hill
Saw cloud sheep scamper through the sky
We plucked a daffodil.

That my house was so neglected
That I didn't brush the stairs
In twenty years no one on earth
Will know or even care.

But that I've helped my little child
To noble adulthood grow
In twenty years the whole wide world
May look and see and know.

Author unknown
Thanks to Janet for posting this!

News & Resources

Class of One
35,000 lost to schooling
Home teaching truancy scam claim
Confessions of a private tutor
Respected teacher was internet pervert

Spotting tomorrow's criminals in today's pushchairs

Educational Freeware

Timez Attack - Learn Multiplication
Celestia - Space Simulation
Program Interactive 3D Graphics

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

News & Links

On the News
Children 'may face criminal checks'
A plan to introduce compulsory checks on children to discover whether they are at risk of turning into criminals has been condemned. "I do not know what purpose this will serve. It is very difficult to see what further schools can do without simply labelling children as potential criminals, which is, in effect, criminalising them."

Today's Links

Free learning resources
The Organic Rebellion

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Dad's been here today, chatting with DJ. They've been talking about:

Possible Iron Age Defences at Minchinhampton and Rodborough nr Stroud - includes unrecorded possible ditches / ramparts visible on ground

Beckford's Tower - William Beckford

Civil War and the Battle of Landsdown 1643

How bureaucracy is a form of social control

How the history of England is largely the history of class struggle.

Social Philosophy: Durkheim, Weber; Engels; Hobbes

Later on we watched a documentary about the Macedonians and learned about Philip II 359-336 BC and Alexander III (the Great) 336-323 BC. Click here for a time-line tracing Alexander's conquests on an animated map.

Today's Quotes
It is not wisdom but Authority that makes a law. - Hobbes

The state is nothing but an instrument of oppression of one class by another - no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy. - Engels

Today's Link
Home-education debate

On The News

School bullies 'demand sex favours'
Bullying 'hidden to save reputations of schools'

Monday, March 26, 2007


Science: Perceiving Light
Geography: The UK Explained
History: Tudor England
Henry VIII: The Tudor Legacy

Slavery Links

Abolition Acts
Slavery Timeline
Slavery Bicentenary
Slavery and abolition
Abolition of the Slave Trade
Origins of the abolition movement
Thank you to Sue O for posting these


"From the human rights viewpoint, education is an end in itself rather than merely a means for achieving other ends. When economists define education as efficient production of human capital and classify all its human rights dimensions as externalities, the resulting image of people as human capital obviously clashes against people as subjects of rights.

The objective of getting all school-aged children to school and keeping them there till they attain the minimum defined in compulsory education is routinely used in the sector of education, but this objective does not necessarily conform to human rights requirements. The core human rights standards for education include respect of freedom. The respect of parents' freedom to educate their children according to their vision of what education should be has been part of international human rights standards since their very emergence."

Katarina Tomasevski
The Right to Education

Thanks to Leslie and Neil from AHED for posting these...

On the news

School bullies targeting children with special needs
"Evidence has emerged of threats made to special needs children. Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the Children's Commissioner, wrote that some vulnerable children had been driven to the brink of suicide. "There are especially appalling stories: children with Asperger's syndrome and autism who are isolated deliberately." A separate survey of more than 100 families for the NAS has shown that 38% of autistic children suffered bullying at school."

Too much of a good thing

Edward Pearce commenting on criminalising teenagers who leave school ahead of the prescribed leaving age of 18: "You can take a horse to the water but you cannot make him drink. The green paper gives due notice to the horse of the future that if he does not drink at the time and place specified by ministers, he will be put under a Drinking Order to attend the water trough, and failure to drink may be met by criminal sanctions."

Today's Links

What's Wrong with Homeschooling?
Adding insult to injury
Samuel Butler's Erewhon

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Teenagers Needs

We had a lovely chat yesterday about sleeping patterns. Falling asleep was never easy for DJ and lately he has turned into a real owl. So, at some point during our conversation, I asked, NVC-style:

"What need of yours is being met by staying up all night?"

"My need for excitement, the excitement of doing something I'm not supposed to do."

"Oh, yeah, I can understand that. I remember trying my first cigarette when I was about your age. Gosh, it made me feel sick!"

"See? And smoking is much more dangerous than staying up all night!"

Do you remember that? Being a teenager? Needing autonomy, independence, privacy, space? Needing stimulation, needing to be trusted and accepted right the way you are? Needing the freedom to make your own choices and learn from their results? Do you remember how it felt when you didn't get these needs met? And how it affected your relationship with your parents?

Today's Quotes
So strong is our need to protect our autonomy, that if we see that someone has this single-mindedness of purpose, if they are acting like they think that they know what’s best for us and are not leaving it to us to make the choice of how we behave, it stimulates our resistance.

I’ll be forever grateful to my children for educating me about the limitations of the objective of getting other people to do what you want. They taught me that, first of all, I couldn’t make them do what I want. I couldn’t make them do anything. Now, that was quite a humbling lesson for me as a parent, to learn about my powerlessness, because somewhere I had gotten it into my mind that it was the job of a parent to make a child behave.

They taught me that any use of coercion on my part would invariably create resistance on their part, which could lead to an adversarial quality in the connection between us. I don’t want to have that quality of connection with any human being, but especially not with my children, those human beings that I’m closest to and taking responsibility for.

Marshall Rosenberg
You can read more here.

Today's Links
All Parents are Home Educators!
Centre for Innovation in Mathematics

On The News
Faith fuels home education boom
Amputation after art class burns
Explosion at school chemistry lab

Saturday, March 24, 2007

News & Links

Home schooling

'Education Asbos' for under-18s "The Government appears to want it both ways: voluntary involvement in education and training post-16 but being criminalised if you don't take part"

Photo: last week in Exmoor
Today we've been looking at Non-verbal Communication and Interpersonal Communications.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I've just received this through the post - marking the end of an online course done at home, sweet home!!!

I like what it says at the bottom: "May my study and practice, like the sun, eliminate the darkness of ignorance of all living beings."

Bits & Bobs

Art: Yesterday DJ announced he was going to paint a white canvas in white paint, call it 'Emptiness' and sell it for loads of money. Unfortunately someone thought of it first - different title though! Here's Pedro Guimaraes' 'Branco02' - 'White02'

Science: Last night we looked at climate change and learned about alternatives to the carbon dioxide theory - some scientists believe that global warming might be better explained as the effect of cosmic radiation and solar activity.

ICT: DJ told me all about IRFANView and showed me how to use it.

Today's Links

The Principle and Practice of Compulsion in Education

Staying in education and training post-16 "This Green Paper sets out proposals to require all young people to remain in education or training until their 18th birthday, from 2013. (...)Introducing compulsion could be the way..."

The same is happening in the United States, where Legislators Attempt to Raise Compulsory Attendance Age

Today's Quote
"If the colleges were better, if they really had it, you would need to get the police at the gates to keep order in the inrushing multitude. See in college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving the natural method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting that you shall learn what you have no taste or capacity for. The college, which should be a place of delightful labour, is made odious and unhealthy, and the young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits. I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Yesterday we learned about the Shaolin, warrior monks, Zen Buddhism, and stuff like that. Too many visitors today! Chatting and socialising is absolutely exhausting! It can also be very enlightening. JC talked about his experience of the WW2 - he was around DJ's age at the time...

On the News
Learning drop-outs could be fined "Teenagers who drop out of school at 16 and refuse any further education will face fines or prosecution under new plans to raise the leaving age."

Criminalising drop-outs 'wrong'
"Criminalising youngsters who fail to stay on in education or training until they reach the age of 18 is the wrong approach, say teaching unions."

Child 'judges' to sentence peers "Nacro chief executive Paul Cavadino said: Being judged by other young people can have a far more positive and long-lasting effect than feeling targeted by the authorities."

Mahatma Gandhi stated, "Every action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral." He also said: "Coercion cannot but result in chaos in the end....One who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman...."

Today's Quotes
Is it a right or a duty in society to take care of their infant members in opposition to the will of the parent? How far does this right and duty extend? --to guard the life of the infant, his property, his instruction, his morals? ... we draw a line, but where? --public sentiment does not seem to have traced it precisely... It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation* and education of the infant against the will of the father... What is proposed... is to remove the objection of expense, by offering education gratis, and to strengthen parental excitement by the disfranchisement of his child while uneducated... If we do not force instruction, let us at least strengthen the motives to receive it when offered. - Thomas Jefferson

(*asportation means removal, and disfranchisement means deprivation of privileges of citizenship - I just learned that!)

It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. - Albert Einstein

Today's Links
Art Pad
My Wonderful World

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive evil thing. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary.

Inwardly we are whirlpools of misery and mischief and therefore to be regarded outwardly as a great figure is satisfying. This craving for position, for prestige, for power, to be recognised by society as being outstanding in some way, is a wish to dominate others, and this wish to dominate is a form of aggression.

Living in such a corrupt, stupid society as we do, with the competitive education we receive which engenders fear, we are all burdened with fears of some kind, and fear is a dreadful thing which warps, twists and dulls our days.

from Freedom From The Known

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Science: We've now finished Cosmic Time: we learned about tiny particles called muons and heard about Einstein's theory of relativity, how black holes make it seem like time has stopped, the possibility of time travel, the evolution of the Universe, the Big Bang, etc.

Cookery and History: DJ cooked some spaghetti and spent lots of time exploring the Middle Ages e.g. how to better defend castles, how to build a strong economy, and so on.

Friends & Jobs: We had a visit from our friend J who needed help filling in a job application form. DJ was around and seemed interested in the procedure. All in all, a good introduction to the things people do to get a job!

PSHE: Other than that we've been talking about motivation and will and about taking care of ourselves, and I've been busy translating from English to Portuguese - in fact, it might become my new hobby!

Government Reply

"The Government respects the rights of parents who choose to educate their children at home. Local authorities have a limited scope for intervention if it appears to them that a child in their area is not receiving a suitable education. We do not believe it is unfair for local authorities to scrutinise the quality of provision when legitimate concerns are raised. This should be done sensitively, and recognise that home educators do not have to follow the National Curriculum and have a broad discretion as to how and when education takes place."
Read the HErights - epetition response here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Petition

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to grant home educators the right to sit exams in local schools as independent students. Home educators find it very difficult to find places for their children to sit exams. They should have the right to enter their child at a local school for the purpose of sitting an exam as an independent student. Sign It Here

On the News
Blair backs individual learning
Fear centre 'shrinks' in autism

Sunday, March 18, 2007


It has been a busy weekend for both of us. After some reluctance DJ went off to Stroud to spend a few days with his Dad and Granny while I headed off to Exmoor to spend some time exploring common interests with like-minded people. DJ liked the people he met, went for walks and helped out in Dad's garden - he's absolutely exhausted!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Another Petition

E-petition: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Create more state funded Steiner Waldorf Schools in the UK. Steiner Waldorf schools have been in existence for around 100 years. Other countries with noted education achievements have these schools as state funded. Diversity and choice should be under parental jurisdiction where their children's education is concerned and not subject to financial status alone. Steiner Waldorf schools have been the subject of a government research document and the findings were positive. This education system has an outcome of social reform which is much needed and never more so than now. Our government can do something positive for education and create more schools of this kind. These are not faith schools but offer access to children of any faith/denomination.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


We came across the notion of 'educational abuse' some time ago and had an interesting discussion around this. DJ's immediate reaction was that "School is a form of educational abuse, not home-education!" I remembered Prof. MacBeath telling journalists, in School inclusion 'can be abuse', that "Physically sitting in a classroom is not inclusion. You might call it a form of abuse, in a sense, that those children are in a situation that's totally inappropriate for them." DJ smiled and continued: "This cold is 'healthly-abusing' my body!"

Anyway, personal financial educational continues! We went to the bank and got the application form in so DJ is now anxiously waiting for his card! He also got a couple of games he had been wanting for quite a while.

On the way back we got talking about the power of thought and how everything we do starts up that way, as a little thought, often as a wish or, in other words, a 'wanting-thought' - and how these are the things which motivate us into action. And where do 'wanting-thought' come from? Well, for us, 'free from peer-pressure aspies' who couldn't care less about 'keeping up with the Joneses', it comes directly from our conscious or unconscious needs. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be consciously aware of the needs that are driving us into action are freer in the sense that we can come up with different strategies to fulfil them. However, that requires an advanced level of self-awareness - which we are working on... For example, if DJ gets fixated on something, I might ask him what need of his is being fulfilled by that 'something' - so far he has always been fully aware of that - and then 'in what other ways might that specific need be fulfilled'. This is where the fun really begins, as we need to engage our creative, inventive minds.

Another little chat we had, prompted by Lucy and Allie, was about success. I said something like 'If you had achieved something that someone else - your parents, your teachers, the government, society, etc - had decided for you, based on their views on what's best for you, would that make you a success?' to which DJ promptly replied 'No, it would just mean that I would have done something somebody else wanted me to do.' That got us trying to clarify our own definition of success, and although this is still 'work in progress', we've at least decided on some of its absolutely essential defining characteristics - self-determination and autonomy! For us, success implies the freedom to choose our own goals, the freedom to choose which path to follow in order to achieve them, and an awareness that there is a multitude of equally valid goals to choose from.

What else? Last night we enjoyed The Grumpy Guide to Art and found it a fun introduction to art movements like the pre-raphaelites, surrealism, cubism, and abstract expressionism. We also got some good tips on talking art bollocks!

Home-Ed On The News
Why we didn't send our children to school
"Earlier this week Education Editor Abbie Wightwick revealed that the Welsh Assembly Government may monitor home education more closely. Here parents tell her why they decided against sending their children to school."

Today's Link: Read It Swap It

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bits & Bobs

Science: the ongoing fascination with TIME continues, now with Dr.Michio Kaku's Cosmic Time.

Personal Financial Education: DJ wants a Solo card so he can subscribe to WOW online so we've been looking at children's accounts, their interest rates, and at an application form for a Card Plus Account.

Last night we watched Horizon: My Pet Dinosaur which gave DJ an insight into the work of paleontologists.

I've been updating and including some new videos on the Raising Aspies! site - if you're interested you can watch them here.

News & Links

Is your baby playing with its toes yet? If not the government wants to know why

"Babies will be assessed on their gurgling, babbling and toe-playing abilities when they are a few months old under a legally enforced national curriculum for children from birth to five published by the government yesterday.

Margaret Morrissey of the NCPTA said: "I think it's really sad that we have reached the point now where instead of reducing children's stress we have increased it...

Anne McIntosh, shadow minister for children, condemned the framework as "formalised learning for very small children" that risked damaging youngsters' development. She said: "It is inappropriate to have such detailed inspection of children this young. These new targets mark an unprecedented supervision of children from birth to primary school, and I do not think that they are necessary or will work. Every child is different and develops at different stages in different ways."

Today's Links
Some perspectives on home educated children

Educational Psychologists & Home-Education
Thanks to AHEd for these links.

My Child

poem by Vanessa Shields

My child will know that he is capable of teaching himself and that I have complete confidence in his self-teaching abilities.

My child will know that he will not be ridiculed for wanting to learn something deemed too advanced for him.

My child's unique and individual style of learning will be honoured.

My child will know the importance of free time. My child will know the importance of FUN.

My child will know that learning is fun.

My child will be respected as an individual.

My child will be allowed to explore his own interests.

My child will see and hear the lessons, not just read about them.

My child will know that life is not about what grades he received.

My child will not be forced to wear a uniform.

My child will be allowed to read books, even if they are not for his age group.

My child will not be forced to associate only with children his age.

My child will learn to think, not what to think.

My child will be allowed to express him opinions even if they go against my beliefs.

My child will be allowed to learn how to structure himself when he is ready.

My child will be allowed to form his own interests without having them based out of peer pressure.

Thanks Andrea for posting this on the HE-SPECIAL-UK mailing list.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


"Students are taught, through the process of schooling, to be conformist, unimaginative, docile, and a great many other things that are by and large considered virtues in the working world. Stay this way and you may never feel good about yourself, but you will be congratulated by authority figures for the rest of your life."

"In Hebrew there is one word for both “education” and “chastisement.” The powerful men of the ancient world were rather clear about what schooling entailed. Today it is of the utmost importance to conceal the role of schooling in society. Submission to authority is always the goal of schooling. The power wielded by authorities–the power to reward and punish, to habituate the individual to desired patterns of thought and action–works to integrate the individual into a hierarchical social order."

As seen here

On The News: Home educators face increased scrutiny

Today's Video The Great Global Warming Swindle

Monday, March 12, 2007


Earlier today DJ enjoyed finding out more about The Total War Story. He really enjoys the games and has learned lots from them!

In the afternoon we've been exploring the Spartans with Ancient Warriors: The Spartans, which you can watch here. The film 'follows the training and education of a typical Spartan male.' We learned how, in the 5th century BC, the entire Spartan nation lived like an army and soldiers were prepared for war since birth. Infants were examined by elders and if they weren't healthy they were abandoned and left to die. At seven children went to state school, where they would be trained to obey commands well.

Plato wrote, in The Republic: "In Sparta, an ancient model for modern totalitarianism, the state was organized as one vast military camp, and the children were seized by the state and educated in barracks to the ideal of state obedience. Sparta early realized the logical, inevitable end result of a compulsory education system."

So it seems that from the very beginning state education was really about conformity, which took me back to John Gatto: "Society in Sparta was organized around the concept of cradle-to-grave formal training. (...) Spartan ideas of management came to American consciousness...through interest in the German military state of Prussia, which consciously modelled itself after Sparta. As the 19th century entered its final decades American university training came to follow the Prussian/Spartan model. Service to business and the political state became the most important reason for college and university existence after 1910. No longer was college primarily about developing mind and character in the young. Instead, it was about moulding those things as instruments for use by others."

Did you know it's Veggie Month?
Here's what you need to know about meat!

On the News Pupil restraint policy challenged

Today's Links
Toward the Destruction of Schooling
Perspectives on Sudbury Education
Shut Up, Kids!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Petition & News Links

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Allow home educators to be free from the interference of Local Education Authorities. As home educators we believe our children thrive without the constraints of rigid schooling and national curriculum. We have, for many years faced unfair scrutiny from the education authorities and social services. We believe the way we educate our children is the best for our children." - Sign it here.

Home-Ed On The News
A Life in the Day
Home Education

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thoughts & News

I was just thinking what a wonderful week it has been. I loved the Home Education Week at Monkton Wyld and found it really inspiring! It was just great to have a break from cooking and housework! I would love to see something similar happening for HE SEN families - more specifically a weekend gathering for aspies' HE families... Ann Fahey was open to the idea and we talked about practicalities such as finding out whether there is an interest out there and funding possibilities.

On the funding theme - before I left to Monkton I had posted a funding application for the local Aspies Parents Group and yesterday I found out we were successful! It was great news because now we'll be able to hire a room (rather than meet at each others houses) and let more people know about us - the idea is to strengthen the day time group and start an evening one for working parents...

I'm also excited about the possibility of becoming part of the Berzin Archives translating team and looking forward to another Buddhafield Weekend soon. Life is vibrant and inspiring at the moment!

Home-Ed On The Radio - listen to the interview here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Earth & Design

Geography - Tectonic processes: watched half of The Living Machine, a documentary covering tectonic plate boundaries, continental drift, volcanoes, etc

We enjoyed learning that in 1650 an archbishop called James Ussher calculated, "by assigning exact periods to the succession of events in the Old Testament, that God began his hectic week of creation on the morning of Sunday, October 23rd, 4004 BC" - so that the Earth was thought to be 6000 years old until James Hutton in Edinburgh put forward an alternative explanation around 1790s.

We also learned that Alfred Wegener, the chief proponent of the continental drift theory, in 1920, was the first to use the word Pangea. DJ was quick to let me know that he already knew the word Pangea from his Civilisation IV game! Afterwards, he spent some time explaining the difference between geographic north pole and the magnetic pole!

D&T: The Grumpy Guide to Design gave us a good introduction to the world of design; to movements like Classicism, Art Deco, Modernism, Post-modernism, Neo-modernism; and famous people like Le Corbusier. The programme also considered how designer culture affects our every-day living.

Dance Mat Typing
Cosmic Blobs - 3D software 4 kids

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reading - Gatto

Reading at Monkton Wyld: DJ read 1001 Animal Quacker Jokes by Jasmine Birtles and The New World Order by Ben Jeapes.

I read Krishnamurti's Freedom From The Known - great book! - and bought Dumbing Us Down, The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto, which I'm looking forward to read properly. Here are some random bits:

"Discovering meaning for yourself as well as discovering satisfying purpose for yourself, is a big part of what education is. How this can be done by locking children (in schools) away from the world is beyond me."

"The absurdity of defining education as an economic good becomes clear if we ask ourselves what is gained by perceiving education as a way to enhance even further the runaway consumption that threatens the earth, the air, and the water of our planet? Should we continue to teach people that they can buy happiness in the face of a tidal wave of evidence that they cannot? Shall we ignore that drug addiction, alcoholism, teenage suicide, divorce, and other despairs are pathologies of the prosperous much more than they are of the poor?"

"Whatever education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important: how to live and how to die."

Trip to Lyme Regis

Tuesday we went to Lyme Regis - it was a lovely day and the plan was to walk from Monkton to Lyme Regis. We cheated! Instead of the 3 mile walk we drove down a little later - and missed all the mud!

Looking down the pier, DJ spotted 'Britain-rock' - can you see it?

Home-Ed Week

Home Educators Family Week at Monkton Wyld Court
Welcome & Timetable

Don't you just love the countryside?!

10am Morning gatherings - after breakfast

Monkton's Organic vegetable garden

We stayed outside the main house in 2 adjacent rooms

This is how it looked inside

Outside the Main Building - Tye-Dyeing (I think!)

Play Time!

Workshop with Fiona Carnie, from Human Scale Education

More arts activities with Ann Fahey

Chilling out & socialising in the dining room

Bonfire: toasted marshmallows & sing-along

I'm Back!

I'm back and catching up with the latest news!

Home Ed Bring and Buy
Home-Ed petition on Downing St. website
Government to intervene in Home Education?
Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream
by Patrick Basham, Cato Institute
OU Open Learn
OfBugger: Ofstead News

On The News
We All Taught Our Children At Home
Home-Schooling Soars As More Pupils Opt Out
Time to face the truth about home schooling
Women's unpaid work: some statistics
How to clone a biometric passport while it's still in the bag

Lone parents face cut in benefit if they refuse to go to work
Pros and cons of the children's database

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tech & Quotes

Yesterday we learned about new developments in technology - just check out this Digital Table!

Today's Quotes
"We are students of words; we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Compulsory school is sometimes referred to as a necessary evil since there appears to be no other place or method for children to learn and grow in modern society. Since World War Two we have, through law and custom, increasingly made school the center of our children's lives, turning school into their entire world and fueling their belief that if they fail in school they will fail in later life. The past thirty years have seen a marked increase in the drugging of children in our schools to make them more compliant to compulsory schooling: Ritalin, Prozac, and Lithium are commonly dispensed to children of all ages in America in order to help them cope with the social and academic life of school. Further, the increase in violence at schools is a vivid reminder that not all children are content with the social life of school or with the type of future school prepares them for. Educators and politicians often cite video games, the availability of guns, and poor parenting as the reason these acts of violence take place and they fund programs to address these issues. However these short-sighted fixes completely overlook the perpetrators choice of targets and clearly stated reasons - their hatred of school and its social castes - and thus obscure the real issue that needs to be addressed: how do we help children learn and grow when they are not doing so in school? I am not proposing that these children be homeschooled, but that we look at homeschooling for ideas of other places for children to be besides school." Patrick Farenga

Friday, March 02, 2007

On the news

2007 German horror tale
"Earlier this month, a German teenager was forcibly taken from her parents and imprisoned in a psychiatric ward. Her crime? She is being home-schooled."

Pros and cons of the children's database
"In December, Education Otherwise, the home education support charity, submitted a response to the DfES on the information sharing index. Parents are being told the database is necessary to protect children, yet IT professionals say the database cannot be made safe from abuse. Frontline staff working to protect vulnerable children have also expressed disbelief that investing hundreds of millions in IT can be the best way to safeguard children. The government's own information commissioner has issued a detailed report advising extreme caution in proceeding with the database. (...) The thought that half a million practitioners in health, education, social services, youth work and IT might have access to detailed information about the nation's children is a cause of grave concern to thousands of home-educating parents." by Fiona Nicholson, Education Otherwise, Sheffield

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I'm looking forward to spend another week at Monkton Wyld Court - this time for the Home Educators Family Week... Actually I'm having mixed feelings. When I remember DJs resistance to going out and joining in group activities - plus other people's reactions - I feel tense.

I need to remember to take each moment as it comes and that I can deal with whatever happens. I've decided to take it really easy and give myself plenty of relaxation time: hot bath with lavender oil, relaxing music, quiet times... feeling a bit better already!

"You can not give to your child until you give to yourself." - Cheri Huber

Now, what have we been up to?

A bit of geography, watching Volcanoes and revising volcano types: composite volcanoes, shield volcanoes, dome volcanoes and ash volcanoes, and so on...

Watched Their Future In your Hands, a short video introducing the issue of animal rights, "suitable for use in English, Citizenship, PSHE and RE at KS3, KS4 and Sixth Form."

History: The Inquisition - 2nd half of the 19th Century; the situation of Italian Jews in Bologna: for 300 years they were banished by the Catholic Church - confined to ghettos, forced to identify themselves by yellow bonnets, forbidden to own property, to travel freely, to mix with Catholics or to attend University. The taking of Jewish children by the church was common occurrence. The Pope rules as king of the Papal States and his laws were enforced by the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Napoleon occupies Madrid in 1808 and abolishes the Spanish Inquisition. Between 1547 and 1699, out of 85,000 people accused of heresy, more than 20,000 were burned at the stake! Goya and Galileo... "In 1908 the name of The Holy Office of The Inquisition is changed to The Congregation For The Doctrine Of the Faith. The Vatican refuses to recognise the legitimacy of Italy as a country until 1929. In 2005 the Head of The Congregation For The Doctrine Of the Faith is elected Pope. He takes the name Benedict XVI."

PSHE: We've been talking about respect and consideration for others as empathy; as a way of seeing. This definition of respect comes up in the book I'm reading at the moment:

"The core meaning of the word respect is to look. But to look at what? We propose that to respect another person is to look at what they are experiencing - in particular, to look (...) to their present feelings and needs." - from Respectful Parents Respectful Kids

Interesting perspective... however, considering that aspies struggle with recognizing and feeling the emotions of others, no wonder they're likely to act in ways that don't take those emotions into account - and no wonder they tend to be perceived as disrespectful! On the other hand, if NTs were truly able to "put themselves into aspies' shoes" they wouldn't interpret their actions as lack of consideration or rudeness. Rather, they would understand the missing information and offer it explicitly e.g. by expressing clearly how they're feeling and requesting a specific action... or something like that...