26 Sept 2010

Finding out

Not something to be done for a test, not something we do because we must, not something we can pass or fail. Finding out is natural learning, normal everyday, and I bet we never forget the sight of trees like this.

25 Sept 2010


Of course. But it doesn't matter half as much as the making up. That sequence is an essential life lesson all of its own.

24 Sept 2010

Everyday comes as a surprise

Really, when you start on this journey, you never know quite where it will lead. And maybe that is part of the fun.

23 Sept 2010

'I've never met a home schooler before'

Er, you could use your eyes. Maybe observe that large group of mixed-age kids with attendant adults suddenly swamping the local museum?

22 Sept 2010


Late night, dinner out, theatre trip, sociable evening? Of course! No getting up at 7am (for which I'm astonishingly glad).

21 Sept 2010

Art lessons

20 Sept 2010

Without walls

19 Sept 2010

Back to basics

Learn how to cook your own sausages, kids!

18 Sept 2010

Desk work

17 Sept 2010

16 Sept 2010

Time to ask...

What are you thinking? What would you like to do? Where would you like to go? Who would you like to be?

15 Sept 2010

14 Sept 2010

Books, books, books.

13 Sept 2010

Leave it to them, and there's never a moment lost

Totally absorbed, while sitting on a boat.

12 Sept 2010

The child must control the knowledge

...and that may include the right to ignore anything that does not make sense, and anything which does not fit into the pattern of learning set in motion by the child.

I agree, of course. It is educationally very worthy. I take it that also includes the instruction, You can have two cakes each. Two cakes. That is two cakes. Two cakes. Squirrel, stop ignoring me. I said two. Two. Two. Two. No. I did not just say you could have six.

11 Sept 2010

Real maths

What is the volume of a girl's handbag and how much tourist tat can be squished inside, given two hours, a fistful of dollars, and a map of Mong Kok?

10 Sept 2010

Children have the solution

Yes, they do. They can tell you what they need, for any project, circumstance, moment, and time. Adults merely have to listen, understand, and help the need along.

(Unfortunately sometimes the need comes in the shape of 6x3mm lengths of wire that must be twisted with beads and wrapped round a home-made book so tiny it can barely be read by fairies. Then the adult must listen and try not to howl.)

9 Sept 2010

8 Sept 2010

Go on, take your holiday in September

Doesn't it really piss you off how everyone fleeces you if you choose school? Those August travel prices! Surely it's worth finding an alternative education, if only to get your own back on the tourist industry.

7 Sept 2010

Hey! It's back to school!

September already? Phew! Let's go revise the water cycle!

6 Sept 2010

Of course I respect a child's decision making

Yes, well, that is true, and if my daughters say, can they have this or that, then I'll listen and talk, and find a solution or agreement BUT HURRY UP WITH THE RUDDY ICE CREAM CHOICE.

5 Sept 2010

Good advice

In those primary years, we heeded this advice! We never did the repetitive drills, the pointless exercises, and the frustrating hours with photocopied worksheets. Now our heads are in quite good shape.

4 Sept 2010


No, pro education. Which to my way of thinking means that parents shouldn't have to fit in with simplistic set-ups of school vs home. We should all have options for education, for our children and ourselves: community centres, study groups, flexi-school, home-school agreements, short-term, long-term, no state involvement, local authority supported, or registered and unregistered as you and your child requires. That's what I want. A full spectrum of choice to suit me and mine over the years of their growing. (And free beer every Monday. Yes, I want that as well.)

3 Sept 2010

Apparently home educators are not part of normal society

Gawdhelpme I can't imagine anything more normal than this. But I suppose those comments might come from people who live some pretty extraordinary lives.

2 Sept 2010

And I couldn't trust anyone else

When my kids went to nursery, I heard their teacher give an answer to a question. It was so neat, so finished, so complete. But I wanted to say, It depends... the world is more varied than that... it's not always like that. Finding how the world is complex, in ways that you can make, and take part in, is too fulfilling to hand over to a teacher with a noisy class, a timetable, a tick-box, and a ringing bell.

1 Sept 2010

One clear reason to educate out here in society

Because children are children. They need space to look around them, join in when they want, play as they need, and take their time with their family.

31 Aug 2010

More museums?

Honestly, you'd think these kids would be sick of them by now. But nope, not at all. There is just too much stuff to know.

30 Aug 2010

Thinking time

Do they teach that at school?

29 Aug 2010

We're not convinced

...that the most important thing about education is test scores, marks and grades. The most important thing for this young lady right now is how she can make a hat like that, given her resources, budget, and time?

28 Aug 2010

The travelling classroom

Nope, not an ipad. A good old fashioned book.

27 Aug 2010

26 Aug 2010

The social world?

Go on, admit it. It's far more interesting, practical, social and fun to be out here. Think of the alternative. Stuck in a classroom while Miss Drewitt, deputy head, delivers her lecture about tucking your shirt in at school.

25 Aug 2010

Sudden impulses can be accommodated...

Because we need to get out this house RIGHT NOW!

24 Aug 2010

23 Aug 2010

Effortless learning

No rewards, punishments, tests, or someone telling you it's too hard. Effortless learning takes place everyday near you. Watch out for it, because it's simple.

(Okay, I lied about the rewards. After this we went for ice cream, and sat and talked about what we'd each learned about volcanoes.)

22 Aug 2010

A sad story can have happy endings

We know a boy who loved Thomas the Tank Engine. On his first day at school, he took his Thomas satchel. He was mocked without mercy. He never carried it there again, or ever mentioned his passion at school. At home, he played with his Thomas trains quietly, a private, secret pleasure, until he decided, at age eleven or twelve, that he was done, and Thomas went into a box in the shed.

My kids have never known that. So they play with their old, home-made rag dolls how they wish, even today. Maybe one of them will really become that dress designer.

(And see where a passion can lead!)

19 Aug 2010

Making time for family life

Frankly, at some moments in dealing with my children, I feel impatient, intolerant, dismissive, and unloving. I bet my kids sometimes feel the same about me. Let's scowl and slam doors.

However, we have flexibility in our chosen way of life. Because if we felt any of that negative, destructive stuff between 7am and 8am when everyone must leave the house for school, I know that we'd all feel bad all day. As it is, we can have the argument at 9am, sort it by 10.30, then carry on thinking what books we'd like to take out the library.

18 Aug 2010

Some afternoon, one week day

See a newspaper article about the education of children taken out of school, and you might find the usual comments - that education out of school should be illegal, kids can't socialise, parents are denying children a 'proper' education, the parents think themselves superior. I sometimes wonder if the people who write those comments are motivated by jealousy. Understandable.

17 Aug 2010

Yes, she could have done that at school

But I would never have had the pleasure of seeing it in the making.

16 Aug 2010

We took the road less travelled

Because isn't it always the way, how the child wants to lead you home by the unplanned, vicarious, spontaneous path?

15 Aug 2010

Time spent together every day

...means we have time to wait, and listen, to what a child wants to say.

14 Aug 2010

Remembering what it was like

To be a child left undisturbed to play on a sandy beach.

13 Aug 2010

'Now I want to go swimming'

Really? Oh dear. Let me think about this. Hmm. Bum. I can't think of a reason why not.

12 Aug 2010

We all have a natural curiosity

And I especially admire the way that children demand their curiosity is satisfied first, and certainly above any adult imperative to get as quickly as possible to a restaurant. So we pause, on a rocky path, in the dark, and we shine the torches to measure night-time snails. Thanks to a child's curiosity, I have a memory to cherish, whereas I completely forget what I ordered for dinner.

11 Aug 2010

Practical, real-world problem solving

One Ikea desk, thirty-two picture instructions, all day, and see how she gets on with it.

10 Aug 2010

Taking time to travel together

Because we believe that travelling together is better than travelling apart.

9 Aug 2010

Treasured moments

Reheated stew, things to do, books to know.

8 Aug 2010

Qualities that I admire

My children show me. Persistence; resolve; dedication to a task. And a steady determination to conquer fears.