Friday, 16 March 2018

Chess and Fibonacci Numbers

Oliver started at his new chess club 3C's, what a fabulous club. I was a little worried about Olivia getting bored but she was far from bored as she sat and joined in a conversation about maths and was struck by Fibonacci Numbers and Da Vinci.

Wherever you find a chess board you find people with fabulous ideas and a gentleman named Carl who I was nattering away to was talking about maths and demonstrated Fibonacci numbers to Olivia

Olivia loves maths but she also loves art so the combination of learning the Fibonacci numbers has introduced Olivia to something new in the world of art, she can combine her two greatest loves.

So far she has been working out the Fibonacci numbers with great enthusiasm since she got home, and I will hopefully introduce her to how we can put that into a piece of art work.

Carl also introduced her to the genius of Da Vinci  and showed her some you tube videos of the maths within the Mona Lisa Picture, her little brain is spinning with ideas, it will be interesting what she comes up with and learns about numbers and art over the coming months.

So although the chess club is firmly on Olivers radar I really did not expect Olivia to get anything out of watching her brother play Chess but clearly she has and it looks like an environment where all of us can flourish, we felt very welcome, we were shown the ropes and the achievements of the club which are pretty impressive and we are all looking forwards to going back again next week.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Pneumonia when home educating!

I was so pleased that I did not go to the doctors before the Halle event as I never would have got there, although allowing the kids to force me into taking them to the Art Gallery and finding food afterwards would not have happened either, which would may have been a good thing really as being diagnosed with pneumonia is a definite deal breaker..  

I feel so poorly and unfortunately our yearly trip to the Birmingham Science Festival will have to be cancelled, there is no way I can drive to Birmingham in this state. The kids are less than happy but unfortunately I am not superwoman and will make it up to them somehow. 

Its early days for the penicillin to be kicking in but I promised them I would take them to see the Terracotta Warriors at Liverpool to make up for it in a few weeks time, time enough to allow me to recover.

I had to cancel hub explorers that should have been today and tomorrow we were supposed to be going to a glass blowing workshop in Fleetwood that I know I will never be able to make it to, which we are extremely disappointed about as we really wanted to go to that one.

I am not really too sure when I will be back on my feet again, although I did try today and I took some ebay orders to the drop off point and did some paperwork and tried to sort some boxes in the stockroom but doing even just  that made me feel worse and I spent a few hours afterwards with a fever, sweating and ended up soaked through, exhausted and with a massive headache, my cough is getting slowly more frequent.

The kids have been practising their life saving skills they have learnt at badgers, they have been rehearsing what to do in an emergency, I am not quite sure if they expect me to croak it or not, ha ha... it did make me laugh but I am very impressed at their proficiency.

It looks like any structured learning is off the cards, for a little while at least but these two have an inbuilt learning button so am I sure they will not stop learning just because I am down and out for the count.

Halle For Youth - Back to nature 2018

All my panic disappeared over the Halle for Youth event yesterday. I was feeling so poorly, weak, temperature and with a terrible painful cough and just felt all round terrible. I managed to get there to ensure everyone had their tickets and the concert was fantastic. I have organised these Halle events since 2014 and they are always fantastic and seem to get better every year.

The Halle For Youth Concerts are an annual educational event from the Halle Orchestra. They give school age children the opportunity to engage with and experience orchestra at it's finest.

The program was engaging and had a theme of Nature this year.

The program was as follows:-


SIBELIUS †*Finlandia (cut version) [TUNDRA]

BATES †*Anthology of Fantastic Zoology: The A Bao A Qu [JUNGLE]
WILLIAMS Star Wars, Return of the Jedi: The Forest Battle [FORESTS]
SONG: MARSH/Orch PICKETT Earth, Sea and Sky
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS *The Lark Ascending (cut version) [BIRDS]
Soloist: JORDAN GARBUTT (violin)

SMETANA †Vltava (cut version) [RIVERS]
PICKETT ‘Elephants move in mysterious ways...’ (for Hall√©oojamaflipaphone and orchestra)
URBAN LANDSCAPE: Audience participation
DEBUSSY La Mer: Finale (cut version) [OCEAN] 


Monday, 5 March 2018

Lets talk charity!...

I thought I would do a small post about supporting charity.

Supporting charity to me is something I have always done and I would like the kids to also support charity effortlessly and regularly as a normal part of life.

Since I was a small child I have been involved in charity in some capacity, starting with Carnival queens and church queens raising money for local charities, fundraising has always been there.

The twins had their first dip into raising money for charity when we started an appeal for the children of Syria when the conflict began, we raised money by people donating their no longer needed items and sold them on to raise funds to pass onto the charity.

Personally we do not have a pot to piss in but we still manage to support our local charity who do some fabulous work. We manage to do this by buying goods in bulk from their local charity shop, selling them on ebay and raising more money to put back into buying more stock in bulk from the charity shop.

Circular economy, when we do this it demonstrates to the twins that we are having an effect far wider than just helping support the charity that we choose, we are keeping things out of landfill and playing our part in helping our mother earth.

Ellen Macarthur Foundation was established in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. You can find out more about them here.

Fashion is considered to be one of the most polluting industries, the chemical waste is not always discharged according to proper measures causing water pollution worldwide, for a single t-shirt the average water footprint is 2500 ltrs of water (30 bathtubs) 

We can't do very much as a small family but we can play our part and at the same time help charities. 


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Learning more about the weather.

Olivia asked the question of 'how do the weather people know what the weather will be like'?. This was asked after we saw the snow weather warning come up.

So.. We watched a few videos..


We also got out our weather kit that we have had sat on the shelf for the past few years that we picked up at a charity shop.

One of my clients on ebay was saying how she had no snow so we talked about UK climate and why it could be different for different parts of UK.

My Street Greater Manchester-

 My Clients Street Hampshire:-

We learnt a little bit about UK Climate from Met Link Royal Meteorology Association.

Being quite lazy and all..they also emailed the Met Office to see if they could answer the question of why does it snow in one part of the country while simultaneously it does not in another, such as in Hampshire. They received a lovely detailed reply with some great links so they can explore more.

They also learned the difference between weather and climate and created a couple of graphics to demonstrate:-

We also learnt that it is the Earths Tilted Axis (Axial Tilt) that is responsible for our seasons.

 We watched this interesting video to learn more.

The kids are now busy writing up what they have learned.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Anti Home Ed Bill - One Parents Perspective!

Below is a conversation posted with permission by a home ed parent (Martine Cotter) and an MP regarding the Anti Home Ed Bill Currently going through parliament find out more about that here >>> Anti Home Ed Bill

On Friday 23rd February 2017 I met with my Conservative M.P to discuss the Home Education Bill.
The conversation went a bit like this;

MP: So, you are here to discuss home education?
ME: No, I am here to discuss Lord Soley’s Private Members Bill regarding Home Education.
MP: What don’t you like about the Bill?
ME: All of it.
MP: Let me tell you where I stand. I am a firm believer in the rights of parents to choose the education for their children. I am a huge fan of home education and have many close friends who have opted for this route. I have grave concerns about the education system, which I have expressed to the Education Minister and I would fight vigorously to protect your right to home educate. But…I can’t see why anyone would have a problem with signing a register. It seems reasonable to me. Why do you have a problem with it?
ME: We have little time, so I am going to be completely honest with you...The school education system is broken. It does not cater for the needs of children who are either gifted or who are unable to keep up with a rigid and unaccommodating curriculum and test-driven culture. Children are suffering. CAMHS are busting at the seams. Parents are being forced to review their decision to outsource education as it is not fit for purpose. They have joined thousands of others, some of whom have never outsourced education, to exercise their legal right to educate their own children. The problem is, we are growing in numbers, year on year, and the Government don’t like it. They don’t like it because they are losing control. So, rather than address the elephant in the room (the broken education system) they have decided that Home Education needs more legislation – and it starts with finding out who we are and where we are. We are the easy option because overhauling the education system is in the too-hard-to-do box.
MP: I agree.
ME: You want a register, but a register cannot be implemented without sanctions. There must be penalties for not complying.
MP: But why would you not want to comply?
ME: Can you name any other national register that is compulsory?
MP: (Scoffs)
ME: Yes, it is uncomfortable. There is a national register of sex offenders. We also have a MAPPA register for violent offenders. I’m an accredited Chair for Domestic Homicide Reviews and signed a petition for a national register for Serious and Serial Domestic Abuse Perpetrators, which was presented alongside 130,000 other signatures, to 10 Downing Street last year. To date, we have not heard a dickie bird.
Can you see where I am going with this? The only other national registers in existence are for known criminals – the worst of the worst. On top of that, you want to consider a register for home educators BEFORE a register for convicted dangerous domestic abuse perpetrators. Can you understand why I would feel slightly aggrieved by that?

MP: Yes.
ME: Furthermore, I am not prepared to sign up to anything that I don’t understand. I fail to understand the purpose of this register.
MP: Well, every child deserves an education. We have to make sure that happens.
ME: Define an education.
MP: (Laughs). My definition of an education is one that prepares a child for life in the world in which we live. Experiences and community. Learning is lifelong. My colleagues define education differently. They often describe it as academia. There are many that are hell-bent on keeping up with the Chinese as they see this as the benchmark for academia. I don’t agree.
ME: So, you can see our first stumbling block? You want a register to make sure every child is receiving an education, but you can’t even agree within your own party what constitutes an education.
MP: Yes, some serious thought would need to be given to how this would be implemented.
ME: You’re not wrong. So, what other reasons are there for the register?
MP: It is unacceptable for us to not know how many children are being home educated. We need to know that at the very least.
ME: Why?
MP: For one, I’d like to know just how many parents are de-registering from our schools because they are deemed unfit to cater for their child’s needs.
ME: So, you want numbers? Isn’t that a Census?
MP: I like that. That would be a good compromise in my opinion. A census could stop this Bill in its tracks. But what about the child protection element?
ME: I’m glad you raised that. I have been appalled by the behaviour of Lord Soley and his supporters who think it is acceptable to compare us with child abuse cases here and in America, just because there was a tenuous link with home education. In my opinion, this is your biggest problem.
If I said to you now, ‘you are a computer user, therefore you might be using the dark web’. If I said, ‘you are a pet owner, and therefore there is a chance you are mistreating your dog’ - how would you feel?
You might feel the same way as I do, when Lord Soley says ’You are a home educator, therefore you may be abusing your child’.
Surely, you understand you can’t legislate for abusers who hide out in every section of the community? It is not home educators who hide and mistreat their children. It’s abusers. It’s ludicrous to target one group of individuals. Where do you stop before you become a nanny state?
Which is why I don’t think this is about the protection of children. It’s a sly and unforgivable tactic to hide your need for control.
If it was about the protection of children, you would all support the call for a national register for serious domestic abuse perpetrators.

MP: I do have to reiterate I am on your side. Most of my colleagues will fight for home educators and know that the majority of them do an outstanding job. I don’t know why this government is so control focused – I have challenged it myself. Many have lost sight of the rights of parents and think they deserve to control everything. There are a few who are automatically suspicious of anyone who wants to home educate…
ME: I would happily extend an invite to your pompous and privileged friends, who have lost touch with what is happening on the ground, to meet with me and my daughter’s ex-school to discuss why we were forced to de-register. Perhaps they need to meet the parents of the children who have been bullied? The children who have had not had that SEN needs met? In fact, I’d ask when they last reviewed the industrial-aged system to see if it still prepares children for life?
We come back to the issue of the education system being broken. And it being highly unlikely of ever being fixed. Which means that home education will continue to grow exponentially over the coming years. They won’t like that.

MP: I agree.
ME: Can I ask how you would feel in my position? I removed my daughter after 10 years in school. It crushed her. She cried most days. Her anxiety became so bad that I took her to a neuro-disability Paediatrician, who diagnosed her with a learning disability. 10 years, four schools, countless teachers – and they all missed it.
Since homeschooling, she has blossomed. She no longer feels unsafe, so her mind is open to learning again. For the first time in a long time, she is happy and thirsty for knowledge. She is recovering and thriving.
Now, you want me to sign a register that will enable a local authority officer – of God Knows what qualification – to come into our family home, our safe space, and interview our daughter with social anxieties, alone, to assess her education against a definition we have yet to define.
My reply is ‘How Dare You!’. How dare you sit there and ask why I have a problem signing a register. We are the ones who have a right to be suspicious. To date, there has been no honest dialogue about why this register is needed and what it will achieve, other than spurious underhanded aspersions, that make us feel untrusting and angry. Rightfully so. We have Local Authorities already misquoting legislation and doorstepping parents. We have Lords misleading the public in national newspapers. Why should we trust you when you say it is just a register?

MP: It does seem like a slippery slope. Equally, I don’t think they have thought about how it will be implemented or costed.
ME: You’re not wrong. What can we do as a community to at least encourage honest and open dialogue about this Bill?
MP: Good Question. I don’t know. Without a single spokesperson, it is difficult to communicate with the government directly, however, MP’s love nothing more than representing a large number of constituents with the same issue. I would advise all Home Educators to lobby their MP’s. It can be very powerful and effective. If you want to organise a group meeting here before or after the committee stage I will happily ask questions and lobby this Bill on your behalf.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

A Proud Badger

Olivia was very very proud of herself for getting the best Badger of the month trophy this month.

Her grin was ear to ear and she looked like the cat that got the cream when I arrived to pick her up.

Poor Oliver was poorly so he opted not to go to this weeks session, bless him, that was one definite indication that he was really poorly, he loves going to Badgers every week. 

Olivia and Oliver try so hard to get the Best Badger of the month trophy every month and never seem to get there, they have won it once in the whole 3 years of attending Badgers, usually every month they pore over the possible reasons why they didn't manage to get that trophy, so you can imagine how much winning the best Badger of the month trophy means to them.

She is so proud of herself and her whole demeanour seems to have changed along with it, she is oosing with confidence. It is so lovely to see.

It was a lovely end to the week as they had been doing some fund raising for St Johns at Tesco last Sunday, exchanging badges, keyrings and life saving info with the public in exchange for a donation, they were so please at the amount they raised, it was well over £250, the Badgers Set made a great team.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Lego Stop Motion..

The kids created their first stop motion video at Oldham Gallery when they attended their monthly Creative Spaces workshop.

They were very pleased with their outcome:-

Olivia made a love story:-

Oliver made an Indiana Joh's and the Pirates of doom:-

They both now have the bug for stop motion and have already been instructing me to buy then an ipad and the app to make it possible for them to experiment at home.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Chester Zoo

We had a lovely day out at Chester Zoo and the kids attended a workshop on habitats and digestion, it was a lovely day that one of the other home educating mums had arranged, crazy woman, I find it daunting arranging a trip for 30 people never mind over 250 home educating families, despite the numbers attending being in triple figures the Chester zoo home education day was a resounding hit, there were lots of smiling faces dotted around the zoo.

Creative Writing

We have been attending the creative writing workshop for the past few weeks at Rochdale Library. The twins have embraced it with all their efforts and their creative juices are flowing. Before we attended the sessions getting them to write anything down was always a bit of a task, both of them had a bit of a block when it comes to writing. they have the ideas, lots of them but they were very reluctant to put them down on paper.

We have gone against all convention as I noticed that the reason they were reluctant to put anything down on paper was due to spelling errors, they have trouble spelling things correctly and they know instinctively that it is wrong and this seems to have knocked their confidence in putting pen to paper. I reassured them that it was ok and the only thing that mattered was getting their ideas on paper, not to worry about spelling right now as they can go back and change what they want to later on, it was the getting the ideas down that were the important thing. since I did that they have flown and we are getting pages of writing in a short space of time.

The block of worrying that the spelling was wrong had a massive effect at holding them back, they are now very confident to put things on paper.

They know the basic grammar rules and we work on them constantly going over them on the computer using khan academy and a few work books that we use, so getting them to use these rules and incorporate them into their writing is something we will have to focus and work on.

Using the computer and workbooks is very different to writing your own words on paper, it seems to be very daunting for them, where as the computer and workbooks they breeze through.

Oliver reads an awful lot, he has a book constantly in his hand, Olivia however is not so keen although she does have her moments.

Oliver managed to write a whole page of instructions on how to do the recovery position when he was at Badgers the other week, just from his own head and what he remembered of the instructions, I was very impressed, this is the first time he has confidently written anything at badgers without getting frustrated because he couldn't keep up, he has come on leaps and bounds just with the few sessions of creative writing we have had and taking the focus off spelling mistakes.

Olivia I feel is still struggling a little bit, I will continue to encourage her to keep up with her  journal writing.

The facilitator at the writing group has noticed how much the kids have enjoyed the sessions for the past 6 weeks and has decided to continue the sessions, he will come up with some more themes to work with and after a short break will get us all to reconvene for some more creative writing.


Exams as a Home Educator!

I have been asked quite a few times how the twins will take exams. For me this is an important question as exams are the whole reason we home educate. As with someone who sends their child to school, the whole school purpose and end goal is to take exams and be ready to get those qualifications that will open those big thick steel doors to those careers that will afford the twins a better quality of life.

I have extensively researched options outside the school system and few of these alternative to school options are free at the point of use so home educated children are at a disadvantage to their peers who attend school, the school system affords school children free run to exams funded by the taxpayer, for us we will have to find the cash, somehow, but on the bright side at least there are options to take the required exams.

For me there is a slight advantage in that the twins can take the exams they really need and concentrate on getting good grades in the exams they do decide to take instead of taking as many exams as they can just to satisfy some social score card.

GCSE is the most widely taken exam board in UK but more and more Independent schools are opting for IGCSE and there is an increasing number of state schools that are also opting for the IGCSE route. For Home educators GCSE consists of a lot of coursework for many of the exams which is impractical for many reasons but most IGCSE subjects have an optional coursework element, whereas with many GCSE subjects they are compulsory, in addition many IGCSE subjects can be taken as individual subjects or as qualifications towards the International Certificate of Education, unlike UK GCSEs, in addition IGCE content of IGCSE subjects are tailored to the multi-cultural, multi-lingual audience they serve, in a way the UK GCSE does not.

In this age of technology there are many online options for taking exams and below are a few of the many options to choose from:-

You do need to bare in mind that you will most likely need to find yourself an exam centre:-

For further reading Ed Yourself has some useful information:- Ed Yourself

For more information about attending college between 14-16,  Ed Yourself again has some very useful information:- Ed Yourself

There are also Groups that can give GCSE and exam support and advice:- 
There are obviously many more places to find exam info for home educators this is just a small selection to show exams are not a pipe dream for home educators, it does take a bit more hard work than if they were in the mainstream school system but it is certainly available and if you are flush with cash, accessible, if all else fails they can sit exams as an adult candidate with the myriad of adult educational options or they could complete an apprenticeship.
We are obviously not there yet at the exam stage but time will fly and doing some thorough research now will stand me in good stead when they do come of age, things may be a little different by then but I will have a head start on getting to grips with the exam situation.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Link Finds

A couple of the links we have used this past few months have been as follows

We spent some time working on the War Horse audio on this website, understanding the different perspectives of characters in story telling.

We spent some time with this website as Oliver asked what was electricity and how did it work so we looked at Atoms and answered one of our long standing questions about what the numbers represented on our Periodic Table Of Elements

This has been great as we have been working through the Wimpy Kids books and Oliver loves them especially after watching the film at the Into Film Festival, lots of lesson plan ideas on here to help him improve his English.

Young writers has been useful on a number of occasions in the past and as we have just signed up to a 6 week creative writing course at Rochdale library this will come in handy again.

Periodic Videos
We love this site, periodic videos of the periodic chemical elements, such a great add on to the periodic table of elements poster.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Catch Up Post

It has been a busy few months with Jury Service, Christmas, New Year and a few other changes in life.

Jury Service was interesting, I had a not too taxing case that involved no blood and guts and it was very interesting to see how the justice system works in the real world.

The kids decided to rack up a hefty phone bill by calling 118 118 numerous times so we ended up having no internet access for a while until I could get reconnected with a different phone company, this actually turned out very good and something I should have done a long time ago and it has saved me £30+ per month, silver lining and all that, so the kids are now forgiven.

Christmas and New year was really nice this year, very low stress levels and lots of fun, deciding to keep presents to a minimum cost and only buying second hand made for one of the best Christmas build up decisions we have made as a family, the kids picked all their own presents over a few months by choosing things from the charity shop, they loved this idea and loved their gifts and I loved the low pressure of having to find money I didn't have to appease the 'I want monster'...The money was better spent on the pantomime we go to every year and a trip to see Santa and the only thing that we bought new where the items for the hamper that we gifted an elderly neighbour.

We have ditched Facebook pretty much completely, I log on to the group I admin every now and again to update the things we currently have going on in there, which are a couple of trips I have arranged. I find Facebook far too stressful and offensive, the amount of racism floating about is incredible, it has never been as bad as it is now, the climate for anyone not of the white persuasion is pretty unpleasant at the moment on facebook so I have decided the best way to deal with it is to block it out, there are some pretty unpleasant and awful people on facebook, everywhere you look on there it's racism this and racism that, it's not an emotionally safe place to be hanging out if you are not of the white persuasion at the moment, so we have ditched the facebook and the god awful people on there, and to be fair I have not missed it.

Work has been pretty awesome this Xmas, I was dreading having to do Jury Service smack bang in the middle of my busy season but it worked out good, I seamlessly managed to run them both with ease, gaining my best sales of the year, outstripping last years takings by triple the amount, with very little stress. I made a few changes in the sourcing of my stock and it appears to have paid off, along with a few other operational changes which have clearly worked, I am very pleased with the outcome.

The kids have come on leaps and bounds, Oliver is doing amazingly well with his reading and understanding of English and Olivia is smashing her maths. They have joined a new boxing Gym and continue with Badgers and Hockey, they started attending an Art Club once a month run by Oldham Council which they both love. I have given them my desktop so that they can work online using IXL for maths and English and Khan Academy for random things, coding and lots of other random things they missed out on when they both broke their own laptops, they are both definitely glad to be back online and have understood that you look after technology and don't throw it around as it is costly to replace.

So life is pretty mundane and uneventful at the moment, it's all good on the western front!..

Monday, 20 November 2017

Universal Credit and the Minimum Income Floor

I am seeing panic across the board with this Minimum Income Floor attached to Universal Credit, to make it clear if there is anyone reading this who does not know about the minimum income floor conditionality attached to Universal Credits for the Self Employed, it is a punishment that if you do not make the Minimum Income Floor each month then you will loose entitlement, even if your earnings are the same as a employee at the end of the tax year:-

For example as provided by the commons select committee (click here):-

In this above example a self employed person vs an employed one will loose £3,567 per year despite earning the same amount of money during the Tax Year.

A newly self employed person is exempt from the Minimum Income Floor for 12 months while they try to establish their business, this leads the way for a very obvious solution.

To fix this very obvious flaw in their great plan all they need to do is continue with the 12 months evaluation as they already do with Working Tax Credits.

Currently they work Working Tax Credits out on the previous years income, so why can they not continue to do that?.. Well it's easy to answer really, because UC is a money saving exercise and the more money they can save by unfairly penalising people then the better!.

On top of that if they conduct an in-depth study on the average earnings of a self employed person across the board they would find a more suitable figure to base the minimum income floor on.

Taking into account the fact that those in employment and the self employed do not work on a level playing field, so how can you evaluate them exactly the same. For example, the lack of holiday pay the self employed get, the employees a self employed person may employ and the tax they may have to pay to employ them, including training costs, in addition they already pay tax on the supplies they have to purchase to run a business, not withstanding the other money a self employed person may put back into the economy before they even get to paying themselves a wage, the amount can be obscene, just look at the expenses an ebay seller or Amazon seller has to pay in ebay,  paypal, Amazon fees and postage.

For a number of years I previously employed a number of employees in my accounting business and those employees after all my expenses were earning more wage than I was coming out with. Does that money that I put back into the economy in petrol, software, office supplies, employee wages, rent etc etc etc all taken before I can pay myself, mean nothing to this Government?, 

They treat the self employed like we are parasites when in fact we are the life blood of this country...

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

An idiots guide to why Golliwogs are Offensive!.

Despite Golliwogs being an interesting character, Florence Kate Upon created the character around 1894, the climate was not good for blacks at that time, to give you a brief idea of what life was like for Black American's at that time in history, One hundred and thirty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in the year of 1894 and then Enid Blyton used the character in her books as Kate never patented the character, leaving it open for anyone to use.

Blyton used it to enforce negative stereotypes of blacks as stupid, untrustworthy or rude. Blyton was a woman of her time and a vile obnoxious racist at that, in-keeping with the times. Today that very same racism keeps her popular as you hardly ever hear her works spoken about without the racist question being raised at the same time, just as sex sells so does racism and she knew that all too well.

The Three Golliwogs published in 1944 perfectly illustrates historical context of the Golliwog dolls.

'Once the three bold Golliwogs, Golly, Woggie, and Nigger, decided to go for a walk to Bumble-Bee Common. Golly wasn't quite ready so Woggie and Nigger said they would start off without him, and Golly would catch them up as soon as he could. So off went Woggie and Nigger, arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song - which, as you may guess, was 'Ten Little Nigger Boys.'

'Little Black Sambo books are another example of this period and Ten Little Niggers referred to above is the name of a children's poem which celebrates the murder of ten Black children.

Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.

Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself, and then there were eight.

Eight little nigger boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there, and then there were seven.

Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in half, and then there were six.

Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five.

Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got in chancery, and then there were four.

Four little nigger boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three.

Three little nigger boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one, and then there were two.

Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up, and then there was one.

One little nigger boy living all alone;
He got married, and then there were none.

The climate of the time and the attitudes towards blacks was far from all fluffy and cute as some people like to proclaim and there was far more sinister forces at work perpetuating racists attitudes and normalising those abhorrent racist views that sadly still exist today as we can see quite regularly.

Golden Shred saw how popular Golliwogs were in 1910, again a very bad time in history for Blacks. On 19th December 1910, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city ordinance designating the boundaries of black and white neighbourhoods. This ordinance was followed by similar ones in Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Norfolk, Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Richmond, Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri. 

Golden Shred took up the character on their Jam, giving away badges if you collected a certain amount of tokens, again just as Blyton knew, racism sells and this could be nothing but a win win for Golden Shred that proved to be correct.

In the 1960s the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, one of the most noted regiments in the British Army, wore a Robertson's golly brooch for each Arab they had killed. After the war, wog became a more general slur against brown-skinned people. There can be no doubt that these dolls represent racism at its worse the forced indoctrination of young children into racist stereotyping

These Golliwogs became unacceptable to many and Golden Shred were forced in 2001 or 2008 (not sure on the date) to stop producing the golly due to its history and changing social climates.

Most whites are ignorant to its history and the history of the oppression that blacks faced and will vehemently claim the Golliwog is not racist and just an innocent cute character, history tells a different story but none the less they are highly collectible mostly by whites in defiance of the racist claims, but for people like me interested in history, the Golliwog does have a historical value as a good  example of the oppression blacks faced and the mechanisms on how racism works.

The Golden Shred company dissolved in 2013 so are even more collectible now, being a 150 year old company makes it desirable for a serious collector of Golden Shred Memorabilia. However, Facebook Posts of cartoon gollies with hundreds of racists comments below it are not worth very much on the collectors market and only serve to perpetuate the racist attitudes that was commonly found at the beginning of the century, subjecting me and people like me to brainless racists attitudes that are quite frankly outdated. 

A Golliwog is a disgusting White stereotype of an enslaved African that seeks to negate the greatest crime in human history and transform the misery of enslaved Africans into a cartoon figure of fun.

So if you post a Golly that I have to face on my time line then expect to be deleted.

I wrote a previous post entitled :-
'Why I will never discuss race and racism with white people again!'. at the end of that post there is a video by Akala and I will again leave it here below.


Friday, 10 November 2017

Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Remembrance Day

We are currently learning about diaries and how to write a journal so I purchased the book The Diary of a Wimpy Kid recently and luckily for us it has coincided with the Into Film Festival, were a load of school kids get to go to the pictures and watch a few films for free, including home educated children.

We have booked onto a number of films over the coming weeks but this week we got to watch The Diary Of a Wimpy Kid - The Long Haul. What a funny film, the kids loved it and of course another hit as Oliver picked up the book as soon as we got home and we have some resources to work through next week to compliment the film.

Before we went home we decided to pop in to the Imperial War Museum to pay our respects as it is Remembrance Day Tomorrow 11th November and they also have the Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War display at the moment which I thought would be good to go and see and I certainly was not wrong.

His last major painting 'A Canadian War Factory' which was unfinished is my favourite painting, there is something about this painting that I love.

It comes across as a sad painting by one that has seen his best days gone by, it epitomises Lewis's demise for me, the unfinished nature invokes an emotion in me based in pity. Lewis was not without controversy in his life which Richard Slocombe, Art Curator, IWM (Imperial War Museums) writes about here

We ended the day with a trip to one of my clients to pick up paperwork and another client to pick up some items to sell on their behalf and then a quick dash to get ready for Badgers, which should be fun tonight as they are starting on their Xmas sculpture.

Suicide Prevention, if only I could!..

One of the worst things to happen to me in my life is loosing someone close to suicide.

It is the one thing in my life that I cannot come to terms with, the pain never gets any easier and the guilt always overshadows me in the background of my life.

That feeling of  'if only I could have done something differently, said something differently or even said something I didn't say that I should have said..

I knew the person in question was struggling to a degree, I just did not know the deep depth of that despair.

In my heart I feel like I abandoned him in his hour of need, this person brought light into my life and I should have brought light into his.

He made my life worth living at times when I felt there was nothing to live for, he was the kind of person who was there for everyone when they needed him, he was the life and soul of any party.

I knew he had financial problems, he spoke to me about them briefly, he had been made redundant from his job that he loved but it didn't take long for him to find another job, he was a talented Gas Engineer, he loved his work and took great pride in what he did.

My heart to this day breaks and I cannot seem to put the pieces back together again, I miss him every day and despite a decade passing by I still feel like I lost him yesterday.

Sometimes I will just sit and cry for hours with the sadness of the life that he never had, the grandson that he never got to play with. He would be so proud of his daughter, she is a beautiful strong young woman and a fabulous mother to her son, he would have loved life, if only he could have seen beyond the dark days that obviously haunted him behind that smile and those witty comments that he gave everyone.

I miss his tacky huge chain he used to wear and the way he used to douse himself in aftershave which made you choke with the fumes because he put that much on, I miss his wit and crudeness, I miss his clumsy but caring warm nature, he made me laugh with his jokey ways and silly antics, he was a special person and no one has come close to filling that gaping gap that he has left me with.

He has left me with a wound that will never heal and I wish every day that I could have done something differently so that he would still be here today to give me one of those amazing warm hugs of his, I have never met anyone that can hug like he could, he made me feel so warm and safe in those bug clumsy arms of his.

My heart is broken and I will never put those pieces back together again, I miss him so badly, life has never been the same since he went away.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Celts

Today we got into a conversation about the Celts.

We talked about the Scottish and Irish Celts Language and took a look at a Youtube videos and attempted to learn a few phrases and understand what the language is about.

We then started to look more into who teh Celts where and how they came to be in Britain.

We watched a great youtube video that comes in multiple episodes created by the BBC

We will dip in and out of this series to learn more about the Celts over the coming months.

We talked about DNA again which we have done a number of times over the past few months and discussed the Irish Symbols, we also talked about the Irish Celtic language and how it has a distinct religious feel so we discussed the importance that religion played on everyday life and how it influenced things like language, this is an interesting point toward our infrastructure project.

Oliver talked about his desire to go to an archaeology site and get his hands dirty in an archaeology dig, we have been to Archaeology sites before at Roman Lakes in Marple and we even camped on one but he doesn't remember and was quite upset that he stayed camping on a burial mound and did not remember so I think it is something we will revisit next year when the weather improves.

We looked at the map and talked a bit about Europe and the West Coastal Areas of Britain and will do some more work on that when we look more at the Celt Videos.

We all really enjoyed today covering old and new ground throwing in some Greeks and Romans and familiar things like Stone Henge, DNA and Archeology.