Saturday, 18 May 2019

Learning without Boundaries

I love home education and the curiosity it fosters in children. Oliver has discovered Ghandi and Mandela on a deeper level and he has made a connection between the two. Watching his excitement and interest in the discovery that both were lawyers and both fought oppression, one with peace and one with militancy, both were non sectarian and both were imprisoned.

The questions Oliver asks are so well thought out and indicative of curiosity to what he has just discovered. The way he has learnt to read literature and text of any form is enquiring rather than rote.

Oliver is not blinded by others opinions or ideas, he looks for the facts and knits the rest together for himself and he goes on to form his own opinions and then questions others opinions.

At 9 years old he is demonstrating a natural love of learning that I doubt he would have achieved in a school setting.

How Oliver made the link between the two characters of Mandela and Ghandi fascinates me but also fills me with joy that he is thinking beyond when he thinks about and discovers any topic. He is making links for himself between things he is learning and things he is newly discovering. 

He is learning about an interconnected world that is complex and hard for even adults to understand and decipher.

I feel like I am growing a little scholar but I hope he heeds my warning that it is about what you do with the information you learn and not how much information you learn. 

Thursday, 2 May 2019

The Soup Of Life - The State Of Education


I am looking on in horror at the state of education in it's present form.  The old Sysan Proverb states the soup of life is salty enough without adding tears to it and I believe our Government is adding plenty of tears to the education system at this time in history.

Parents are removing their children left, right and centre to escape the draconian damaging effects of Government control over an education system that is failing, and letting down, so badly, so many children and families.

Of course Home Education is a freedom that every parent has, but not all parents are equipped to educate their children in a way that children need to thrive in a modern world. How can they when they themselves have been so badly let down by that very same system even before their children get there and inherit a system that has so badly failed so many before them.

We are all swimming against the tide. Education is not just about learning Maths, Science, etc etc, education should encompass how to learn so that this can be applied to every facet in life. This is an essential ingredient to help children get through this thick soup of life. To help the child is to help the adult.

It is not just about subject, it is also about substance and that magic substance ingredient, in my opinion the most important and essential ingredient is missing from our current education system.

In times gone past political education philosophy was about controlling the masses to work in the factories and in the fields, but that has lead to what other experts have termed 'dumbing down the masses'. That long term effect has lead to todays chaos in the classroom and ever more people leaving in droves.

The whole education system needs to be overhauled but I fear that reform is something even the so called experts in education are having difficulty in finding the answer to.

Meanwhile, we wait for someone to come up with an answer to how we stop parents taking their children out of schools to home educate, and Governments desperately trying to stop them, fearing that the children will not get the education that philosophy dictates and they have a right to receive by law, yet ironically that very substance in our education system they are trying to prevent parents leaving, itself is missing that essential ingredient. 

That essential ingredient to education that will assist a child to progress and get on in life is a right enshrined in law for a reason, those events that lead to that law being made and those that devised and developed it, understood the importance of that Law for a harmonious society and advancement of the human race. A law that will assist our children to progress and be successful in life. yet paradoxically knowing how the education system has failed the parents and contributed to the social decline that we see with ever higher suicide rates, bullying and violence and parents feeling like they have lost control. 

On the other hand we have the problem of how do we stop schools giving up and off rolling children by teachers that have had that all essential ingredient absent from their training. This lack of essential ingredient in their training is so very evident and causing chaos across the education system.

There are so many problems with the education system it is hard to see where it all starts, but one problem is leading to another and all the solutions they are coming up with are just causing more chaos.

Our education system is in a mess and unless someone comes up with that missing solution to get it back on track we can only expect things to get worse.

The education system is a mess and the more solutions that are implemented  by so called experts, the more of a mess they are making. Experts failed solutions are causing ever more issues and ever more social woes. The failure of the education system is costly to society in so many ways.

The thick soup of life just gets thicker and thicker when it comes to education, despite all good intentions, in my opinion by the laws of nature the experts have currently got it all wrong.

Policy makers really do need to start listening because if they do not, who knows where this will end with the social decline unfolding before our very eyes.

The deficit in the education system is having serious knock on effects right across all facets of life for millions of people, it is a recipe for disaster, it really is time our Government woke up and stop sleep walking us all into disaster.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Review - A Gift From Woolworths - Elaine Everest

I was given this book to review and although it is out of my comfort zone when it comes to books I really enjoyed it and found myself hoping there will be a sequel and I am embarking on reading the 4 previous books.

Elaine Everest is not an author I am familiar with so I googled her facebook page and found she has a small following and has written widely for women's magazines, she is also a creative writing tutor .

This book A Gift From Woolworths is her fifth book in her Woolworths series and is a follow on in her series about a friendship in second World War times between Sarah, Maisie and Freda while working at Woolworths.

Although this is book 5 in the series you are given short back stories to each character so you know who is who. In this book the war is drawing to a close and you can feel the relief and optimism through the characters and the thrill of new beginnings despite rations still being in place and life still quite less than rosy. The book is heart warming set between births deaths and marriages, friendships and betrayals and as an added extra I learned there was a Woolworths museum.

The book gets a thumbs up from me and I am looking forwards to catching up with the rets of the books in the series.

NB* This review is written as part of the Blog Tour and all opinions are my own and I have received no remuneration for this review apart from a paperback copy of the book.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Home Education Is Not A Dumping Ground!..

I sit here really angry when I write this post. Recently I have noticed an increase in LA's negating their duties and dumping kids and their families unwittingly into the word of home education when they are ill equip or even wanting too. The LA has a duty to provide an education to kids that are too ill or are being bullied to the point of suffering with mental health problems because of it.

I have heard many stories over the past few months of parents being told to either send your child to school or home educate and no other options being given to these families who end up in despair because they know their child cannot cope at school and they are not equip to provide education at home financially or mentally. I can see the desperation in their posts and stories of their child already having attempted suicide on a number of occasions or they can see their child's mental heath deteriorating at a rapid rate of knots and all they are faced with are LA's and schools negating their duty to care for these vulnerable children and their families by attempting to force them to home educate, hoping the families will just sign on the dotted line to take financial responsibility and give the LA a get out clause. relieving them of their duties.

The LA have a duty to provide an education and that does include home tutoring. I actually found out about elective home education because a family member had been excluded from school and was receiving home tutoring to get her through her exams. It was then that I found out about this other option of Elective Home Education, I confused the two at first until I understood the implications which as I now realise are huge for some of these vulnerable struggling families.

However Home Tutoring should not be confused with Elective Home Education, although it does seem that these LA's and Schools are confusing the two and only seem to be offering parents with children that cannot attend school the two options of Home Education or send your child to school, I have noticed that more and more families are opting to home educate because they have no other options for them or they believe that they have no other options when they do, home tutoring provided and paid for by the LA.

Families need to know that it is not just a simple get your child to school or you will be fined and imprisoned or alternatively home educate, you do have options and to start you can read the Government Guidelines for children that have an illness and cannot attend school here which I have extracted some of that information below.

If your child can’t go to school

If your child can’t attend because of illness or injury, your school and local council will provide support to make sure their education doesn’t suffer.

The school’s role

The school should:

  • let the local council know if your child is likely to be away from school for more than 15 school days
  • give the local council information about your child’s needs, capabilities and the programme of work
  • help them reintegrate at school when they return
  • make sure they’re kept informed about school events and clubs
  • encourage them to stay in contact with other pupils, eg through visits or videos

The local council’s role

If your child’s going to be away for a long time, the local council will make sure they get as normal an education as possible. This could include arranging:

  • home teaching
  • a hospital school or teaching service
  • a combination of home and hospital teaching
The local council must make sure your child continues to get a full time education - unless part time is better for their health needs.
The local council should also:

  • have a senior officer in charge of the arrangements and a written policy explaining how they’ll meet their responsibilities
  • make sure your child isn’t without access to education for more than 15 school days
  • arrange education from the start of your child’s absence if it’s clear they’re going to be away from school for long and recurring periods
If you are having problems engaging with your school or Local Authority who are blatantly ignoring your needs and trying to off-roll you into home education then please contact one of the below services who will help and give you advice on how to deal with the minefield in front of you to get the education your child deserves.

Contact For Families With Disabled Children are a charity that can help find you local support and also provide a handy guide for when your child cannot attend school which you will find here 

Red Balloon Learner Centre  supports young people who self-exclude or are isolated at school because of bullying or other trauma you can find their website here

Fresh Start In Education welcome any student regardless of their abilities, attitude or behaviour. We work to engage with them, enable them, and re-engage them in their education. You can find their website here

Child Law Advice Offer advice on children out of school and LA legal duties and the processes that should be followed you can find that webpage here

Not Fine In School Is a guide for families who are experiencing a difficult situation and your child is not fine in school, you can find their website here

Government Guidance on Education for Children with Health Needs Who Cannot attend School here

As a closing statement for this post I just wanted to add I see a lot of people entering home education because they feel they have no other choice, but there are choices.

Exams are expensive and so it tutoring, having to give up your employment is not a choice that should be made lightly, your child deserves the best education they can have and off-rolling is not always in the best interest of the child, if there are alternatives then I implore you to explore those options first before you decide to home educate. Attempts at Off rolling is a disgusting practice that every family should challenge.

For a more in-depth look and some figures on off rolling see here the government education inspection Blog.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Into Film Festival - Beautiful Planet

We had a fabulous visit to the Into Film Festival for the visually stunning A Beautiful Planet Screening. We were very fortunate to listen to a talk from Paul Fisher, Communications Manager From European Space Agency after the film and had the opportunity to have a one to one to ask questions about Climate Change and future jobs in the Space Industry... (thank you Paul for taking your time out to speak with us when everyone had gone.., that pen is fab thank you)....

We will now eagerly go through some of the educational materials that go along with the film and do some fun scientific experiments.