Thursday, 27 July 2017

Explore Learning Creative Writing Workshop!.

We went along to a creative writing workshop today, run by explore learning.

Explore Learning run drop in sessions (no booking needed) for their Maths, English and 11+ exam preparation sessions.

The great thing about Explore Learning is that they are voluntary OFSTEAD registered, which means if you are a single parent and work 16+ hours a week or you are a couple working 30+ hours a week, some of the tuition cost is covered by Working Tax Credits, they also offer a limited number of scholarship places which gives a 50% discount to parents receiving Income Support of Job Seekers Allowance in addition there are other various ways to get help funding the tuition sessions which you can find on their website.

Explore Learning have branches all over Greater Manchester and beyond right across the country in various towns and cities.

The twins really enjoyed the session today as it was very play based and both commented on how much they enjoyed it... I watched them in the session quite closely, the group was a small group of 7 children and the twins were the only ones home educated.

They took part joining in with the team work involved with great gusto and made their own considered contributions to the group.

This was the first time I have witnessed them in a formal school type class setting and they looked right at home, there was no shyness or trying to shrink into the background, they took lead roles within their group and were focussed throughout the session.

Once we got home I asked them what they thought about the session and they both said they loved it, in fact they loved it more than Badgers.

Badgers is the only other school type formal learning environment they have been in and have enjoyed going for the past few years, although parents are not allowed into any of the sessions so I have never witnessed how they get on in there.

I asked why they enjoyed it more than Badgers and they said it was fun playing the game, at Badgers it can get boring.

I was a little taken back by that because the only game I could see was a theme of an  animal detective and trying to get him home, this was brilliantly done, the game element was very subtle but obviously very powerful in it's delivery. It certainly made an impression on the twins.

I have looked across the web at some reviews and it seems they have a good reputation and get good results.

We have signed up to have a free session, so I will update on our verdict and let you know if we partake on a paid subscription.

I would love to hear what you think if you have used them or alternatively follow the link below to learn more!..

Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer Holiday Educational day trips

I hate School holidays as it get so busy everywhere you go, but I also love it for the amount of extra learning events that go on.

We usually slack off around July and enjoy ourselves without focusing on learning too much, but as we are very autonomous it is now inbred into the kids and they tend to spend most of their time naturally finding new topics and ways to learn every day, so it is hard to switch off but we go all out during August and take advantage of the myriad of learning opportunities that spring up to keep the school kids entertained during their long summer break.

Strangely enough we generally find that most of the events are lightly attended if they contain anything educational so we find them not too badly overcrowded.

I started to post a load of day trips with an educational slant onto the group page but there are so many that I decided to collate them all here in this blog post to keep them all in one place, this makes it easier for me to keep up with, you can also click through and get to the booking forms for each one and I will update the list as I become aware of other events, if you pop along to any and we are there and you see us, give us a wave....

July 2017 

 August 2017 
 September 2017

October 2017
November 2017

Monday, 10 July 2017

Writing practice!

I have been looking for some new creative ways to encourage the twins to write.

They are very good with their reading skills and have picked up a lot of the basics of recognising punctuation from the more advanced books they read.
We talk a lot about the structure of books and have learnt about the components of what makes up a book, from the front and back cover formats to the  introduction page and indexes etc and we do a lot of dictionary work to correct spelling or find alternative words and meanings.

Their knowledge is growing but their writing skills I feel are lacking as they are very reluctant to write at the moment, I am sure this is just down to a lack of confidence as the knowledge is there, so I have been looking for some creative ways to encourage them to put pen to paper more often.

I purchased the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book for them to have a look at the format of a journal which I am hoping will encourage them to start to write their own daily journal.

I also came across a website that enables the user to send postcards across the world called postcrossing which entails sending and receiving postcards.

We have also talked about writing to their favourite person and sending them a letter, Olivia picked the Queen and Oliver picked Dr Who.

I also found some writing prompts websites that are very useful when they decide they do not know what to write and have writers block, these are great to also give me ideas on what themes we can use whilst thinking of some creative writing ideas.

We have also played the game where one person says a word and writes it down and then the next person carries on and says a word to follow and then writes it next to the original word and so on and so forth taking turns creating a funny story.

I purchased a great board activity called Sentifix Sam at the Seaside to create sentences, the game helps the child by providing words on Multilinks and there are some great teaching ideas included.

I am looking for more great ideas that will allow the twins to write in an non-pressured way.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Book Of The Week The Magic Faraway Tree

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

We decided to read this book after a recommendation by Brian Cox that I found whilst looking for some good reading inspiration.

Joe, Beth and Frannie as they move to a new home next to an Enchanted Wood, follow Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy as they discover which new land is at the top of the Faraway Tree each day.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Book Of The Week The Chocolate Dog

This is a lovely little book and not one I would normally have picked, but Olivia insisted so we went with it and it was a nice little read.

It would be a great story to read to someone who was expecting a new brother or sister, this was a nice book with a few adventures.

Lots of navigating feelings around having a new sibling arriving from frustration at having to share a room to feeling left out and abandoned at having a birthday party disrupted, but it also investigates the support and understanding that is given to the little girl from family and friends by the parents giving the girls a last minute holiday before baby arrives and the family friend who arranges the birthday party as mum is hospitalised to give birth to the baby.

This story investigates the confused feelings surrounding becoming the middle child and no longer the youngest or the baby in the family along with growing up and becoming more independent by going away on camp without the family.

This is a nice book that does bring to the fore confusion about where a growing child in a family belongs and that sad feeling of not being wanted and the family efforts to ensure those feelings pass swiftly on.

Book Of The Week Wolven

Wolven by Di Toft

What can I say about this book apart from amazing.

We loved this book and although it has taken a little longer than a week to read we are also reading book 2 and 3 in the series.

With all the hoooowwwwlingly exciting adventures of Nat Carver and Woody in their quest to find out the truth and secrets of the Proteus project while evading shape shifters.

This had the kids gripped and their imaginations running wild. The language used in this book really challenged he kids and we stopped quite a lot to discuss what we had just read and what certain words mean, a great book to grip the kids attention with.

It contains plenty of silly humour and amusing verbal football, this was a fabulous read and one that had the kids getting their pyjamas on quick sharp and settling down asking for more.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Virtual Strangers, Family and adoption

I wasn't even going to publish this post, I was just going to do my usual and write it as my therapy. I usually put down on paper how I feel about something in a bare honest way, it helps me rationalise things, and gives me space to think and change my views on something. 

After all none of our ideas and opinions are fixed, they can change from one day to the next day, talking about things usually puts things in perspective, writing my thoughts and feelings down as if speaking to myself helps me to see what it is I am actually seeing and feeling and thinking. 

I don't usually post those writings but this one I felt was worth posting.

Someone made a comment on my post about using my experiences in life to help others in similar situations, I hadn't quite picked up which part of my past experiences she meant, I automatically thought about the abuse side of the story but it got me to think about the adoption side of the story and one that is very seldom heard.

Children who are removed from their family or common ancestral roots, for whatever reason, to be adopted into another family, to become a part of a common group of people, who are a unit of people, who all have that common ancestry, apart from the adopted child, is a complex issue and the effects of that on the adopted child when they become adults are very seldom recognised or understood.

Identity to anyone is an integral part of each and every one of our lives, who we are makes us, family is an essential ingredient to any identity.

Family as defined means all descendants of a common ancestor meaning the birth family and a second definition is parents and children living as one unit or a group, there are a few definitions of what is family, all this dictates how people learn important life skills and beliefs

The concept of family is often debated and you will often hear people voice the opinion that their friends serve as a better family than anyone who they are related to by blood.

Sociological imagination, defined as the ability to see the societal patterns that influence both the individual and groups of individuals. He believed that in order to understand the experience of a given person or group of people, it was necessary also to consider and understand the social and historical context in which they lived (Mills 1959). 

 A good book to read is  Sociology of Families by David M. Newman this book begins at the level of the individual by examining familiar contemporary issues ¾ topics students are likely to feel strongly about. David Newman and Liz Grauerholz next show students the deeper and more detailed sociological underpinnings of the issues at hand, using the theories and data of social sciences to understand the meaning and broader relevance of these controversies and experiences.

Back to my own experiences, adoption is something that has shaped me and my relationship to others, throughout my life, I have two birth sisters, both older, one I will call 'M', who I get on very well with or as well as can be expected for adopted sisters as far as I am concerned, she may have a different opinion and hate my guts, but as far as I know, we have a good relationship and I love her to bits, but in contrast the other which I will call 'I'...not so much.
The outcome from a strange random abusive posts attack on my facebook page by 'I', exclaiming that the name in use was not my name but her name and why was I using it, I obviously replied ' because it is on my birth certificate so I assume that makes it my name, this resulted in me blocking her from my facebook and in reality ultimately from my life.

Our common bond growing up was broken at a few months old when I was taken for adoption and moved many miles away to live life in another city, I never even knew she existed until I was in my late 20's, I never grew up longing for a sister I never knew because I had no idea she even existed and quite often I wish it could go back to that blissful ignorant state, as it is far less complicated emotionally than knowing you have a sister that you cannot bond with.

Some would think this was a sad situation for two sisters to fight like this and this being the result, but sadly we are only sisters in the definition of descendants of the common ancestor, everything else that makes us family has never existed and never will, that was removed when those adoption papers were signed.

She is a virtual stranger to me and I have only probably met her a handful of times in my entire life, there are no significant life events that have been shared between us, we have never spent a Christmas together, or birthdays, or holidays, or weddings, or births. 

The only event we shared was our mothers death and even then my sister had issues brewing all throughout the event, until we finally got to a point where we got back to getting on with our lives after the funeral, despite not agreeing on mum being on the the Liverpool care pathway (see here what it is apart from being horrific) that my sister put my mum on, I spoke to a nurse about getting her off it, but I was ignored as the sister had legal rights and say.

I handled all that by sitting back and letting the sister deal with it the way she wanted as none of that was of much importance to me, after the fact that my mum had just had her time on this earth shortened by a few people who didn't think her life was worth anything and therefore decided to starve her to death for two weeks. 

It would have been kinder if they treated her like a dog and gave her a lethal injection, moaning over small details of the funeral seemed a pointless exercise at this point, even down to the cremation which the sister insisted on, despite mum wanting a burial with her late husband, I just let it be and let the sister deal with it all, mum was gone, I was just there to say my goodbye's, I just made sure her ashes were scattered on her late husband's grave later on. 

So the only event I have ever shared with her, wasn't exactly  a good one.

I don't even know who her partner or husband is or even if she is married or if she is single.

I know she has two boys, but I know nothing about them, apart from one who I see on facebook, other than their facebook posts I know nothing about them or her, I have no idea if she works or does not, I have no idea who her best friend is or even where she lives other than a general area.

I don't even know her birthday other than she is ten years older than me, she holds no great significance or importance in my life in any way shape or form.

She has never been there in times of sorrow or times of joy, she is just there on the other end of my facebook, perched on the end of my facebook friends list and that is about as much as we have got.

If I email her to make a connection, the email usually goes ignored, resulting in me rarely wasting too much time even bothering writing a quick 'Hi how ya doing to her facebook.

It has become clear over the years that she has some kind of issue with me just by me walking on this Earth, just by breathing, I offend her for some reason. Sadly as she has never bothered to communicate those issues to me, other than chatting bubbles to other people behind my back, rather than to my face, she has just slowly become a person that I have very little in common with, other than the same birth mother, and from what I have experienced of her so far, she is not even someone I would choose to be friends with.

knowing she is my sister, doesn't add any advantage to my life, she is not a person I would call on for any advice or assistance in times of need, she is just there through fate of birth, an estranged sister, a casualty of the adoption concept. I lost all hope and knew long ago that our relationship would never be anything other than estranged sisters, I have come to terms with that and am happy to move forwards feeling happier I will have no more of these strange outburst on my facebook wall from this virtual stranger.

What the abuse and the adoption taught me about life is, that if someone wants to abuse you in any way, then there is nothing to stop you from walking away and cutting that person off, no matter who they are. 

Life is too short to get bogged down in other people's issues, especially issues that they alone can deal with, as most often that issue they are dealing with is about them and not about you.

You can only be responsible for yourself and your own life, making yourself miserable because someone else is, is not a great way to live.

Below are some links for support services for adults of adoption:-

After Adoption
Adoption Services for Adults

For further reading:-

Adoption books for adults


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Diversity in Childrens Books

One thing I hear a lot about is the lack of diverse books for children, I have written previously on the subject of diversity and my previous posts include Honest Books about slavery for children and Racism In Childrens Books.

The issue with diverse books for children is one that has been noticed and there are a few organisations trying to change that. A recent article by Huff Post entitled 'Tackling diversity in children's books 'highlights the National Deaf Children’s Society who work tirelessly to change the situation and the Guardians recent post regarding the All-white Carnegie medal longlist provokes anger from children's authors where some writers have called for a boycott of the awards.

There is a snowballing collection of voices gathering pace out there about the lack of diversity in children's literature, and initiatives are growing in the UK as it is in the USA, were there are grants available by organisation such as We Need Diverse Books who are offering $2500 Internship Grants, awarded to each of eleven diverse publishing and agency interns, this is now running into it's third successful year.

Initiatives in the UK such as the Megaphone based in Birmingham, is a new writer development scheme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers who want to write their first novel for children, there are a number of positive initiatives on the boil, along with the voices that have already spoken we are seeing movement in the right direction, publishers and a number of various organisations are taking calls to action, what we need are those talented writers of diverse literature to step forwards and start applying for some of the grants available such as those on the Whitefox website that provides an index of grants available to writers in UK and Ireland.

In the mean time while we wait for the plethora of talented writers to arrive here is a short list of places that offer a diverse range of children's books.

Letterbox Library - Letterbox Library is committed to celebrating equality and diversity in the very best children's books

Sweet Apple Books - Aims to publish high quality books that reflect the world we live in.

Fire Tree Books - Produce a range of books that feature children who are under-represented in books

Mirrors Windows Doors - Mirrors Windows Doors (MWD) is an online magazine whose aim is to draw attention to the riches of children’s and YA books from across the world that highlight cultural and multi-cultural diversity.

I hope this article has been helpful and you are either inspired to write a diverse child's book and apply for some of those grants available or it has helped you to open up your access to some of those diverse children's books, all be it not enough diversity as of yet, but watch this space, diversity in children's books is on the rise.

Religious Education

For our religious education we have started to visit different places of worship.

We recently visited a Mosque and a Sikh Temple and in the next few weeks we have visits planned to a Buddhist Temple, Synagogue and an Orthodox Church.

The work we will be doing is on a compare and contrast method, we will be looking at the start dates of the religions, the differences in what they believe, customs and traditions etc etc etc.

It is a nice introduction to world religions.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

How I manage work as a home educator.

The things that go in my favour to allow me to work from home is that I am a single parent so I have no partner to worry about and that I need very little sleep, also home educating makes life even easier in terms of time.

My working day can consist of many working hours combined with family living, some of our sourcing days come when we are out grocery shopping, we will nip into the local charity shops and kill two birds with one stone by searching for educational supplies and things for the kids as well as eBay stock.

We recently had a wonderful experience with one of the clients who had a 101 year old neighbour, whilst we were collecting the clients items to list on eBay on consignment, we had the great fortune to do a project with the neighbour and interview him about his life.

Most of my work  is done in an evening, I will list from around 7pm when the kids are starting to get ready for bed, they are at the age where they like to bath alone and sort their own pyjamas out so I get some free time to start my photography, once they are in bed at about 8:30 either reading or sleeping I have free reign until about 11pm to list what I have photographed. Once 11pm hits I can then start on the picking for dispatch. I usually end the day with some general tidying up and rearranging the stock in the stock room at around 1.30-2am so I know what I have to list the next day.

The morning will generally start around 7.30 or sometimes earlier if I have one of those usual insomnia nights and end up getting up around 5-6.30, where I check if there are any messages that need answering and start making sure things are ready for dispatch and printing labels.

The kids usually get up around 9:30 and we have breakfast together and clean up the kitchen for the day. We then make sure the postage is ready and head off to drop off the post, once back from post dropping they start on some Maths or English or whatever it is they have planned academically for the day, we all sit together and whilst I am doing some listing they work on their education for a couple of hours, usually I do very little listing and the kids get my full attention whilst helping them with their academics.

This is a typical day, but we have days where they have clubs to attend twice a week so whilst my planned day is a 14 hour working day 7 days a week with ebay this works well, as some days I do less hours due to other commitments but I never have to feel guilty for loosing a few hours of the 14 hour working day as some days I take a few hours off if they have a home education event to go to or we are meeting with friends, the way I work is very flexible. 

When we go to clients or sourcing it feels more of a social event than work and some days when I am sourcing online I manage to get other household things done or things done with the kids listening to the online auctions and paying attention when the item I want comes up, baking cake with the kids and listening to auctions is an interesting task.

My most intense time during the month is when I do the accounts for the clients at the end of the month, for three days I spend working on my Maine Bookkeeping clients accounts doing payroll and book keeping and then work on the Maine Trading Consignment accounts where I have to split the invoice and work out commissions and charges, these are time sensitive and require concentration and accuracy. Nothing can get in the way of those days, day trips and friend visits are avoided. Those are the only days that cannot be interrupted by outside events.

eBay has become more of a part of life, constantly sourcing and learning about business.

It works great for me because for both the book keeping clients and the eBay clients pick ups the kids come with me and working from home allows me to fit what I do during the day and night around the kids needs all whilst avoiding huge childcare bills.

Doing eBay is very social, you are not stuck behind a computer screen all day, the collections of stock from suppliers or customers or charity shops means a lot of time is spent socialising with people, there is always new people to meet and stories to hear and people to learn from, so it may seem to some as a very isolated kind of business to run but in fact is the very opposite.

Ideally I could do with a second pair of hands to do more listing as listing is the most essential part, without listing nothing gets sold and no money is made.

That should be one of my priorities this year, to get a second pair of hands to do some listing for a couple of hours each week.

I have started an ebay blog all about my ebay escapades so why not pop along there and see if you can get some handy tips on ebaying, ask questions and find out how you could fit an eBay business into your life to raise some extra cash.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Olympian Nicola White and Hockey .

Olivia was very excited to meet Nicloa White at her hockey practice.

Olivia has always been a fan of hockey and started to play with our local team last year.

This week the team had a visit from Nicola White the Olympian Hockey player.

Olivia managed to get her picture in the paper and they managed to get a fantastic shot of Olivia standing nearby Nicola White as she watched on giving the girls some Hockey advice.

The team had a fantastic write up in the local paper too which you can find by clicking on the picture below.

Monday, 13 February 2017

History meets Recycling

I am loving our new focus on history. The kids love history and it is constantly on our agenda, I have started to get them to look at history in a different way or more how it is connected to how we live today and how people will live in the future.

We had a great discussion whilst in the bath, about how we know about history and how many things we have looked at are the same in history but have changed, for example our theme for the past few years has been focusing on how people live, so we looked at how fashions have changed, ho toys have changed and how people's houses have changed and in addition what, in those houses have changed like lighting for instance from candles to bulbs.

We went back to some of the things we have seen and learnt about such as the nomads caves we went to look at and the Castles we have been too along with the museums we have attended. 

We talked about the theme of things changing and  I asked what was the common theme throughout the changes, and asked them to think about why those changes occurred.

We came up with the answer that things changed so that people's lives were made better, better housing, better ways to cook and our favourite example was how shampoo is bottled, instead of people walking from the shops with shampoo dripping through their fingers someone came up with a way to bottle shampoo to carry it away easily making it easy to transport shampoo.

We then discussed how these good changes can cause problems or discourse, for example although people have come up with ways to package things and make it easy for us with canned and packaged foods instead of having to go to a field for our food to harvest it ourselves, this in itself causes issues such as disposal of all that packaging.

I got them to think about it by using the example of the shampoo bottle and telling them that there are 45 million people in our country so imagine 45 million people each having one shampoo bottle, were does that go?. how big that mound of empty shampoo bottles would be, so people have had to come up with ways to recycle things. Then I asked them to think about each person in the world having one shampoo bottle each and how big that mound of shampoo bottles would be.

We looked at the bottom of the shampoo bottle and talked about the recycling sign on the bottom of the bottle.

We talked about mummies business and how it is based on recycling, by mummy selling items that people no longer need, they avoid going to landfill and lengthening their life by selling them to people that wanted to use them therefore helping to keep the environment slightly better off.

So we now have two trips planned from this conversation, one to a recycling centre, although they are aware of recycling centres anyway as we go to the local tip, a visit to a working demonstrable recycling centre will be excellent and  I do know of a couple of places that do educational visits which centre on non-recyclable waste that I can arrange a visit for.

When we were talking about fashion changing we realised that we have never attended a fashion museum, showing changes in fashion throughout the centuries, so that will be our second visit to plan, a fashion museum.

I set them a project to do in their own time over the coming months, I challenged them to come up with something made entirely out of recycled materials, this can be anything that is usable or decorative.

But the rules are they have to plan it first with diagrams and lists of materials needed. Using their own imagination or searching You Tube for websites for ideas.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

What does a 'full time' education actually mean?

The words 'must receive a full time education' is often banded about so easily with no thought into what it actually means.

The common meaning of a full time education in UK means 190 days in a state school institute commonly referred to as 12 hours per week per school term time. (much less for independent schools)

That equates to 5 days a week approximately 6 hours a day (9-3) spread over 190 prescribed days broken down into 6 week chunks.

How much education takes place in this time is debatable and has been at the core of many a discussion over the web with people pointing out that in those 6 hours, it is not actually all spent learning which the guidance of 12 hours per week term time takes into account.

There are movements between classrooms, registers, assemblies, class meetings, settling down classes before work begins, lunch and break times and of course teacher training days, strikes and days out.

So adjusting fairly and not debating the 12 hours a week term time 'full time' education guidance, which equates to 38 weeks and 456 hours per year, learning.

This works out for a home educator being on par with schools, at 1 hour per day, learning over 365 days of the year.

Upping the hours using the debate by removing 1 hour for lunch, and half hour for breaks and half hour for other eventualities mentioned above and reducing learning time to 4 hours per school day, broken down over a full school year of 190 days, this works out at approximately 760 hours of learning per year.

For a home educator being on par with schools using the debate, this would work out at approximately 2 hours per day of learning spread over a full year.

For many home educators this of course is absurd and many home educators spend an awful lot more time, each and every day, educating their kids. Some utilise this advantage and follow the curriculum for specific subjects and the rest of the time the kids learn what they want to learn in their own way and on their own terms, for some home educators, life 'is' learning and they learn all the time.

Realistically most of what the kids in the school system learn is learnt 'outside' the school walls (or security gates in most instances). For some within those school walls this 12 hours never transpires due to class disruption by not so engaged students.

For a more detailed breakdown and far more realistic than I have been, check out this 'time is precious' blog post, you will be even more enlightened...

Self Employment and the Home Educator

One question that comes up time and time again is how do home educators afford to home educate, in fact, many who do wish to become home educators, end up giving up the dream to home educate and end up leaving their very unhappy child in the mainstream system full of guilt and anger at the system damaging their child, all due to not being able to find a way to mix work and home educating.

In this time of tight control by the Government of trying to make sure people are lifted out of poverty with sanctions thrown out left, right and centre, with no thought for the family unit mental health or individual situation prescribed by their one size fits all approach.
If you are not working then you will be stung with their arbitrary regime of punishing you if you are not looking for, or in any work, the single parent is no exception to the rule and are subject to sanctions pushing you further into poverty if you do not comply.

Forget the worry of childcare and inadequate schooling and being forced to leave your child with a stranger in a world full of abusers and other daily struggles of doing a two person's job by yourself as a single parent, none of that matters, what does matter is that you are earning money for the economy to put into someone else's pocket with forced spending in the way of childcare, petrol or travel money and work uniforms, so that you end up skint anyway, but the Government can at least make sure your inadequate parenting skills are away from your child and the child is with a more competent government surrogate parent, aka school, that is until it all goes wrong and you get the blame anyway, particularly when the child fails their SATS and the child is stressed and depressed due to the amount of useless work the surrogate parent, has put on the child, to prove the surrogate is spending the money they are given by government wisely.....but that is a different story for another time.

Many home educating parents live in a two parent household, they juggle life between them, working to maintain the lifestyle and caring for the kids and overseeing the child's education, this is often together or on shifts, some are lucky to have helpful families and friends who support and facilitate in the children's education, some are doing the job alone.

I am one of those doing the job alone, and many home educating parents employment comes in the form of self employment.

There are lots of enterprising people out there who manage to get by using their imagination and a lot of hard work, mostly unsupported by this government.. There are a lot of people who survive on the little they earn through self employment, all be it supported by working Tax Credits, but no support to help them maintain and grow their small business, this is mainly due to the fact they are classed as lifestyle business and not a start-up or growth business, they are not taken seriously and do not garner the same support.

Which I find ironic and if you talk to many of those lifestyle business they will tell you their ambitions of growing their business and many actually do, and in adition they are learning, they do their accounts, advertising, sales, product research and development and they are paying the bills they need to pay to maintain their preferred lifestyle, they are building on their expertise to become rounded business people and more employable in the future, they are doing something for their hard earned working tax credits and small earning.

They lead simple life's, spending on necessities and keeping their meagre business afloat to enable them to keep home educating. so why then do the Government punish these people by removing their working tax credits or more increasingly denying universal credits due to them not earning enough. 

Home educating single parents are certainly working hard enough, so why force them to go onto Jobseekers to sit for 40 hours a week and look for a job they have no interest in and probably something that is brain dead work that will sap the life out of them.

Self-employment for a home educator is not an easy feat but is kept up with gusto to do what is right for their child and families to give them all a better future.

Sure there are easy ways, shove the kid in school and only have a limited input into their child's education and welfare, but some of us think that the yearly foreign holiday and posh car is not worth the sacrifice, so a simple financial life and lots of juggling financial choices is an alternative viable choice to make for many of us.

One thing this Government and a lot of people in the public sphere do is underestimate the dynamic spirit of the single parent.

Single parents have had a bad wrap for a long time, instead of being lauded for getting through a difficult time juggling childcare, family and everyday life, alone, they are subject to harsh criticism which has in the past attracted comments like lazy, bad for kids, irresponsible, not fit for the job, a scourge on society, that again is subject to another story, but these inspirational single parents work hard, they work very hard, far from being lazy and a scourge, they are educating the next generation encouraging a life long learner and in comparison to schools are doing a very good job.

The number of kids suffering depression and stress caused by the school system is increasing in rapid numbers, more test pressures put on teachers, and more and more of the human element seems to be missing from the educational institution, causing a generation of kids to be lost, more pressure but still more failure is screaming into your face that something is not working. But no, they continue on their course to pile on the pressure and even worse results.

Our local school demonstrated their failure by a whole year failing to gain even a grade c read (here), Oldham itself has been nominated the acclaimed title of being the third worst place in the country for failing schools (read here).

For those taking a stand and want better and different for their kids, these people should be supported and encouraged instead of demonised and punished.

Self employed home educators are dynamic and they are doing something about the dire education situation and taking matters into their own hands, because this Government is clearly incapable of sorting out the dire educational situation, other than further monetising it to earn as much profit out of it as possible, while ignoring the collateral damage being done to the children they are supposed to be educating.

The law states 'children must be educated in school or otherwise' and as long as parents are prepared to take the education into their own hands, this should be supported, and those self employed people working hard to ensure their kids get the education they deserve, should not be punished and penalised for picking up the slack on a failing education system.

The irony is that each school place costs the government on average for all authorities across England is £4,550.54 per-pupil, so those that are self employed and home educating are already saving the government this amount of money, in my case x2 as home educating is not funded by the government in any way, educational supplies and exams are funded solely by the home educating family.

Looking at a way to re-distribute that money that is saved by Governments though parents home educating rather than punishing self employed home educators,  may be a better way to go than punishments of sanctions and forced brain dead employment..

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Centre for Personalised Education - Alternative Educational Futures LEX Conference
Centre for Personalised Education are holding an - Alternative Educational Futures LEX Conference in March.

There are some great speakers booked and although I do not usually attend events like this, I may actually go to this one.

I love home education, I love the workings of home education, so it is always good to learn more about alternative education.

I  have often found it hard to understand why home education gets attacked so negatively,  so often, other than the fact that people do not like individualism in this country. Everything has to be controlled, anything that is not understood is dismissed as being odd or weird or not right and has to be guided by a higher power, those are the usual judgements of the ignorant who actually have no clue what it is all about but just like to judge anyway.

Personalised education does not make mass education look any worse than it is, personalised education is not an attack on main stream education, it is just a different alternative way of doing it.

I often laugh when I see negative comments coming from the masses regarding the inferiority of home education with socialisation and the quality of education being the most talked about subject when it come to home education, rarely is it the content of the education being discussed.

Most of these people who are negatively commenting on something they know nothing about have terrible writing skills (worse than mine) that  they learnt in school, the majority of them have jobs that they need no exams to be able to carry out, if in work at all, after all it is not the home educating community that are having campaigns to befriend people due to loneliness, they already befriend people throughout their varied interesting daily lives whilst home educating, instead of being confined to four walls being forced to mix with the segregated same age and ability groups, day in and day out, all whilst juggling innovative business ideas to keep them employed.

I often wonder why conferences like these are not more packed out by these outspoken vocal opponents of alternative education to find out more about it.

'The Centre for Personalised Education – Personalised Education Now seeks to promote educational ‘alternatives for everybody, all of the time’ through a diverse, funded Personalised Educational Landscape'.

This I am surprised is not already taken up more by our Government instead of them attacking it, being in a progressive society includes moving education forwards to a new level and coming up with great new ways to educate the masses. The level of unemployment and lack of a innovative workforce which industry leaders are screaming out about, with more and more people turning away from mass education in this country, should be a good indicator that the current 'mass eduction for all' is failing, it is failing to inspire and excite a huge group of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Even Mark Zuckerberg is a great advocate of personalised learning and Sal Khan the creator of Khan Academy is a great advocates and both have demonstrated perfectly what the power of personalised learning can do.

Personalised learning to me, is something to be excited about, and I am all for those trying to get personalised learning initiatives funded by our Government and Industry, and let it be seen for what it is, not something to fear and regulate the death out of, but something to support and help innovate and become more accessible for our future generations..

To find out more about this years Centre for personalised education Conference and to book a place click on the eventbrite link below.